There are 4 stages in the hair growth cycle, each resulting in growth, shedding or resting. Of course, you will want to lengthen the growth phase and keep the resting phase as short as possible. To keep your hair full, thick and shiny, it’s important to gain a basic understanding.
Stage 1 in the hair growth cycle: Anagen
This is when the hair grows about 1/2 inch every 28 days, and cells are dividing. But how long does hair remain in this cycle? Everyone is different, but one thing’s for sure: You want to stay in that phase as long as possible — and stress, hormone imbalance, medications, poor diet, sudden weight loss, aging and even over-styling can shorten it. It’s good to remember that the hair follicle is actually a mini-organ with its own biological clock that, when out of balance or attacked in any way, can disrupt hair production. The follicle is nourished by the blood vessels and, when they’re clogged or when circulation is compromised in any way, hair won’t be able to grow.
Stage 2 in the hair growth cycle: Catagen
This is an approximately two-week period at the end of the Anagen phase. During this period, follicles detach from the blood vessels and blood supply is cut off. Club hairs, which are often those little short, colorless ones, simply stop growing (some people refer to them as ‘dead hairs’).
Stage 3 in the hair growth cycle: Telogen
This is typically a 3-month period when the follicle “rests” before starting the Anagen phase again. Stay too long, or start too early, and you’ll see noticeable thinning. Unfortunately sometimes the scalp will be unhealthy and hair will stay longer in the Telogen (resting) stage.
This is known as Telogen Effluviam and results in severe daily shedding for long periods. So make sure to nourish your scalp by eating a healthy diet, practicing stress management, and getting plenty of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and substances such as essential amino acids (the building blocks of protein), and plant-based adaptogens.
Stage 4 in the hair growth cycle: Exogen
This is just an extension of the “resting period.” Dead hair will shed, and new hair simultaneously starts to grow. You’ll probably shed 50-100 hairs per day during this phase, and that’s normal, as long as you don’t stay too long. Make sure to keep your scalp healthy and nourished and reduce negative internal and external triggers such as stress, smoking, and environmental toxins.