How does Hair Grow?

Before we mention the 3 stages of hair growth,  there have always been countless myths around how to make your hair grow. Many swear by keeping regular hair appointments for a trim while others steer clear of scissors and simply leave hair to grow by itself. Whatever our own quirks and tips on how to grow our hair, one thing that isn’t disputed is how hair grows: the hair growth cycle.

Understanding the way in which your hair grows puts you in a better position for achieving fuller, thicker and healthier hair. It also helps understanding the process in which you can best remove hair permanently through laser hair removal.

The Science of Hair

Let’s begin with hair structure. Hair is made up of 2 parts: the hair follicle and the hair shaft.

The hair follicle anchors the hair into the scalp and is made up of the papilla and bulb, which are located beneath the scalp. The bulb can be found at the bottom of each strand containing the active cells which grow the hair around the papilla. The papilla provides the blood supply to the hair follicle to encourage healthy hair growth.

The hair shaft is the visible hair that grows out from the follicle which is made up of a hard protein called Keratin and a protective layer called the cuticle. There are around 100,000 hair follicles on the scalp, which is why it is normal to lose up to 100 hairs a day (because there is plenty more where they came from!).

How do the 3 Stages of Hair Growth Cycle Work?

There are 3 stages of hair growth in the cycle, from actively beginning growth from the root to hair shedding. These are known as the Anagen phase, Catagen phase and Telogen phase.

The Anagen Phase

The Anagen phase is the period of growth. The cells in the hair bulb divide rapidly creating new hair growth. Hair actively grows from the roots for an average of 2-7 years before hair follicles becomes dormant. In this time, hair can grow anywhere between 18-30 inches. The length of this phase is dependent on your maximum hair length, which varies between people due to genetics, age, health and many more factors.

The Catagen Phase

The second phase of your hair growth cycle is Catagen. This period is short, lasting only 2-3 weeks on average. In this transitional phase, hair stops growing and detaches itself from the blood supply and is then named a club hair.

The Telogen Phase

Finally, hair enters it’s third and final stage called the Talogen phase. This phase begins with a resting period, where club hairs rest in the root while new hair begins to grow beneath it. This phase lasts for around 3 months.

After this time, the resting club hairs will fall out to allow the new hair to come through the hair follicle. This is nothing to be alarmed about and is a natural process that should go completely unnoticed. Each follicle is independent and goes through the growth cycle at different times so you don’t lose patches of hair all at once and only shed 50-100 hairs each day. Meanwhile, the other 80-90% of your hair will be in the Anagen phase, growing long and strong!

Natural Hair Growth

For optimum hair growth, hair needs to stay in the Anagen phase for a long as possible. This can be supported by a healthy diet and lifestyle, using products that care for your hair and avoiding unnecessary damage that may contribute to your hair growth cycle being disrupted.

Thank you to Kate Ellis for this article about Grow Gorgeous