They say knowledge is power and when it comes to growing your hair, knowing your stuff can make the difference between meh and mermaid.
You might be thinking, "it's hair, it just grows." But trust me there is so much more to it than that.
From how your locks get longer to what causes hair breakage and how hair extensions can harm your hair, here are 15 facts about hair growth you need to know.
You'll want to take notes.
1. It's The Ciiiiircle of Life
Or should I say the cycle of hair?
One important fact about hair growth is you grow and lose your locks in a continuous hair growth cycle.
Understanding the hair growth cycle is important because it allows you to more accurately gauge what could be causing your hair loss and what a normal amount of hair growth is.
There are three stages in the hair growth cycle.
1. The Anagen Phase: This is the growth period and it lasts between 2 and 7 years! During this phase, your locks can grow up to 30 inches before the follicle enters the resting phase. While the Anagen phase can last up to 7 years, it's duration depends on the maximum length your hair can grow to, which is based on genetics, age, health and a whole lotta other factors.
2. The Catagen Phase: This is the transitional phase where your hair stops growing and detaches itself from the blood supply. These detached hairs are known as club hairs. This lasts between 2 and 3 weeks before your locks enter the last stage of the cycle.
3. The Telogen Phase: The final stage of the hair growth cycle is the resting phase. Before your hair begins to grow again the club hairs rest in their roots for about three months before they shed to make room for new strands.
The hairs begin to fall and new hair is formed as you reenter the anagen phase.
Different sections of hair enter different phases at varying times to prevent you from losing all your locks at once.
In fact, while some strands of hair is in the telogen stage, 80-90% of your hair will be in the anagen (growth) phase, so the hair loss should not be noticeable.
Here's the thing though:
Stress or traumatic experiences can trigger your hair follicles to switch to the Catagen phase. This will cause your hair to start falling out. This condition is common.
To counteract this you will need to resolve the stress/trauma and allow some time to pass (months). And you can help the process along through the use of a regular meditation practice.
2. Heat It Up
Heat can make AND break your hair.
And by that I mean, while hot styling tools are a huge cause of hair loss (more on that later), heat can actually help your hair grow faster.
Now don't go sticking your head in the oven or scolding yourself in the shower, it doesn't work like that.
Simply wait for some warmer weather.
Your locks will grow slightly quicker during the warmer months as heat stimulates circulation, which encourages hair growth.
But, it is important to slip, slop and slap on a hat as too much sun can also cause hair loss - eek.
So strike the right balance between sunshine and shade and use products to protect your locks from UV Rays.
If you don't want to wait for summer to roll around you can still get hotter locks using red light therapy for hair growth.
3. Sorry To Interrupt,
As mentioned above, your hair grows in a cycle.
But, one important fact about hair growth is that this cycle can be interrupted.
Interruptions to the hair growth cycle can cause abnormal hair loss, slow hair growth and, even worse, both.
So, what can disrupt the hair growth cycle?
The long list of things that can cause your hair growth cycle to act up include:
- Stressful/traumatic events
- Poor nutrition/diet
- Hormones imbalances
- Heavy metals and other toxins
- Even exposure to strong electromagnetic frequencies (cell phones, cell towers, etc.) can stress your body and cause your hair growth cycle to play up.
Small and infrequent disturbances to the hair growth cycle are normal and nothing to worry about.
But if you are shedding your strands faster than you can regrow them, you might want to seek some professional help.
4. Your Hair is What You Eat
Ok, I'll admit, that reads a little weird, but in a way, it is very true.
While I don't mean you eat your own hair, I do mean your hair's health is directly linked to your diet.
You eat food. Your body uses said food as building blocks to grow muscle, skin, hair, etc.
In fact, changing your diet is one of the most effective ways to achieve longer, stronger, shinier and healthier hair.
A healthy and balanced diet is best for healthy hair, your daily intake should be moderate to low protein, high in unrefined carbs and low in refined sugar.
One fact about hair growth is that you strands need the right proteins and minerals in order to grow.
- Nuts and seeds
- Beans and legumes
- Tofu, Tempah or lean meat (meat should be consumed in low to moderate quantities).
- Salmon (consume wild caught salmon, and only in moderation due to high mercury levels).
You're looking to boost your consumption of Vitamins A, C, D and E as well as zinc, biotin, iron, protein, essential fatty acids and antioxidants.
These are the building blocks for healthy hair.
All these nutrients are best derived from eating whole foods, rather than supplements.
This is because our bodies have evolved to extract nutrients from whole food and use the nutritional profile of that whole food to boost absorption.
Supplements just don't absorb into the body as well as nutrients from whole foods, and sometimes not at all.
But, while upping your intake of these you'll also want to cut down on the sugary treats.
Foods to cut back on for healthy hair are:
- Refined sugar (white, brown, etc.)
- Refined carbs and gluten (white bread and pasta, *cries)
- High mercury fish such as Tuna, Marlin and Shark
- Poultry (chicken)
- Alcohol and soft drink
- Deep fried foods
- Greasy fast food
Don't fret you can still feast on your favourite binge-worthy snacks once in a while. Just cut back and focus on portion control.
Your hair will thank you for it.
5. It's Getting Hot in Here
^ This is what your strands say to each other while you're busy scolding them in the shower.
Did you know the temperature of your shower can harm your hair?
Because it can.
Hot water can seriously impact hair growth by causing your locks to dehydrate.
This causes them to become limp, dull and weak which leads to frizziness and breakage.
The same applies to heat styling.
So turn the temperature down in the shower and give the curler a rest for a bit, please!
