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Growing Long(ish) Hair

FlayFlay Registered User regular
edited July 2011 in Help / Advice Forum
Recently I decided that I'd try growing my hair to shoulder length, purely because I'd never done it before and I wanted to give it a try at least once. Before this I'd never given any consideration to what I did with my hair; I got it cut shorter when it started to get in my eyes, brushed it quickly in the morning, and that was it. But now that I'm growing it long, I think I need to learn a thing or two about it. To give an example of how little I know on this topic, it was only a few months ago that I realised that washing my hair every day was probably doing more damage than good.

I'm looking for some specific tips on growing hair long, but broader hair advice is also good. I'm not really sure how to identify what 'type' of hair that I have, but it's brown and I'd say mostly straight with a slight wave (it curls at the back a lot when it starts to get longer). I think I'm going to aim for a swept back look if I can, but I really have no idea how or if that's a good idea, and at the moment I'm going through that awkward phase when it's not quite long enough to be 'long' but instead just looks like I need a haircut.


Flay on


  • DirtyDirtyVagrantDirtyDirtyVagrant Registered User regular
    edited July 2011
    I am also growing mine out!

    I have to wash my hair every day because if I don't, it gets super oily. Like, I can wash it before I go to bed, and wake up in the morning and it'll be too oily to do anything with.

    You want to minimize breakage as much as possible. So...

    Use a good conditioner to keep your hair moisturized. You don't have to do anything super expensive. I just use the garnier shampoo and conditioner. When you use conditioner, you want your hair to be damp. Not wet. So wash it, shake it out a bit (or towel pat it), comb the conditioner through, wait however long, then rinse with cool-to-room-temperature water.

    Be incredibly careful combing or brushing it when it's wet because when hair absorbs moisture it becomes vulnerable. Think wet noodles.

    Don't tie it up in rubber bands or anything like that. Get one of those soft cloth ties.

    DirtyDirtyVagrant on
  • ceresceres Humming hallelujah in the dark Lost with a compass in the fogSuper Moderator, Moderator mod
    One of the most important things to succeeding at this is to realize that no matter how awesome you are at finding styles that work with whatever the length is at present, there is going to be a period of time when it will look really dumb and there's absolutely nothing you can do about it. You just have to wait it out.

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  • radroadkillradroadkill MDRegistered User regular
    Make sure to get your hair trimmed regularly, every 6 weeks or so. Do just enough to get off dead ends- if you don't your hair continues growing from the scalp but it dis from the tip and weakens the hair considerably and makes it break off much easier.

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  • EchoEcho very gravitas Super Moderator, Moderator mod
    ceres wrote:
    One of the most important things to succeeding at this is to realize that no matter how awesome you are at finding styles that work with whatever the length is at present, there is going to be a period of time when it will look really dumb and there's absolutely nothing you can do about it. You just have to wait it out.

    Oh god yes. Expect this to be a period of your life:


    Well, maybe minus the murdering. +1 to regular trimming of the tops - not only will it grow longer, but it'll look and feel a lot thicker compared to just having the last five inches be three dozen hairs total.

    This is the length I have it. Let's pretend the picture isn't 13 years old and I have no other decent pictures from behind.


  • JasconiusJasconius sword criminal Flo-ridaRegistered User regular
    My rec is to just make sure you visit a good stylist to get things set up. The transition is the worst.

    My hair is "long". Not echo long. not even shoulder length.. up right up to that point

    It's been like that for years and it always looked "meh" until I stopped going to super cuts and started going to a real salon, and the difference is huge.

    They will know how to cut it so that it doesn't grow out to look awful, and ease that transition period.

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  • FeralFeral Who needs a medical license when you've got style? Registered User regular
    I used to have hair similar to Echo's until I cut it all off.

    Your hair may be different, but mine tends towards the fine and dry side, which means when it gets long it breaks easily. That leads to frizziness, split ends, thinness, and just general bad times. Investing in a good fortifying conditioner (I like Biolage and I still use it) will reduce the breakage.

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  • Sir CarcassSir Carcass I have been shown the end of my world Austin, TXRegistered User regular
    My hair was to my waist before I cut it off.

    Conditioning is a big one. Also, try not to blow dry it. You'll also want to brush it often.

