Most people can expect their hair to grow about six inches each year, which boils down to about a half an inch each month. Various factors will impact an individual’s rate of hair growth. Some of these factors include genetics, age, and ethnicity.
How Hair Grows
The way our hair grows is pretty fascinating. A lot has to happen correctly to get hair growing, and new hair on your head. It is a bit scientific but interesting.
Your hair follicles have a root at the bottom of them. Those roots are made up of cells of proteins. The blood vessels in our scalp feed those cells. As the cells grow and multiply, so does your hair. As it grows, it is pushed through the skin (scalp), passing an oil gland along the way. Voila… hair.
All hair follows a natural growth cycle. Some hairs are resting while others are busy growing—even though it looks like all of your hair is growing simultaneously. As hair grows out of those tiny pockets called follicles, each strand of hair regrowth occurs in three stages:
- Anagen phase: An active growth phase of hair lasting between three to seven years. Anywhere from 18 to 30 inches of hair can be produced.
- Catagen phase: This transition phase takes place when the hair stops growing, lasting a short period of days to weeks.
- Telogen phase: A resting period that occurs when the hair falls out due to the follicle remaining inactive for three months then produces a new hair shaft.
These phases are mainly genetically determined. Ages vary for each one.
Most hair regrowth reaches about a half-inch a month, with variations of a quarter-inch to a half-inch. There are several factors making hair growth appear faster or slower. Hair that is dry or damaged may break off during the growth cycle, which creates the illusion the hair isn’t growing at all. Likewise, healthy hair can be lustrously thick, making it appear like you have a lot more strands than you actually do.
Variations of Hair Loss
With hair loss, how long it takes for hair regrowth back depends on the underlying cause. There are many causes for hair loss: medication-use, age, hormones, thyroid problems, autoimmune disorders, and genetics all play a part.
- Hereditary: With age, some follicles stop producing hair, which is typically permanent. Although, there may be ways you might be able to slow down the hair loss process
- Autoimmune: Conditions like, alopecia is when the immune system attacks, by mistake, hair follicles causing hair to fall out in small patches. Scalp psoriasis is when scaly red patches appear on the scalp causing temporary hair loss.
- Hormonal: For women, childbirth and menopause are two examples of hormonal changes in women that can cause temporary hair loss. While hair loss due to hormonal changes and imbalances is temporary, it is difficult to know when the hair will start growing back.
- Nutritional: A deficiency of certain nutrients in your diet can cause hair loss over time. While correcting this can lead to hair regrowth, it can take months for the hair to begin regrowing.
Through the anagen phase—the phase where hair is actively growing—genetics play a part in the process of hair growth. Genetics determines exactly how long the anagen phase lasts and when shedding will set it. This translates into how long hair will grow. Age is generally the biggest determinant in when genetics will take its toll on your hair growth. Having a predisposition for hair loss will become more prominent as time goes on, and it can also lead to age-related baldness.
The differences between the variations of hair across the different races can be visually determined, but there are also microscopic-level differences in the make-up as well. Based on the difference of follicles between the three types of hair: Caucasian, African American, and Asian, it is the shape of the follicles that dictates how each strand will grow.
- Caucasian hair: Comes in an array of textures, including straight, wavy, and curly. The follicles are slightly oval in shape, and Caucasian hair is the most dense of the racial variations. This type of hair can grow close to a half an inch in a month’s time.
- African American hair: The type of hair with the slowest rate of growth: just one-third of an inch per month of growth. The elliptical-shaped follicles are quite fragile and grow in a spiral.
- Asian hair: With its round follicles, this type of hair has the fastest growth rate, growing over half an inch a month. This hair type also has an array of texture.
With age, hair changes in several ways. It turns gray, loses its pigments, gets thinner, and can even start falling out. This is because the anagen phase becomes shorter as we age, which changes the amount of time hair is growing. As we age, our scalps also age. The mature scalp loses its effectiveness when it comes to health hair growth. To maintain hair regrowth during the aging process is to optimize both the scalp and hair follicles.
