Awkward Stage Hair

The Uncomfortable Truth About Awkward Stage Hair

In Advocate, Educate by El Rubio348 Comments

You’re In It

Awkward stage hair. You’ve had enough. You’re cutting it off.

You have awkward stage hair and you’re convinced it looks awful. You feel weird, sloppy, unprofessional, and you don’t know what the hell to do with it. You get comments from people, even your mom, telling you your hair looks bad and well-meaning advice that “you should just cut it honey.”


They mean well, but they don’t understand. They’re thinking short-term, not big picture. You’ve got a date with destiny and you need to look good for it. What they don’t realize is your shoulders are throwing a party and they’re waiting for your hair to arrive.

Yet, with every naysayer and glance in the mirror, doubt creeps in, as slowly as your awkward length hair seems to be growing. You question your resolve, and each day a fresh, clean haircut sounds ever-more enticing.

Well friend, we’re here for you. The inspiration and education you need to power through your awkward stage hair is right here.

“Your shoulders are throwing a party and they’re waiting for your hair to arrive.”Fact

Define Awkward Hair Length

The awkward stage can take many shapes and forms, but the generally accepted definition for awkward length hair is from the point when it starts to look like you need a haircut until the the time you can tie it up.

It starts when you start to look shaggy, not so neat and tidy, a little unkempt. When the first person politely asks when you’re getting a haircut.

It’s over when you can tie up all your hair—front, back and sides—into a high ball or other sick mens long hairstyles.

Mitigate the Awkward Stage with a Longhairs Headwrap
Mitigate the Awkward Stage with a Longhairs Headwrap

Where Longhair Dreams Die

At some point in life you become curious. You ask yourself, “what would I look like with long hair? What if I could do that thing in the water where you whip your hair back, or the slow jog beach exit? What if I could tie it up like that?”

Most guys give it a try somewhere between high school and college. It starts as a novelty, driven by curiosity. Which is all well and good until awkward stage hair arrives, when your last clean cut is a distant memory. It becomes noticeable. Conspicuous. Uncomfortable.


It might be a business meeting, a wedding, or some formal affair where a hat doesn’t fly, and that despicable rag on your head is revealed for all the world to see. You have full-blown awkward stage hair, and you’re a shaggy, dogged-looking scoundrel.

That’s when they start chiming in. Shaking your confidence. Doubt grows strong within you. It’s a crucible moment.

“You effectively conceal it with hats and beanies, but sooner or later you’ll be exposed.”

“That’s it. I’m a dignified man. Enough is enough,” you tell yourself as you slink off to the barber shop. “Long time no see!” your barber greets you, all smiles. You make small talk to drown out the voice on your shoulders screaming don’t do it, until the scissors have done irreversible damage and your promising youthful strands lie shorn and mutilated, dead on the barber shop floor.

It stings for a fleeting moment, but you walk out feeling fresh and clean, looking sharp, and the voice is quieted. “I’ll let it grow out next time, when I don’t have a _____ to attend,” you console yourself, as your longhair dreams are swept into a dust pan and discarded unceremoniously.

But you’re only lying to yourself. And this is why curiosity alone won’t carry most men to the promised land.

Incubate Your Flow with a Longhairs Hard Lid or Soft Lid
Incubate Your Flow with a Longhairs Hard Lid or Soft Lid

Anyone Can Have Short Hair

Most men never make it through awkward stage hair. While short hair is relatively easy, with long hair you’ve gotta pay your dues. It takes time, there is no way around that. You can’t get it overnight. It’s not something you can run out and pick up at the store.

When you want a tattoo, sit through a few hours of pain and you’re done. To get in the beard club it’ll take a few months, but there’s no discernible awkward stage or compelling discomfort. From stubble to full flowing beard you can keep it groomed and looking sharp.

Long hair must be earned. It’s like physical fitness: money cannot buy it, you cannot steal, inherit, or borrow it. It can only be gained through dedication and commitment.


“You effectively conceal it with hats and beanies, but sooner or later you’ll be exposed.”

That’s why when you see another longhair, there are certain things you know about him. You know he’s been through awkward length hair, which demonstrates to some degree he doesn’t care what other people think. You know he was willing to bear the temporary discomfort, and complete the longhair journey.

When You’re Ready to Tie It Up

How Long Must I Suffer With Awkward Length Hair?

There’s a goal on the horizon: when you can tie it up, you’ve arrived. But how long will it take? It depends on where you start, how fast your hair grows, and how you take care of it.

