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10 Rules for Growing and Maintaining Long Hair

When it comes to growing long hair, it looks its best with soft natural layers - looking as it would if you started from scratch with a one grade all over and just let it all grow out. When grown this way, long hairstyles adhere to our head shapes and hairlines, best complementing our natural features. For this feature we spoke to Alex Glover, the Master Barber at Murdock London to gain his expert insights.

1. Mop-top 

The best method to grow your hair out whilst maintaining a natural look is with a round layer. As soon as you decide you want a longer hairstyle, begin by asking your barber for this with a crop at 3-6 cm, leaving more of a mop-top finish (see old images of the Beatles as they morphed from clean cut boys into hippies for reference).

Alex Glover
Alex Glover

2. Chewed finish 

Ok, so hair fringes have the potential to look great on men but I believe they’re best worn with a bold, blunt and chewed finish. 

3. Leave it lone  

Often along the growing journey men will fall for short back and sides cuts in order to achieve some degree of a style whilst still trying to grow their hair out to a desired longer length. These temporary looks tend to graduate in at the edges or have harsh corners, which means that the layers do not grow out as befitting as they would naturally. Avoid trying to craft a style mid-way through the growth phase, as you will often find yourself left with unwanted corners of weight that tend to form wing-like shapes or a dreaded big mushroom effect.

4. Tidy-up 

if required Whilst avoiding visiting your barber for a drastic mid-growth re-style, broken ends (the man's version of split ends if you like) can lead to splitting all the way down to the root if not treated correctly, so do consider a subtle tidy-up trim to help keep your hair as healthy as possible as it grows.  

5. Shampoo & Conditioner 

The longer your hair gets, the more susceptible it is to look limp and lifeless, so a good quality Shampoo and Conditioner should not be avoided. Always use both (if your hair is dirty) or stick to just conditioner (if you washed it yesterday). For longer curls, invest in a deeply moisturising product or specific curl activating hair care.

6. Layering 

If your hair is particularly thick, a heavier layer is required - this layer is cut nearest to vertical - enabling the layers to stack on top of each other over a short area. This prevents strange looking, unmanageable build-ups of weight. These heavy layers then need texturising deeply to soften out the baseline of the haircut (where the layers end on your shoulders), otherwise it can look a bit feminine from behind. 

7. Sea Salt Spray 

When it comes to styling finer hair, Sea Salt Spray will soon become your favourite go-to product. It helps to make fine hair appear thicker and prevent your style from immediately falling flat once you step out the house. You can trust it to help maintain your shape over the course of the day.

Dougie Poynter
Dougie Poynter

8. Application & Process 

All hair types can however benefit from using Sea Salt Spray to add texture, blow-drying it in to wet hair before styling to give a boost to the body. Alternatively apply to dry hair to better increase volume and create a matte effect. Depending on your style, you may also wish to work the spray in by hand to design your own natural wave and create a textured body 

9. Complimentary Products 

With Sea Salt Spray providing a great foundation for your style, the best finishing products to use on long hair are crème waxes (such as Murdock Hair Play) which help to control frizzing and provide a soft, lightweight texture and a natural shine. They also add further weight which can help to keep your style tucked back. Don’t be afraid to be fairly heavy-handed over the sides and stay looser on the top to create more of a wave effect.

Ben Dahlhaus
Ben Dahlhaus

10. Brush it 

Remember to regularly brush or comb your hair to help maintain a voluminous natural shape. At home it's best to use a brush because they work well to smooth out hair cuticles and they don't pull on hair as much as combs. When you're out and about however, a longer haired gent's best friend can be the Kent comb he keeps in his top pocket.

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