The battle of short or long hair on guys can be vicious. Those who rock the longer style locks wear them proudly and will usually have a better understanding of how hair works from maintaining to how to really manage it. Those with shorter cut hair can argue that they are more experimental because they can try more styles with less work with only growing the top out.
It’s a Struggle
Short hair is easy.
Think back to a time when you walked out of a barber shop with a fresh cut, feeling real proper, real smooth. It’s a great feeling, right?
Now imagine that was your last haircut for the next 2 years. A path in a new direction, a journey that would give you a whole new perspective on how you choose to live your life. A life with long hair.
Long hair is a struggle, a constant battle. If you have never had long hair before it will be hard for you to understand. Growing it out is a serious commitment, a commitment you better be ready for. You will have to battle through months of awkwardness and complete annoyance. Struggle through times of looking bad. There’s no hiding it, no gelling it, no combing it.
Sure, you can cover it up with hats and beanies…but at the end of the day. The hair wins.
It will wake you up in the middle of the night. It will constantly fall into your eyes and impair your vision, sometimes with serious consequences. It will get in your food, bed, car, sheets, beer, toothpaste, shaving cream, sun glasses, underwear, sink, computer and strangest of all places wrapped around your ballsack.
With long hair there is no escaping the battle of it getting in your way. The funny thing is though, you learn to love that battle.
You learn to figure it out. You deal with it.
The first thing you need to accept is that it’s going to be a tedious, often awkward journey. You’re going to have a few new haircuts en route. You’re going to learn how to use new products and style your hair in different ways, only to change them out as it continues to grow.
It’s kind of like losing or gaining a bunch of weight: You don’t fit in the stuff you used to, and so you have to adjust for the change and grow comfortable with constant change. Eventually, though it’s a year or more away, you will tuck that hair effortlessly behind your ear, or feel it sweep across the tippy tops of your shoulders. And it’ll all be worth it.
Why is long hair considered long if it is over six inches long?
Once hair is six inches long, it requires a more intensive approach to hair care. Likewise, at this length, the hair reaches below ear length, which many hair professionals (including ours at our barbershop) agree that such is the minimum length to have the hair lying flat and dangling as well as being able to have the hair tied into a bun or ponytail.
However, not all hair types will have the hair lying flat at six inches, but, with all hair types, the approach to hair care becomes slightly more complex.
How fast does hair grow in men?
Ok, so you’re planning to grow your hair long and reach the length mark of six inches of hair length, how fast will you get there? Well, the typical hair growth rate for an adult male is half an inch per month.
Thus, simply subtract your current hair length from six inches, time it by two, and you will get the amount of months that you have left to become a long haired dude!
For example, if your hair is currently two inches long, you simply subtract six minutes two, which is four, and then multiply it by two, which is eight. Thus, if you have hair that is two inches long, it will take you eight months to grow your hair long.
Speed Up Hair Growth with Supplements
One way to grow your hair out faster (and stronger) is to supplement it with the right pills and potions. Some doctors will tell you to take biotin and call it good, but there’s more out there that will expedite hair growth and strengthen it at the follicle, so that your hair stays strong for the long haul.
Find vitamin-enriched serums that you can massage into the scalp, or ingest herbal supplements that thwart things like stress, hair-thinning hormones, and environmental toxins.
Consider Proactive Hair Loss Measures
While you’ve got enough hair in the first place (after all, you’re growing it out and showcasing it), it’s not a bad idea to fight hair loss simultaneously. That is, to slow down its advances, so that you can maintain your enviable hairline, or fortify the hairs you do have.
This way, each follicle continues to grow strong, and you might even resuscitate some dormant follicles in the process, meaning you’ll have even more hair to show off. Visit your doctor to discuss prescriptions for finasteride (now available as a generic, though you might know it as Propecia), and minoxidil (often called Rogaine, and available over the counter).
Finasteride blocks the hormones that lead to hair loss, allowing it to grow undeterred (or with slower advances of loss), while minoxidil increases blood flow and nutrient delivery to the scalp and the hair follicles, making them stronger. Your doctor will help monitor the process and will warn you of any risks involved with taking these drugs.
Some companies, like Hims and Keeps, also allow you to “meet” with a dermatologist online, and then receive these products (prescription included) via the mail. It’s fast, cheap, and easy—just don’t forget to check in with your doctor regularly.
What are the problems associated with long hair for men?
Long hair had a tendency to tangle. This is due to hair dryness, friction of your head against objects (such as your pillow), leftover residue from hair products or sebum and/or not cleaning your hair properly. Hair tangles occur in all hair types, although they’re most common with long curly hair.
Other issues include dry hair, frizzy hair and your long locks getting stuck in your clothes (e.g. in your shirt’s collar) and other objects (watch out for elevator doors and theme parks!).
The Growing Out Process
One of the most common mistakes men make when growing out their hair is just to let it go. If you do that you’re going to end up with split ends, uneven hair and probably look something like this mugshot of crazy-man Gary Busey. The goal is to keep manscaping it with your stylist.
You don’t want to chop it, but get it texturized and trimmed so that it grows out with a healthy sheen, not a greasy shine. Focus on taking a little longer to grow it out so that it looks like you’re wearing it that way on purpose.
Not like you were involved in some lab experiment gone wrong. By focusing on trendy styles like the samurai during the growing out process, you can eliminate the ‘awkward effect’ as your hair grows.
One tip most men don’t factor in is that they need to energize the hair. It’s a good idea to start taking some vitamin B7 and other vitamins that strengthen your hair follicles.
