An Argument for Long Hair on Guys

the argument for long hair while you're young

By Gabi Meyers | Last Updated: Feb 19 2019

Before you go cray in the comments over my love of lads in long locks, hear me out. And please know that Megan was totally skeptical of it and it was all my idea.

My mom claims to have married my father for his hair: a full, luscious ‘fro (in the lead! below) back in the day (less so, now). My brother was lucky enough to inherit the same head of hair, and I’m constantly imploring him to grow it long.

first place flow

At a primal, subconscious level, “good” hair is a sign of good genetic material, which is attractive to potential mates even in our post-wooly mammoth winter jackets era. And there’s no better way to show off those thick, luscious locks than by growing your hair out into a longer style. Even thin hair, when worn long, can give off the appearance of a full(ish) head of hair.

So, why am I speaking to the younger fellas today? Because while you’re still in school, you don’t really have any rules about your appearance. You don’t have to conform to your parents’ haircut allowance, your school’s dress code,  your employer (for most college jobs), your spouse, or your small town that banned rock music and dancing  only has a barber who knows one hairstyle for men – short.

If you’re going to wear long hair in college or beyond, here’s how to do it right:

College is the time for experimentation – you’re in a new place with new people who don’t know that the new you is any different than the old you. Do you even really have an old you yet, at this point?

You’re accumulating new life experiences at an insane speed. You can’t possibly know who you are and who you’re going to be  – and you can’t really know that until you’ve exposed yourself to every possible variation of you.

For example, I was Student Hall Residence Association (short bob) me freshman year, Study Abroad in Athens (blonde hair) me sophomore year, “involved” in clubs AND relationships (Skrillex hair [I KNOW – but I was actually inspired by Alice Dellal so it’s more okay..right?]) me junior year, sushi delivery girl (AND OG INTERN for SG) (bangs) me senior year.

Long hair you is just one of many of the “me’s” that you need to meet – alongside the debate-clubbing, spelunking, and brewing-your-own-beer iterations of yourself you may eventually go through.

And seriously, not since the 60s has long hair had such a men’s renaissance (mensaissance?). Think of all the long-locked celebrities women are totally crushing on these days.

Let it Flow

Flow – the slang term for long hair on guys and the palpable “chill” coolness they radiate with said hair – is what we’re trying to achieve. The term originated from sports (either lacrosse or hockey) so you know that long hair on guys is just as cool to guys as it is to girls. If you were thinking that by long hair I meant the kind you see on metalheads, you can breathe an audible sigh of relief – the middle section of a Venn Diagram between flow and metal hair would only read “past the ears.”

So then, what about length? How long is long enough? How long is too long? Unclear. Long for guys is not the same as long for girls. Herein, some rules:

Guys’ hair shan’t be longer than thy shoulders.

Actual overflow PSA – it can happen to hot celebs, so it can definitely happen to you.

Any longer and it will start to look straggly from dead ends. Trust – I have had long hair for most of my life. Once it gets to your shoulders, you’ll probably already be throwing it up in a ponytail (or a man bun – which is controversial but, personally, I LOVE), which I always take as a sign that it’s time for a trim.

“Throw it up throw it up // watch it all fall out” is def about your hair

You still have to “do” your hair.

Free flowing locks are good, but left to their own devices things can get weird. You will have to style it, but you should have been styling your hair when it was short so that’s a non-issue. With long hair, you want to achieve some level of #Iwokeuplikethis without looking like you hit snooze on that alarm in the 90’s. Serums are great if you need to pull it back to make it look sleek for a fancy party, or dry shampoo can give it a little texture, body and faux cleanliness if it’s just being limp and unbearable. Don’t middle part it – you don’t want it to look too “defined.”

Long hair needs TLC, too.

As for washing, you should wash it once, every two weeks. No, but seriously, don’t overwash – 2-3 times a week is optimal unless you’re sweating in it everyday. You should absolutely be using conditioner every time you shower, and by that I mean a separate conditioner, not a 2-in-1. Every once in a while you can also give yourself a beer hair mask, because why wouldn’t you want to do that?

Hanson is clearly unimpressed with their own flow

Love it, don’t leave it.

So enjoy this short time of true freedom, boys. Freedom from your parents, from corporate social responsibility, from typical societal standards like wearing real pants – by letting your mane flow free (to a stylish point). You can get it cut when you want to join the real world, but until then…


If you’ve been considering a longer ‘do, follow these simple rules as you graduate from the barber shop to the hair salon.

What to know when you want to grow your hair out:


As dumb as you may feel doing it, bring a picture of a celeb whose haircut you like. A good hairstylist will be able to tell you how you’ll look with that kind of cut.


One hairstyle does not fit all. Different face shapes work best with different styles. The most common face shapes, and the lengths and styles best suited to them are as follows:

  • Square.  A face that’s as wide as it is long. Think Arnold Schwarzenegger. To round off the squareness at the top of the head, follow a ratio of an inch on the sides, for every two to two-and-a-half inches on top. Think faux-hawk, not flattop.
  • Oval.  Congrats, with your symmetric face, boasting a jaw and forehead that are roughly equal in width, you can get away with most hairstyles. Try a pompadour that squares off, leveling the sides with the top (like new Spiderman Andrew Garfield).
  • Round.  Elongate a round face with more height at the crown of your head. A blocky shape up top will help to offset a baby face. An off-center part will also break up the roundness of your face.


Facial hair should be used like a garnish, complementing – but not distracting from – your style. A friend of mine totally rocks the Biebs’ sideswept haircut, but he tempers the look with a bushy beard that’s more “professor of Comparative Literature at a small liberal arts college” than pop star.

And finally…


If your hair is short right now, you’ll have to endure an inevitable awkward phase before it reaches the length you want. You may even need a few haircuts along the way to keep everything shaped up. It’s all part of the process. Just remember, pain is beauty.




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