Most people’s hair grows about ½ inch per month. If you figure your hair needs to be at least six inches to tie it up, that’s puts you at a minimum of one year. To be safe, figure it’s going to take at least 18 months to get completely free and clear of awkward stage hair.

A few things you can do to promote faster growth (detailed in Quick Tips): keep it healthy and strong, avoid breakage, and keep yourself in good health. But no matter what you do, it’s a waiting game.

“Money cannot buy it. You cannot steal, inherit, or borrow it. It can only be earned through dedication and commitment.”

Dealing With Awkward Hair Length

The easiest and most obvious method for dealing with awkward hair length is wearing a hat or a beanie. Headbands can also help, especially for working out and playing sports. But as we know, these aren’t always acceptable and can’t be relied upon in more formal settings.


There’s a few things you can try. Parting it can be risky, but worth a shot. You can comb it forward and straight down, but you might look like Lloyd Christmas.

You can slick it straight back, which will require a powerful bonding agent, but using products is a slippery slope with awkward stage hair. It starts to look like you’re trying too hard, like this is actually your intended style, rather than a desperate means to an end.

The safest bet is simply going with a “messy look.” It shows you’re not trying too hard, that this is intentional. It says, “yes, I have awkward length hair, it’s messy as hell and I’m comfortable with that.” And that portrays confidence.

Whatever you try, it’s not a bad idea to brush it, comb it, and keep it tidy. If you’re really looking shaggy you can get it cleaned up around the ears and neck—however be cautious with any foray into a barber shop or salon; your resolve may be tested.

“Turns out longhairs and beardsmen may be in different clubs, but they go to the same bars.”

Not every guy can grow facial hair, but this can help if you’re so endowed. Not only will it take some attention off your awkward stage hair, but it tends to balance the face—in fact we’ve found in our research that a clear majority of longhairs also wear facial hair. Turns out longhairs and beardsmen may be in different clubs, but they go to the same bars.


Another consideration is timing. You might time the worst of your awkward stage hair around a break, holiday, or vacation, where you won’t have business or formal nonsense with expectations for your appearance.


Part of a concrete longhair gameplan is responding to people who boo you. First of all it’s your hair. Also it can be helpful to have a prepared statement.
One such response is, “I’m growing it out to donate it to charity.” This will stop most naysayers in their tracks, but shouldn’t be used cheaply. If you use this to deflect negative comments, you must do so with intent and sincerity.

Beyond that, a confident statement of fact that you’re growing long hair and this is simply part of the journey will serve you well.

Finally, The Men’s Hair Forum has a few more tips you may find useful.

Argan Oil Hair Serum
Grow It Out Smooth and Healthy
Argan Oil Hair Serum


Ultimately, however you mitigate the situation, the truth is you must overcome awkward stage hair. It’s part of the deal, and must be embraced.

It will require resolve, a test of personal character and confidence. You’ll have to say, to some degree, “I don’t care what people think. I don’t care that I look bad, for now. I can deal with it.” And that can be a good thing.

You’re growing it out, and you’re not turning back. You’ve made it this far. And if not now, when?

So be proud. Claim it and rock the shit out of it. Power through the awkward stage with courage and commitment. The Longhairs are waiting for you on the other side.


300+ Comments Can’t Be Wrong


  1. I screwed up. I cut the sides.. the top is ~4″, sides are 12mm. My head looks like a mushroom. I bought some beanies, so that’s my style now I guess.

  2. I’m right at a year of growing my hair and beard out. I stopped getting my hair cut and shaving when I got out of the navy and the awkward length hair has been real. I have to wear a hat at work all day to keep my hair out of my face. But it’s finally long enough that I can get about 80% of it tied up. The sides feel like they’re taking forever to grow. I can’t wait till I can get it all tied up at once. I usually keep as much as I can in a low ponytail and keep that under the brim of my hat, worn backwards. It just feels easier to hide it all under there.

  3. oh wow forgot I commented that… lol… I already cut it… like a month after I made that comment… left about 3/4 in so… now it is about 4 in… so yeah I need to wait a while lol… but now I’m going to keep it till the great cut and try to either travel to Cali(31-hour drive and I don’t feel like flying… but I’m keeping a flight in mind) I’m going to donate 12 inches in ’24… going to leave the rest until the next one and cut 24 inches.

  4. I last had a haircut on May 4, and have been growing out my curly hair since. Unfortunately my family has started repeatedly asking me to get it cut, but I’ll try my best to persevere through this awkward stage. Thanks for the website, I’ve been finding it really interesting!