    As far as the growing out, like mentioned it's just going to look like crap for a while. Get with your stylist to make it look less stupid as best as you can.

  • FlayFlay Registered User regular
    Echo: so you're saying having long hair won't impede my murdering rampages either?

    We have some conditioner but I barely even use it, so I guess I'll have to start, and I'll need to scout out some hairdressers. Getting hair trimmed is something I definitely wanted to ask about, since a of of the advice I've heard was that you shouldn't get hair cut at all, and just let it grow naturally. I'm not planning on having waist-length hair, probably only shoulder length, but if I decide I like having my hair longer there's no reason I can't let it grow.

  • DirtyDirtyVagrantDirtyDirtyVagrant Registered User regular
    I have heard that brushing your hair (in moderation) will actually strengthen the bond between the hair and the follicle.

    Not sure if that's true or not.

  • EchoEcho very gravitas Super Moderator, Moderator mod
    Flay wrote:
    Getting hair trimmed is something I definitely wanted to ask about, since a of of the advice I've heard was that you shouldn't get hair cut at all, and just let it grow naturally.

    Yeah, you want to trim it every now and then; if only so it's all of an even length, which it won't be if it just grows. As I said, it looks a whole lot better to have an even thickness instead of just really thin hair towards the end.

    Here's another ancient pic where I hadn't trimmed it in ages. Compare to above.


  • BartholamueBartholamue Registered User regular
    Get some good shampoo and conditioner. Not the stuff with sulfates in them, because that's an ingredient they use for a cheap foamer, but sadly, dries out your hair.

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  • The_Glad_HatterThe_Glad_Hatter Rogue Jpeg Jockey Registered User regular
    Be sure to try NOT brushing your hair as well. Not everybody want to have the Draco Malfoy's dad coupe. Brushing made mine look like shite, not brushing didn't. (curls)
    Mine reached the lower part of my back for a few years. Chopped them off after my college years though.

    Also: Conditioner.

  • DirtyDirtyVagrantDirtyDirtyVagrant Registered User regular
    Recognize that a trim is generally a length less than a centimeter, unless you're having it evened out.

    Also, brushing your hair (if it's long) is supposed to help the oils to spread from your scalp down to your ends. Personally, when my hair was long, I just oiled it with extra virgin coconut oil about twice per month per month (a sort of deep conditioning). Makes it really strong and really really soft. You can find it at any whole food store, and there are even directions online for application and even mixing of various scented oils. But that might be a little farther than you're willing to go.

  • UsagiUsagi WOMP WOMPRegistered User regular
    edited July 2011
    Get some good shampoo and conditioner. Not the stuff with sulfates in them, because that's an ingredient they use for a cheap foamer, but sadly, dries out your hair.

    Unfortunately about 90% of shampoos out there have sulfates in them, whether SLS or one of the other, less harsh versions. My skin has become very sensitive to it and it's a bitch to find products that don't have it, but so far I've had good luck with Trader Joe's shampoos (and they're super cheap and really high quality).

    The other ingredient you'll want to avoid is dimethicone (or anything that ends in -cone) because it's a silicone product! They add it to conditioners and styling products to give your hair that super glossy and soft finish without doing any long-term benefit to your hair cuticle, but it's rough on your scalp and a complete pain in the ass to get out of your hair (you basically have to resort to a sulfate shampoo). It's much less common than sulfates, but you'll find it in conditioners labelled moisturizing, deep conditioning or shine-enhancing more often than not.

    I had hair down to my ass for years and the single best investment outside of above shampoo/conditioner combo is a good stylist. Depending on your area, be prepared to pay $50-100 for a good haircut every 8-12 weeks. Yes, it sounds like a lot but it's completely and totally worth it because it keeps you from looking like a scrub.

    (Also super happy that @DirtyDirtyVagrant is having good hair luck!)

    Edit: I just wanted to add, if you're one of the lucky people who doesn't have super oily skin, you can probably get away with shampooing only every other day, or even every third day. I can make it about 36 hours before I look like the Exxon Valdez happened on my head, but I hope you don't have the same issue!

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  • DirtyDirtyVagrantDirtyDirtyVagrant Registered User regular
    (Not actually having good luck - I have a giant forehead which is impossible to conceal with my bangs :( )

    I haven't actually found any shampoos that I really like. Still a lot to try, though.

