Enjoy free shipping today! Enter code SHIPHLV at checkout.

Your cart is empty.

BACK TO BLOG

5 min read

Root health basics: growth phases

Root health basics: growth phases

Growing long, beautiful hair takes time and care. If you’ve been following our journey, you’ve learned that your scalp plays a vital role in creating a fertile environment for your hair to grow. It’s now time to look at where that growth starts—the root.

The root of it all

Hair follicles are formed while in the womb. That’s right! You had all the makings for a full head of hair before you were even born. The follicle is what houses the hair shaft—the part of the root that rests just above the surface of your skin.

There are typically about five million hair follicles on your body and while one million of those are on your head, only about a hundred thousand are on your scalp—making up that gorgeous head of hair.

It’s amazing that no matter how big we get, we still have the same number of hair follicles from the day we were born. As we age, our skulls grow, our scalps stretch and our hair follicles naturally space out. That’s why young children always seem to have such thick, full hair.

Hair growth cycles

Human hair grows at a rate of about half an inch a month and each strand goes through three stages of growth. Because human hair is constantly growing, there are strands in every phase of growth at all times.

Animal shedding, on the other hand, is very different, as animals go through seasonal hair changes. Even though it might feel like it sometimes, people do not actually “shed.” You may, however, feel like you’re losing more hair at certain times and this could simply be due to more of your hair going through the final, telogen stage at once.

There are many, perfectly natural reasons for losing a lot of hair at once, but first, let’s look deeper into the three stages of hair growth.

Anagen. Also known as the “growing” period, the anagen stage is the longest of the three and typically lasts several years. In contrast to the hair on your scalp, your eyebrows and eyelashes have very short anagen phases, days versus years, which explains why they’re so much shorter.

Genetics can play a large role in how long the anagen stage lasts, as well as the condition of your scalp and overall health.

Let’s do a little math here. If you have a shorter anagen cycle of two years or less, and hair typically grows six inches a year—you can theoretically grow twelve inches of hair at that time.

That means someone with an anagen cycle of eight years could potentially grow hair four times that length! Of course, this is just illustrative, but as you can see, if you want to grow really long and lush hair, you’ll need to naturally have a longer anagen cycle or find a way to extend your current one.

Catagen. The “resting” phase of hair growth is called the catagen phase. This is the time where your hair is transitioning from anagen and growth to telogen and shedding. The time period for this is very short and only lasts a couple of weeks.

During catagen, all hair growth has stopped. The outer root sheath then adheres to the root of the hair to become what is known as “club hair” because of the club shape it forms.

It’s completely normal to see a few club hairs in your brush as opposed to broken hairs, and can even help you determine if you’re shedding hair naturally or if it’s breaking prematurely.

If you feel like you’re seeing too many club hairs in your brush or on your pillow, then there might be another culprit. Big changes in your life that cause stress can abruptly force your growing hair into the telogen phase. This is called telogen effluvium and leads us into the third and final phase of hair growth.

Telogen. When your hair is done resting it enters the “shedding” or telogen phase. During this phase, your club hair will fall out or “shed.” You can tell it’s club hair by the dry, white “club” at the ends.

As mentioned before, abrupt shedding or telogen effluvium is not permanent hair loss, but a temporary issue typically related to a severe shock to the body or a traumatic event. Even going on a crash diet can be enough of a shock to cause this to happen. The key takeaway is that it’s a disruption in the hair cycle, but not the end of it.

Once the hair has fallen out, the anagen cycle will begin again and new hair will begin to grow. You can help give your new hair a healthy start by adding a product like Hair La Vie’s I Repair, Fortify & Grow to your haircare regimen.

Final thoughts

Knowing the three stages of hair growth gives you a deeper understanding of how your hair functions and how incredibly vital the anagen phase is.

If you’re losing a lot of what appears to be club hair, then there’s a chance you’re in telogen effluvium, especially if there’s been a big change in your life recently. The good news is your hair will grow back—it just takes time and sometimes, the right products.

If you’re losing hair from breakage, then you might have something else going on. Our Q&A article Growing Longer, Healthier Hair could have the answers you need to stop the breakage and grow hair that’s healthy and long.

At Hair La Vie, we know that your hair is an integral part of how you present yourself to the world and shape your authentic style.

Join our private Facebook Community for a safe, human-moderated space to share your Hair Journey, discover new natural beauty, and take steps towards becoming “you” with the help of an understanding, supportive community.

Join now for instant access to livestreams, discussions, and exclusive access to new products!

  • Foundation Freedom Giveaway Banner
  • Check out our Facebook Group!

    JOIN THE GROUP

    At Hair La Vie, we know that your hair is an integral part of how you present yourself to the world and shape your authentic style.

    Join our private Facebook Community for a safe, human-moderated space to share your Hair Journey, discover new natural beauty, and take steps towards becoming “you” with the help of an understanding, supportive community.

    Join now for instant access to livestreams, discussions, and exclusive access to new products!

    JOIN THE GROUP