  5. Guys, why can’t I get hair ties delivered to UK? Got some about 18 months back but recent attempts to buy more are not deliverable to UK.
    Amazon UK have run out of stock too!

      1. Top man! Yes, just saw the message flash up on screen.
        I’ve made six of them last eighteen months! Time to replace.

        1. It’s been 3 month since i decided to give this a shot again. The last time was 28 yrs ago. Being young I did not take comments lightly and image was more important. Now being older negative comments do not really matter and image definitely went out the door. I have been clean shaved and razor shaved head for over 20yrs. So even half a inch of hair on the head or beard looks like a awkward stage. So every strand is roughly 1.5 inches and summer is coming up. Hoo boy this temptation to buzz it off won’t be easy since it is getting real warm. I definitely give long hair a lot of respect nowadays thats for sure.

  6. why tf I didn’t see this website last June…ffs…I had been growing my hair from last march till June and the reason of the cut was because practically my house was going to kick me out for having such bad hair….My barber accidentally cut alllll of it and well the guy made me look like I was in grade 2…Fast forward October, I had a very minor haircut (if you can call such a thing) at September cuz my college was going to start and finally its stating to form in those bangs that fall down aka the sorta wavy at the ned type hair or TikTok hair, I’m hoping to grow till the last semester and let’s see what happens….Thx for the motivation guys

  7. I’m in the awkwardest stage of all… My hair ir not straight nor curly, it’s somnething in between, like wavy… I also have fewer hair than most of the guys. A few months ago I cut the sides and now it looks terrible :'(

    I was thinking seriously about cutting it off, then I found your website. Thanks for the tips, I’d appreciate if you can give me any specific advice for my (really messy) hair.

    1. Author

      Yo Albert, glad to have you here man! Lots of tips throughout the website to explore at your leisure. It’s going to take some time to grow the sides back out, I’m afraid, but hang in there!

    2. im 3 months in my hair growth and its very awkward. should i get my hair cut so it grows into a nice shape or keep growing it and trim it to shape it how i like.

    3. Love the way you talk about getting through the awkward stage. I’m 8 months in starting from a buzz cut. Watching your videos and reading your posts helped me a build a better mindset. In today’s society with so many instant pleasures and fast dopamine hits, to be able to be patient and put up with inconvenience for an extended period of time is a rare attribute which makes achieving goals mean much more. Thank you, for helping me through this stage and realising the best things in life are worth waiting for.

      1. The last buzz cut I had was about three months ago and I agree, the patience required to do this is crazy. I’ve been called all the names in the book from homeless to a mushroom head, long story short they all suck.

    4. Oh my god, we are in the same spot it really sucks, doesn’t it? I truly hate how it looks imma cut mine off on the last day of my eighth-grade class

    5. Same I’ve been growing mine out from buzzed since last November. I have super straight hair but it looks horrible around the ears! I refuse to get it cut though I’m in it for real this time

  8. This is hilarious. My last haircut was early June 2019. I didn’t intend to grow out my hair but I started liking it and thought “what the hell?” Have never had long hair before and it’s working for me. It’s about shoulder length now but not quite to the point of putting it in a tail. it’s in my face a lot and thinking about getting it cleaned up around the sides. Anyway, love the post. Been going through the same thought process as the above.

  9. I’ve finally got hair on the top of my head to chin length, now I’m growing out the sides, but I never can make it past an inch length for the back of my head, it just bothers me to much when I’m trying to sleep, same goes for trying to sleep on my side. It’s not long enough to try tying up so I don’t know what to do, I can’t stand the feeling on my neck.

  10. Read this sitting in the barber shop.
    My barber closed his shop now.

    1. Author

      Lol. Hopefully of his/her own accord and not a government mandate.

  11. The big thing I remember about the ‘awkward stage’ was having this personal goal of being able to get the tips of my growing hair into my mouth. But then you reach that goal and you never try it again, because after that, it’s always in your mouth!

  12. Longhairs Ive been growing my beard and mustache for 8 months im a trucker from NY you’ve inspired me to grow my hair out I have a short under cut/comb over I wanna grow my hair out again for 4 yrs and join you at the great cut 2024 its going to be a real test of fortitude for me as I haven’t had long hair since high school

    1. LET’S GO JOE! It’s going to be an amazing journey and we’ll freaking have the biggest celebration at The Great Cut 2024 EVER!

      1. thank you for these tips. I was wondering if you had any more specific for really straight hair trying to grow long. I tried leaving it all grow at once but it turned into a mullet trying to disguise itself as a helmet.

