Whether you've just gotten a bad haircut or experienced hair loss due to medical treatments or conditions, you might wonder, "How long does it take for hair to grow back?"
We wish we could give you an exact timeline, but the answer isn't always straightforward, as hair growth can vary depending on several factors, such as age, genetics, diet, and overall health.
However, understanding the basics of hair growth can help you better navigate and manage your hair goals. And that's what we're here to do with this guide! We'll explore the science behind hair growth and tips for promoting healthy growth.
Factors Influencing Hair Growth
Have you ever wondered why some people have long, luscious locks while others struggle to grow their hair past their shoulders? The truth is the process of hair growth is highly complex and multifactorial.
So, before we can answer the question of how long it takes for hair to grow back, it's important to understand the various factors that influence hair growth.
First and foremost, genetics play a significant role in determining how quickly and how much hair a person can grow.
We inherit our hair type, texture, and growth patterns from our parents, meaning some people may be predisposed to grow hair more quickly or slowly than others.
Some medical conditions that affect hair growth can also be inherited genetically, such as androgenetic alopecia.
As we age, our hair naturally becomes thinner and more brittle, making it more difficult for hair to reach a longer hair length. This is largely because the rate of hair growth slows down as we get older (and part of why it's so much easier to keep up with short hairstyles as we age).
How much hair loss can you expect, though, and at what age? It varies from one person to the next. Typically, though, after age 30, most people's hair growth rate decreases by about 10% each decade.
Hormones also impact your hair growth rate, particularly in women. The androgen hormones, such as testosterone, can accelerate hair growth in men and cause hair loss in women with conditions like polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).
Additionally, estrogen levels can affect the health and strength of hair, particularly during pregnancy and menopause.
Diet and Lifestyle
Finally, diet and lifestyle habits can impact hair growth. A well-balanced diet rich in vitamins and minerals like iron, zinc, and biotin can help promote strong, healthy hair growth.
Conversely, a diet lacking essential nutrients can lead to hair thinning and breakage. Stress, lack of sleep, and other lifestyle factors can also contribute to hair loss and slow growth.
How Long Does It Take for Hair to Grow Back?
What if none of the factors above seem to apply to you? How long does it take for hair to grow back then?
In this case, it's helpful to understand the hair growth cycle and what can impact it, as the answer to your question might be as simple as waiting for the cycle to complete and giving your hair time to grow naturally.
The hair growth cycle has three phases: anagen, catagen, and telogen. Some cycles mention a fourth phase (exogen), the shedding phase. However, this is simply a "return to anagen" phase, so we're going to focus on the main three stages of the cycle.
The anagen phase is the active growth phase that lasts two to seven years, depending on genetics and other factors, such as hormones and nutrition. During this phase, the hair follicle cells divide rapidly, and the hair shaft extends from the scalp. The longer the anagen phase, the longer the hair can grow.
The catagen phase is the transitional phase that lasts for about two weeks. During this phase, the hair follicle shrinks, and the hair stops growing. The hair follicle also detaches from the scalp, preparing for the next phase.
The telogen phase is the resting phase that lasts for about three months. During this phase, the hair follicle remains inactive, and the hair shaft is pushed out by a new hair growing from beneath. This shedding process is called exogen, and losing about 50 to 100 hairs per day is normal.
It's essential to note that not all hair follicles go through the same phase simultaneously. Hair growth is a continuous cycle; each follicle operates independently from the neighboring ones. That's why we don't lose all our hair at once, and new hair can grow while other hair is shedding.
How Long Is the Hair Growth Cycle?
Given the hair growth cycle's complexity, it's challenging to determine how long it takes for hair to grow back fully.
Human hair grows about half an inch (1.25 cm) per month or six inches (15 cm) per year. However, this rate can vary depending on various factors, such as the ones mentioned above, including:
- Hormonal changes
Generally, it takes about six to twelve months to grow out a pixie haircut, assuming your hair grows half an inch per month. Meanwhile, it may take up to two years or more to grow out hair lost due to alopecia or chemotherapy, as the hair follicles may need time to heal and regenerate.
Now, what if you've given your hair time to grow back after one of the biggest haircut mistakes of your life and aren't noticing much growth? Hair growth can be affected by several factors beyond genetics and health conditions. Often, however, these factors are things you can control and improve.
Using flat irons, curling irons, or blow dryers frequently can damage hair and lead to breakage. This can also contribute to slow growth as damaged hair takes longer. Using a heat protectant and reducing the frequency of heat styling can help prevent further damage and promote faster hair growth.
Frequent Hair Coloring
Chemical treatments like hair dyes and bleaches can cause significant hair damage. Frequent coloring can lead to:
- Hair thinning
- Excessive breakage
- Hair loss
In addition, harsh chemicals in these treatments can damage the scalp and slow hair growth. Limiting hair color treatments or using ammonia-free and gentle hair color can protect hair and promote growth.
If you prefer long hairstyles, you're likely used to regularly putting your hair up in a braid, bun, or ponytail. While easier than wearing it down, these hairstyles can pull hair tightly and stress hair follicles, leading to breakage and hair loss.
This can also slow hair growth and make it difficult for the hair to regain its thickness. It's essential to give your hair a break from tight hairstyles regularly and switch up hairstyles for better hair growth.
Exposure to extreme weather conditions such as wind, sun, and cold can weaken hair and prevent it from growing. Air pollution and excess humidity can also cause hair to become brittle and dry, making it more prone to breakage.
Protecting the hair from harsh environmental conditions is essential to keep it healthy (especially during cold winters or excessively hot summers). Try wearing hats, using protective hair products, and avoiding prolonged exposure.
Finally, it's worth reiterating that stress can contribute to hair loss, thinning, and slow hair growth. When the body is under stress, it releases hormones that can interrupt the normal growth cycle of hair. Managing stress through exercise, meditation, and self-care can help promote healthy hair growth.
Promoting Healthy Hair Growth
If you're looking to grow your hair quickly, there are a few things you can do to promote healthy hair growth.
First, focus on keeping your hair healthy. This means avoiding harsh chemicals, including perms and dyes, that can damage your hair and slow growth. Instead, opt for natural hair care products that will help nourish your hair and provide the nutrients it needs to grow.
You'll also want to pay attention to your diet. Your hair is made of protein, so eating a well-balanced diet with plenty of protein-rich foods is important. This will help your body produce the keratin necessary for strong, healthy hair.
Additionally, vitamins like biotin and vitamin E can help promote hair growth, so make sure you're getting these nutrients in your diet or through supplements.
Ensure you wash your hair regularly and use scalp-friendly products to keep your scalp clean and healthy. Scalp massages can also help stimulate blood flow to your hair follicles, encouraging healthy growth.
If you're worried about your thin hair as you wait for it to grow back, plenty of volumizing products are available that can help give you the appearance of fuller, thicker hair. A dryer brush can help add volume by lifting your hair at the roots, while a volumizing iron can add body throughout your hair.
So, how long does it take for hair to grow back? If you're worried about short or thinning hair, the answer is usually "too long."
While you wait for your hair to go through the natural growth process, use VOLOOM volumizing products. Our Triple Play Dryer Brush gives you a salon-style blowout at home, while our Pump Up the Volume set includes everything needed to protect, style, and volumize thin or short hair.
Ready to pump up the volume now? Browse our hair volumizing tools!