Late Phase Awkward Stage Hair: Breaking Through

Awkward Stage With Andy, Part III

In Educate by Andy Watson20 Comments

Late Phase Awkward Stage Hair

Hair For Air

Here is just one example of what lies in wait when you're in late phase awkward stage hair...

I was recently performing a cover of Thin Lizzy’s, Whisky In The Jar at a local music festival, mid-set, giving it my all with guitar and vocals. Next thing I know, I’ve inhaled a whole bunch of my hair, straight into my trachea. No option but to keep on singing, smile and ignore it till the end of the song.


Planning Your Exit

In this final installment of my three-part series to help you through the awkward stage, we’re looking at the period between 12 and 18 months of hair growth, also known as late phase awkward stage hair.

Here’s where you start planning your exit strategies and begin to enjoy that mane you’ve spent months cultivating.

I’ve been growing out my hair for 20 months now and the hellhole of awkward stage hair is becoming a fading memory. I’m now enjoying my long hair at last.

If your journey is anything like mine, right around the 12-month mark you should be getting through the worst of it and your head no longer looks like watercress growing out of an egg.

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Andy emerging from late phase awkward stage hair
The hellhole of awkward stage hair is becoming a fading memory.

Wave Goodbye

There are a few things you won’t need to worry about any more.

My hair is wavy, and when I was in the thick of it, from around eight months in, I was using my girlfriend’s hair straighteners. I needed them to get my locks to look longer and give me a bit more of a style. Now those hair straighteners are long gone and I can just let my hair do its own thing.

Around the same time, I started to get a lot of smaller hairs sticking up out the top of my head, which needed flattening with shaping creams and fluff tamers. Looking back, I think these were only noticeable because I was using the hair straighteners. I still get these hairs a bit, but I’m letting my natural wave do its thing so they aren’t obvious any more.

I’ve also found as my hair has grown out I’ve needed to use less hair product (though I’ve noted a few that are very useful below). After 14 or 15 months, my hair started to take care of itself, with enough length to fall into place and start looking moderately cool.

I’m letting my natural wave do its thing.

Say Hello

While some earlier problems and concerns are behind me, late phase awkward stage hair brings a new host of issues.

For one thing I’m now breathing hair instead of air (i.e. the Thin Lizzy incident). It’s distressing and gross having to pull strands out of my throat once or twice a week. As my hair grows longer I expect it’ll get beyond this danger zone.

Hair accessories will become a part of your life too. First off, make sure you have a supply of hair ties, as they’re essential when you’re shaving, and for plenty of other activities. Headwraps are also kickass for keeping the mane in check, especially if you’re doing anything heavy-duty.

As your hair grows longer, you’ll also get more knots and tangles. It’s unavoidable. Hair serum and leave-in conditioner are excellent for detangling, but you’ll also want a wide tooth comb, a high quality hair brush, and the proper technique for brushing your hair.

Andy at the end late phase awkward stage hair
Make sure your sideburns don’t go out of control.

Get It On at the Salon

By now you should be seriously considering swapping out the barber’s chair and heading for the salon, if you haven’t done so already.

As we’ve said before, even when you’re growing your hair you need to tidy it up once in a while. There’s been plenty of articles on what to say at the salon, so I won’t dwell on it too much. The main thing is that you should get it trimmed during late phase awkward stage hair.

Wherever you go, make sure your hairdresser doesn’t use thinning shears to take the bulk out of your hair. These are scissors that have notches built into the blades that let the hairdresser snip deep, removing some strands of hair and leaving others long.


My hairdresser did this on my first visit and I think it may have made my hair look more frizzy. I didn’t know any better, so I just agreed when she said she’d like to “thin my hair out a bit.” It’s fine if you’ve reached your desired hair length and you’re getting regular cuts, but otherwise you should stay clear, because it’s cutting into your hard-earned length.

Also, with less frequent haircuts, make sure your sideburns don’t get out of control. Use an electric trimmer on them every couple of months or prepare to look ridiculous.

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I am massively stoked I stuck with it, and you can do it too.

The End Is Nigh

With the additional length I’ve found I don’t need to spend as much time on my hair. As mentioned earlier, I’ve been able to ditch the hair straighteners and I can just let it ride, though I still shampoo and condition twice a week.

I mainly just let it dry on its own and might use some hair serum once in a while, which smooths, detangles and helps it dry faster. Now that it’s got some length, it tends to fall into place and look good without too much work.

As my hair’s gotten longer, sometimes I feel like there’s not enough volume, especially on top. To add some volume and texture, I’ll pump a few blasts of sea salt spray, tilt my head down and forward and use a hair dryer. That’s a great tip from my hairdresser.

While I’ve ditched the gels and wax, I have found a couple other products to be especially useful for long hair. Dry shampoo helps me extend my washing routine an extra day or two, and when my hair is especially greasy and grimy I reach for a deep-cleansing clarifying shampoo.

That first time I felt it blowing in the wind. The first time I could get it in a hair tie.

Dominate Late Phase Awkward Stage Hair

I’ve finally burst through late phase awkward stage hair and I’m in a whole new world of manageable hair. I am massively stoked that I stuck with it and battled the awkward stage demons...and you can do it too.

All those times when I nearly caved and got it cut, all the days when my hair looked like a scruffy turd no matter what I did. Then, those little wins. The first time I could actually see my hair out of the corner of my eye. That first time I felt it blowing in the wind. The first time I could get it in a hair tie.

What a journey! I wouldn’t change a thing. If it was easy, then a lot more guys would do it. I feel like I’ve earned my stripes. I’ve made it through the shit storm and out the other side. I am a longhair!

Thanks for reading about my journey so far, I hope these posts have helped you. Let me know what works for you (and what doesn’t) and how you’re getting on as you walk the path less traveled. Above all: keep letting it ride.

Andy with long hair
That first time I felt it blowing in the wind. The first time I could get it in a hair tie.

Get Awkward With Andy

Residing along the rolling landscape of North Yorkshire, United Kingdom, Andy is a fitness, science and property renovation writer, marketing strategist, guitarist & singer, and a serious hair guy.
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