Growing Your Hair Out

Long over the face hair with bangs
Photo: Istockphoto
My experience with short hair came very suddenly when I was around eight years old. Before then, I had very long, thick, and wavy hair that my mom insisted on brushing every day. I would sit facing the toilet tank so I could hold onto it.
I know this sounds a little crazy, but without holding on for dear life, I would have ended up on the floor. I swear my mom secretly lifted weights and worked out just so she could get my ponytails and French braids nice and tight. And, as you can imagine from an eight-year-old, the screams ensued.
On one particularly noisy morning, I was warned that if I screamed one more time, we would go to the salon to get my hair cut off. Just as soon as my mom finished speaking, I screamed. So, off we went to the salon, and I came home with chin-length hair. From there, it just got shorter and shorter.
Since that day twenty or so years ago, I have been officially growing my hair out. The longest it has gotten is about shoulder length, and the shortest is about 1 ½ inches all over with razor lines cut into designs across the back. Hey, it was the 1980s! I can honestly say that I have a considerable amount of experience in growing out hair. Take it from me; it is not easy.
Sure, growing hair in general is easy. On average, it grows about half an inch per month. Nutrition and health play a great role in how quickly or slowly your hair grows. If you are fortunate enough to be taking prenatal vitamins, be aware that your hair and nails will grow faster than you may be prepared for. When I was pregnant, I had my hair cut at least every four weeks just to maintain some sort of hairstyle. If you have very poor nutrition, your hair may still grow, but it may be much weaker than normal, healthy hair, possibly breaking off very easily.
Average hair growth per month
We have already determined that proper nutrition is important when growing out one's hair. The second step is patience - lots and lots of patience. This is the step that has caused me to return to the salon time and time again. As soon as my hair reaches an unflattering length, I get it trimmed. How do you manage to get through this ugly stage? Firstly, set yourself a goal, not just a final goal but also smaller, intermediate goals. If your mind is set only on having those long, wavy, flowing styles, you may lose your way when things start getting tough.
Just as a baby goes through many physical milestones before they take their first wobbly steps, your hairstyle will also have to reach several milestones. Go to the grocery store or the nearest newsstand and pick up a couple of hair magazines. Find several styles that will look good with your hair texture and face shape. Choose one that is about two inches longer than your current style, and take the picture with you the next time you visit your stylist. Even if your hair is not yet that length, your stylist can give you a cut that can gracefully grow into your desired style. Keep doing that each time you reach your goal length, and before long, you'll be there.
Now, just because you are trying to make your hair longer does not mean you should no longer get it cut until it is flowing to your waist. Regular trims are key. Without them, styles can quickly become overgrown and out of control. Maintain a style and you will at least look good between your pixie cut and your vixen look. Be sure to get a style with a lot of texture. That way, if it starts to get a little shaggy, you won't look like a Shih Tzu dog that hasn't been groomed for two months.
Don't expect those long locks to be flowing immediately after you declare your intentions to grow, unless you have the money to pay for extensions! It takes time, a lot of time and patience. Eat healthily, trim regularly, and grow your hair.
Short hair can be beautiful, but it is not for everyone. If you realize on your way home from the salon that you are not Halle Berry, have no fear - let it grow, let it grow, let it grow!
See also: Pictures of long hairstyles