If you’ve ever tried to grow out your short hair, you know it’s hard! In the late 60’s, a doll named Crissy was manufactured by the Ideal Toy Company. Chrissy’s main feature was that her hair could be made short or long on a whim, thanks to an opening in Crissy’s head that allowed her owner to manipulate the length of her shining locks.
Ah, if only it was so easy for us humans. Whether you’ve just made a chop and regretted it almost immediately or are looking to go long after years of sporting a crop-top, growing it out won’t be easy—but going about it the right way can make all the difference. For growing-out dos and don’ts, we talked to Kym Prager-Wilson, who has owned and operated the superhip Medusa Salon in Brooklyn, New York, for 13 years.
HAIR DOS AND DON’TS
So you’ve decided to go for some length?
DO commit. If you’re anything like me, you’ll get sick of the process after just a couple of months and have it all chopped off, at which point you’ll hear the siren call of longer locks and start all over again.
DO visit a stylist once the grow-out has started. “Try to get a little length and then get a little trim to start a new shape,” says Kym. But DON’T keep going back for upkeep. After the initial cut, “just let it grow until you can’t stand it anymore,” advises Kym.Once you’ve reached your breaking (or cutting) point, then make an appointment.
DO make it clear to your stylist that you’re trying to grow your hair out and that the trim should be just that—a trim.
DO make the most of your choppy locks and style them while they’re still short. When I’m growing my hair out, sometimes things look so hopeless that I forgo any attempts at styling and jam a hat over the whole mess until things smooth over—literally. But Kym says, “While it’s still short you should use a texture cream or paste, it will help give it some shape.” Another styling tip? “Tucking the sides behind the ears and pulling some side pieces and top pieces forward” makes for a cute, “tousled” look, explains Kym.
DO stock up on bobby pins, cute clips, and other hair ornaments. If a certain cowlick isn’t obeying your styling product, stick a pin in it or cover it with a sleek headband. But raiding the hair product aisle at the local Target should be as far as you go when it comes to taming your mane—DON’T try to cut it yourself. There’s a process to how hair grows, and unless you’ve logged in experience of your own as a stylist, you may not understand how it all works. Leave the trimming to your trusted stylist.
DO keep your growing mane healthy, to encourage growth and—of course—to look your best. A good conditioner is essential and should be used generously and often. Kym’s picks? “Silk products. You apply a small amount after you’ve shampooed and conditioned and leave it in the hair. It will give shine, softness, and will protect the ends.” Kym likes Biosilk Therapy ($24.50), CHI Silk Infusion ($19.99), and Moroccan Oil products (prices vary; check moroccanoil for where to buy).
DON’T get discouraged by the awkward phases; they will happen. “You need to alter the way you style it as it changes,” says Kym. “Sometimes blow-drying, twisting, or trying a new product can help.” DO embrace the changes; after all, like Kym says, “You always have a new hair-do.” But if things have really gotten out of control, it might be time for another trim.
DO have some inspiration handy for when the tresses get tough—maybe a photo of yourself rocking long hair or a long-haired celebrity muse like Sofia Vergara. Sometimes I’ll tack a photo up on the bathroom mirror to remind myself why I’m growing it out. At the same time, DON’T obsess too much—if you keep thinking about it, the wait will drive you crazy. “Hair only grows about 1/2 an inch a month,” cautions Kym.
So have patience; keep your hair healthy and embrace the changes (it’ll be like having a new ‘do every week!), and look forward to the long locks that you’ll be flaunting in the not-too-distant future!