Growing Out Cropped Hair – The Epic Journey

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Hello, 2009 me!

In 2009, I was just about to start a new job in a new part of the country, and I wanted a change. I’d had long blonde hair all my life, and although I’d dabbled in fringes and layers, I’d never gone for a drastically different look.

So I chopped it all off. Well, my hairdresser did.

I went for a short blonde crop with long, sweepy fringe and ADORED it. I have very fine, baby soft hair so this style gave it so much body and bounce. It was a revelation and I thought I’d never go long again.

growing cropped hair

Fast forward to 2010 and I’d grown it a little longer, gone blonder and added a blunt fringe. Between the two styles I’d started blogging and was getting more adventurous with my hair… and bored of the blonde. Blonde is my natural colour but I was tempted by the dark side…

growing out pixie crop

So it was a brunette, texturised pixie crop for me in 2011! I kept this style for a while, revelling in the fact I didn’t have to do anything to make it look good. This is probably the best cut for my fine hair and no-nonsense approach to styling, as it’s so easy to maintain – I even trimmed the front and sides myself!

A hairstyle for life, then? Well…

growing a crop

I got bored. Again. So in summer 2011, I started my ‘growing out’ process. This was my Mullet Stage – the back was getting longer than the front and sides, creating an unfortunate 80s look that I pinned up to avoid stares and jeers.

It took me a long time to get past the Mullet Stage. I couldn’t bear the back looking scruffy, so had it trimmed regularly which meant to took ages to build up any length. But my hair started to inch its way down…

how to grow out a crop

… and in 2012, I was here. I’d had a subtle ombré colour applied and was wearing my hair parted in the centre with lots of layers. With a bit of length at the back, this style was great for growing out and I left it to do its thing for quite a while… until boredom struck once again, and I fell foul to the dip-dye effect.

A disastrous visit to the hairdressers (one I’ve never stepped foot in again!) left me with a two-tone style and seriously damaged my hair. It looked awful and I was devastated that all my cultivation had been ruined. But, onwards and upwards – I found a new hairdresser and she put things right.

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In August 2012, Amelia at Russell Eaton gave me this cute, blunt bob. She chopped the ombré ends off and gave me a lighter, summery makeover with a thick fringe to add volume. A beauty of a cut that allowed my hair to grow without losing too much shape. But a step backwards in the hair growing process…

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With long hair seeming further away than ever, I tried something I never thought I would – hair extensions. In December 2012 I was sent a set by Bobby Glam and wore them constantly. Mermaid locks are hugely addictive and I even found myself putting them in for an early morning flight.

Eventually though, the extensions took toll on my natural hair and I decided it was best to retire them through fear of impending baldness. I still think they’re a great option for a special occasion or night out, but maybe too much for the day-to-day.

Happily though, my own hair had been growing away under all that, and after a bit of TLC my growing process is back on track…

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Today, my hair is touching my collarbone and looks longer than it has in years, since that first chop back in 2009. I’ve put it through the wringer over the last 12 months so it needs plenty of love and affection, but I’m generally pretty pleased with it.

I’m toying with a few ideas for my next step – bonded extensions which are much kinder than the clip ins, growing out the fringe, adding some blonde back in… but overall, I’m happy. It’s been a back-and-forth journey of epic proportions but I’ve learnt a lot – here are my tips for growing out a pixie crop:

– Be patient. Seriously. Don’t give in at the Mullet Stage, just ride it out. It’ll get there, eventually.
– Use less heat. I’m a slave to my hairdryer but I notice a big difference in rate of growth when I turn down the temperature on my tools.
– Become Master of the Kirby Grip. Use them to clip up straggly back bits, pin overgrown fringes and help create your first ponytail (a great achievement).
– Have regular trims. The back of your hair will grow quicker than the front and sides as it usually sees the least styling, so it’s really important to get trims to keep your hair at one length and minimise the Mullet Stage. Plus trimming hair boosts its growth, too.

Have you grown out a pixie crop? Any tips or advice to share? And what do you think of 2009 me – youthful, right?!


Kirsty | A Safe Mooring

Ahh, the mullet stage. Sweet, sweet memories. I just made it to the first ponytail stage (triumph!), then remembered how much I hate styling my hair and went back to a super short pixie. Sigh.

BUT I’ve never dyed my hair, so maybe that’s the way forward for avoiding boredom – at least with a pixie it’ll grow out quickly…


Hi, Yes I think we have all been there at sometime in our lives! A tip someone once gave me for hair growth is organic sulphur, you may have to get it through a specialised health foods supplier? xx


Your blog is great! Thanks for sharing so much.
I had my hair cut in France while I was living in Paris and regretted it almost straightaway. I had just had a baby so hormones were all over the place. NEVER have your cut too soon after having a baby, wait at least a couple of months (Wish someone had told me that…). That was a year ago and I’ve still got weird lengths and messy back bits. We need to be patient though and maybe stop playing about with our hair?


