Hair Growth Cycle: 4 Stages of Growth and More!

Who doesn’t love his or her hair? I think everyone. Even me. We all are captivated by our hair. But only loving your hair isn’t enough. Usually, you must have gone through many myths spread about it. Do you believe in them?

Honestly, I don’t. Many depend on saving customary hair arrangements for a trim, while others avoid scissors.

So, today, in this guide, we’ll dive into the vast topic- Hair Growth Cycle.

1. Parts of the Hair

Our hair is made up of two parts-  follicles and hair shafts.

1.1. The Follicles

The hair follicles are subdivided into four major parts: hair bulb, dermal papilla, arrector pili muscle, and sebaceous glands.

The hair follicle is a passage like a portion of the epidermis that stretches down into the dermis. The structure contains a few layers that all have separate capacities.

Parts of the Hair

The papilla is at the base of the follicle, which contains vessels or little veins supporting the cells. The living piece of the hair is the base part encompassing the papilla, called the bulb.

The cells of the bulb partition each 23 to 72 hours, surprisingly quicker than some other cells in the body.

  • Hair Bulb– It has a semi-curved shape beneath the scalp. The round structure helps it to get locked by the Dermal Papilla.
  • Dermal Papilla– Precisely, Dermal Papilla is also found beneath the scalp. The cone-moulded acme is available at the base of your hair follicle. It finds its way into the hair bulb and holds it. The dermal papilla is associated with the blood vessels.
  • Arrector Pili Muscle– This muscle causes goosebumps when it contracts. It can be found at the base of the hair follicle.
  • Sebaceous Glands– These glands are responsible for secreting sebum from your hair as oil glands are directly connected to the follicles.

1.2. The Hair Shafts

This is the visible part of the hair that grows outside the scalp. They are made up of Keratin and protected by a layer called ‘cuticle.’ This protein is, in reality, dead, so the hair that you see is certainly not a living structure.

The internal layer is the medulla. The subsequent layer is the cortex, and the external layer is the fingernail skin. The fingernail skin is a firmly shaped structure made of shingle-like covering scales.

The cortex and the medulla hold the hair’s shade, giving it its tone. Following are some parts of the hair shafts.

  • Cuticle– Beginning from the outermost layer, the cuticle is the hair’s protective layer, as we read. A strong and unified layer leads to shine and smoothness in your hair.
  • Cortex– Now comes the middle layer. The protein present in the cortex is liable for the flexibility and shade of your hair.
  • Medulla– The innermost layer of your hair is present only in the thick hairs.

2. Hair Growth Cycle: Ultimate Life Span Of Hair

The hair growth cycle begins like the development of an infant. A baby has the entirety of its hair follicles shaped. At this phase of your hair and life, there are around 5 million hair follicles on the body.

There is a sum of 1,000,000 on the head, with 100,000 of those follicles dwelling on the scalp. This is the biggest number of hair follicles a human will have since we don’t create new hair follicles throughout our lives.

The hair on the scalp develops around 0.3 to 0.4 mm/day or around 6 inches each year. In contrast to different vertebrates, human hair development and shedding are irregular,1 not occasional or repetitive.

Many people will see that scalp hair thickness is diminished as they develop from adolescence to adulthood.

The life span of the hair, which means hair growth stages, is divided into Four essential sections- Anagen Phase, Catagen Phase, Telogen Phase and Exogen Phase.

2.1. Anagen Phase – The Growing Stage

The Anagen Phase is the beginning of the cycle when your hair starts growing from the follicle root.

Generally, this phase is the longest phase of the four. It takes about three to five years to grow hair.

During this stage, the hair develops around 1 cm at regular intervals. Scalp hair remains in this dynamic period of development for two to six years.

However, the time varies from person to person. For some people, it takes seven or more than seven years. Like eyebrows and pubic areas, some parts of the body go through a short period of the Anagen Phase.

In this stage, the hair grows up to 18 to 30 inches long.

