When attempting to grow hair faster and stronger, it can be difficult to navigate the market of different tips, tricks, and products for growing hair due to the volume of available information and conflicting advice. Many people use a method of trial and error when finding the right products to grow hair or thicken and strengthen existing hair. However, finding the right place to begin your research and know your options is the first step you must take to find the method that works for you. We have put together a list of products that grow hair in order to help you begin your hair growth journey.
Hair Growth Phases and Average Hair Growth Metrics
There are many factors that can contribute to hair growth, but the main basis of hair growth is rooted in its three main phases. The hair growth cycle consists of three stages of growth and shedding: anagen, catagen, and telogen. Anagen is the active phase of the hair growth cycle. During this stage, the cells that comprise the root at the base of the hair are dividing quickly. This continual process of division produces new hair that is catapulted to the surface in order to replace a club hair. A club hair is a hair that is no longer in the Anagen growth phase and will no longer grow. During the Anagen phase, the hair will grow approximately one centimeter every twenty-eight days. For most people, the scalp will remain in the Anagen phase for two to six years. Catagen is the transitional phase of the hair growth cycle. A relatively small percentage of the hair on your scalp at any given time is in the Catagen stage. On average, three percent of all hairs are in this phase at a time. The Catagen phase typically occurs for a duration of two to three weeks. During this phase, the active growth phase ceases and the outer root sheath shrinks and attaches to the root of the hair. This is the process by which a club hair is formed. Telogen is the resting phase of the hair growth cycle. At any given time, six to eight percent of all the hairs on your scalp are in the Telogen stage. On average, the Telogen phase occurs for one hundred days. During the Telogen phase, the hair follicle is no longer growing, and is instead merely at rest. The Telogen phase marks the completion of the club hair formation. On average, twenty-five to a hundred Telogen hairs are naturally shed from the scalp each day.
With this information in mind, you may be wondering how much hair on average you grow each month. Below are the metrics for average hair growth per day, per month, and per year.
- Average Hair Growth Per Day: 0.5 millimeters
- Average Hair Growth Per Month: 0.5 inches
- Average Hair Growth Per Year: 6 inches
Causes of Hair Loss and Average Hair Loss Metrics
Hair loss can be brought on by a number of conditions and life events, but determining the cause of hair loss is the first step to finding the right solution to remediate and reverse hair loss. Below is a list of common causes of hair loss:
- Skin conditions (such as psoriasis)
- Overstyling (particularly with heated styling tools)
- Sudden weight loss
- Environmental conditions (such as exposure to toxins or harmful substances)
- Lack of essential vitamins and nutrients from diet (this is sometimes malnourishment, but varies on a case by case basis in severity)
- Chemical products (such as some hair dyes)
- Genetic conditions (such as Male Pattern Baldness, Female Pattern Baldness, and Alopecia)
- Hormonal imbalances (such as a thyroid disorder)
This list is not comprehensive in scope, but rather an overview of some of the most frequently cited causes of hair loss. However, many people struggle to identify when to differentiate between what is considered normal hair loss and what is excessive hair shedding. As cited above, hair typically grows 6 inches on average each year. On average, each individual will shed 50 to 100 strands of hair throughout each day. However, this number may increase when hair is washed in the shower, which typically bumps the average up to 250 strands. With these metrics in mind and an understanding of both hair loss and growth, it is possible to analyze the respective qualities and benefits of various products that promote hair growth.
Products for Stimulating Hair Growth
- Shampoos: One of the easiest ways to promote hair growth is by investing in a shampoo specifically designed to stimulate hair follicles. Different companies formulate their products in various ways, so it is important to look at the formula and ensure the shampoo does not contain any harmful chemicals, is not primarily comprised of water (as many low-quality shampoos are), and contains specific ingredients proven to promote hair growth. Many shampoos now available on the market are formulated with Argan oil to help improve hair quality and stimulate hair growth. Argan oil enhances blood circulation in the scalp, produces keratin, balances hormone levels in the skin, and moisturizes the scalp. Argan oil is packed with Omega-3 acids and Vitamin E as well. In addition to shampoos containing Argan oil, some shampoos available contain DHT blockers. DHT is a hormone that has been linked to hair loss, so by incorporating a DHT blocker into the shampoo formula, hair should fall out at a less rapid rate and hair thinning should cease. There are many ingredients found in shampoos designed specifically for promoting hair growth, such as sage oil, coconut coil, tea tree oil, elderberry, Aloe Vera, thyme, rosemary, burdock root, willow bark extract, nettle leaf extract, and green tea. Each of these ingredients has their own unique role in stimulating hair growth. Aloe Vera is known to reduce inflammation and soothe the scalp, while rosemary has been shown to increase blood circulation to the scalp. While some shampoos contain primarily natural ingredients designed to boost hair growth and increase hair healthy, other shampoos are scientifically formulated to reduce the appearance of hair thinning and thicken existing hair follicles.
