Natural Hairapy

…a resource for styling and growing healthy and beautiful natural hair!

How long can my hair grow? February 6, 2008

Filed under: Science of Hair — naturalhairapy @ 8:27 pm

Since going natural, I’m curious to see if I can grow my hair longer than it was in its relaxed state which was 13-14 inches. I hate when people say they don’t believe black people can grow long hair.  Yes we can!  If we avoid abusing our hair, we can find the best routine to encourage long healthy hair.  

I found the following information from Proctor and Gamble’s Science and Beauty site interesting.  The research shows that our maximum hair length is genetically predetermined.  Good news is…we can indeed grow long natural hair.  Can it grow to our feet?  Well that’s another question altogether 🙂


  • Each human head carries roughly 100,000 hair follicles.
  • Each follicle can grow many hairs over a lifetime: on average, each grows a new hair around twenty times.
  • The hairs on an adult scalp do not grow in unison, as they do in an unborn baby. They are ‘out of cycle’ with each other. If this were not so, everyone would go temporarily bald from time to time.
  • The growing and shedding of hair as a whole seems to happen at random, but for each hair follicle the process is precisely controlled. No one knows for certain, however, exactly how the body controls these cycles.
  • Plucking a hair from a follicle brings forward the next period of hair growth in that follicle.


Between starting to grow and falling out years later, each hair passes through three distinct stages: anagen (the growing phase), catagen (the intermediate phase) and telogen (the shedding phase).  

Anagen (the growing phase) – Starts at the moment it begins to grow. At that time there is very active growth in the hair bulb. This usually lasts for some years, generally between three and seven, without interruption.  How long anagen lasts is determined genetically, and varies between the sexes and from one person to another.  This phase determines our maximum hair length.

Catagen (resting phase) – Lasts for between two and four weeks in the human scalp. No pigment is made during that time, and the follicle stops producing hair. The base of the follicle moves upwards towards the surface of the skin.

Telogen (the shedding phase) –  Lasts for three or four months. This is the time at which a new hair begins to grow from the hair follicle. As it grows upwards the old hair will be shed naturally or may be pulled out, which happens easily and painlessly with telogen hairs. These are the hairs that come out when you shampoo or brush your hair.


  • A hair grows at a rate of about 1/2 inch per month.
  • After one year it will be 6 inches long.
  • After five years it will be 30 inches long.
  • Waist-length hair will have taken about seven years to grow.
  • Shoulder-length hair will have taken only about two years.
  • Thus only people with long anagen times can expect to grow their hair down to the waist.

Hair growth chart


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