Ever wondered how fast it takes for your hair to grow especially when you have cut it down to as low as a buzz cut? It’s difficult to not have such thoughts if your social media feed pops up with trendy hair braiding styles or something around that.
Research from the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) says that hair grows about half an inch on a monthly average. And, this amounts to hair growth of 6 inches per year.
It’s common to see people, especially women, buy hair care products like serums to speed up hair growth. Sometimes, it seems the products are not working and your hair looks stunted. You should know that it is not always about hair care products.
So, I have put this article together to show you proven tips that you need to put to work, together, to get your hair to grow well and at a faster growth rate.
Factors That Affect Hair Growth
Hair growth is determined by fixed and variable factors. A hair colorist, Stephanie Brown says, “the speed at which your hair grows is determined by genetics but there are other factors that can affect the growth rate.”
The other factors include:
- Gender; male hair usually grows faster than female hair
- Diet and overall health
- Haircare routine and products
- Scalp health
- Diseases and medications
- Hormonal fluctuations
- Environmental pollution
- Climate changes
Stages of Hair Growth
AAD reveals that from birth we have the total number of hair follicles we’ll ever have in our lifetime. However, hair growth from these follicles does not happen all at once.
That is to say, at certain points, some amount of hair will go through one of any of the four stages of hair growth. These stages include: anagen, catagen, telogen, and exogen.
This stage of hair growth is usually called the hair’s active phase. It is characterized by hair growth of 1cm every 28 days. The anagen phase lasts from around 3-5 years of a person’s lifetime.
In this active phase, the cells in your hair root rapidly divide and new hair is formed. This newly formed strand usually replaces a strand that is no more in the anagen stage.
The relevance of this stage to hair growth is this; long hair like the scalp hair indicates a long active phase of hair growth. And, short hair like the eyebrows, eyelashes, and hairs on the arms and legs is a sign of a short active phase.
Catagen is the intermediate or translational phase of hair growth. Usually, about 5% of the total hairs go through this phase at any given time. This is the stage where growth stops and the sheath covering the outer root shrinks and binds to the hair root; this forms a club hair.
This transitional, shrinking, and sow growth stage lasts up to 2-3 weeks.
This is the semi-final and resting phase of hair growth. About 10-15% of the human hairs are in this phase at any given time and it lasts for up to 100 days for the scalp hairs. On the other hand, it could take longer for shorter body hairs.
During telogen, the hair follicle is at rest and the club hair from catagen is completely formed. The hairs neither fall out nor continue to grow.
Exogen is the final stage of hair growth where the hair from telogen that has stopped growing falls off or sheds from the scalp. This happens as you wash, comb, or brush your hair. Every day, 25-100 hairs from the exogen phase are shed.
Proven Tips for Faster and Healthy Hair Growth
The average hair growth rate may not seem to amount to much. However, certain practices can help you maintain steady hair growth.
“Hair growth takes time, and while you don’t have much control over how fast it will grow, you do have control over the health of your hair and scalp – both of which are key factors to helping your hair grow in stronger and healthier”, explains Lulu Pierre, founder of Boho Locs.
She further adds that you can make your hair grow at a faster rate but not overnight. Hair growth requires some work and a great deal of patience for you to see results. Practice these proven tips and get results:
1. Adopt a Healthy and Balanced Diet
Healthy hair largely depends on your overall health. Just like what you eat nourishes your skin and muscles; it also nourishes your scalp. And, a healthy scalp equals healthy hair.
You should consume a diet rich in protein and biotin. Biotin, vitamin H, is responsible for the metabolism of amino acids, the building blocks of protein. Hair is made of keratin and so its synthesis is dependent on how much protein and biotin you consume.
Protein and biotin-rich foods include eggs, nuts (pecan, walnuts, and peanuts), milk, cheese, pork, cooked liver, avocado, and salmon, among many others. Also, you can ingest biotin supplements.
Moreover, protein protects your hair from environmental toxins that could damage your strands.
2. Use Hair Vitamins
Hair trichologists say stress and trauma could be responsible for vitamin deficiency and; consequent slow hair growth. The body naturally salvages nutrients by diverting them from one body part to another; the hair is usually the cut-off nutrients recipient.
So, if this happens, you should get vitamins supplements that will foster hair growth. These supplements work to nourish existing hair and restore already thinning hair.
However, if you are using other medications, you should consult your doctor before taking vitamins supplements. This way, no medication interrupts the activity of another.
3. Use Caffeine-Infused Hair Products
Caffeine is a good follicle stimulator. It helps to grow your hair longer. Dermatologist Dhaval Bhanusali explains that caffeine stimulates blood flow to your scalp and simultaneously inhibits the synthesis of DHT, the hormone that causes alopecia.
Although it could take up to three months before you see visible results from using caffeinated hair care products. In the long run, you’ll be glad you did. There are caffeinated shampoos and different conditioners that you can try.
4. Cut Down on Too frequent Shampooing
Afro-textured hair type is not made for too frequent shampooing. If you used to wash your hair daily, it could be the reason why you have split ends and hair breakage. It starts by stripping your hair of its natural oils and exposing it to dryness.
