Growing Out A Pixie Cut - Month 1

Since I was about 12/13 I've had short hair, in varying styles but always shorter than shoulder length. With this I've been able to enjoy minimal styling and easy colour changes for nearly 10 years. I liked that I was different to all the other girls who had long hair which was constantly the same colour and shape, and I stood out.

However, it's time for a change.

I've decided that as of this week, I am going to grow out my hair. I want to remember what it feels like to have hair long enough to cover my ears, and which can reach my shoulders, and that I can put into pigtails/plaits if I want.

And to make sure I stick to it, I'm going to post updates here once a month, with pictures. This will also help as a pick-me-up when I get to that awkward "oh my god I have a mullet" stage, because I'll be able to see how far I've come.

My finishing line/dream is to have hair as long as this:

(Click the picture for her own blog)

Here are the rules I'm going to try to follow to keep my hair healthy, strong, and hopefully allow it to grow quickly:
  • No straightners - I rarely use these anyway, so this shouldn't be much of a hassle.
  • Minimal blow drying - I actually prefer letting my hair dry naturally anyway because I'm lazy, but I do use the hair dryer for volume sometimes. I'm going to keep this to a bare minimum now though and reduce the amount of heat that is applied to my hair. I'll allow myself a blow dry once a fortnight at a maximum.
  • Hair washes every 3 days - My hair gets greasy quickly so I usually have to wash it every day, which is actually really bad for your hair, so I'm going to limit myself to two hair washes a week. This will allow the natural oils to do their job and protect the hair while it's growing. I'm probably going to stock up on some dry shampoo though, to save me looking like someones poured cooking oil onto my head.
  • More conditioner - I basically never use conditioner as I hate how limp it makes my hair, especially when I let it air dry. However if I want long strong hair I'm going to have to man up. I think rather than using conditioner every time I wash my hair, I'm going to do a weekly deep condition with Aussie 3 Minute Miracle which has the added bonus of smelling bloody lovely.
  • Daily head massage - What a chore hey? /sarcasm. I love having a head massage at the hairdressers but I never bother doing it myself. However it encourages blood flow to the scalp which can speed up hair growth, and it feels lush anyway so I might as well give it a go!
  • No brushing hair when wet - Hair is fragile when wet, and attacking it with a bristly brush can snap hairs, meaning it'll thin out. I'll use my fingers to tease out any knots while I'm conditioning, and if neccessary use a wide tooth comb when it's dry.
  • Less bleach - This one is going to be a struggle for me as I've been bright blonde/grey/silver for a long time, and I absolutely hate my natural hair colour (mousy brown). However bleach obviously damages your hair and might slow down the growing process, so I'm going to have to discuss this with my hairdresser. I might be able to just tone down the colour slightly so it's not so harsh, or still have the bleach but get deep conditioning treatment applied afterwards. I'll keep you updated when I've decided what to do.
  • Fewer haircuts - I know that people say to get haircuts more often as it promotes hair growth, but I just don't see it. So I've decided I will totally leave my hair alone apart from the nape of my neck, where it can grow into a mullet if left alone. Instead of going to a hairdresser I might just get a mate or my brother to cut it to stop me having one of those "rats tails" boys used to have in the 90s. Ew.
  • Vitamins - I've read so many blogs, articles and forums about the various vitamins which can aid in hair growth, and honestly I'm pretty confused. Most places say Biotin or prenatal multivitamins are the best way to go, but some say they make absolutely no difference and it's all in the genes. I don't take any vitamins at the moment so I think the best option for me is to take a general multivitamin which contains Biotin, Vitamin B and Keratin which I understand are the best, and see what difference it makes.
So, here's a few pictures of me now, as a starting point. Notice my hair is asymmetrical, with one side being considerably longer than the other. The nape of my neck is quite short at the moment so will be fine for a month or so, then will need a trim.
(Please ignore the horrific lack of makeup, I had just removed it.)

Can anyone recommend any other hair growing tips?
Have you got any before/after pictures of your own?