growing out your hair may seem like a grueling process, sometimes we have to make the most of the journey: it will ultimately lead you to your desired hairstyle results. Whether it’s with pretty hair accessories or temporary fixes to get you to that final stage, the efforts you put in to growing strong, healthy hair will eventually pay off—one blowout at a time.

Celeb hairstylist Kevin Smith agrees: “You may even seem to be going in the wrong direction, but you’ll end up being happy in the long run.” We asked Smith for his expert tips on ways to make your hair grow faster—and how to deal with your locks in the meantime.

1. Adjust your expectations

Typically hair grows approximately half an inch per month—so if you’re attempting to outgrow a
pixie haircut into a chin-length bob, well, then you have some math to do. “The reality is that hair grows at the rate it grows,” says Smith. “It all depends on the hair you have—and how short it is.” Simply put, the best way to deal is to relax and let nature run its course.

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And distract yourself. Now is a good time to
test run new beauty trends or invest in a killer pair of heels. “Play around with your look in different ways than before,” says Smith.

2. Try out hair accessories

Upgrade your cropped cut with accessories from the
prettiest hair trend of the Spring 2014 runways: hairpieces. Think a beautiful blue ribbon tied with a bow (seen at Alexis Mabille) or floral-inspired hairpins at Jenny Packham. “There’s two reasons to try out hairbands—they’re on trend and useful at hiding that grow-out hair,” says Smith. “Or learn to like hats.”

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More ways to grow strong, healthy hair on the next page…

hair-grow-faster-page-two.jpg3. Keep hair healthy
The last thing you want to do is damage the hair while growing it out—and have to chop it off all over again to remove dry, brittle ends. Discuss hair treatment options with your stylist: “If your hair is strong, it’ll need moisture, and if it’s fine, you’ll want to use something to build it up.” And healthy hair is easier to style, and stay that way.

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Keep hair well trimmed (depending on the length and type of hair, book an appointment with your stylist every six to eight weeks). “You want the hair to be as healthy as it can be so when you get it to the length that you want, it’s the hair that you want,” says Smith.

4. Play with different hairstyles
One of the season’s hottest runway hairstyles—the wet look—is coincidentally perfect for concealing a grow-out. “Apply a conditioning product, comb back the hair and let dry,” says Smith. Or rough-dry with fingers for a more naturally tousled just-out-of-the-shower look.

Check with your stylist first if it makes sense to change up your colour while growing out your locks. If anything, go for ammonia-free or semi-permanent hair colour, which are more likely to be healthier for your hair. “It goes over top of the hair and doesn’t change the internal structure,” says Smith. “It’s less damaging.”

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5. Add a fringe
Rather than playing with the overall structure of your cut, consider adding bangs so that the rest of your hair appears longer (this works beautifully on a bob). Just make sure they are cut to the right length and style for your hair type and face shape.

Depending on your end hair goal, opt for face-framing bangs with a clean, one-length cut—as opposed to staggered layers— for the grow-out. “With shoulder length hair, you can tie it up, wear it down—it’s a fresh change,” explains Smith. And one that couldn’t come at a better time.

Read more:
5 reasons to try super straight hair

4 ways to style a pixie haircut
Healthy hair: 5 ways to get the best winter hair ever

Bang hairstyles: How to grow out your fringe