According to Van Clarke, the most crucial thing you can do to make your hair look longer is to get the proper haircut. "The way a lot of hairdressers approach hair is to cut some variation of a long, A-line bob and that doesn't blend in," he says. "You just get these two hanging haircuts. Instead of leaving hair looking long and fluid, it actually ends up looking shorter and squatter."
Since that's the exact opposite of what we're trying to achieve here, Van Clarke says to ask your stylist to cut blended layers instead — this will make your hair look more flowing, and in turn, longer, than if you have this wide-at-the-bottom, square, flat cut. "Hair is very much an illusion," he says. "The job of the hairdresser is to guide the eye to see what he wants it to see."
Also important: just getting your hair cut in general. While it may seem counterintuitive to cut your locks when you are trying get them to be longer, skipping those trims is actually causing your hair to shrink. "Your hair gets to a point where it starts to split, and it can't really cope with being longer. If you let it continue to grow, that split will move up the hair shaft and you end up with broken and split hair much higher up the cuticle," says Van Clarke. He recommends a cut every six weeks (unless your hair is very short and healthy) or whenever your mane gets that dry, dusty effect at the ends. By just trimming off as little as a quarter of an inch, you can actually give your hair more length by making sure that every half-inch coming out of your scalp is adding to your overall length, rather than splitting and shriveling up at the ends.
Photo: Maria Valentino/MCV Photo