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How Fast does Human Hair Grow?

Mary McMahon
Updated May 21, 2024
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Human hair typically grows at a rate of around half an inch (1.25 centimeters) per month, and this rate of growth is consistent across the head. Several factors can influence both the rate and quality of hair growth, including diet, age, and general health. As a general rule, products which claim to increase the rate of hair growth are not effective, although such products can encourage the development of stronger, healthier hair.

When human hair grows, it goes through three states. The first state is the anagen phase, during which hair is actively growing, and it can last from two to six years. During this phase, cells in the hair follicle are actively dividing, pushing the hair out from the head. During the catagen phase, the rate of growth stops as the follicle grows dormant, and in the telogen phase, the hair falls out to make way for new hair growing in.

As human hair grows, nutrients can help to make it stronger and sleeker. Things like gelatin, keratin, vitamin E, and various mineral supplements can improve the overall health of hair, making it glossier, thicker, and less prone to splitting. Many people also use regular conditioners and hot oil treatments to keep their hair in good shape, especially when hair is long. However, nothing can actually speed up the rate of growth, because the growth rate is limited by cell division.

Some factors which can influence hair growth include age and medical conditions; people with thyroid problems, for example, often develop problems with their hair. Hormones associated with pregnancy can actually speed the rate of hair growth, and an assortment of other conditions may influence the condition and growth rate of human hair. In fact, hair health can sometimes be used as an indicator for general physical health.

As humans who have attempted to grow their hair out may have noticed, many people seem to have some sort of hair “set point,” beyond which their hair will not grow. After a certain point, human hair gets too old, and it becomes brittle, split, and unsightly. Some individuals are able to grow their hair out to immense lengths, especially when supplementing with vitamins, while others may find that their hair refuses to thrive much past their shoulders; in this situation, the best thing one can do is find a flattering cut for shorter hair, rather than enduring the frustration of cultivating long hair.

BeautyAnswered is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a BeautyAnswered researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Discussion Comments
By rachelsjulia — On Jul 14, 2013

Hair grows on average about 1/2 an inch per month, so it will be 6 inches per year.

But everybody is different. Genetic, age, health, and hormonal state will affect the rate of growth.

By anon76959 — On Apr 12, 2010

i think it helped some but i still have questions about African American hair growth.

By anon33110 — On Jun 01, 2009

Thanks for the article, helped me out a bit.

I lost my hair cause of some strong medications the doctor had me on. My hair is growing back now but it seems thinner, is this normal?

By screenwriter — On Aug 12, 2008

Just as I suspected, my mother's father's chrome dome will be my ultimate fate!

By anon16688 — On Aug 12, 2008

I think my hair grows much faster. I usually trim the hair around my ears twice a month to stop the pricking. These hard and pricky things irritate me when they start to touch my ears. I don't like to carry too much weight on my head. The lighter my head is, the better! Is there something to slow down hair growth? Hair experts should invent it! -William

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

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