Ah this was in interesting read, was thinking how amazing your hair was looking the other day! I’ve also found that extensions are taking their toll, I’ve not worn them for about 6 weeks and found my hair has improved. My hairdresser tells me to vary where I put them in but I find I need to keep them in the same place to hide them, it takes me long enough to figure them out! I alternate with wearing my hair down or in a bun now and save my extensions for when my hair is looking particularly dodge. My hair takes ages to grow but I have a good feeling this time, I’ve been keeping up with supplements and using various oils, fingers crossed for shoulder length!


I looove your hair right now! I think the shape looks so good on you, but also excited to see what you do next! I spent ages growing out my bob, I just dont have the bone structure for short hair alas.


You’re so lucky you suit both light and dark hair! I chopped all my hair off three years ago. Because of my hair type, shoulder length is the awkward stage for me…you just have to be creative with how you style it! x

Lily Lipstick

Wow, your hair has changed so much nice you started blogging! I love your current style, the colour and cut really suit you. It took me a year to grow my hair from a bob to past my shoulders, I do sometimes consider getting my hair all chopped off but the thought of the growing out process if I don’t like it puts me off! x

Made in Hunters

I love the length your hair is now it really suits you. One bit of advice please DON’T get bonded extensions, unless you plan on only having them a few months and have a LOT of money to burn. The hairdresser selling you them will tell you.. ‘They will be fine if you look after them properly.’ Which to and extent they will be but it’s impossible to stop them tangling, matting and they pull your hair a lot more than clip in ones. (Was a hairdresser for 5 years & one of the things i specialised in was hair extensions. I’ve also had every kind going) They only look great for a few months. Some people are lucky with them but in my experience i would say 99% of people have them taken out and find their hair is in a hell of a lot more trouble than it was before. Clip in one’s are better for your hair but any kind of extension shouldn’t be worn all the time. Keep those clip in’s for weekends or special occasions and you should be fine. 🙂 xx


Thanks SO much for your thoughts – really interesting to hear an honest opinion from someone in the know! I’ve been having second thoughts about the extensions and I think you’ve convinced me to leave them. I might wear clip-ins again for my wedding in September, but for now it’s all about growing what I’ve got and keeping it in good condition!

Thanks again 🙂


Jen you are so lucky to suit very short hair or long hair. Beaut with both.
I love the last pic of you, stunning. Colour really suits you and I love the fringe.

Sarah Betty Andrews

This is exactly where I am at the moment. I adored having short, cropped hair, but now dying for long hair again.

When you say bonded, do you mean glue bonded? I always heard that was bad too?

Sarah Betty xx


I one had a bob when I was thinner but my face shape meant that it just made me look like a cherub. It’s interesting to see how long it took you to grow it out (I also get bored of my hair very easily) but it looks beautiful now. I’ve been looking for a hairdresser since I moved to Leeds so may have to give Russel Eaton a whirl.


love seeing your hair progression here jen, i think my fav style of yours is the picture with you and the gingerbread dress, a really cool look right there. i’ve been gorwing my hair out from a pixie crop for years now but it doesn’t help that it’s curly and i also bleach it. i’ve gone through many different styles and cuts on the way but for the last year i’ve just let it be and have a trim every now and then. i think it helps to keep your hair in the best condition possible so i use a lot of deep conditioning masks and hair oils (more so for the bleach damage) I also don’t use any heat on it at all, obviously this doesn’t work for everyone but over the years I’ve learnt to embrace my natural curls and now I don’t even own straightners or a hairdryer. i’ve also tried taking supplements like vitamnin d and e but im not really sure if they did anything. my hair is the longest it’s been for years and even though the curls make it a fair bit shorter last time i went to the hairdressers they straightened it and i couldn’t believe how long it was. i want to wear it in a top knot so i’ve got a little whilst to go yet


It seems we have similar hair (type and style) so this was a very interesting read. I’m interested that you say the clip-in hair extensions are damaging??? I would have never guessed that! I toyed with the idea but never felt confident that the clips would remain concealed when the wind blows.


I think because the extensions were so heavy, they added a lot of weight and pressure. That coupled with my fine hair and the fact there’s not much of it, meant the clips were pulling on the same small bunches of hair and weakening it. I would still wear them for special occasions but just not everyday… and maybe some lighter/shorter ones too!

