Any bloke with hair can grow it long and show it off. But those guys who put in the right research, and who invest in their hair care and styling regimen, will outshine the rest. Their long hair will sit better, look healthy, tangle less, cooperate more, and will truly be a hair style, rather than a lazily earned protein nest atop the head.
If you plan to grow out your hair, or if your long hair is in need of some extra attention, then here are the essential products, the best care and styling regimen, and some maintenance tips for the process.
Although you’re going to shampoo just 1 to 2 times weekly with long hair, you still need to invest in one that doesn’t strip your hair of its natural moisture. Look for shampoos that promise to be both hydrating and conditioning, but never pick one that is a 2-in-1 shampoo/conditioner. You need to save that second step for its own powers to work. (Read on.) Alternatively, if you suffer from dandruff or itchy scalp, it’s important to prioritize that with a shampoo, especially considering the number of other products you may be applying.
As for ultra-nourishing shampoos, we like Davines’. It soothes dry, damaged hair (which is often the case for long, aged hair), and it also soothes the scalp.
Nourishing Shampoo by Davines $30
While you should only wash your long hair 1 to 2 times per week, you should absolutely be conditioning it daily. There is no harm in doing this — quite the opposite, in fact. Now, more than ever, you need to prioritize the long-term health and ongoing strength of your hair. So, fortify it daily with a soothing, softening conditioner when you shower.
We like Modern Mammals’ daily conditioner, which is launching in December 2019 (pre-order at that link). They’ve spent a year perfecting their formula, which doubles as a shampoo-free rinse of pollution and grime.
Daily Conditioner by Modern Mammals Learn More: Here
You can use hair oil for a couple different reasons. On the one hand, it helps tame flyaways and keeps hair from frizzing. Better yet, it nourishes dry strands—especially the ends of the hairs, preventing them from splitting—and restores a healthy shine to the hair. (Worry not, a couple drops won’t make your hair look greasy.)
We like Aesop hair oil. Yes, it’s called “Shine,” but you’ll only shine as much as you want. More importantly, it nourishes and defines the hair thanks to ingredients like jojoba, borage seed, and petitgrain.
Shine by Aesop $33
On the non-shampoo mornings, you may notice that some excess sebum has gathered on your scalp, and that your hair isn’t as lively as you’d like. Resist the urge to shampoo, which can dry out all of your hair, and instead target the scalp with some dry shampoo spray. It’ll soak up the excess grime, seemingly disappearing it into thin air, and will give life and volume back to your hair. Use this on rinsed, dry hair, however, as it can clump up if your hair is wet or covered in product.
We like R+Co dry shampoo, since it’s packed with vitamins and proteins to enrich the hair while it soaks up gunk.
Death Valley Dry Shampoo by R+Co $18
Get an ionic hairdryer, which helps dry the hair faster, while also minimizing damage. (Typically, faster means higher temps and more damage to the hair; ionic makes your life easier in both senses.) A blow dry will reinforce any product you apply in the morning, and help maintain control over your style throughout the day. It can also give your hair a little extra volume, too, and an ionic one will do so without overdrying and poofing.
We like Conair’s ionic dryer, which also won’t break the bank.
1875 Watt Full Size Pro Hair Dryer by Conair $19
Your longer hair will often style itself, thanks to gravity and a good texturing from your stylist. However, you’ll still want to apply a dime- or nickel-sized amount of styling cream to it on the daily, to keep control over it. This will prevent any wind sweeping, frizzing, tangling, and the likes. Most people won’t even realize you’re wearing anything. But trust us—you will notice, and you’ll be so relieved for the difference it makes.
We like Oribe’s styling cream. (Or shall we say ‘crème’?) It gives you the control you need without locking your hairs into place. You can run your hands—or those of another — through your hair without compromise.
Crème by Oribe $42
A texturizing spray, often boasting minerals or sea salts, will give your long hair more definition and body. You can apply it last in any styling regimen, then tousle everything for just the right kind of unaffected surfer-caliber finish. It’s especially good for giving you definition at the middle and ends of the hair, whereas the dry shampoo and creams often work better atop the head. (Though you can and should apply and comb cream or oil throughout the strands.)
We like Fellow Barber’s mineral spray. It combines algae and sea salt for a nourishing and texturizing finish, with definition, texture, and light hold on the menu.
Mineral Spray by Fellow $28
Once or twice a week (perhaps on the nights you wash), you can follow your shower with a leave-in conditioner, often called a leave-in mask. You apply it to towel-dried (damp) hair, and typically can leave it in—hence the name. However, some hair masks are designed to be rinsed out after 10 to 20 minutes, so please read the instructions carefully. These products seep deep into the cuticle of your hair to strengthen and soften it, restoring dry, damaged hair to a healthy state—or preventing healthy hair from losing its luster.
We like Sachuajuan’s leave-in conditioner since it works well both morning and night—as the last step before bed or the first step before styling.
Leave in Conditioner by Sachuajuan $28
This will help you distribute product, tame flyaways and coach hair into place as you style in the morning. You can always tousle the hair once it’s styled if you need to hide comb-tooth tracks.
We like Byrd’s pocket comb. It’s sturdy plastic so it won’t snap, but soft as well when it comes to combing your precious hairs.
Pocket Comb by Byrd $10
Before bed each night, it’s wise to brush your freshly rinsed (or washed) hair. This helps distribute the natural oils in the hair all the way to the ends so that you avoid splitting and fraying. On the days you wash, when there aren’t as many natural oils in play, you can add a couple drops of hair oil, and instead comb those into place. Do this before bed each night, and you’ll notice an enormous difference in the strength and quality of your hair, and quickly.
We like Verb’s brush because it’s also ventilated, which means you can use your hairbrush while you blow dry, since it allows air to pass through its backside.
Blow Dry Brush by Verb $18
Here’s the best way — and frequency — to utilize the above products.
- Shampoo once or twice weekly.
- Condition daily. Always after shampooing, or on its own. Never use it together with shampoo, nor before.
- On the days you shampoo, follow it with a leave-in conditioner (in the morning, or before bed). Often this can replace your in-shower conditioner for the day if your shampoo itself is nourishing.
- On the days you don’t shampoo, or the mornings after, use dry shampoo to soak up excess oil.
- Apply a dime or nickel or styling cream to clean, towel-dried hair in the morning.
- Comb it through, then blow dry.
- Add a couple drops of hair oil for added luster or shine, as needed, or to the ends of the hair to control flyaways.
- On days when you don’t need as much product or regimen, try applying a few drops of hair oil through rinsed, dried strands for just enough control over flyaways.
- Finish your style with a spritz of texturizing spray in the ends and side of the hair—or at the roots if you want added lift there. Run fingers through hair for a more natural finish.
- Brush rinsed, towel-dried (damp) hair nightly, to detangle and evenly distribute scalp oils. Add a couple drops of hair oil to the middle section and ends, to help nurture the parts of your hair that aren’t close to the oily scalp.
Maintaining long hair is much simpler when you focus on a thorough daily and weekly regimen as outlined above. The main things to mind are to avoid excessive exposure to harsh chemicals (like chlorine), as well as harsh sunlight (UV damage affects hair quality, too).
Visit your stylist every 8 to 10 weeks to clean up the ends and texturize the hair throughout your head—this is especially important as it grows out, to avoid awkward in-between stages. Don’t strain about whether or not it negates the “growing out” process. They’re simply layering and texturizing it so it looks healthier and grows evenly.
Be mindful of additional stress on the hair, like with hair ties and hats. This can either pull the hair too taut and cause it to fall out permanently, or it can lead to breakage and fraying at the site of the strain.