2.2. Catagen Phase – The Modulation Phase

With the termination of the Anagen Phase starts the Catagen phase. As per the heading, this is a transitional phase that ends in two to three weeks.

In this temporary stage, hair quits developing and withdraws itself from the blood gracefully and is then named a club hair. During the catagen stage, the hair follicle reestablishes itself by contracting to 1/6 of its length, and the papilla rests.

The catagen stage is momentary, and about 3% of all hairs are in this stage.

Natural Hair Growth Cycle: Explainer Video On Anagen, Catagen & Telogen Phases

2.3. Telogen Phase – The Dormant Period

The telogen stage ordinarily keeps going for around 3 months.

An expected 10 to 15 percent of your scalp hair is in this stage. Hair doesn’t develop during the telogen stage; however, they don’t, as a rule, drop out by the same token.

Likewise, the telogen stage is when new hair begins to grow in follicles that have recently delivered hairs during the catagen stage.

2.4. Exogen Phase- The Sloughing Era

Finally, the hair reaches the last stage of the hair growth cycle, which instantly sheds hair while brushing or washing. This phase lasts for 3 to 5 months and leads to 50-100 hair falls per day.

During this phase, the old hair is lost, and new hair grows.

3. Split Ends

3.1. What Causes Split Ends?

All hair types have to suffer from split ends, whether due to genes or other ethnic reasons. It can be caused due to the weather, water quality, or the product you are using for your hair.

3.2. Prevention From Split Ends

Having weak hair shafts results in split ends2 and splits the hair-like fibres.

  • Regular oiling can help your hair to get proper nourishment 3and smoothness.
  • Rubbing your hairs against each other weakens the cuticles and often causes the breakage of hair into fibres. Stop rubbing it roughly. Instead, press or dab it gently with your hands and towels.
  • Heating for long is also a culprit for having split ends. So, find out other natural methods despite heating. Other methods include using Flexi rods for curling and low-flame dryers in place of straightening machines.

4. Maintenance Tips

All of us desire healthy and nourished hair. So, why not start today?

Here are some of the basic guiding tips for you that you can follow during the four stages.

4.1. Choose a Product that Suits You

Haircare starts with the right hair products. Avoid using hair products erratically. Use one that suits your hair texture.

4.2. Healthy Diet Leads to Healthy Hair Growth

Because our hair are a buildup of protein4, so you need to focus on your protein intake. Protein filled diet includes beans, fish, eggs, Dairy products, etc. This will lead to a healthy hair growth cycle.

4.3. Oiling is a Must

Make oiling your routine work. From increasing the volume of your hair to upgrading the strength and smoothness.


The four periods of hair development incorporate anagen, catagen, telogen, and exogen5. Each stage goes on for an alternate period.

A solid way of life of low pressure, an appropriate eating regimen, and delicate hair care should help advance sound hair development for quite a while.

Suppose you accept that you’re losing your hair at a quicker rate than you’re utilized to; talk with a specialist. A hidden condition that is disturbing the phases of hair development might be to be faulted. Treating it immediately may help moderate balding and safeguard the solid hair you have left.

Best 8 Vitamins Minerals That Support Hair Growth
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  1. Milner, Yoram, et al. “Exogen, shedding phase of the hair growth cycle: characterization of a mouse model.” Journal of Investigative Dermatology 119.3 (2002): 639-644. ↩︎
  2. Schlake, Thomas. “Determination of hair structure and shape.” Seminars in cell & developmental biology. Vol. 18. No. 2. Academic Press, 2007. ↩︎
  3. Mehta, Manpreet. Beauty is in the Skin. Vol. 1. Rudra Publications. ↩︎
  4. Often, How. “Microscopic Hair Analysis.” ↩︎
  5. Milner, Yoram, et al. “Exogen, shedding phase of the hair growth cycle: characterization of a mouse model.” Journal of Investigative Dermatology 119.3 (2002): 639-644. ↩︎

Last Updated on by Sathi Chakraborty, MSc Biology


Tripti Bhainsora

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