How to Grow Out a Half-Shaved Hairstyle—And Have It Look Amazing Every Step of the Way

Victoria Moorhouse


With so many celebrities confidently taking the risk of shaving off a section of their hair (Cara Delevingne being the most recent girl to join the club), the appeal of the undercut or half-shaved style is clear. It’s an edgy statement that is incredibly chic, adds contrast to loose, glam waves, and is even more daring than a pixie cut. But with all haircuts, the need for change will enviably present itself to the person who owns this style, and the growing out process will begin.

As a rule, growing out your hair takes a little more effort than just measuring how many inches it’s grown in a month. When you’re growing out your bangs, you have to frequently visit the salon for trims or additional layering to help blend in those little pieces to the rest of your hair. So how do you even begin to grow out a style like the undercut—one that has such drastic difference between hair lengths on either side of your head? It can be done, and when you take the right steps in the process, you don’t have to worry about your hair looking scraggly and messy for months on end. Check out these options and tips that will help you successfully make the switch when the time comes.

Pick the Right Cut From the Beginning
A drastic undercut isn’t the best decision if you know you’re going to want to change your hairstyle right away. Go for an undercut at the nape of your neck instead of an extreme style like Natalie Dormer once wore. “Be aware that, typically, cuts that are made in the nape of your head are much easier to grow out than ones that are on either side of the head.  It’s much easier to hide than a big panel right next to your face,” says senior stylist at mizu new york salon, Judy McGuinness.

Wait a Bit Before You Head to the Salon for a Trim
If your hair on the side of your head is shaved extremely close to your scalp (kind of like a crew cut), you need to let it grow a significant amount before heading into the salon for a trim to neaten it up. Stylist Judy McGuinness says that it’s best to wait until that hair has grown at least one inch or longer. “Most people feel like they need to trim it while it’s growing out, but this can actually be counter intuitive. Unfortunately, it’s better to just let it be while you’re in the beginning stages of growing it out,” she explains. After your hair is at that one inch mark, McGuinness says your options open up.

Be Mindful of Your Hair Type
Girls with straight hair may have an easier time growing out this style, as McGuinness notes that curly hair takes a longer amount of time to see length.

MORE: The 50 Coolest Cuts for 2015

Trim the Outline of the Undercut
To keep your hair looking neat, McGuinness suggests asking your stylist to to only trim the outline of your cut.

Go for a Pixie
Not into the one-inch chunk of hair slowly growing out? Trade one daring cut for another and cut the rest of your hair into a piece-y pixie. Talk to stylists about the kind and length of a pixie cut you want, and they will help you decide when the time is right.

Invest in Extensions
It’s going to take a while for the shaved side to reach the same length as the hair on the opposite side of your head. If trimming the outline isn’t a realistic option for you and you can’t stand the waiting game, try out some extensions. “Tape-in’s and bonded extensions both work well, depending on your hairs texture and density,” says McGuinness.

Switch Up Where You Part Your Hair
When you have an undercut, your hair part is pretty much decided. Try parting your hair on the opposite side to hide the shaved side that’s growing out. However, if your undercut is fairly large, this technique might not work. McGuinness says that smaller undercuts are easier to hide with this option.

MORE: How to Heat Style Your Hair Like a Pro

Embrace It!
Show off your undercut while you have it by wearing hairstyles that are pulled off to the side. McGuinness suggests trying out buns, side ponytails, and braids.