Growing out a pixie cut can be an awkward affair. Luckily, we have some expert guidance (courtesy of Wes Sharpton, the resident stylist at Hairstory, a salon in New York) to help take us from short to long with ease.
How to Grow Out a Pixie (Gracefully)
Set incremental goals
"Instead of visualizing the end game (i.e., long hair), try thinking about what looks you can create along the way to make the process more manageable—and enjoyable," advises Sharpton. For example, you can go from a pixie to a longer pixie (like Emilia here) to a graduated bob to a bob, then a lob and eventually long hair.
Don’t be afraid of getting cuts
"It’s all about the placement of the cut," says Sharpton. For instance, you may not want to take any length off of the top when you’re first growing out your hair, but you should trim the sides and back shorter (to avoid looking like a mushroom); once the top gets a bit longer you can start evening things out everywhere else. On that note...
Stay vigilant with the back
Though hair in the back doesn’t technically grow faster, "it appears that way because the back has a shorter distance to travel before it appears long," explains Sharpton. As you are waiting for the sides and top to come in, keep the hair along the nape of your neck shorter, so it matches up with the rest of your length. (This will also keep you from reaching the dreaded mullet phase that’s common when growing out a pixie.)
Add texture all over
When you’re between a pixie and a bob the awkward part starts. "Things aren’t quite matching up. There are longer bits on top that don’t yet match the length of the sides. It’s not particularly fun...unless you play with the texture of your hair," says Sharpton. Try a sea salt spray or use a curling iron to disguise any disparities in length. "You can also take this time to explore something outside of your norm, like a slicked-back look." To try this style at home, apply a balm to damp hair and comb it through to set strands in place.
At a certain point, the sides tend to get a bit puffy and the top gets just long enough that it begins to fall flat. Fret not, friends. According to Wes, "bobby pins are great tools to keep the sides tucked and tight until everything feels more proportional." (We’re stockpiling these chic pearl pins, FYI.)
"I don’t have any recommendations for a miracle pill that makes your hair grow super-fast. However, there are some things you can do that are really great for encouraging growth," says Sharpton. For starters, massage your scalp regularly with a firm-bristled brush while you’re in the shower. "Not only does it feel really good and is good for you, but maybe you won’t be so stressed out about growing your hair." Touché, Wes (but point taken).
Curb the urge to over cut
Final advice: When you get impatient and feel the urge to just chop everything off again (we’ve all been there), take a beat and combat this temptation by playing with the different styles mentioned above. "Growing out a haircut can make you feel like you’re not in control, but when you find what works for you during these phases, it puts you back in the driver’s seat, which will help you through this journey," says Sharpton. Now if you need us, we’ll be in the shower, massaging our scalp.