6. Your Hair Can't Actually Get Thicker
You mean you've been reading all about how to get thicker hair and it's impossible?
Well... yes and no.
What I mean by "you can't get thicker hair" is your hair has full-thickness potential and it cannot get any thicker than that.
So when you hear "get thicker hair" what it really means is help your hair grow to it's full thickness and stay there for longer.
So, yes you can get thicker hair than you have now, BUT you cannot get thicker hair than what your mama gave you.
If your mama (like mine) didn't pass on her thick locks and your hair is naturally on the thinner side, all hope is not lost.
You can get thicker locks still, you just need a little extra help.
7. You Should Listen to Your Locks
One little known fact about hair growth is that your locks can tell you a lot about your health.
So stop ignoring your strands.
- Abnormal hair loss and slow growth: This can indicate that you're seriously stressed, or could be suffering from an underlying health condition
- Dry brittle or breaking hair: This can mean many things so it's important to look at what it's accompanied with. But it could mean anything from nutrition deficiency to dehydration.
- Split ends, breakage, frizziness: This could also be caused by lots of internal and external factors. You could be getting too much sun, not drinking enough water or overdoing the heat styling.
So look and listen, because you hair has a lot to say.
8. Losing Your Locks is Normal
Well, within reason of course.
If your otherwise luscious locks are falling out in clumps, you might want to look into that.
But some daily shedding is totally fine.
You should lose between 50 to 100 hairs from your head every day.
How often you brush, wash or style your hair could cause you to lose a few more strands, but that is nothing to be concerned about.
9. Genetics Are Everything
Just like our waistlines, our hairlines are largely controlled by genetics.
Although, the very fact of my thin-haired existence seems to defy this as my parents each have full, thick luscious heads of hair.
... I'd like to speak to the manager of science, please!
But anyway, genetics is the single biggest determinant of your hair's texture, colour, length and thickness.
The length of your locks may be the most surprising thing controlled by genetics.
This is because the length of time your hair stays in their growth phase is hereditary.
Meaning your anagen phase may be only two years, so your hair will never reach the same length as someone whose genetic anagen phase lasts 7.
This can even vary in siblings if one inherits their father's hair and the other inherits their mothers.
So, that could explain why your brother hit the hair genetic goldmine and you're still growing out those DIY bangs from 2002.
10. Blondes Have More Fun...
And more hair.
Did you know that the amount of hair you have is dependent on the colour of your locks?
And while you might think dark-haired honeys would have the most, you'd be wrong.
A fun fact about hair growth is that blondes grow more of it.
Blonde haired babes have the largest average number of hairs on their head, closely followed by brunettes.
Blondes boast about 140,000 strands while brunettes have 100,000 and redheads have least amount of locks ringing in around 80,000 hairs.
11. Strands Are Super Strong
Your hair is actually a lot stronger than you give it credit for.
This may not be obvious when it's being tugged out every day by something as weak as a hair tie, but lemme tell you, your trusses are tough.
In fact, each strand can support 100 grams in weight.
And as stated above, the average person has around 140,000 single strands, so theoretically your hair can hold up two elephants.
Your hair is at is strongest when it's healthy so taking care of it is super important.
It can also become brittle, weak and broken over time, especially when using glue, tape, or bonded hair extensions.
Which is why Halo Hair Extensions are the safest option when it comes to keeping your strands strong.
12. Hair Only Grows A Certain Amount
Let's look at the facts about hair growth we already know:
1. You can't grow your hair any longer or thicker once it has reached it's full growth potential.
2. You can help your hair reach its full growth potential and stay in that state for longer.
3. Your hair's length and how long it stays in the growth stage (anagen phase) of the hair cycle depends on genetics.
So, now that we know all of this let's talk about how long you can actually grow your hair.
While the beauty industry wants you to think pumping yourself full of products will suddenly grant you long luscious locks that grow 20 inches per day... that unfortunately is far from true.
(Although, we do know one product that does exactly that.. cough, cough, see here.).
Even the healthiest hair only grows half an inch per month.
Which equates to six inches per year.
So stop fretting about your slow growth, it's totally normal.
13. Healthy Scalp, Healthy Hair
When trying to grow their hair a lot of people don't think with their heads.
A healthy scalp is where healthy hair starts.
A dirty or unhealthy scalp can not only cause slow hair growth and hair loss, but it can also cause your cuticles to cease producing hair altogether.
- Wash your hair in warm water 1-2 times per week
- Scrub your scalp
- Wear a hat during the days and use UV protection
- Do regular scalp massages to promote circulation
- Brush your hair twice per day.
14. Silver Medal
In cell growth that is.
Did you know that hair cells are the second-fastest-growing tissue in the body?
Bone marrow takes the gold medal being the fastest growing tissue.
But silver is still a prize worth winning.
The average adult produces around 35 meters of hair PER DAY.
Maybe there was some truth to Rapunzel after all?
15. Hair Extensions Cause Hair Loss
Yep, it sad but true.
If you've gotten clip-ins, tape, or permanent extension in your pursuit of long luscious hair, you could actually be causing more hair loss.
This is because harmful adhesives and the constant pressure and tugging caused by the weight of these wefts make your hair weak causing it to break.
It many cases this can even cause bald patches.
Enter Halo Hair extensions.
Halos sit on the crown of your head rather than attaching to the individual strands. This means no pressure, no tugging and no nasty glue or tape.
So if you're looking to solve your hair growth problems fast, without causing your hair any harm, halo hair extensions are the only way to go.
And that one of the most important facts about hair growth you need to know.