    You can get it off of amazon for a lot cheaper than basically anywhere else. Remember that shampoo is more for cleaning your scalp. Don't gather your hair up on top of your head and shampoo all of it.

  • cabsycabsy oh it's a boat Registered User regular
    Try to not ever brush your hair when it is wet, use a wide tooth comb instead and detangle starting at the ends and working up to the roots. Brushes are for dry hair only, and a good natural bristle brush will help distribute oils from your scalp area through the rest of your hair. I only shampoo 1-2x a week but use a lightweight silicone-free conditioner every single day; your results here are going to vary based on your hair type, because I have super fragile dry overprocessed curly hair and you presumably don't. I use a small amount of shampoo and suds it up on my fingertips and then shampoo just my scalp unless my hair is really tragically gross for some reason, and just let the foam run through my hair when I rinse it. The main pain in the ass is if you really want to avoid silicone, at least in the states, you have to check every single hair product's ingredient lists because things like "coconut oil" will have stealth silicone in there for no damn reason whatsoever.

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  • FlayFlay Registered User regular
    My hair is actually really dry at the moment because of my acne medication, which is intended to make my skin extremely dry, so I'll need to be a lot more thorough with conditioner and whatnot.

    There is much I need to learn.

  • Skoal CatSkoal Cat Registered User
    Accutane? For the love of god tell me you're taking Vitamin E pills and using medicated chapstick.

    ceres wrote: »
    Skoal Cat is correct.
  • FlayFlay Registered User regular
    Chapstick yes, wasn't aware I should be taking vitimin E though.

  • Skoal CatSkoal Cat Registered User
    It helped keep my skin from falling off in pieces.

    ceres wrote: »
    Skoal Cat is correct.
  • FlayFlay Registered User regular
    Okay, well I think we have some vitamin E, so that's easy.

  • GalFridayGalFriday Community and Social Media Manager NovatoRegistered User regular
    edited July 2011
    Things that I have learned while trying to grow my hair out:
    1. Brush your hair with a toothy brush (not a bristle brush) before your shower. Brushing out wet hair tends to break it, so give it a brush before showering.
    2. In the shower usse a gentle shampoo (baby shampoo) and a conditioner that keeps your scalp healthy. Head and Shoulders is a good way to go. Rinse your hair twice after shampooing. Any soap that you leave there will only dry your scalp. Rince the conditioner in water as cold as you can stand. The cold water will help the hair cuticle stay healthy, it also makes your hair super shiny.
    3. After your shower comb your hair with a wide tooth brush only if needed. No brushes at this point.
    4. When dry use a bristle brush to brush your hair a few times a day, this will massage your scalp and move oils around
    5. Try not to use hair ties unless needed, this can break hair
    6. Get trims but be firm with your stylist. My first few trims were each about an inch and a half despite not needing to be evened out. Basically cut off any progress. Tip well and be polite but be sure that the stylist knows that your intention is to grow your hair out.
    Good luck!

    On hair cuts
    Do this first! If you have broken unhealthy hair it will not grow well. Get it cut by someone that knows you are looking to have healthy and eventually long hair. Once your hair is healthy it will be happier. :)

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  • UsagiUsagi WOMP WOMPRegistered User regular
    Flay wrote:
    Chapstick yes, wasn't aware I should be taking vitimin E though.

    Vitamin E and/or a fish oil supplement will do wonders for that

    Also, yeah, sounds like you could be in the shampoo once or twice a week camp (but still rinse and condition everyday). If your scalp is really dry look into baby shampoo, it's almost always sulfate free and super duper gentle.

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  • BloodfartBloodfart Registered User regular
    If you have long hair as a guy don't be afraid to try some things with it. Depending how you look you can do some styles that may initially appear girlish (because most people only see it on a girl), but actually look good and can attract babes.

    I've gone through a number of times using bobby pins to hold back parts of hair, high ponytails, and doing it up in a hot buttery bun.

    It may also matter how you carry yourself though. Don't want to be self-concious if you're going to look apart from the safety net of normality.

    I had a buddy who'd do his hair up in two buns on the top outer edges of his head kinda like Chun-Li from streetfighter. With his massive 5-o'clock shadow and velvet jacket he was quite pimpin.

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