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Hair Growth Cycles: All About Curly Hair Growth
Many naturalistas think that hair growth is largely determined by the products they use, or the protective styles they choose to rock.
And while the aforementioned factors do affect hair growth, the most important determining factor is the rate of hair growth that’s unique to your hair’s growth cycle.
Continue reading to learn about what a hair growth cycle is and how you can improve the quality of each cycle to support healthy hair growth!
What’s a Hair Growth Cycle?
Every single hair strand on your head goes through a hair growth cycle. The cycle consists of four key stages: anagen, catagen, telogen, and the exogen phase.
Let’s break down what happens in each (Cobb):
- Anagen (growing phase): During this phase, your hair follicles are pushing out hairs that will continue to grow until they’re cut or until they reach the end of their lifespan and fall out. This stage lasts anywhere from three to seven years. During this stage, your hair grows at an average of 0.5 inches.
- Catagen (transition phase): This phase lasts around ten days, and at this stage, the hair detaches from the bottom of the hair follicle, and essentially stops growing. This phase acts as a stimulus for the next stage in the hair growth cycle.
- Telogen (resting phase): In this phase, hair is “resting” in the skin, meaning that hair doesn’t grow in this phase, nor fall out. This phase typically lasts around three months, and this phase is also marked by new hairs forming within the follicle that have just been released during the catagen phase.
- Exogen (shedding phase): At this stage in the hair growth cycle, which lasts around two to five months and is an extension of the telogen phase, hair strands shed and new hairs begin their anagen period (simultaneously). Typically, people lose around 50-100 hairs/day due to those hairs being in the exogen phase.
Before we give you our best tips and tricks for a healthy hair growth cycle, it is important to note that topical treatments or products do not have the ability to increase the rate at which your hair grows.
According to Cobb, “Each phase has its own timeline, which can be affected by age, genetics, nutrition, and overall health.”
However, there are steps that you can take to optimize a hair growth cycle and promote the events occurring within each stage.
Tip #1: Maintain a Balanced Diet
Diet is a critical component for healthy bodily processes. (It would make sense that the quality of foods we put into our body would correlate to the quality with which our body carries out key functions like hair growth.) Since hair is made-up of mostly protein, it is recommended that your diet is protein-rich, from animal products such as low-fat dairy, lean meats, as well as plant-based sources like legumes, vegetables, wheat, and beans.
Pro tip: Increasing your daily water intake and supplementing a balanced diet with vitamin D, omega-3 fatty acids, and iron will also support your body’s natural hair growth rate.
Tip #2: Establish a Growth Promoting Hair Care Routine
Natural hair care routine is critical for creating the optimal environment for hair to grow! And as always, healthy hair growth starts with a healthy scalp.
When your scalp is shampooed or clarified regularly, you reduce the amount of product buildup, dead cells, and oils that may be hindering the shedding and regrowth process. (Check out our blog post HERE on the best shampoo and conditioning routine for your curly hair!)
Similarly to maintaining a protein-rich diet, hair growth is also supported by the use of topical products that are infused with proteins like keratin, as well as by products that contain moisturizing ingredients. Naturally curly hair requires a balanced mix of protein and moisture to lubricate the kinks and curls of the hair strand as it grows out of the follicle. To maintain this balance, opt for using moisturizing deep conditioners on a weekly to bi-weekly basis, and a rich protein masque once or twice a month.
Pro tip: Choose to include growth-promoting hair products into your routine, such as deep conditioners, protein masks, and nourishing hair oils like avocado, jojoba, or coconut oil.
Tip #3: Reduce Stress
Stress causes significant harm to your body, and often manifests in drastic ways that encompass all bodily functions—including hair growth.
Stress can induce conditions like telogen effluvium, which “causes a large number of hair follicles to suddenly shift from the growing phase to the resting phase,” with increased shedding occurring in the weeks shortly after the time of trauma (Canyon Ranch).
Following the aforementioned tips will help to keep your tressess growing smoothly and stress-free!
What are your best hair care and hair growth tips? Let us know and follow our blog for more!