How long does it take hair to grow?

We’ve all wondered exactly how long does it take hair to grow, particularly when we’re desperate for a little more length in our locks. Why does it always seem like the hair we don’t want grows like a weed, but the hair on our heads just won’t budge?

It’s time to set the record straight on exactly how long hair takes to grow, and a few sneaky tips to help yours grow quicker.

So how long does it take hair to grow?

On average, hair grows around half an inch per month, which may seem surprisingly slow to some. This results in roughly six inches a year, so you’re not going to get waist length tresses by the end of next week! There are various factors that impact an individual’s hair growth, including genetics and ethnicity.

Genetics

While genetics don’t dictate how long your hair can grow, it does play a part in the growing process itself. The anagen phase of hair growth, which is the phase where your hair actively grows, can last between two to six years. Your genetics play a role in how long your anagen phase lasts before shedding, which translates into the overall length of your hair.

There is also the factor of genetic hair loss, which can have a huge impact on the question ‘how long does it take hair to grow?’. Male and Female Pattern Baldness is largely heredity and usually kicks in as we get older. This predisposition to hair loss increases the time it takes hair to grow, if at all.

Ethnicity

There are large differences between ethnicities when it comes to our hair type. While there are clear visual variations between races, there are also microscopic differences in the make up of our hair types. The follicles of asian, caucasian and afro hair are drastically different shapes, which dictates the characteristics of the hair and how it grows.

Asian hair - Asian hair has round follicles and is usually dead straight and very strong. It is generally either dark brown or black in colour and has the fastest growth rate of all hair types, growing over half an inch a month. Asian hair does have the lowest density of the three, although it is less likely to experience hair loss.

Caucasian hair - Caucasian hair comes in a variety of textures, from dead straight, to wavy, to curly. The follicles have a slightly oval shape to them, and generally speaking, it has the highest density. Caucasian hair grows just under half an inch per month.

Afro hair - Afro hair is characterised by tight curls and because of this, it has the slowest growth rate of the three with only a third of an inch growing per month. The follicles have an elliptical shape that grow in a spiral, and on the whole is more fragile and prone to breakage.

Hair colour

When you’re asking the question ‘how long does it take hair to grow?’ you might be wondering whether your hair colour could play an important role. Well, there is no real evidence to suggest there are any differences, but there are some interesting facts surrounding the different hair colours.

Blondes tend to have more hair on their heads, around 146,000 strands, while those with black hair have about 110,000. Brunettes have slightly less on 100,000 and redheads have the least hair strands, at just 86,000 per head. On average, blonde hair is finer and more prone to breakage than its counterparts, so it may seem that it doesn’t grow as long or as fast.

Gender

Although many think men’s hair grows longer than a woman’s, there are no biological differences between the sexes in how long does it take hair to grow. That being said, female hair is more disposed to harmful hair care like hair dryers, straighteners and extensions. This can limit healthy hair growth and damage the existing hair, creating the impression that female hair doesn’t grow as fast as its male equivalent.

Age

As we get older, our changes in a bunch of ways. From losing its pigment and turning grey to thinning and loss, hair goes through a lot as we enter midlife and beyond. This also affects hair growth, as the anagen phase shortens and the time hair actually spends growing is lessened.

Our scalps also age, which means it becomes less effective at growing healthy hair. The key to maintaining hair growth as we age is by optimising the scalp and follicles for new hair growth with serums (for both male and female) that are formulated to encourage healthy hair.

Climate

Does where we live have an effect on how long does it take hair to grow? In short, no, although it can seem like it might be the case. We’ve all felt like our hair grows more in the summer months, but actually it’s our hormones that are leading the charge.

In warmer climates, we are naturally more active (well, some of us!) and our metabolism becomes higher which affects our hormonal cycles. This change may contribute to faster hair growth. Another theory is that in hotter environments, our scalp produces more natural oils that are key to hair growth. We end up brushing these oils throughout the hair shaft which conditions and maintains healthy hair, which can encourage faster hair growth.

Pregnancy

Many women experience thicker hair during their pregnancy, however this does not affect how long it takes hair to grow. The added thickness is a result of a prolonged anagen phase brought about by the hormonal changes. Most new mothers actually experience increased hair loss as the retained hair sheds.

Supplements

There are plenty of hair supplements out there that claim to speed up hair growth. Most do this by adding in key nutrients and vitamins like protein, vitamin c, biotin and iron which all improve hair growth. While supplements can be a helpful option for those that struggle to get these nutrients from their food, a health, varied diet will include all of these vitamins and more to encourage healthy hair and growth.

Special situations

While we have already discussed everyday factors of life, there are a couple of circumstances where the hair growth cycle is severely disrupted: chemotherapy and a hair transplant. These can have a major impact on the time it takes hair to grow. Those who experience these changes can be anxious to regrow their hair as quickly as possible, but it’s important to be patient as your body adjusts.

How long does it take hair to grow after chemotherapy?

The effects of chemo can be devastating on your hair. And once the treatment has successfully beaten cancer, patients are often anxious to get their hair back to how it once was. Generally speaking, it takes around two or three weeks before a small amount of regrowth can be seen, usually a soft ‘fuzz’ over the head. After one month, hair starts to grow at its normal rate and looks more like ‘real’ hair. At two months, you can expect to see around an inch of hair.

How long does it take hair to grow after an hair transplant?

A hair transplant can be an effective treatment for people with severe hair loss and it involves the painstaking process of taking follicles from a ‘donor site’ (usually at the back of the head) and implanting them one by one into the bald areas. The surgery is in no way a quick fix though, as the patient then has to wait for the transplanted follicles to grow. This varies significantly, but the average person will start to see results after four months. The transplanted hair will gradually become coarser, thicker and fuller until a final result is achieved in 12 to 18 months.

What makes your hair grow faster?

There’s an abundance of advice that addresses how long does it take hair to grow and how to make it grow faster. Here are just a few that we think will give you your best chance of amazing hair growth:

  1. Eat the right nutrients from a healthy, varied diet
  2. Get regular trims to help prevent breakage and ragged ends
  3. Rinse your hair with cold water to seal the cuticle and strengthen the hair
  4. Don’t over shampoo as this can dry out your hair
  5. Use an indulgent hair mask once a week to encourage healthy hair growth
  6. Give yourself a scalp massage every time your shampoo to stimulate the follicles
  7. Avoid using heat styling tools like straighteners and hairdryers which weaken the hair

Have you always wondered how long does it take hair to grow? Will you be trying any of our hair growth tips?