Words by Chatel Theagene
If you’ve recently thought of growing out that short fade, or simply bored with the same look you’ve been sporting for a while, then the start of a new season may make things a whole lot easier before trying a new look. So whether you’re up to staying on trend, or think it’s time for the new you to emerge, we’ve laid out the do’s and don’ts on how to get the length you want.
The Game Plan
Are you more a hair on top, shaved on the sides kind of guy? Or, are you ready to take the first dive and figure out some fro play. Well a good first move is to consider keeping the sides tapered low while you grow out the hair out that’s already on top. The outcome is clean lines you’re used to, while still showing you have skills in the growth department.
Once you’re used to seeing yourself with a longer coif on top, then it’s safe to play around with length on both the sides and back, closer to your hair lines. Either way, it’s best to figure out what your hair goals are so that you can match up with your barber and stylist. The rules of the game don’t change much here, except a strategy that involves avoiding the sometimes inevitable awkward stage. Point is, have a game plan before you gain an inch.
And while you may have to see your barber a bit less than you were used to, there’s no need to say farewell completely. If your barber’s not a pro with the sheers, find a team player that will help snip off any split ends or give you a quarterly trim that most hair needs in order to retain length.
If you’re already sporting hair that’s on the thick, more coarse & curly side, think first about what added volume and length may mean. In this case, you’re bound to hit the tangled mess road block before it’s automatic smooth sailing. Deciding on the kind of structure you want for your hair journey will help avoid frustration and any scaled back efforts.
Avoid Hair Play
It’s tempting to dip fingers into your growing coif and explore this newfound texture. And while there’s an undeniable attraction to the texturally endowed, it’s best to leave hands and fingers at your sides! Over manipulation is not the strategy you want heading into the hair retention game. If bae is eager to run fingers through that new and growing mane, try to keep it to a minimal. They’ll thank you later.
Better Products, Longer Hair
While rocking the short and super functional fades and low crops, you might’ve gotten away with using staples like pomades and even hair gel. A dry, matted short crop may have been something you got away with in the old year, but this year if you’ve got length on the mind, it’s time to switch to things that’ll smooth strands out. Using a sulfate free shampoo 2-3 times a week, more if you’re in the gym often, as opposed to every day can help prevent dryness. Adding a conditioner to your routine can also ensure you’re not sweeping up broken pieces of hair on the bathroom floor.
The Stress Factor
Now this is a mixed bag simply because when we think stress, many of us instantly think of something emotionally affecting. But in this case, it takes on dual meaning. While the durance of stress is linked to things like hair loss, other stress factors can come from outside sources like the types of tools and techniques we use on our hair.
Still combing your hair while dry? Well now’s the time stop. This can lead to breakage and will surely not help retain any of that length you’re vying for. And if you’ve been using a comb with small teeth to get through tangles, opt instead for a wide tooth comb similar to this. As you gain a bit of length, free up any tangles by starting at the ends of the hair strand, and gradually work your way up. This is an easy but important step in the hair retention process.
On the average, hair grows about half an inch each month, and if we do the math, this basically adds up to a ton more patience than most of us have lying around. So while instant results are never a guarantee, the end goals will make you a good deal happier you stuck to your guns and tried something new.