By Stephen J. Praetorius. Photo: Getty Images.
For months now, we’ve been singing the praises of snipping one’s hair into a buzz cut. And for good reason: it’s an extremely versatile style that can be dressed up or down at a moment’s notice, requiring only a change in wardrobe to transition from rockstar cool to classic leading man. A buzz cut can be perfectly suitable year-round, pairing just as well with a swimsuit and flip-flops as it does with a topcoat and winter boots. Plus, there have been a ton of celebrities giving some version of the look a go in recent months, including everyone from well-groomed mainstays like Man of the Year Ryan Reynolds to stylish up-and-comers like Dave Franco.
And yet. Here we are, now advocating for your hair-related aspirations actually going in the exact opposite direct. That’s right: despite all the evidence that we just presented to the contrary, we believe that there’s a distinct possibility it may well be in your best interest to put the electric trimmer down, back away from the barber’s chair, and let your locks grow to the their full potential this winter. If you would please, we’d like to take a moment to explain our reasoning.
First off, of course, there’s the simple issue of temperature. This is groundbreaking stuff, we know, but you can't ignore the fact that winter is cold—or at least, colder than the rest of the year—and if you keep your mane as short as you normally would, you’re going to be doing yourself a disservice with regard to heat retention. On the other hand, by allowing your hair to continue to grow, you’ll end up with an extra measure of insulation where you need it most (even if it turns out that, despite what we've been told, we don’t lose most of our heat through our heads).
On a less simplistic level, though, there’s the matter of scalp health. You see, the skin on your head is just as susceptible to the change in weather as the skin on rest of your body is, taking just as much of a beating from things like wind, snow, freezing rain, wintry mix, and dry-as-hell furnace-heated indoor atmospheres. And yet, because of the fact that it’s covered in a thick layer of hair, it becomes nearly impossible to treat that skin directly; products like heavy-duty moisturizers, exfoliators, and serums won’t make it through the forest that lays atop the scalp. Which is why allowing the hair to flourish is so crucial in these colder months. By growing strands long, as well as shampooing and conditioning them the proper amount, you not only put a layer of protection between your scalp and harsh environmental conditions, but also you’ll have a much easier time maintaining the delicate moisture and oil balance you need for a flake- and itch-free head.
Last, but certainly not least, we come to the issue of style. Because as much as we may spout the benefits of having long hair for winter, the truth of the matter is that as we’ve said before, hair only grows about a half of an inch per month. Meaning that, even if you were to start right this second, by the time winter came to close at the end of March, your hair would have only grown about a two inches—not that much, especially if you’re starting with a buzz cut as your baseline. So what you’re really investing in at this point is the haircut you’re going to be rocking next summer. And who wouldn’t enjoy a little SoCal surfer-style flow to mess around with on the beach in July?
Don’t worry, you’ll be in good company.
This story originally appeared on GQ.
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