So, reduce washing to twice a week and if your hair gets greasy, do a mid-week co-wash. Also, when you wash your hair, do not rinse with hot water. Hot water strips your hair of moisture and weakens your hair strands. So, you should use warm or cold water.
On one hand, warm water opens up your follicles. On the other hand, your follicles shouldn’t stay open. Otherwise, you could be saying hello to frizz.
5. Regularly Condition Your Hair
The two original purposes for which we use conditioners after shampoo still stand. After shampoo, apply conditioner to your strands to protect them from frizz and breakage. Moreover, conditioning restores hair lipids and proteins to the hair shaft.
This way, your hair is protected against damage and split ends which are one of the characteristics of hair loss. A conditioner like SheaMoisture Strengthen, Grow & Restore Conditioner keeps your hair moisturized and makes detangling easy.
In addition, treat your hair to deep conditioning with hair masks for faster and steady hair growth. SheaMoisture Rehydration Treatment Masque contains coconut and organic shea oils that rehydrate, smooth, and add shine to your hair.
6. Take Hair Growth Supplements
Minoxidil (Rogaine) is an OTC medication that is approved by the U.S Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to work for hair loss and growth. The chemistry behind this drug is that it allows oxygen, blood, and nutrients to flow to the follicles and stimulate hair growth.
However, rogaine may have side effects on different people. It could be skin irritations and/ or hair growth on other parts of the body like the face and cheeks. So, before use, make sure you consult a dermatologist or your doctor.
7. Use Essential Hair Growth Oils
Hair growth oils like castor, peppermint, and rosemary oils have proven to foster hair growth and repair thinning hair. These oils have both anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties. They also help restore moisture to your hair after washing.
Once or twice a week, gently massage your scalp using any of these oils and allow your hair to enjoy the show of TLC. They stimulate blood circulation to your hair follicles and as a result, enhance hair growth.
In addition, you can massage your scalp using the inversion method. The inversion method is done by hanging your head between your legs while you sit on a chair. Then, use your fingertips to massage any of these oils into your scalp.
8. Frequently Trim Your Hair
When your hair grows and you can’t stop loving the length and thickness, remember that the ends are naturally prone to splits and breakage. To salvage this, trim the weak, frayed ends.
Otherwise, your hair will thin and most likely not grow beyond a certain length. Experts recommend that you get these trims every 3-4 months of consistent hair growth.
9. Reconsider Bleaching Your Hair
Bleaching your hair may actually be beautiful and trendy but if you truly want long and healthy hair, you have to make a choice. These chemicals open up your cuticles to frizz, split ends, and eventual hair damage.
The process of dyeing hair alters the texture and puts undue stress on your hair. This is what causes the split ends you notice on your colored hair.
10. Avoid Heat Styling
Heat damages hair strands. Hairstyles that involve heat styling could be beautiful and simple but they actually aren’t doing your strands much good.
In addition, Lulu advises that if you must use heat styling tools like hair straighteners or curling wands, you should use a hair protectant before styling.
11. Gently Brush and Detangle Your Hair
Brushing and combing your hair helps to distribute your natural hair oils. Also, it helps to detangle knots and curls. However, when you do either of these, you should be very gentle. Tugging at your hair will only cause physical damage to your strands.
Most importantly, extra care needs to be taken when you brush or detangle wet hair. This is when your hair is most susceptible to damage. Gently start working from the bottom of your scalp up to the end of your hair shaft.
12. Replace Cotton With Silk
Replace your cotton bedcovers with silk materials. Silk or satin protects your hair from the friction between your hair and the pillowcase as you turn involuntarily when you sleep.
Also, wear a silk or satin head bonnet over your hair before you go to bed. This ensures your hair gets the necessary ventilation it needs at night.
13. Wear Protective Hairstyles
Protective hairstyles like braids keep your hair hidden from environmental damage for up to 8 weeks. And, if you like to wear a bun or ponytail, try to not tie it up too tight. You should also rotate the position to balance the strength of your strands.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. At what age does hair grow the fastest?
Between the ages of 15 and 30, you’re most likely to experience faster hair growth. After that phase of life, hair growth slows down because the hair follicles have aged and androgen (a hormone that stimulates hair growth) levels also drop.
2. How do I know my hair is growing?
The first sign of growing hair is fine and short baby hairs on your scalp. But, you’ll have to look carefully to notice them. Also, your hair will feel stronger, fuller, and softer.
When you feel these signs, avoid scratching or brushing your hair otherwise you might just pull them out.
3. Can rice water make my hair grow?
Yes, it can. Rice water is a recommended home DIY to foster hair growth and prevent your hair from falling. It contains carbohydrates, amino acids, and vitamins B, C & E that enhance hair regrowth.
To use rice water for hair growth, use it as a conditioner after shampooing, leave for a few minutes rinse off with warm water.
There is no magic wand to help you grow your hair overnight as we tend to believe. Hair growth requires that you put in work and have patience with your hair. You should also remember that there are certain factors like genetics that you can’t alter.
However, if you practice a good hair care routine and use the right products on your hair, every day will be a hair day. Also, your diet greatly affects your hair and scalp health. So, you probably want to reconsider your restrictive eating plan.
Most importantly, no hair concern is too irrelevant for consultation with your doctor.
Thanks for reading.
Check Africana Fashion for relevant hair care articles.