Most of us are obsessed with getting those shiny, long locks that we often see bouncing in the air when the lead female character is running around. How come it takes our hair ages to be that long? Well, there is more than one factor involved in achieving faster hair growth. Let’s dig into how a strand grows and the factors that can affect the growth of hair!
What is the hair growth cycle?
Before we understand how to achieve longer hair quickly, let’s understand the cycle that hair goes through:
1. Growth phase
It is also called Anagen. This is the first stage where your hair is growing. It lasts typically for 3-4 years. It can vary from individual to individual but not largely. This is the phase where the hair bulb grows in the hair follicle and appears on the surface. They continue to grow as per the nutrients and scalp condition. This is the reason why those who eat nutritious food land up with good hair growth. It is also influenced by genetics. The growth phase is different for each type of hair on our body. For example, the growth phase for eyebrows could be lesser than the scalp hair. At any given point, 90% of your hair is in the growth phase. About 1 cm grows every 28 days. Pretty slow, eh?
2. Transition phase
It is also called Catagen. About 3-5% of your hair is usually in the transitioning phase. They stay in this phase for two to three weeks. In this phase, the growth stops and the hair bulb that is attached to the hair follicle starts to separate from the base. This results in the follicle becoming shorter.
3. Resting phase
It is also known as Telogen. Around 10% of the hair follicles are in this phase. This phase lasts for 3 months or so. Since the hair has already detached itself from the follicle, a new hair bulb starts to form at the end of this phase. Some call this the shedding phase since the old hair starts to fall off in this phase. The shedding may last for 2 to 4 months and it may look like a crazy hair fall but it really is just losing the old hair that has detached a long time back.
The reason why we must know this cycle is so that we know which phase we want to extend so that we achieve maximum volume and accelerated hair growth. Let’s learn the factors that can affect the growth cycle to know what we must focus on to extend the growth phase.
What are the factors affecting hair growth?
Hair growth is affected mainly by the follicles and the nutrients that it has to signal hair growth. Here are some of the factors that can affect the hair growth cycle:
1. Scalp condition
As we’ve figured from the growth cycle, follicles are the prime thing to focus on to achieve hair growth, we must know the surrounding of the follicles which is the scalp. Scalp helps to provide a healthy microbiome that acts as a shield for any foreign agents to enter the follicle and infect it. A scalp with excessive oil, dirt and dead skin can clog the follicle and affect the structure and growth of the hair. We have more than 10,000 hair follicles on our scalp and to get those glossy long hair locks, we want to make sure that the follicles have enough space to baby a strand.
What is around you can affect the growth of your hair. If you have an active lifestyle or you live in a metro city, you should be careful of what is surrounding you. Scalp and skin can be easily damaged by pollution, poor air quality, heat, and sun. This is more so dangerous for a sensitive scalp. These factors can disturb the ecosystem of the scalp which, as we learned, will affect your hair growth.
Our hair is made up of a protein called keratin. To get stronger and longer hair, we need to increase the anagen phase (growth phase) which can be done if we have enough protein to grow the hair. But only taking the protein is not enough. There are certain essential nutrients that your body absolutely needs. Having a wholesome diet that provides you with all of it will help you achieve lengthier hair since it will have enough keratin to form hair strands. Learn here about the superfoods for your hair.
By hygiene, we mean scalp specifically. Scalp health influences the length of your growth phase. Using harsh shampoos, hair treatment, over-styling, etc can irritate your scalp and send an inflammation signal to your body. This does not sit well when your hair bulb is trying to grow. The irritated scalp can lead to hair loss and even thinning which is when your hair follicles minimise in size.
What are the methods through which you can achieve fast hair growth?
There are various methods out there that one can successfully achieve hair growth. We’re listing down certain simple changes in your routine that can show you results in the long term. These are not extravagant steps but if you remain consistent, you will see the difference.
1. Oiling and massaging
Oiling helps in terms of delivering the nutrients that your hair follicle needs to grow and extend the anagen phase of the hair growth cycle. It also helps to strengthen the scalp barrier and prevent transepidermal water loss (TEWL). According to your scalp type, you can pick the right hair oil which won’t clog your pores. When you massage your hair oiling, it helps the scalp to be warm by increasing blood circulation and thus improving the absorption of oil.
Learn more about hair oiling here.
2. Gentle shampoo
Picking a shampoo that will not just clean your scalp but also keep the natural moisture level intact, is very important. While certain cleansers will suit one, they may not suit another. It is best to use a gentle cleansing shampoo that won’t strip off the moisture. Gentle shampoo may typically contain hydrating and soothing properties along with cleansing.
Sublime recommends Detoxie Hard Water Relief, Hair Fall Control & Pro Growth Shampoo. The perfect recipe for those with damaged hair. It has Redensyl to promote hair growth, Matcha, Onion oil, Argan oil, and Apple Cider extracts to condition and nourish your hair.
3. Hair serum
Hair serum is that potent juice which can work its magic in just a few drops. Hair serum can be a mix of oils and active growth ingredients that can wake up the dormant follicles and extend the growth phase. Enriched with Antioxidants and Vitamins, it helps you to make your hair more manageable. Most of these serums don’t make your hair greasy which is why they are perfect for those who travel too often and have little time to focus on wellness.
Sublime recommends Martiderm Ampollas Anticaida | Anti Hair-Fall. It has a patented molecule called HGFx3 to regenerate and repair your hair at the cellular level. It also has Amino Acids and a good dose of Antioxidants to boost the number of follicles and improve blood circulation. It’s a moment for your hair!
At times, when you’ve been through a working day, it can impact your scalp. There could be trapped sweat, dirt, pollutants, dead skin, and excessive oil which can even invite infection. To make sure that it does not become a bigger mess, you must exfoliate once every two weeks. If you stay indoors for most of your day and you barely sweat then you can stick to exfoliating once a month. Exfoliation revives your scalp health by restoring normalcy.
Learn more about scalp exfoliation here.
Sublime recommends Flawsome Mean Clean Pre Shampoo Scalp Exfoliating Treatment. This is a non-messy pre-shampoo treatment enriched with botanical extracts, Salicylic acid, and kinds of butter to exfoliate your scalp without weakening your scalp barrier.
When we age, our body’s ability to make protein and other amino acids also slow down. This is why one must proactively include supplements in their routine. Given that our hair strands are made up of protein (Keratin), we must provide the follicle with enough nutrients to lengthen the growth.
Learn more about supplements for hair here.
Sublime recommends Nyumi Happy Hair Gummies. It is powered with all the essential goodies and it tastes lip-smackingly good!
When to see a trichologist?
Knowing how to increase the growth phase of your hair can be prompted by various factors. It is a collective of diet, hygiene, scalp health, environment, etc that affects the health of the hair. If you see no change even after making these changes for over a year, then the underlying issue may be something else. Hair growth also has to do with genetics, ageing, hormones, etc. This is when you must visit a trichologist to know the correct trigger for your hair concern.
Take home points
The hair growth cycle is mainly divided into three phases and to achieve maximum hair growth, you must focus on extending the growth phase. The factors that can affect the growth phase are scalp health, diet, hygiene, and surrounding. You can prompt the hair growth phase to extend to achieve voluminous hair by consistently taking care of your hair, oiling, massaging, eating adequate nutrients, and washing your hair twice every week. Hair growth is not a linear process. It requires a lot of love and patience for your hair.
- Divya Salvi