        Now I’m trying growing the top out first. I’m already at chin length but whenever I try to grow the sides they just grow straight out and I look horrible. Anything in particular I can use or shall I just have to ride it out?

  13. I’m a chick who decided to grow out my mohawk today because I am tired of the upkeep. I cut the back to where it is one length across and am brushing the hawk down all over my head and I look like an awkward teen skater boy right now hahaha! This article actually helped me out so much and I am going to use bandanas and headbands to help hide the awkwardness for a bit. Really didn’t want to shave it all off again and start over as the hawk isn’t super short so hopefully by the end of the year it won’t look as weird. Aiming for long hair. Thank you again!

    1. Author

      Hell yeah Melanie, glad to have you here! Send us pictures of the hawk, it sounds dope! Hope you got a coupon for your first purchase by signing up for our email list. Keep lettin it ride! PS: melaniegrooms…are you a hair professional? Check out our next charity hair cutting event, The Great Cut 2024. Would love to have you there!

  14. Hey guys, I quarantine-buzzed my hair back in mid-March and then have been letting it grow ever since. It’s now at that awkward stage where it looks like a helmet; the sides are round and puffy and my head looks wide and weird because my hair grows stiff and wants to go out, not down. Any advice for flattening the sides down without making it clumpy/tacky?

  15. Hey, i’ve been growing my hair out (from a buzz cut) since november, it’s gotten quite long but I wanted to know how I could make the “wings” come in on the sides. As well as have a flowy look at the back. Do you have any tips?

  16. Hi, I’m 21 and at that stage of 1 year of grow and i can’t find shampoo or anything in my city and i can’t order from you because I’m from South Africa

    What order tips can I use to maintain my hair and that hair products should I look for?


    1. Author

      Yo CVZ! Glad to have you here mate.

      First, we hope to be able to ship to South Africa in the future. Check out our shampoo & conditioner review for men, you may find some good products that might ship to South Africa.

      As for tips, you are in the right place! Make sure to subscribe to our email list and you will get all our best content.

      Keep lettin it ride amigo!

  17. I’m 67 years old and I have been growing my hair out since I retired 2 years ago. At first I was attracted to the fact that I could grow my hair to any length I wanted after being told my entire life to cut my hair, look professional etc… Then I learned about the Longhairs & their dedication to extremely worthy charities and it all came together for me. Grow my hair long then donate it to a needy child. Can’t get any better than that. Relative to the “awkward” stage or “looking professional” for your job, I would suggest you set a goal of donating your hair to one of the extremely worthy Longhair charities and let it be known to your friends and coworkers what you intend to do. Cut your hair every 2 or so years, donate it, and I think you will be surprised how people will accept and even admire what you are doing. To all us longhairs, we have a gift not everyone has. Let’s use it to improve someone else’s quality of life.

    1. Author

      Stephen! Happy to have you here and could not have said it better ourselves. Great suggestion as well. Appreciate your comment and the positivity!

  18. Hey guys. I’m so glad I found this website. I’ve been growing my hair out for about 2 years now. Everything has been going well, except for the fact that the sides want to curl towards my face. They haven’t quite reached my shoulders yet, but I’ve been trying everything from headhands to man buns to make my hair look presentable. I was just wondering if there is something I could or should be doing or just continue to grow it out and hopefully with length it will correct itself. Thanks

  19. Hello! I have start growing my hair for 7 months now and am right in the middle (hope it is not the beginning) of the “Curly-awkward” stage. The hard part for me is working in a bank (I got some comments :3) and there is littleraly no man with long hair on my campus :/
    I discover your website randomly and this post is a real pleasure to read, thank you for giving me some moral boost!

  20. I’ve been growing my hair for the past 5 months and it has reached halfway past my nose; but I’m getting a feeling that it has stopped growing because it’s been that long for a while now. Is this natural or has my goal become impossible to achieve??

    1. Author

      “A watched pot never boils”

      It probably seems to be growing painfully slow at this point, but in all likelihood it’s growing at the same rate.

      To make sure, measure it precisely today and again one month from now. If you really want to be positive, use a sharpe to mark the exact spot on your face.

  21. I’ve been growing my hair out for almost 2 years and my hair is way longer in the back than the sides what should I tell my stylist when go in for a trim?

