How fast does hair grow, you ask? For some of us, the answer is never fast enough. Lots of people want to have Rapunzel-like locks that grow out as soon as we decide we want long hair. Others just want something to make their hair grow faster so they can chop off the inches of damaged ends they’ve accumulated from years of color and heat styling.
Whatever your hair goals are, knowing how different hair types affect hair growth can help you determine the best strategies for boosting the health of your hair. Let’s look into the science of how fast does hair grow and why it varies for different hair types.
How Fast Does Hair Grow: The Lowdown on Hair Growth
How fast does hair grow? It grows in three different hair growth cycles: anagen (growth), catagen (transition), and telogen (rest). These stages last different amounts of time and explain why hair sometimes grows very rapidly and at other times seems to progress slowly. Here’s a brief dive into each stage:
- Anagen Phase: This is the first and longest growth phase of a strand of hair. It starts when a hair fiber made of keratin forms inside an onion-shaped part of your scalp called the hair follicle. For the first half of this anagen phase, the hair is developing underneath the skin and cannot be seen from the surface. The other half of the anagen phase is when the follicle starts pushing the hairs to grow outside the surface of your skin. This can last three to seven years depending on your hair type and where the exact hair is growing. They continue to grow until they reach the end of their lifespan or when the hair falls out. The vast majority of hairs on your head are in the anagen phase.
- Catagen Phase: This phase is when the hair fiber is transitioning into a less active state. It can last up to six weeks and is characterized by the shrinking of the hair follicle and slowing growth. At the end of the catagen phase, the hair separates from the bottom of the follicle.
- Telogen Phase: This phase is when hair stops growing. At this point, the hair fiber is no longer attached to the follicle and new hairs start to grow in its place. Soon, the old hairs start to shed from your scalp as they have ceased to continue growing. Hair loss, baldness, and alopecia occur in the telogen phase when new hairs don’t grow where the old hairs have fallen out.
How Hair Type Affects Growth Rate
Now that you know the three phases of hair growth, let’s get to the bottom of the question “how fast does hair grow?” Human hair grows at an average rate of 0.35 mm a day, which translates to about half an inch per month. In order to have healthy hair growth, your hair follicles and overall health have to be in good standing.
Having a healthy diet rich in vitamin A, fatty acids, and vitamin D as well as good genes can influence your rate of hair growth. But a big part of how fast or slowly your hair appears to be growing is related to your unique hair type.
The varying length, diameter, shape, and color of each human hair is what distinguishes different hair types across different cultures and demographics. Because our ethnic makeup plays a large part in the type of hair we have, people of Asian, African, Hispanic, Middle Eastern, Pacific Islander, Native American, or Caucasian descent all have distinct hair types that vary from each other.
Your hair type is also a contributor to how noticeable your hair length is increasing. Two people with different hair types could be growing the same amount of hair per month but may appear to have totally different hair lengths because of the way their hair grows. Here’s why the answer to “how fast does hair grow” may differ depending on which of these four hair types you have.
Of all hair types, hair growth is most noticeable on straight hair. That’s because straight hairs grow flat and downward, making any progress in hair length pretty obvious. If you have a healthy scalp and good straight hair habits, you should enjoy prosperous hair growth.
But if you are having trouble growing your straight hair it might be because of hair damage that’s breaking off your ends. To prevent this, use a hair serum with thermal heat protection. This will help protect your ends from heat styling damage and keep your straight locks shiny and tangle-free.
Like straight hair, wavy hair growth is pretty noticeable when hair is in top condition. But one thing you have to look out for with wavy locks is frizz. The s-shaped growth pattern of wavy hair can be prone to tangles and frizz that can snag onto brushes and stunt hair growth.
To combat this, try using a lightweight conditioning treatment like Function of Beauty’s leave-in treatment. This customizable product helps protect hair from dryness and tangling. And with its blend of naturally derived and synthetic ingredients like avocado oil, argan oil, and coffee extract, applying it to your wavy locks can enhance smoothness and shine.
Instead of downward hair growth, curly hair expands outward and in a spiral. This means that increases in length are harder to detect than with straighter or wavier hair types. If you’ve ever straightened your curly hair and been surprised by how long it is, that’s why.
Curly hair can be prone to breakage, especially when it’s not treated with proper hair care practices. If you want to promote healthy curly hair growth, you need to use anti-hair breakage products like hair masks that can encourage hair strength and keep tresses soft. The nicer you are to your curly locks, the less you’ll need to cut off the length and the better it will grow.
Of all the hair types, coily hair is seemingly the slowest to grow. That’s because it has the densest structure of all and is prone to shrinkage, which can make even the fastest-growing of locks look like they haven’t budged. Coily hair is also fragile and prone to dryness since it can be hard to circulate its natural oils. Taking care of this hair type with the right products is very important for encouraging length.
If you have coily hair, increase your moisturizing efforts with products like Function of Beauty’s custom co-wash, which is a cleansing conditioner proven to reduce breakage, nourish hair, and improve wellness and strength for coily and curly hair. Using this in combination with protective braided hairstyles meant to stretch hair can help you achieve the look of longer locks and give hair the healthy environment it needs to grow.
Maximize Your Hair Growth
How fast does hair grow? While the technical answer is about half an inch a month, hair growth has a lot to do with genetics, diet, cultural background, and specific hair type. Straight hair tends to have the most noticeable hair growth while coily hair appears to grow the slowest. But regardless of your hair type, using hydrating, smoothing, anti-breakage hair products will give your hair what it needs to encourage hair growth.
Looking for products to make your hair look fuller and less damaged? Take this hair quiz and fill out your custom hair profile. Then choose from five beauty goals including strengthen, hydrate, thermal protect, and lengthen to create your custom shampoo and conditioner formula. Best quiz ever!