As your hair begins growing longer, it will do so from all angles. The best bet to maintain that dappered appearance is to focus on growing it out from the top first, followed by the back and the sides. In the beginning, try keeping the back and sides short, only slowly allowing them to fill in as the top of the head’s hair grows out.
Get Strategic Haircuts as It Grows
It seems counterproductive to get a haircut while you’re growing it out, but there are a few imperative reasons to do so. First, it’s going to help you avoid lots of awkward phases along the way.
Your hair won’t grow out in some uniform, camera-ready style. It needs to be trimmed and texturized in order to look good. And a haircut need not be drastic; it just needs to be strategic, so that it looks good without compromising overall progress.
Secondly, this strategic trimming will help layer the hair to *continue* growing in the way you want it to. You can cut the back in a way that allows the top to pour over it, until it’s time to let it all grow in unison. (This will spare you from having a mullet along the way.)
Lastly, the barber or stylist will trim the ends ever so slightly, just to manage any splitting or breaking that may occur. See below for a few long-hair care tips that will help prevent this kind of damage.
Wash Your Hair Less, Condition It More
Short hair or long, you do not need to shampoo daily. It dries and damages the hair, and signals to the scalp to produce even more oil than is natural, since you’re constantly depleting its sebum supply. (It’s weird that shampooing less in the long run makes your hair less greasy, but it’s true.)
You will also minimize the frequency at which you strip the hair of these same oils that have slid their way down each strand (aided by nightly brushing, of course). This natural oil from your scalp keeps everything soft, healthy, and shiny, and shampoo compromises that.
Shampoo is still good, but it isn’t a daily necessity. (Stick with a hydrating one, which will be gentle on your hair.) On the other hand, you need to be conditioning every single day. It’ll help rid of excess grime as well, far less abrasively than shampoo.
More importantly, conditioner is nutrient-rich and plumps the hair full of vitamins that keep it strong and soft. So, shampooing 1-2 times weekly and conditioning daily. (Always shampoo before conditioning, and don’t combine them, since conditioner restores moisture lost in washing.)
You can also use a leave-in conditioner as a lightweight styling cream, or a temporary hair mask for a heavily hydrating pick me up, whenever your hair is parched and needs a nutrient boost.
Get the Right Tools (And a Few More Products)
Besides cream and paste, here are the other things you should have in your bathroom, so that your hair looks its absolute best every day.
Best Products for Long Hair
Dry Shampoo: For the days between washes, spray dry shampoo at the roots of your hair to soak up excess oil and give everything added volume. It makes your hair more textured and lively, instead of limp and greasy.
Hair Spray: This is the finishing touch for any style. A quick zap will preserve your hair for the day. Just don’t touch it!
Salt spray: A texturizing spray that also doubles as a pre-styler, which gives you beach-like grit for a piece-y finish, as opposed to straight, lifeless hair.
Blow dryer: Helps volumize hair or activate styling products, to magnify their effectiveness. Get an ionic one to minimize heat damage.
Hair brush: A nightly brushing will help distribute the natural oils from your scalp, so that your entire hair strand is nourished. This prevents split ends, and can also be imitated with hair oils that you apply yourself.
Hair oil: A lightweight, nutrient-rich, and fast-absorbing conditioning agent. Apply a couple drops in the palms, then rub together and distribute through the hair evenly. Gives hair a healthy shine and prevents frizz. Can be brushed through for even distribution, and added to hair products for an extra pinch of shine and nourishment.
Styling Long Hair
Once your hair has grown to the length of your choice, now is the time to really get it styled. Make an appointment with the best stylist in your city and plan to talk strategy. A good hairstyle will properly frame your face and focus on your best features, your jawline and the overall shape of your face.
Make sure the stylist has a good understanding of this so they can properly texturize and layer the hair, so it shows off your best side. A long hairstyle can make you look distinguished and dapper or like the homeless man on the corner begging for change. In the end, it’s up to you to maintain it, but you need help in the beginning to make sure it’s an easy task.
Learn How to Style Long Hair
Here is a simplified styling regimen once your hair is long enough to tuck behind the ears.
Rinse (or wash) and condition the hair first.
Dry it with a towel, but leave it slightly damp.
For texture, apply a few spritzes of salt spray, throughout the hair, scrunching it together as you go, to distribute the product and create some grit.
Apply a nickel-size of lightweight hair cream (or less), working it into both palms and then massaging it evenly through the hair. Start at the roots and run hands through the hair. You can comb it through to distribute evenly, and then tousle it again so that it falls more naturally. (You can also do this during the next step.)
Blow the hair dry, in the style or direction you want it to rest. You can loosen it and separate it for a piece-y, textured finish, or leave it as it for a more polished result.
Apply a couple drops of hair oil, if you want added shine and need to prevent any frizzing throughout the day. Warm the oil in your palms and then apply it evenly through the hair, targeting the long strands and any unruly strays.
Give it a zap of hairspray if you want to preserve it in its place. The more spray, the heavier the hold, or just check the label for the product’s strength. If you’re feeling breezy and want to touch your hair throughout the day, then skip the spray.
The absolute best source of information on long hair is going to come from your stylist. Sure we could discuss styles but you need to groom your hair so work with your face and quite frankly, no cut and dry style will do that.
This is why it’s so important to find a good stylist you can trust and develop a relationship with. While it might be fine to switch between stylists with shorter hair, when you grow your hair long you need someone in your corner who knows exactly how your hair behaves.
Take your time in the growing out process and find the person who works best with you. A good tip is to stop people on the street with great hair and ask where they get their hair cut.
Do you have a favorite long hair style? Any tips or tricks that keep your long hair healthy and flowing?