With hair regrowth, the diet should always be considered. Healthy regrowth of your hair will require that you get plenty of nutrition, which then infuses each strand from the inside since the blood is where those nutrients will come from. Here are some of the most important nutrients your hair will require:
- Zinc helps with protein production, balancing hormones, and how the hair attaches to the head. If you do not have enough zinc in your diet, you could wind up facing hair loss, dull hair, frizzy hair, and incredibly slow hair growth. If you need to boost your zinc, try eating bean sprouts, proteins from animals, red meats, and also seafood.
- Trace elements are vitamins and nutrients that help to promote the growth of hair from the inside. This includes Vitamins A and B, since they help to create keratin. Vitamin C helps to make collagen stronger, which makes your hair stronger. It also helps your body absorb more iron and makes your blood vessels tougher. Biotin, also known as Vitamin H, helps to stimulate hair to grow thicker and even stronger. Vitamin D helps improve hair growth by improving the function of your endocrine glands. Finally, Vitamin E boosts the skin of the scalp, which provides improved blood circulation.
- Water is also essential to hair growth, and when you get your daily amount, it allows your hair to grow stronger and faster.
In hot, humid climates, hair tends to grow more quickly. The key to hair growth is in the natural oils that the scalp produces. In warmer climates, the scalp produces more oils. Every time you brush your hair, these oils coat the hair shaft which conditions the hair helping you keep your strands healthy. This, in turn, encourages faster growth. Another theory is that In warmer climates, people are naturally more active, increasing our metabolism, which affects our hormonal cycles contributing to faster regrowth.
Shaving simply cuts the hair, and the root is not affected, allowing the follicles to remain intact, which is responsible for hair regrowth. Shaving off all of your hair results in blunt edges. These edges will give your hair the illusion of being thicker and darker. However, as your locks grow, the ends will begin to taper and get softer. It does give off the illusion of thicker hair while you are growing it back, however!
A pregnant woman may feel that her hair is rapidly growing while a woman who has recently given birth may feel like she is losing her hair at a much faster rate. Estrogen, a hormone in abundance during pregnancy, will cause more follicles to enter the growing phase. Many women notice their hair is thicker, but this extra fullness and body does not have any effect on the amount of time it takes hair to grow. This newfound thickness is the result of hormonal changes that prolong the anagen phase. Unfortunately, this also means that new mothers may notice an increase in hair shedding post-birth as they are losing their retained hair.
Encouraging Hair ReGrowth
While there are many useful and suggested ways of encouraging hair regrowth, it is vital to keep your hair healthy to prevent breakage while your hair goes through the three natural grown stages.
Protein is essential to hair growth. It protects your strands from both chemical damage and environmental damage. With styling or using heat on your hair, the addition of a protein treatment will protect your locks. Coconut oil is very beneficial as it helps reduce the amount of protein lost when washing your hair—before and after! Protein should ideally come from your diet instead of supplements. Make sure to eat plenty of protein-rich foods like yogurt, nuts, and leafy vegetables.
You may also want to consider products (shampoos, conditioners, and serums) that help encourage hair growth such as the Keranique Hair Regrowth System which include some of our favorite products to help you regrow your hair.
By adding essential oils to your shampoo, or using them as a treatment, it’s been suggested that these oils may prevent hair damage:
Coconut has so many good things going for it, there aren’t many reasons not to have coconut oil in your life. For the benefit of your hair, it contains anti-fungal and antibacterial properties, meaning it can inhibit bacterial growth, which can cause problems with your scalp, and interrupt the growing process. Coconut oil also contains lauric acid, which binds the protein in your hair, protecting the roots, and helping in the prevention of breakage.
Besides adding it to your shampoo, some people like to apply coconut oil to their hair after washing, and while it is still damp, then rinse off after 20 minutes. You can also put it on as an overnight treatment. Apply the oil from the roots down, then cover your hair with a shower cap while sleeping.
There is no oil that can make your hair grow faster, but coconut, with all of its wonderful properties, can help your hair look and feel healthy as new hair comes in.
Sunflower oil is a moisturizing, but lightweight oil, which makes it suitable for many hair types, since it won’t weigh you down. It is full of antioxidants because of it contains Vitamin E and sesamol. These antioxidants help protect your hair from free radicals in the environment, which can damage our hair.
