When you're struggling with hair growth, every inch matters. Whether you're waiting for a bad haircut to disappear, suffering from a chronic condition or you're simply just wanting to grow out your hair, hair growth can feel like it takes forever.
If you've spent any amount of time waiting for your hair to get longer, you probably have an idea of how long it takes to grow your hair a few inches. But what if your hair goals are bigger — say, 12 inches?
VEGAMOUR interviewed a hair expert to find out how long it would actually take to grow your hair a full foot longer. Read on to find out, plus discover what products you can use to encourage longer, stronger hair strands.
How Fast Does Hair Typically Grow?
To find out how quickly you can get your hair to grow 12 inches, it's important to understand the typical hair growth rate.
"Hair usually grows about a half of an inch per month," said Julie Jaczkowski, hairstylist and Fresh Starts Registry Expert.
A half-inch per month means you could grow about 6 inches of healthy hair per year. However, this figure is simply the average growth rate, with some people naturally growing hair more quickly and others more slowly.
Many factors can impact your hair growth rate, including:
- Hair growth cycles
- Scalp health
- Vitamins or supplements
- Protein intake
- Environmental damage
- Vitamin deficiencies
- Heat styling
- Scalp and hair oils
- Damage or breakage
- Ingredients in hair care products
You could be impacted by just one or a few of these factors.
How Long Does It Take to Grow Hair 12 Inches?
"Like any growth, hair takes time," said Jaczkowski. "To grow 12 inches of hair, two years is the minimum time needed."
If hair grows an average of 6 inches per year, you can expect to wait at least two years until you see that kind of drastic change. But why does it feel so slow? To find out, it's helpful to understand your hair’s natural growth cycle.
How Exactly Does Hair Grow?
The hair growth cycle consists of four different stages:
Anagen is the hair growth phase, during which new hair growth pushes old hair follicles up and out of the hair follicle. Here's the good news: approximately 90% of your hairs are in this anagen phase at any given time. This phase lasts two to six years.
After the anagen phase, your hair moves into the catagen phase. This is when hair growth stops, and it typically lasts around three weeks but can be as long as four months.
The telogen phase is also known as the resting phase. It's a three-month period when the body is preparing to shed hair and begin a new growth cycle.
Finally, the exogen phase is the shedding process, during which you lose about 100 hairs each day. This phase lasts a few days.
Every strand of hair on your head goes through this process. Hair cycles are natural, so you shouldn't be worried about your hair entering into a resting state and eventually shedding —some hair needs to be shed to encourage new longer, stronger growth.
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How to Support Hair Growth
Hair grows on its own timetable, which often happens to be very slow. While you can't stimulate hair growth overnight, there are multiple things you can do to strengthen hair follicles and support your hair strands on their foot-long journey. Whether you're growing out a pixie haircut into shoulder-length hair or trying to grow out the remaining evidence of past hair dye, hair health is the key to growing long hair. Here are five things you can do to support your hair follicles and encourage the health of your hair.
Get Regular Trims
Any hairstylist will tell you that regular trims are a must if you want to grow your hair long. A trim gets rid of any split ends. And the faster you get rid of hair damage, the faster your hair will grow.
"It's very important to keep hair ends trimmed and healthy," said Jaczkowski. "It may feel counterintuitive, but even if you have goals of Rapunzel-like length, do not skip seasonal haircuts. Often, avoiding a hair cut to stimulate growth can result in ends that shred upwards and can diminish the solid perimeter that makes hair look long."
Eat a Healthy and Balanced Diet
Do your best to ensure you're eating a balanced, nutrient-dense diet with plenty of omega-3 fatty acids, proteins and a healthy dose of essential minerals and vitamins, like vitamin E. Hair wellness starts from the inside out, and eating the right foods not only supports a healthier you but also supports healthy hair growth.
Chronic stress is not only bad for your health, but it's also bad for your hair. One study showed that cortisol, the stress hormone, can actually influence the hair to exit the anagen (growing) phase and prematurely enter the telogen (resting) phase, which causes the hair to fall out. If you're trying to grow hair faster, it's vital to reduce stress to prevent hair loss.
Use a Hair Serum
Looking for hair products to upgrade your hair care routine? Our GRO Hair Serum supports the appearance of visibly thicker, fuller hair. Our proprietary blend of phyto-actives contains hair-healthy essential nutrients, which have been clinically proven to encourage thicker and fuller-looking hair for all hair types in as little as three months with consistent use.
GRO Hair Serum contains 100% natural ingredients, plus it's vegan and cruelty-free. We recommend using the hair serum in conjunction with a scalp massager, which can help reduce product buildup, remove dead skin cells and promote blood circulation — all things that can set the stage for healthy hair growth.
See A Doctor
If something isn't right, talk to your doctor at your next checkup about your concerns. While it's normal for hair to grow slowly, it's not normal for hair to stop growing. If you see little to no growth over a six-month to one-year period, consult with your doctor about the next steps. Medications, illnesses or other medical issues such as an overactive or underactive thyroid gland, anemia (iron deficiency) or autoimmune disorders can slow or stall hair growth.
Grow Hair Long and Strong
If you want to grow hair 12 inches, it's going to take some time — around two years, to be exact. Healthy hair grows faster, so if you want to add inches, start taking your hair wellness seriously now. It may take some time, but if you take care of yourself and your hair, you'll both be healthier by the time those new hairs come around.
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