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What’s Behind Hair Growth and Hair Shedding?

Our hair is so much more to us than just a mass of proteins and melanin. 

In fact, it’s a major part of our individual identities. Researchers have even found that as it grows, it holds on to memories and trauma you’ve experienced, too*. But while each of us has our own individual hair journey, we all experience the same growth and shedding cycles. Here’s how that works: 

All Hair Grows and Sheds in Cycles 
If you’ve ever had a pet, you’ve seen that the second spring hits, boom. Everything you own is covered with fur baby’s fluff. We humans have a different rhythm though, and instead of seasonal shedding, our hair is in a constant state of hair flux. At any given moment, a random number of hairs will be in one of four stages of growth and shedding.  

Here's how scientists describe it: 

The Anagen Phase—where the growth happens 
Each part of your body (that has hair) has its own maximum hair length. When it hits that point, it moves on to the next phase. The length of your anagen phase controls how long your hair can get.  

Typical anagen phase ranges:   

- Eyelashes: 30-45 days 
- Eyebrows: 2-3 months 
- Scalp: 3-5 years 

When you look at those time frames, you see why the hair on your head gets so much longer than your eyelashes, eyebrows, or legs. If your eyebrows had an anagen phase like the hair on your head, you could probably tuck your brows behind your ears - Lorax chic.  
The Catagen Phase – hair’s time of transition  

Once your hair goes through the anagen stage and stops growing, the follicle begins to shrink. Now it’s in the catagen phase, a transition period that signals the end of hair growth. Typically, hair doesn’t fall out during catagen; but if a hair does fall out or gets 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. 

The Telogen Phase—the rest period 
Typically, about 10 to 15 percent of your scalp hairs are in the telogen phase, which lasts about 100 days. This is when your hair isn’t really changing, it’s just getting ready to leave you. Once it begins to shed, its follicle closes for business until… 

The Exogen Phase –shedding time 
Out with the old, in with the new. Exogen is like an extension of the telogen cycle, as new hairs begin to take form in the follicles your old hairs vacate. The process can last anywhere from 2-5 months. 

Exogen gets assistance from you, whenever you wash or brush your hair. That’s why you see all those hairs chilling on your tub bottom after a shampoo session. It may look like a lot, but don’t panic. Sure, excessive shedding can be problematic and even indicative of a larger issue. Butlosing the occasional eyelash, brow hair, or head hair is nothing to worry about, and chances are your hair fall is totally normal. Experts estimate that the average 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.  Processing damage, environmental exposure, and medication can all affect your hair’s condition, not to mention the influence of good old genetics. 

The good news: you can nourish and revitalize your hair from root to tip, on your own.  

For your hair: Our new Densifying Hair Serum is packed with hydrating ingredients that help support a healthy scalp and encourage the appearance of denser and longer hair over time. Plus, aloe and ceramides help keep your scalp soothed and balanced while multi-peptide complexes, caffeine, and biotin replenish follicles. Hello, lush, voluminous locks! 

For your lashes and brows: Don’t underestimate the importance of careful makeup removal. If your methods are too rough, you could be undoing the hard work of your Lash and Brow Serum and causing follicle breakage, and no good can come of that. Give your lashes the love they deserve and take your makeup off gently and thoroughly (psst - not sure how? We made a makeup removal guide for you here.) 

Remember - even if you’re doing everything right, your hair will always look different from everyone else’s hair. Your hair journey is unique to you and your experiences. And individuality is a good thing—it’s beautiful, and so are you.   

Own who you are. Trust that your personal brand of beauty is perfect as it is. And if your personal goals have you craving a little hair boost, we’re always happy to help you refine the look that makes you your own kind of original babe.  

Babe Original