The oleic acid found in sunflower oil is moisturizing, aiding in the prevention of hair breakage… a big enemy of our hair. Oleic acid is also known as an anti-inflammatory, relieving our bodies of inflammation. When it comes to our scalps, an anti-inflammatory means relief from an itchy scalp and dandruff.
Adding a few drops to your conditioner makes for a nice, lightweight extra conditioning treatment for your hair. You can also use sunflower oil as a hair mask overnight. If your scalp is itchy or you suffer from dandruff, massage a few drops into your scalp before bed. And because sunflower oil is one of the lighter weight oils, not weighing your hair down, you can rub a little through your dry hair to control frizzies.
Sunflower oil is a great option in getting your scalp healthy and helping new hair grow. It is also a good choice for those with fine or thinning hair.
Let’s not get too excited, but a 2016 study showed an actual improvement and an increase in hair growth on mice when lavender oil was massaged into their hair. Lavender is gentle and safe, so worth a try!
Like Sunflower oil, lavender has anti-inflammatory properties and has actually been used for many years to heal inflammation issues of the skin, and burns. So when it comes to scalp issues, like dandruff and other annoying itchy issues, lavender may be helpful. A healthy scalp is needed for healthy hair growth.
Lice have nothing to do with hair growth, however, it is worth noting that when mixed with tea tree oil, lavender may aid in the killing of lice. Helpful information to file away in case the kids ever bring that fun stuff home from school.
If you don’t invest in lavender oil for your hair, at least try it to relax at the end of the day. Lavender has long been known to promote a relaxing feeling when diffused in the air or applied to the skin or hair. Something about the scent of lavender makes people want to take a deep breath and chill out. We could all use a little of that.
For centuries, many women were told by grandma to drink a little castor oil to bring on labor. Yuck. Castor oil is a proven laxative… so drinking some would definitely bring on some cramps… but not necessarily the laborious type.
But who knew it might help hair growth. Although not proven, some people swear by it, saying after they regularly applied castor oil to their hair, it grew faster. As with many ideas, we can’t say for sure, but castor oil won’t hurt your hair, so if you are willing to give it a try, here is how to do it.
Castor oil isn’t light and pretty as some other essential oils. To apply it to your hair you are going to want to wear some disposable gloves and an old t-shirt that can be stained. Massage some of the oil into your scalp, then down through the rest of your hair. Add a shower cap with your hair tucked inside, and let it sit for two hours. Then remove the cap and wash and condition your hair like normal.
For centuries, the Mediterranean culture has enjoyed the benefits of rosemary as a hair rinse. It is said to promote hair growth because it improves circulation, has anti-inflammatory properties, and may promote nerve growth. That is some pretty good stuff.
Because it is improves circulation, the concept is that rosemary oil would help in the flow of blood to hair follicles, therefore stimulating hair growth. And as with other oils that have anti-inflammatory properties, rosemary can help in making a healthier scalp, which in turn gives us healthier hair growth.
Rosemary oil can be added to your regular shampoo or massaged directly into your scalp, to stimulate hair growth.
Sometimes hair loss is due to a lack of blood flow. This is why anything that can stimulate blood flow circulation is considered as a possible hair loss remedy. Peppermint oil is one of those possibilities. It is known as a vasodilator, which is a fancy word for improving blood flow.
Like some other essential oils, peppermint is antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory. Couple that with the fact that peppermint smells wonderful, opening up the sinuses, and creates a refreshing tingly effect on the scalp, and you’ve got a wonderful scalp treatment which may help promote hair growth at the same time.
Massage peppermint oil into your scalp by adding a few drops to massage oil. You can also drop a few drops directly into your shampoo or conditioner when washing your hair. Prepare to have your senses awakened by the wonderful smell of peppermint!
There are of course plenty of products, whether over the counter or prescribed. We recommend you speak with your doctor before trying any of those. The nice thing about essential oils is that they are natural and can be found at your health food store or ordered online.