  22. Longhaired brethren —

    I’m desperate for some positive reinforcement on my wild decision to grow my hair. What started as a missed haircut because I got too busy has turned into 4 months of solid growth but I’m starting to really doubt myself. Picked up some scissors today and almost lost myself. I’m 31, work in a professional setting, so I can’t just have a wild mop on my head, have a big ass forehead and receding hairline, thinner on the crown but not noticeably (yet). My hair is fine (blonde) but I have a lot of it, and quite a bit of volume with waves, it doesn’t lay flat on my head. This could be my last chance in life to truly grow it out and I want to grow for at least a year, but if I’m already ready to give up, how will I possibly last through another 6 months of awkward stage?? Will I even look good with long hair anyway, could this be all for not? Sure, I look great in a hat, but 93% of the time I’m not in situations where a hat is appropriate. Calling all longhairs, I need your help.

    1. Author

      YOOO CODY! You’ve come to the right place, glad to have you here.

      Easiest question first: yes you will look great with blonde hair. As this could be the last real chance in life to grow your hair long, I advise you to put the scissors down and count to 10. Stick with it.

      You also happen to be growing your hair out at the same time as El Moreno. You can find his last update in El Moreno at 9 Months of Hair Growth, and the rest of his hair updates here. I highly advise you join the Hair Update List from this page.

      You mentioned being in a professional setting. If you start getting any negative feedback at the office, you can always commit to growing your hair out to donate to charity, which can often earn you a pass. Try Dear Boss…

      You’ll also do yourself well by keeping it neat and tidy around your ears and the back of your neck. Here’s one more good one that might help: Should You Cut In The Awkward Stage?

      Hope this helps man. There is tons of other content on our blog at Keep us posted man and KEEP LETTING IT RIDE!

    2. go for it man. only way to find out if you look good in it is if you actually do it. You’re a little less than half way but in a couple more months you’ll be able to maintain it a little better especially on the sides. (which is the biggest problem for me currently) im around 8-10 months in growing it out i honestly cant remember last time i got an actual haircut besides a taper or trim. the way i see it is why did i spend the last x amount of time with my hair looking crazy if im just going to end up cutting it, i might as well grow it out as long as i want. Although it does suck knowing you hair looks bad but it will all definitely be worth it in the end because everyone who asked when you’re getting a haircut or telling you long hair doesn’t look good on you will compliment your golden flow. good luck man and keep growing it out dont give up.

    3. Just wanna know, Does the length you start in matter ? Just imagine an extremely uneven hair but healthy that gets constant care, will it look good when it grows
      My question is in short, no matter how uneven your hair is or how bad it looks but healthy and gets constant care, will it grow and look beautiful ? I mean you can always sort it after it gets longer ?
      P.S: I don’t care about how I look in the awkward stage, I only care about the results ?

  23. Hey dudes, I have a weird awkward stage going on right now and wanted some tips. I had grown out my hair before, but when I got to the awkward stage I caved in. I pulled an undercut and shaved the sides, so the top is still long. Right now the top is probably a good 6 inches at least, but the sides are just starting to grow out again. I really don’t want to cut the top to even it out, cause it took so long. On top of that, my hair guy shaved a bit of my hairline down too, so there’s some baby hairs starting in front of my long hair 🤦‍♂️

    Any tips for getting through this? It’s really starting to look like a botched haircut…

    1. You can continue to maintain the short sides and let the top grow long. Eventually it will be long enough that when you wear it down it will cover up whatever is going on with the sides. If you’re looking to let it go, best bet is going to be to just LET IT RIDE and wear a lot of hats and beanies. Our boy Andrew dropped a video on our youtube that may give you some inspiration for keeping the sides short. Check it out here:

    2. I was at that stage mate. It got really ugly and I had to trim my top so that my sides could catch up. Best decision coz now, it looks even. Still not the best but looks better than before. As for the baby hairs, I’ve them too coz of that bloody undercut. I just clean them up with sm hair spray. Quick fix

    3. Sup guys, I’ve been growing out my hair for about 4 months now and I’m getting into the awkward stage I’m just trying to grow out the top and go for a man bun on top I have straight thinish hair I started it off with a high top fringe but my hair is already hiring my eyes and idk what haircut to get next I’m not trying to cut the top I just don’t know how to style it any tips ??

  24. Waddup dudes. I used to have some pretty long hair that I really enjoyed, but eventually got tired of it and cut it. I had it short for a little over a year before getting lazy and not wanting to cut it. Now I’m a freshman in college, and I don’t want to waste money on regular haircuts, so I’ve decided to grow it back out. It’s been about 3 or 4 months since I’ve had a haircut, and my hair grows pretty fast, but I’m definitely in that awkward stage. Are there any methods or products that I could use that would make my hair grow faster?

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