How long does it take for hair to grow?

Image of a woman measuring her hair

We can probably all relate to the agonising process of growing out your hair, but as to the question of how long it takes, there are quite a few variables!

Scientifically speaking, hair grows at around 1cm a month, depending on factors such as age, sex, ethnicity, and hair type. Your health can also affect how fast your hair grows, as poor health can put functions like hair growth at the bottom of your body’s priority list.

The hair cycle

A good place to start when trying to understand hair growth is your hair’s natural cycle.

There are 4 phases to the cycle – anagen, catagen, telogen, and exogen.

Diagram showing the full four phases of the hair growth cycle.


  • This is the growth stage
  • Hair will grow at an average rate of 1cm a month
  • The growth stage lasts from 3-5 years, depending on genetics
  • The longer your hair stays in the anagen phase, the longer your hair can grow
  • Around 85-90% of the hair on your head is in the anagen phase at the same time


  • The catagen phase is the transitional stage
  • The hair follicle reduces in size
  • Hair growth slows
  • The current hair is released from the base of the follicle
  • Lasts around 10 days
  • Around 5% of hair will be in this phase at any one time


  • The resting phase
  • Hairs are no longer growing
  • Hair does not tend to fall out in this phase
  • New hair begins to grow at the base of the follicle
  • This phase lasts around 3 months
  • 10-15% of hairs are in this phase at any one time


  • The shedding phase
  • Hairs are shed from their follicle, assisted by washing and brushing hair
  • New hairs grow as the old are shed
  • You will lose around 50-100 hairs a day in this phase
  • Lasts from 2-5 months

What factors affect hair growth?

Image of thinning hair on a man

Many factors can disrupt your hair’s natural cycle, resulting in slower growth or even hair loss. Some of these are environmental factors, such as your diet, if you smoke, what products you use on your hair, and stress levels. Other factors include medical and genetic, such as hormone levels, family history of hair loss, certain medications, and illnesses.

A poor diet can slow your growth, as hair is made of a protein called keratin. Ensuring you have a nutrient-dense diet will give your hair everything it needs to thrive.

Equally, not smoking will improve your overall health and stop toxins from inflaming the follicles on your scalp.

Studies have shown that high-stress levels can cause the hair to enter the resting and shedding process sooner than it should. Stress cannot always be avoided in everyday life. If you reduce stress where possible, you will help keep your hair healthy and growing to its natural cycle.

Unlike environmental factors, medical and genetic influences on hair growth are slightly harder to fix. Many males and some females suffer from a genetic condition known as male/female pattern baldness, which is hereditary and ultimately results in partial or complete hair loss.

Another problem our hair can face, which unfortunately is inevitable, is ageing. As we age, our hair follicles become weaker. This causes hair to grow finer and can lead to hair falling out altogether.

How to speed up hair growth

The good news is there has been a lot of recent research into how our hair grows and what can be done to preserve and keep it growing healthy.

One of the most effective ways to speed up hair growth is to ensure your body is healthy and you consume a nutrient-dense diet.

Image of a variety of fruits and vegetables

You can also find great hair vitamins on the market that contain a mix of nutrients, specially formulated to help your hair grow quicker! We would recommend doing your own research on hair vitamins, however, we like this one. It stops the production of Dihydrotestosterone (DHT), which is one of the leading causes of male pattern baldness.

You can also find hair oils and serums that boost hair growth and nourish your scalp at the same time, winner! Massaging the oil/serum into your scalp also increases blood flow to the hair follicle, promoting new growth.

Equally effective is a range of shampoos and conditioners available. Something to note regarding washing your hair, however, is that washing too often can do more harm than good, as it strips your hair of natural oils, leaving the scalp raw and dry.

A common misconception is the idea that getting regular haircuts increases hair growth. It will not increase the rate of growth but is still essential for keeping your hair length, as trimming off dead-ends reduces breakage along the hair shaft.

It is important to remember that hair growth is very individual, and one fix will not fit all! It is best to try out a few different methods and find which one or which combination suits you and your hair best!

In addition, hair loss or any sudden changes in your hair growth can also be an indicator of underlying health issues. If you have any concerns, ensure you schedule a chat with your GP.

An image of a stethoscope

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