And no, the clips don’t remain hidden when it’s windy! Not the best look… 😉


I love seeing the evolution of everyone’s style, espescially hair, you’re so lucky that you can pull offany length, I’d do something like this but my hair has pretty much always been a brown curly mess, apart from the ombre, which i justdid a post on!

cassie xx


Very timely article for me, decided today at the hair dresser that I would begin growing out my pixie crop of red hair. I’m aiming for an angular jaw length bomb with a fringe, rather like your cut you had done at Russell Eaton. Thanks for the inspiration!


Very timely article for me, decided today at the hair dresser that I would begin growing out my pixie crop of red hair. I’m aiming for an angular jaw length bomb with a fringe, rather like your cut you had done at Russell Eaton. Thanks for the inspiration!


The pixie looks best on you, for flattering with your pretty face. –Hetero guy


You only look younger in the 2009 shot because you are blonde. If that is nearer your natural colour you should stick with it. Darker hair is ageing and the only colours that really make the most of our looks are one or two shades darker or lighter. So definitely go lighter . X


Quite right Jen. Its 4 years not 40. You’re not even 30 yet. Unclench woman.


You look great in all your different colours and styles! I’ve just booked an appointment with my hairdresser to go short again after having very long her for a well, long time, and this is making me wonder if I should reconsider…

allison d

Amazing evolution! It reminds me of those flashabcks ins magazines. While I’m a huge fan of your long curls but I have to say the 2009 you also shows real style 🙂 Although I have to say your glass choice has totally changed for the better 🙂 nerd-glasses all the way!

Peacock's Hat

I had a pixie cut way back in 2008, just before I went to uni. It was great at the time, I needed something different before I went away. I did really like it, but I couldn’t pull it off now (I’m about a stone and a half heavier so have a much fatter face!) I also have a blond chunk in my hair now so you wouldn’t see that if it was shorter. I’m one of those people who is never sure what they’re doing with their hair, I’m always growing it out then getting bored and chopping it off… Because mine is quite fine but lots of it, I think shorter is better really but I always want to try having properly long hair, but I’ve never made it past my halfway down my boobs!

Jenn Willetts

Love the cut and colour of the 2012 pic (blunt bob and fringe)
Really suits you
Yes I have grown out a pixi crop. Had to have it all cut off after a disastrous perm that was frizz instead of beautiful big waves….its wrecked my hair!
The mullet stage in definitely the hardest and seems to take forever.
But Im getting there. About collar bone length now.
Unfortunately im getting very bored tho and am itching to get a different look.
I found a fringe helped loads growing hair out though. Makes it look more styled.

Again I am loving your blog.
Keep up the good work 🙂

Fleur De Lis

I’m currently growing out a pixie crop and am nearing the daunting ‘mullet’ stage. Thanks for all the advice, I too have fine, blonde hair so it’s very helpful.

Also love your glasses in the ‘up to date’ shot. You look like a true vintage vixen!

Liss x

Maria Fallon

I can;t believe how much your hair has changed, I am very jealous of your ability to rock a crop though, with my hair I will never manage that!

Maria xxx

Livi TeePot

I’m in the process of growing mine out, it’s a nightmare and I so desperately want long hair again! I’ve regretted chopping it ever since I had it done!


I love it in the photo of you wearing the peach jumper. It looks lovely!

I went from a Frankie Sandford really short hair-do to wanting longer hair, so I got 2 lots of bonded extensions which lasted me about 7 – 8 months. Once they came out my hair was a longer length and could be levelled off (as it was previously a graduated bob).

I spent a long period of time with my hair tied up and just not doing anything with it, to get past that awkward length. Luckily my hair grows really quickly and it was soon “long” instead of “medium length”. Hurrah!

I recently had loads cut off but I’m not sure I would ever go super short again, because I change my mind far too much! x

Paris Franz

Ah, I remember the mullet stage! I varied between a pixie and a short bob for years, but finally got the patience to grow it out. It took me about 18 months to get it to just below collar bone length. I’m still enjoying the novelty!


Your hair looks great now. I have to know where you got your glasses from, on your most recent pic?? They are fantastic!!


I’m growing mine out at the moment. I had an asymmetrical pixie cut (from previously chest-length hair) in late 2012, but decided to get it evened out the following Summer. The hairdresser ended up hacking away at it, leaving uneven bits everywhere. I’ve been growing it out since then, avoiding heat until I recently bought some protective spray. It’s looked consistently hideous since July, even with regular trims. But it’s gone from above ear length to mostly chin length in that amount of time, which isn’t bad going really.

Hair Extensions Sheffield

No doubt you look so cute with these both hairstyles, short and long, hair extensions can give a new look instantly and it not expensive nowadays but I am agree with your saying

“they’re a great option for a special occasion or night out, but maybe too much for the day-to-day”

And of course everyone should go hair extensions salon to do it otherwise it can ruin your hair eventually.


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