Ask Laia: How Do I Grow My Hair Out Without Losing My Mind?

It takes some discipline and a bunch of hair accoutrements.

Hello, Laia!

Here is my emergency: I am trying to grow my hair out from very short, like 1-inch short, to less short. Like a very short and curly version of a Christopher Robin–y haircut? Something like that.

I am currently in the throes of the awkwardest of awkward grow-out stages. Here is me right now:

I am coming to you because I know you used to look like this:

and now you look like this!

How did you get from point A to point B without losing your mind? Are there secret hairbows and clips and things that I need to purchase to get me through this trying time? I swear I'm about to cut it all off again.

I thank you in advance for your time and your infinite wisdom.


Thanks for writing in, Anaheed! This is indeed a trying time in any woman's life, when they decide to leave the cropped hair that has made their life so easy for the fuller pastures of long hair.

1. Commit yourself to your new length. Listen, there will be SO many times when you'll be all "I'VE HAD IT UP TO HERE!" But you have to stay focused and whatever you do, don't go near scissors or a salon. While you are in that neck-to-shoulder-time (or NTST) there will be many times that you will see someone rocking a perfect pixie cut. It will make you jealous. You will think to yourself, why am I giving this up? But you must stay strong, there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

2. Inspiration images help. Find pics in magazines or on the internet of the hairdo you eventually wish to have. Look at it every time you start getting too antsy. I'd been cutting my hair short in the summer for about four years before I decided that I wanted long locks because a. I thought they'd make me look more womanly (haha!) and b. because I wanted to have long hair that I could style into the perfect side ponytail like the models in Alexander Wang's Spring '09 collection, so every time I was at my breaking point, I thought of my awesome future braid and everything was fine again.

3. Accessories are important. During the first half of the neck-to-shoulders time, the best thing to do is to pretend your hair is still really short. This can be achieved with bobby pins, barrettes or even little hair ties, usually I just kinda twisted my hair around into the tiniest french bun at the nape of my neck (also good to hide the inevitable mullet that comes from growing your hair out; personally, I was kinda into the look). Once it starts getting longer, don't run away from the baby ponytail! You might think it looks so crazy, all two inches of hair anxiously sprouting from a fancier rubber band, but it's cute and it'll help you through.

Vintage Liberty of London Scarf $19.95, Etsy

Scarves are also super essential. I wore a scarf pretty much every day during the latter half of the NTST. Just get a regular square scarf that you probably already have lying around or can get at a thrift shop for chump-change, fold it in half into a triangle then keep rolling it 'til you get your desired width. I like scarves better than headbands 'cause you can get really creative and wear it over your hears without looking like a weirdo. So yeah, I tied it sort of over my ears so it would flatten out the little bit of hair I had around my ginormous head and then the little bit that was long hung out from under my ears like it was no big deal. It was all the ILLUSION of longer hair (ok, even though it actually was longer hair). Sometime during this phase, when your hair is longer than it's ever been, but perhaps not quite where you want it to be, you can go to a salon and get a cut that will make the growing out part less awkward, but only then!

4. Think about the weather. The weather will play a huge part on making your life easier throughout this growing process. Winter is the best time to grow it all out because it's cold and you'll be wearing a hat most of the time so you won't have to think about what it looks like on the regs too much. By the time the next summer arrives, you hair will be long enough that you'll be able to manage through the heat and won't feel too tempted to chop it all off again.

I hope this works! I know there are products that you can put on your hair to make it grow faster, but I've never really tried those. I know pre-natal pills are supposed to be good for you, but I don't want to take pre-natal everything because I don't want my body to think for even ONE second that I am in any way trying to have a baby.

And ps. your short hair is totally making ME want to chop mine all off. Ah, guess the grass is always greener...

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