Keep in mind that even when something is natural, it can cause a reaction in some people. Try new oils in a small amount at first to see how your scalp reacts. And if considering a new shampoo and conditioner to add your essential oils too, try Keranique. It contains high-quality ingredients and promotes scalp health.
Tips for healthy hair include:
- A well-balanced diet, preferably eating food that is high in protein, iron, and vitamin C.
- Physical health also dramatically affects the speed of hair regrowth. People who often suffer from stress or weak bodies also make it difficult for the hair to grow longer.
- In order to prevent breakage, regular salon visits are recommended.
- Avoid harsh chemicals and excessive heat on your hair and scalp.
- Scalp massages help to stimulate the hair follicles
- To seal the cuticles and strengthen hair, rinse it in cold water after shampooing
- Using recommended hair shampoo, conditioning products, and serums to ensure the hair is fed the nutrients it needs to grow.
The Keranique Hair Regrowth System
The Keranique system is designed to help women get fuller, thicker-looking hair while increasing hair manageability, volume, and fullness. Proven to repair, nurture, and have protecting qualities, the complete system includes:
- Revitalizing Shampoo
- Volumizing Conditioner
- Hair Regrowth Treatment
- Lift & Repair Treatment
Keranique is designed to help reverse hair loss in females by formulating their products to sync with the female body chemistry. You can be sure that you are doing what is right for your hair because of Keranique products.
The Bottom Line
The factors that determine hair growth are mostly out of your direct control. Improving your diet with proper nutrition is the best step to preventing thinning and loss of your strands. Stay properly hydrated and eat a nutrient-rich diet. If you are experiencing a significant amount of hair loss, make an appointment with your doctor to ensure there is not an underlying condition you should be aware of.
Here are some nutrition suggestions to improve hair health…
In case you haven’t noticed, the word protein is used several times in this article. That is because it is the building block of your hair. Your hair follicles are literally made of protein. No protein means thin, unhealthy hair, or worse yet… no hair. So where do you get this magical stuff, protein? You can start with breakfast.
Scrambled, fried, poached, or hard-boiled, eggs are packed with protein and a good friend to your hair.
Animal proteins found in meat, fish, and dairy are a great protein source for humans. For our vegetarian friends, replace animal proteins with tofu, nuts, even peanut butter.
Fruits and Veggies
We all know by now that antioxidants are great for our health, protecting us from free radicals. What we may forget sometimes is we want to protect our hair from free radicals also.
Plenty of vegetables are packed with these wonderful antioxidants, such as berries, spinach, and avocados. Try getting a variety of fruits and vegetables, especially the dark ones. Dark greens and dark purples are usually a giveaway for a fruit or vegetable being packed with high nutrition.
Don’t like to eat your fruits and veggies? Invest in a great juicer or blender for smoothies. You will be amazed at the way you can blend up fresh spinach with a blender full of berries, and never taste the spinach. Your hair will love absorbing all of those wonderful vitamins!
Cool, Clear Water
Is there anything water isn’t good for? Not really. Drink it up. If you find water too boring, just squeezing some fresh lemon juice into it can make quite a difference. Try keeping water on hand all day so you can drink it whenever you are thirsty. We get so busy with work and other things in life, it can be easy to go for hours without water. When you do, your hair is being deprived of moisture.
Staying on track with a healthy diet can be very difficult. We all struggle with it. How can we not when we are bombarded on every corner with fast food options?
Eating healthy is a wonderful choice, especially for healthy hair growth. Take small steps if making a healthy change in your diet seems overwhelming. After noticing changes in your hair after adding just a little change, you may be encouraged to keep going.
The same goes for trying things like essential oils for your hair. It seems like we already have so many steps to our beauty routines. Can we really handle another? As you try things like a natural oil, you may find you enjoy such a wonderful, aromatic, and natural treatment, that you begin eliminating some other steps in your routine, making room for your new natural options.
Good luck on your healthy hair journey. It is the only hair you have, and definitely worth being taken care of. The good news is, as you implement some of these healthy ideas, your entire body will benefit, not just your hair. Replacing the chemicals and junk food in our lives, with healthier, organic, and natural products, can only make our lives more beautiful.