Let’s be real: who isn’t obsessed with hair? Whether it’s on your face, body, or scalp, we’re always looking for the latest scoop on how to achieve our hair goals. Hair is so much more than just proteins and melanin - our hair makes up a lot of our individual identities and even carries memories and trauma, too. Not all hair is made equal, but did you know we all experience the same growth and shedding cycles? We like to think all self-care starts with understanding the basics of our natural cycles to make the best decisions, so let’s break down some science together.
All Hair Grows and Sheds in Cycles
Anyone with a pet knows that the second spring hits, everything you own is absolutely covered with your little fur baby’s hair. Unlike animals who shed seasonally, the hair on our bodies is in a constant state of growth and shedding. So at any point in the year, a random number of hairs will be in one of four stages of growth and shedding. And this is true for ALL the hair on your body.
Lol… what? Basically, throughout these stages, your hair is in a constant state of growth or shedding. Let’s break these down.
Anagen Phase (Growth Phase)
Each part of your body (that has hair) has maximum lengths it can hit before moving to the next stage. The length of the anagen phase controls how long your hair can get. To show how different all areas are, here’s a look at some of the different phase lengths we experience:
When you look at those time frames, it’s easy to see why the hair on your head gets so much longer than your eyelashes, eyebrows, or legs.
Think of it this way: If your eyebrows had an anagen phase of 2-3 years, instead of 2-3 months, you could probably tuck your brows behind your ears— Lorax chic.
Catagen Phase (Transition Phase)
Once your hair has completed the anagen stage and stops growing, your hair follicle begins to shrink. This new period is called the catagen phase, a transition period that signals the end of hair growth. Typically, hair doesn’t fall out during catagen; however, if a hair falls out or is plucked out at this time, it won’t start growing back until the catagen phase is completed.
This is the shortest period in your hair cycle, and only about five percent of the hairs on your head are in the catagen phase at any given time.
Telogen Phase (Resting Phase)
An estimated 10 to 15 percent of your scalp hairs are in the telogen phase, which lasts an average of about 100 days. During this process, your hair undergoes little to no change and begins to shed. Once your hair begins to shed, the follicle won’t start growing hair again until after the final phase is completed.
Exogen Phase (Shedding Phase)
Finally, our hair journey ends at the exogen phase. This state is like an extension of the telogen cycle in which new hairs begin growing in the follicles as the old hairs fall out. This shedding period can last anywhere from 2-5 months. Out with the old, in with the new.
This phase gets some bonus assistance from washing and brushing your hair, so that’s why you’ll see hairs chilling on your tub floor after a thorough shampoo session. Shedding is a totally natural occurrence we all experience. Excessive shedding can be problematic and indicative of a larger issue, but losing the occasional eyelash, brow hair, or head hair isn’t something to worry about! Experts estimate on average, a person has 100,000 hairs on their head and over 5 million hairs across the entire body. So, don’t stress about losing some hair - you’ve got a lot to give.
Of course, the hair growth and shedding cycle isn’t the only thing that affects your hair length, fullness, and overall health, including damage, medication, or just plain ole genetics.
The good news is there are ways to nourish and revitalize your hair from root to tip. While a lot of skincare philosophies begin with drying out your skin, we believe in adding hydrating ingredients, like sodium hyaluronate, whenever possible.
Another thing to consider with your lashes and brows is how you’re removing makeup at the end of a long day. If you aren’t putting as much care into how you take your makeup off, you could be undoing the hard work of your Lash and Brow Serum and causing follicle breakage, and no one wants that. Give your lashes the love they deserve and take your makeup off gently and thoroughly.
So remember - even if you’re doing everything right, your hair will always look different from everyone else’s hair. And that’s a good thing - it’s beautiful!
You’re an original, and your hair journey is unique to you and your experiences. Own who you are. Trust that your personal brand of beauty is perfect as it is. And if your personal goals have you wanting a little hair boost, we’re always happy to help you become your own kind of original babe.