After shaving several of my client’s heads for a recent St. Baldrick’s fundraiser for kids’ cancer research, I’ve had several people ask me about the best way to grow out your hair. I know it sounds pretty simple — just stop getting haircuts. But, it’s not that easy, especially if you are going from short or shaved. These are my five best tips on how to grow out your hair without looking like a slob.
1) Keep it trimmed! Yes, to grow out your hair, you have to keep it trimmed up — this will help you avoid that awkward fuzzy stage (especially if you are growing out a buzzcut or shaved head). Before you start the process of growing out your hair, it is important to have an idea of the hairstyle you are ultimately trying to achieve as your barber or stylist will need to trim your hair so that it most effectively grows out to your goal.
For guys growing out a buzzcut or shaved head, in general, you’ll want to keep it trimmed up every two or three weeks. Keep the sides and back faded very tight while the top grows out. Once you have passed the fuzzball stage, you can cut back on the frequency of haircuts. I would certainly recommend growing the top out first so your hair will look balanced once the sides and back grow out to catch up.
2) Eat well. Certain vitamins can help strengthen hair and even make it grow a little bit faster. I would recommend taking vitamin B-7 (biotin). Of course, this will also make your nails grow faster, but that’s an easy tradeoff. Iron, zinc, and vitamin C may also be good to help promote the growth of healthy hair.
Look for a good multi-vitamin that contains all of these (no need to spring for an expensive “hair” vitamin), which will provide benefits other than hair growth. Certain foods such as salmon (loaded with vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids), oysters (high in zinc), eggs (omega-3s and biotin), yellow peppers (vitamin C), and almonds (biotin) can all help your hair grow faster and healthier).
Our lawyers would probably advise me to tell you not to start taking any supplements or change your diet until you have consulted with your physician, so do that.
3) Treat your new growth gently. Certain things like blow-drying with high heat and towel drying can damage hair and cause it to break, so skip the heat styling. It is also important to dry your hair by patting it with a towel (instead of rubbing it as most of us guys do). When hair is wet it is more prone to damage and hairs can become tangled in the fibers of the towel causing them to stretch and break. Aggressive towel drying is one of the most damaging things men do to their hair. For combing and brushing, use a wide-tooth tool which will prevent tugging on the hair.
4) Keep your scalp healthy. Maintaining a healthy scalp is key to healthy looking hair. Wash your hair daily using a gentle shampoo using proper technique. Exfoliate your scalp weekly to remove dead cells and dirt, and massage your scalp on a regular basis to maintain healthy scalp circulation. Massage with fingertips in a circular motion all over the scalp for three or four minutes (place the fingers under the hair to avoid pulling).
5) Be patient. Many guys I have to know who have tried to grow their hair out (especially those accustomed to very short haircuts) often get impatient and decide to cut it off. You will likely go through the stage where your hair may look a little awkward, but just tough it out — your patience will be worth it. Typically, hair grows about one fourth to one-half inch per month, so you can get a rough opinion of how long it will take to reach your goal.
Having a longer hairstyle is good for a few reasons. It gives you more flexibility for styling options and will often give you a younger look Happy growing!