My hair is finally long enough that it all fits in a ponytail (bangs excluded, obviously), but for those of you who’ve known me for a few years, you know it’s been a pretty arduous process getting to this point. For most of my life, my hair has been super short, waffling between a standard pixie cut, short bob, buzz cut, mohawk… but all shorter than chin length. And for an athlete, that tends to be awesome… until you realize that you can never just pull your sweaty hair back, and unless it’s a true pixie cut, it’s in your face, or matted down in a not-overly-flattering way. Don’t get me wrong—I freaking love my hair short. But I wanted to do something bold, something new… something… traditional. So, I started growing it about three years ago. It’s been a process. But I think I’m getting it dialed in.
A few of my tips for ladies in the same boat:
Bangs are your friend
I’m a huge fan of the movie makeover montage, I admit. So when I’m into the idea of a shaking things up, that used to mean a major haircut. Because of that, I needed to find an outlet, and piercing, tattooing and spending a ton on new clothes aren’t options. I’m also not a huge makeup person, to be honest. So, bangs. I’ve gone long, short (currently), sideswept… Anything to make a tiny change, and that’s usually enough to quench the urge for a dramatic cut. At the moment, I’m digging the super short ones that make me feel like I’m still somewhat edgy despite having longer hair.
Avoid the urge to trim (too often)
The biggest mistake I made for the first two years was buying into the idea that I needed trims every few weeks to keep the shape nice. All that did was slow down growth to practically a standstill, and it turns out, you can’t shape for hair growing out (at least, not enough to be super noticeable to 99% of people), so this was a huge waste of time and money.
Embrace the stages
I got really annoyed for the six months my hair would not budge from chin length, and I hated it. But looking back at photos from then, it was fine. So even when you think it’s at the awful in-between stage, it’s probably nowhere near as bad as you think it is.
Rock a hat
I have embraced cycling caps a lot recently (and been psyched that I could wear a winter hat and actually have some hair poking out the side!). Hats definitely helped me through the dark days of hating my hair.
Maintenance is key
Unlike a buzz cut, long(er) hair does require some work. Last trim I got, I was told that my hair was super dry and getting damaged from over-washing it, which I didn’t realize was a thing. I’ve only ever had short hair that I did literally NOTHING to. So the whole washing-conditioning-but-only-on-the-right-days has taken getting used to. And I didn’t realize how much water quality messes with my hair.
Wait it out
It will be frustrating. It will annoy the crap out of you. You will get really, really impatient. But… when your hair is in a ponytail, you will be psyched.
And if all else fails… cut it off
I’m sure I’ll go back to a pixie cut eventually—to be honest, I actually wish I could just for our wedding, and then switch back to current levels! Right now, I’m psyched that I can do stuff with my hair, but to be honest, nothing beat the simplicity of this:
And I’ve heard that it does, in fact, grow back.