How to Survive Growing Out Your Hair


How to survive growing out your hair -

Edited to add:  Because this post has been so crazy popular, I paired up with Mane Message to design the cutest hair ties and headbands ever!  Also – check out other hair-related posts here at Pencil Shavings Studio. And! Good news! I’ve survived growing out my hair — see what it looks like now.

Can we all agree that hair is a sensitive topic to our self-esteem? There are so many emotions linked to hair. I have zero doubt that each & every one of you out there can recount stories of hair trauma and I am here today to begin that conversation. After almost 20 years (YES! 20! Two-thirds of my LIFE!) of having short hair, I have been embarking upon the great journey of Growing Out My Hair. For over a year now, I’ve been growing, growing growing, and while I’m not done yet, I’m amazed that I still don’t entirely recognize myself when I look in the mirror. Isn’t that crazy? I don’t even entirely feel like I’ve established my identity with long hair yet either. Heck, my own mother didn’t recognize me from the back at church a few weeks ago!

My worst hair trauma was undoubtedly at the tender age of 15 when I took in a photo of Josie Bisset from Melrose Place (a show I had never even seen) and I exited the salon in tears with a complete & utter boy’s haircut. It was awful. I begged Mom to let me stay home from school for, oh, the rest of my life, but she said I had to go. And so I marched into school with a pit in my stomach and promptly burst into tears. After that, it seemed like too much of a pain to grow it out, so I let it stay in various stages of Short.

So, allow me to present A Brief History of My Hair, followed up by my 7 tips to Surviving the Great Grow Out.


Whew. That was exhausting. Hair therapy right here, folks!

Now. Let’s move on to how to survive the Great Grow-Out.

1. Figure out if growing your hair out is what you really want to do. Are you ready for a long-term commitment? Because that’s what it’s going to be. It isn’t a sprint; it’s a marathon.

2. Find your source of inspiration. Start collecting photos of hair you like. I like to use Pinterest because it’s so easy to organize everything. I also follow a few hairdressers on there for inspiration too.  Start with photos of celebrities whose hair you admire,  then find others you like via hair blogs, fashion magazines, blogs, etc.

3. Make a plan of attack with your hairdresser.  Bring in photos – I bring in my iPad to the salon so we can look at photos together. My stylist is able to easily tell me what will and will not work on my face or hair type.  I like to show her stuff I like, but also stuff I really don’t like.

4. Purchase cute accessories to get you through the growing-out phase. This is the hardest part. There will be days when you want to throw in the towel and brandish the scissors. PUT THE SCISSORS DOWN. Get thee some cute headbands, hair ties, or whatever you need to get you through.  There were weeks where it felt like all I did was wear my hair in a ponytail in different variations. Booooring, but it kept me from cutting my hair.

Edited to add: I’m kind of obsessed with hair accessories, and so I’m happy to announce my collaboration with Mane Message. Check out our Pencil Shavings Studio for MM hair ties and headbands!

(image source)

5. Stop cutting your hair. Simple as that. This only works once you’ve got hair that’s roughly chin-length. Anything shorter will require maintenance trims to  shape it up as you’re growing it out. Otherwise you just look like you live in a cave.  Continue to color your hair as necessary. (image source)

6. Feeling the itch to cut something? Have your stylist cut face-shape-appropriate bangs or face-framing layers to give your growing-out style something different. Getting big heavy fringey bangs was the #1 thing that got me over the hump. I finally felt like I had a style change without sacrificing the length I’d been working so hard to grow.

7. Keep looking back to those hairspiration photos you pinned. Explore creative ways to style your newly-grown locks! (image source)

How about you? Please tell me I’m not the only one with major hair trauma!

with love,

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