Growing Out Your Hair? Here’s How to Go Long and Skip the Awkward Stage

Rosie Huntington-Whitely long hair,

Long, glorious, beautiful, shiny hair…isn't that every girl's dream at one point or another? We primp and we preen. We comb and brush. We flatten, straighten, dye, highlight, and make sure we know about the latest cuts to hit the red carpet. And we get antsy during growth periods every time we see an ingenue with a new set of bangs or bob. Suddenly, a brand new edgy cut seems like just the thing. It's time to stop the cycle of cut and grow, cut and grow. With a few simple tips to ensure your hair looks amazing through its awkward "medium" stages, you can start on the path to sustainable long hair happiness.

1. Circulate — Here's one you might not have heard before: for hair (and nails, for that matter) to grow at its optimum rate, you need to get the blood flowing and ensure proper circulation. Not only in your scalp, though that's the first place to start, it won't hurt to have it going throughout your entire body. How do you do it? Give yourself a scalp massage every day. Use your fingertips in a circular motion directly on your scalp to increase and help circulation. As for your body, get out and exercise! Moving around keeps the blood flowing.  

2. Eat Right — If you don't know that what you put in your body affects the health of your skin and hair, now you do. Essential fatty acids like Omega-3, Vitamins A, E, and B, as well as iron and zinc promote hair health and growth. You can find these nutrients in a number of foods like fish, nuts and leafy greens. Or you can head to your local drugstore and buy a multi-vitamin to take daily.

3. Treat It Right — There are a number of things you should make sure NOT to do when you're growing out your locks or really, ever. Don't use a brush on knots or wet hair. Always use a wide tooth comb. Try to avoid synthetic bristle brushes. Natural bristles facilitate shine and work your hair's natural oils throughout for allover health and moisture. Don't use heat tools without applying a heat protectant spray or lotion on your hair first. Once per week or once every other week, give your hair a deep conditioning treatment. If you really don't have the time, make sure you pick up a leave-in conditioner at least.

4. Trim It Right — To trim or not to trim? That is the question. Some say you must do this to maintain hair health during grow out periods, some say you should avoid it, and some say it will make your hair grow faster, which is absolutely untrue. The fact is, if your hair isn't prone to split ends, you can go a while without a trim. That goes double if you're following the care steps listed above. But, here's why you might want that trim anyway. The main reason why women give up on growing out their hair is they go through those awkward phases when the layers have grown out and the thickness has set in and they don't know what to do with it. So it gets chopped. A trim can maintain shape, as well as cut down on natural thickness that makes long hair harder to manage. You'll like your hair better while traveling that dusty road to long hair heaven. 

5. Experiment — Another major factor in the premature cut has to do with plain old boredom. Avoid it by experimenting with new styles. When was the last time you did that? Try a braid, a twist, a ponytail, or pick up some headbands and other hair accessories

6. Know It's Okay To be a Dirty Blonde (or Brunette) — Stop washing your hair. No, really, stop it. No matter which shampoo you use, it strips your hair of oil, as it's meant to do. It's the oil that causes your hair to have a greasy look that we call dirty. So naturally taking away the "dirt" means taking away the oil. But some of that oil keeps your hair protected and shining naturally. Of course, you do need to wash your tresses every now and then. Some experts say three times per week is the max, while others say you should only be washing it once a week. That doesn't mean you can't get it wet in between. Just nix the shampoo and condition the ends. It takes some getting used to if you're used to washing daily. But it's worth it.

Rosie Huntington-Whitely,