How to Grow Out Your Hair: 6 Tips for Men

Dr. Patrick Carroll, MD
Medically reviewed by Patrick Carroll, MD Written by Our Editorial Team Last updated 2/24/2020

Ever want to grow out your hair but you never had the nerve to go through with it? Just a few short years ago, epic beards and/or longer hair styles were still a bit taboo. 

These days, not so much. Long hair and long beards are as popular as they’ve ever been. And now that more people are receptive to them, you’re less likely to be judged for having either. What a time to be a man!

How to Grow Out Your Hair and Look Good Doing It

If you’ve been thinking about growing your hair out, there’s no better time than now to start. You’d be surprised how easy it is to pull off the long hair look.

Here are some things you need to know before you get started growing out that lion’s mane.

1. Shape your hair up

You could just let your hair start growing on its own without any styling whatsoever, but it’s probably not going to look nice. Imagine how you’re going to look if your hair grows faster on the back and sides of your head instead of the top. That would mean that you’re wearing a mullet. If that’s what you’re going for, by all means… Party on! But if not, it’s something you should be aware of.

So, how do you stop yourself from growing out the ultimate ‘80s mullet? Try keeping your back and sides a little shorter than your top — just for a little bit. Once your hair on top has gained some length, you can stop having your hair trimmed and let nature take its course.

2. Get used to some friendly banter

Your parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles and pretty much anyone else that’s a decade older than you will probably tease you a little bit for your long hair. Don’t take it personally. They come from a time where it wasn’t as acceptable for men to grow out their hair.

3. Be gentle with your hair

You know what long hair’s worst enemy is? Your rough behavior. Constantly brushing and rubbing your hair, as well as drying it roughly with a towel, will weaken your hair over time and cause strands to break away and splinter.

Also, if you’re going to pull your hair back, use proper hair ties only. Tying your hair with something like a rubber band is a recipe for disaster — your hair will break.

4. Think twice about those high-tension hairstyles

Are you growing your hair out so that you can wear braids, dreadlocks or a man bun? You might want to reconsider because hairstyles that pull your hair can cause baldness over time. It’s called traction alopecia, and it can cause irreversible damage to your hair follicles.

The best way to prevent traction alopecia from affecting you is to stay away from high-tension hairstyles. But if you’re set on wearing your hair in a certain way that pulls it back, wear it as loose as possible. If styling your hair hurts, then you’re creating too much tension and your hairstyle could cause hair loss. If you are already thinning, check out our guide to best men's hairstyles for thinning hair.

5. Shampoo your hair but don't forget conditioner

Shampooing your hair is obviously a good idea. It keeps your hair grease free, can get rid of sebum build up and keeps you smelling fresh. However, when used too frequently, shampoo can cause your hair to dry out and become damaged.

How often you shampoo your hair really all depends on your hair type and sebum production. Everybody is different. 

However, the general rule is this: If your hair is more on the oily end of the spectrum, you may consider washing it daily or every other day. If your hair is on the dryer and finer end of the spectrum, consider washing it only a couple times a week.

Only wash your hair when you feel you need to.

Consider using a good conditioner as well. Not only will conditioner give your hair a radiant glow and a silky smooth texture, it’s also filled with valuable nutrients needed to maintain strong hair and a healthy scalp.

6. Always keep a hair tie handy

Once your hair becomes officially long, it also requires a little more effort. Unless you enjoy brushing your hair away from your eyes every time you turn your head, you’ll want to be able to pull it back for those times when you’ve had enough with your hair. 

You can use a headband if you want (think professional soccer player) or you can tie it back with an elastic hair tie. 

Just remember not to pull your hair too tight!

Let it Grow

Now that you know a little bit about how to grow your hair out, you’re ready to give it a try. Virtually any guy can pull off the long hair look provided they stay away from two no-nos: the mullet and the moussed-up ‘80s rock star.

This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. The information contained herein is not a substitute for and should never be relied upon for professional medical advice. Always talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of any treatment.