- Serums: Hair serums are a beneficial, easy way to aid in the hair growth process. There is a huge amount of hair serums on the market, each with a unique ingredient list that targets different effects on the hair. When choosing the right hair serum, be sure to analyze the ingredient list and make sure that the product does not contain harmful toxins, chemicals, or silicone. Silicone is a main component of many hair serums and provides an illusion of smooth, healthy hair, while simultaneously creating a dependency that will cause hair to stop producing its own natural emollients. In addition, silicone thoroughly coats the hair shaft, thereby clogging the follicles and sealing out moisture. When analyzing hair serums, target products that use natural ingredients such as coconut oil, Argan oil, Rosemary essential oil, Lavender essential oil, or Keratin. These are all natural and shown to promote healthy hair growth. Some hair serums may be more scientifically focused on stimulating hair growth through an infusion of glucoside complex, which increases the visible density of hair follicles making them appear thicker and denser.
- Laser treatments: Clinical studies have indicated that low level light therapy can aid in promoting hair growth in both men and women. This type of therapy helps regrow hair loss of any type, whether genetic, hormonal, or from a different cause. Since the release of these studies, companies have begun releasing laser hair growth systems for use in your home. This product is a uniquely designed machine that harnesses 50+ clinical-strength medical lasers and LEDs to help promote healthy hair growth. The lasers typically utilize a 650mm wavelength red light that is capable of speeding up cell metabolism and reactivating hair follicles. Light therapy can be used in conjunction with the other products and methods discussed, as many people see their best results from a combination of different products. Before embarking on laser hair growth, keep in mind that this is not a quick fix solution. In fact, many companies manufacturing laser hair growth systems offer a six-month warranty because of the amount of time it takes for results to become evident. While the amount of time necessary varies depending on the system, many companies advise that results will take several months to become apparent and the system must be used for an average of thirty minutes every other day. While low level therapy is not inherently dangerous and does not hurt, it is important to keep in mind that if you are on any type of medication that will increase your skin’s sensitivity to light, you may experience an adverse reaction.
- Supplements and Vitamins for Hair: Oral supplements are one of the most popular and cost-effective products available to help stimulate hair growth. There is a tremendous number of different brands, combinations, and concentrations on the market, so it vital to research products before purchasing them and make sure they do not interact with any medications you are currently taking and are within the healthy dose for a day. With that process in mind, one of the best supplements to take is Biotin. Biotin is a B-complex vitamin that helps your body produce more keratin, which is an essential building block in healthy hair, skin, and nails. In addition, Biotin has also been shown to boost your metabolism. When searching for a Biotin supplement, target products that do not contain gluten, soy, stearates, preservatives, or GMO products. With many Biotin supplements, you will only need to take one pill or chewable per day to satisfy your daily need. In addition to Biotin, Vitamin A is another supplement that is present in many hair supplements. Vitamin A is involved in skin regeneration, in addition to promoting immunity and vision. However, Vitamin A can only be taken within recommended dosages, and may be harmful when exceeded. Be sure to determine the right dosage for you before taking a supplement containing Vitamin A. In addition to taking individual formulas, such as a Biotin supplement, many companies now offer supplements designed specifically to target hair, skin, and nails. These supplements offer a range of vitamins and nutrients shown to increase hair growth and promote hair health, making them a viable and easy option to boost hair growth. On average, many hair, skin, and nail supplements use ingredients such a Biotin, Vitamin A, Vitamin D, Vitamin B, Vitamin C, MSM, Silica, and Zinc. In addition, some supplements utilize DHT blockers similar to those used in certain shampoo formulas.
- Topical treatments: Topical treatments are one of the most effective ways to specifically target and reverse hair loss through promote hair growth. Many topical treatments contain an ingredient called Minoxidil. Minoxidil opens up blood vessels which otherwise would impede and slow hair follicle growth, thereby allowing new hair to grow. Topical treatments that use scientifically developed and proven formulas to promote hair regrowth are often the most effective means for treating genetic hair loss, such as male and female pattern baldness.
- Brushes: When imagining the best products to help promote hair growth, a hair brush may not be the first thing that comes to mind. However, brushing your hair is known to help promote blood circulation in the scalp, thereby boosting hair growth. The amount of benefit offered varies widely depending on the type of brush and its bristles. The type of brush that is best for your hair and scalp will depend on a variety of factors, including scalp sensitivity, hair length, hair thickness, hair texture, and many more. One type of brush that is beneficial for helping stimulate hair growth is boar bristle brushes. Boar bristle brushes use a combination of nylon pins and real boar hair to form a brush that is gentle on hair follicles and stimulates blood flow to the scalp. Another type of brush that can be beneficial is a detangling brush. Many people with long hair may rip or pull out the hair they do have when attempting to comb out knots. When you are looking for longer, stronger locks, this is the opposite of what you want. To avoid tearing your hair due to tangles, look for a detangling brush specifically designed to gently untangle cumbersome knots.