I Started Growing My Hair Long A Year Ago And Here’s What I’ve Learnt

amanda seyfried long hair

Five years ago my hair went from long and brunette to short and blonde and stayed there.

I thoroughly enjoyed being a member of the bob and lob club; they’re such versatile and low-maintenance cuts that pair well with a textured (read: dry as hell) blonde like mine.

The only time my hair has ever looked remotely on the ‘long’ side in recent years is while travelling, and it was always straight to the hairdresser once I could.

But, whether out of circumstance or boredom, a year ago I decided to grow it. And not just grow it, but actually try to nourish and nurture it while I did so, in the hope that it would look as healthy as it did long.

My hair in 2020 and my hair in 2021

Let’s just say prior to this self-imposed ‘challenge’ the care I showed to my hair was… minimal. I’m talking wash, dry, get out of the house.

So it’s safe to say I’ve learnt a lot over the past year and I thought I’d share the best tips of the bunch. 

P.S. If you’re a long-time long hair-haver, please refrain from too many ‘duh’ comments. Like Jon Snow, I knew nothing.

#1 Wash your hair less

There are two main reasons for this. The first is that yes, it’s a bit more time-consuming and energy-draining to wash, dry and style longer hair, so why put yourself through that on the regular? Secondly, I find the lengths of my hair crave the natural oil production from my roots and a longer time is needed for my mane to benefit down low. Now that it’s long it actually looks it’s best on day two and three of my wash cycle instead of freshly washed, so I didn’t find stretching it out too difficult (and with the help of dry shampoo).

Klorane Dry Shampoo with Oat Milk, $16 at Woolworths

Hask Argan Dry Shampoo, $9.99 at Chemist Warehouse

#2 Use a hair-specific towel

This was a game-changer. Not only did a separate hair towel mean I was no longer trying to dry my limbs with a wet rag because my hair got in first, but by making it a microfibre towel, my hair reaps the benefits too. I’m much more careful when it comes to drying now, squeezing the excess moisture out instead of roughly shaking the ends. These towels make it such a more mindful process, and are a lot more gentle too.

Manicare RapidDry Hair Turban 1pk, $15.99 at Priceline

#3 Air-dry when you can

Another thing I’m more mindful of? Heat damage. I would always blow-dry my hair post-shower when it was short, but now that it’s long I try to only use the hairdryer for finishing off. It’s easier in the warmer months, when you can let the breeze on a morning walk do most of the work for you, but I’ve found this has really helped tone down the fried factor of my hair. I also try not to brush it while wet, I’ll smooth in a leave-in treatment on the ends and then leave it be until at least 80 per cent dry.

Redken Acidic Bonding Concentrate Leave-In Treatment, $41 at Adore Beauty

#4 Invest in a good quality hair brush

Speaking of brushing, boy did I never believe in the hype of a good hair brush until I tried one. But damn, if you thought having to yank and pull at your knots was normal, investing in a quality paddle will show you the light. Like I said, I try not to brush it when it’s wet anymore, but I actually now have two brushes depending on whether it’s damp or dry. When it’s damp I use one with spaced out, single nylon bristles and when it’s dry I like to use one with a mix of boar and nylon to keep it smooth and tame.

Dyson Paddle Brush, $49 at dyson.com.au

Mason Pearson Popular Bristle & Nylon Mix, $309 at Adore Beauty

#5 And professional hair products

I am a huge fan of supermarket shampoos. I am that person in the aisle sniffing the Herbal Essences with glee. But with my lengths sticking around for longer, I found the cheap and cheerful formulas just weren’t cutting it. Turns out if you’re going to go to the effort of growing your hair, it needs the extra effort of professional haircare to keep it hydrated, shiny and healthy — otherwise your trims will not be as minor as you want them to be. Making the switch has made a huge difference to the manageability and shine of my hair, keeping it stronger and less prone to breakage so it can grow long without looking dishevelled.

Kérastase Paris Nutritive Bain Satin 1, $44 at Adore Beauty

Kérastase Nutritive Fondant Magistral, $50 at Adore Beauty

#6 Hair oil will be your BFF

Another thing I’ve been missing out on all the years? Hair oil. Where the hell has this magic elixir been all my life?! When my hair was short it was easy to run with the dry, textured look all the time. It was voluminous; it was messy in a good way. But now that it’s long, my ends sorely need extra hydration to look swishy and smooth, and hair oil has become the answer and saviour. I no joke use it every day and don’t know where I’d be without it.

Wella SP Luxe Oil Reconstructive Elixir Hair Oil, $34.95 at ozhairandbeauty.com.au

OUAI Hair Oil, $43 at Sephora

Do you have long hair? What’s your best care tip?

Share your thoughts

Comments 61

  1. When.i had long hair I used Kerastase hair products recommended by my hairdresser. With short hair I can get away with less exxy brands. My wigs love hair oils!! Especially Palmer’s, Hask and Scwarzkoff (excuse spelling!)

  2. I have hip-length hair: microfibre towel? – YES; air drying? – YES; separate brush for damp hair? – YES; hair oil? – YES.

