Congratulations on embracing your natural hair and confidently flaunting that cute 'fro of kinky curls! Now comes the not-so-easy part: taking care of your natural hair and retaining its length.
Natural hair growth is a huge deal nowadays, and you might be concerned about why your hair isn't growing as fast as you want it to. Perhaps you're wondering why you haven't achieved your desired length or why your hair won't grow past a certain length.
Well, honey, it's perfectly normal to experience these things on your natural hair journey. Because it's difficult to understand what's happening at the roots of your hair, I will explain the four natural hair stages that determine your hair growth potential.
Understanding How Your Hair Works
The average human has around 100,000 hair follicles on their scalp and grows about half an inch of hair per month.
Understanding natural hair growth can be compared to the human development process. Like a person's growth, the first three years are usually the most active growth years, after which growth is gradual until the teenage years.
To better understand how your natural hair grows, here are the four natural hair stages.
The 4 Natural Hair Stages of Growth
Stage 1: The Anagen Stage
The anagen stage is the primary growth stage of natural hair. It typically lasts for an average of 3 to 5 years, during which your hair grows quickly from the roots before the hair follicles become inactive.
You can experience hair growth of 18 to 30 inches during this stage. This is because your hair is well connected to the blood vessels in your scalp and these vessels provide it with essential nutrients needed for growth.
Stage 2: The Catagen Stage
The catagen stage lasts for approximately 1 to 2 weeks. This is the transition phase that indicates the end of the anagen phase. During this period, the hair roots detach themselves from the blood vessels that have been nourishing and lengthening them. Once fully detached, the hair enters the telogen stage.
Stage 3: The Telogen Stage
The telogen stage, also known as the resting stage, has a shorter cycle than the anagen stage. This natural hair stage can be compared to the human development process when a person has fully developed physically, sexually, and mentally. At this point, your natural hair will have achieved its maximum length as it prepares to move on to the final stage of the hair growth cycle.
Stage 4: The Exogen Stage
This is the natural hair stage where the shedding process begins. During this stage, the hairs at the telogen stage fall out naturally to allow new hair to grow through the hair follicle. This process typically lasts for about 3 months.
However, you won't lose large chunks of hair at once; instead, you will only shed 50 to 100 hairs every day. Currently, 11% of your hair is in the exogen stage and will either fall off or get pulled off during styling, braiding, or combing your hair.
How to Maximize the Natural Hair Stages for Hair Growth
If you're healthy, about 88% to 90% of your hair is in the anagen stage. To experience years of active hair growth and possibly achieve healthy, long hair, your hair needs to remain in the anagen stage for as long as possible.
You can extend the anagen stage by maintaining a healthy lifestyle, diet, and optimum natural hair care routine. Stimulating your scalp every evening with a natural hair growth oil like jojoba oil can also be helpful.
Also, it's important to avoid hair breakage by minimizing manipulation and wearing protective styles like wigs, ponytails, or twists.
In this tutorial, Maryam Hampton shares some cool tips for maximizing your natural hair growth cycle.