    I’ve got more tips:
    • To add shine, after rinsing, turn off the hot water for a blast of cold water. In winter, I avoid my scalp, but in summer, I do a full-body cold rinse.
    • Once a week, the night before I shampoo, I apply hair mask & sleep with my hair in a plait. Shampoo out in the morning.
    • Silk/satin pillowcases reduce hair breakage & hair is less messy in the morning. I prefer cruelty-free polyester satin to silk.
    • Styling is quicker! Even a damp plait or bun takes less time than blowdrying/heat styling.

    • Misfortune, I do not use silk any more but bought couple of months ago on sale bamboo/plant fiber…satiny sheet pillowcase set. I adore this and changed all my bedding to this fabric. HAs a bit of sheen and is smooth, satiny, non sticky, great for people like me who sweat. Love the feel of them. I do recommend them over poli (poli makes me itchy and heats up) or silk (not as soft and satiny as bamboo/tencel whatever that plant fiber is). There are different quality densities I think (like silk, cotton etc), I just was lucky to buy one so dense and silky online without touching in person.

      • They sound great, Yohanna! I whipped up a whole stack of pillowcases on my sewing machine, so I’ll be stocked for years! I used woven polycotton for the back, so they don’t slip off the bed in the middle of the night. I had that problem with two previous satin pillowcases that I’d bought.

        • Omg , so good Misfortune! Wish I had sewing machine and knew how to use it. Got rid of so much stuff I could’ve reused and made amazing pillowcases and scrunches. And summer mini skirts.

        • Hayley, got them in Myer on 40% off sale plus some big cashback at the time (several months ago. Brand I have is from Australian House & Garden in Turquoise (set came in same satiny slippy fabric tencel bamboo plant fiber pouch). It is thick and find it more durable and better washable than silk. Definitely better feel than cotton.

  3. haha “duh”
    Love your length now, and the colour!
    Yes to all!
    As I highlight (freehand at home by myself…on long hair everything is easy, cutting too) I use from time to time Olaplex3 after lightening to prevent snapping and splitting…having fine strands, they are fragile. This helped a lot, hair is just getting longer (bit too much where it is not practical…er…bathroom with hair down…no)

  4. My hair has just been cut into a long lob (not entirely by choice; got talked into it by my hairdresser & I regret not speaking up more tbh) & I’m dying to get it longer again as I think it’s too short now.

  5. Your hair is looking gorgeous, Sam (though I like it shorter too). I am a bit oil fan as well (can’t beat pure Argan Oil – The Ordinary do a terrific one that is 100% and very reasonably priced – I use it everyday too).

    • Chrystalage: I’ve got Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. My hip-length hair is thinner than it was when I was younger, & it grows so slowly. I’ve experienced less hair fall with Viviscal shampoo (but I don’t use the conditioner).

  6. Have had long hair most of my life. You do need to take care of it. Quality hair products and treatments will make a big difference in how yor hair looks and feels. I also use a silk pillow case.

  7. I don’t use a specific hair towel. I have short hair which I gently squeeze with a towel after washing and it takes no time to dry. I use a Kerastase hair oil a few times a week and use a leave-in conditioning spray after washing my hair.

  8. Your hair looks so shiny now Samantha! I’ve recently had to go shorter after a hairdresser used cheap bleach on my hair and ruined it, I’m now using Redken shampoo and conditioner and religiously using oil and hair masks to improve it.

  9. Wow 😲 Samantha McMeekin your hair looks absolutely fabulous either short or long.

    I don’t wash my hair too much at all at the moment once a week, but with summer coming maybe twice a week.

    Don’t use the hairdryer much anymore prefer to dry it naturally.

    Always use Argan Oil it certainly is my best friend.
    Also have started using Hask Biotin leave in Conditioner.

    Since I have gotten over being very sick and I had lost a lot of weight, thankfully now I am putting weight back on, now sadly 😒 I have been losing my hair have been using Hask biotin shampoo and conditioner products to help.

    Will have to get a short haircut not something I am looking forwards to. Because like you I loved having a bob it was great. Hoping that I can get something stylish for a shorter hairstyle.

  10. Great tips! This time last year I had a short bob which I hated so the past 12 months have been a hair growth journey too. Lockdown helped as I was unable to get trims so I used lots of hair masks, oils and less heating tools. My hair is getting quite long now and it’s the thickest it’s ever been also.

  11. I have long coloured hair so use Opalex products and although exxy a little goes a long way. I also use a microfibre gym towel and a large vented paddle brush to dry quickly. I use a couple of different hair serums to settle fly aways and give shine and wash once a week.
    I enjoy my long hair so will keep it as long as I can 🙂

  12. I have long hair from quite awhile. Long hair means the ends require extra care and nourishment so I apply conditioner in the bath & leave in conditioner after the bath.

  13. I agree with and abide by all the above methods to grow out and keep longer hair in its best condition. I’ll also add to include regular scalp massages and a once a week scrub to increase blood circulation to the roots of your hair ensuring stronger follicles and growth. I also trim the very ends of my hair once every few weeks or so avoid any split ends (which long-term, compromise the entire hair strand).

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