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The Four Stages Of The Hair Growth Cycle

5 Min Read

Medically Reviewed by

Dr. Nicole Klughers, N ND

What are the stages of hair growth? There are four stages in the hair growth cycle, each resulting in growth, shedding, or resting. Of course, you want to lengthen the growth phase and keep the resting phase as short as possible, so to keep your hair full, thick, and shiny, it’s important to gain a basic understanding of the hair cycle.

Anagen: Stage 1 in the hair growth cycle

This is when your hair grows about a half-inch every 28 days, and cells are dividing. But how long does hair remain in this cycle? Everyone is different, but one thing’s for sure: You want to stay in this phase as long as possible — and stress, hormone imbalance, medications, poor diet, sudden weight loss, aging, and even over-styling can shorten it. It’s good to remember that the hair follicle is actually a mini-organ with its own biological clock. When it’s out of balance or attacked in any way, it can disrupt hair production. The follicle is nourished by the blood vessels, and when they’re clogged or when circulation is compromised in any way, hair won’t be able to grow.

Catagen: Stage 2 in the hair growth cycle

This is an approximately two-week period at the end of the Anagen phase. During this period, follicles detach from the blood vessels and blood supply is cut off. Club hairs, which are often those little short, colorless ones (some people refer to them as “dead hairs”), simply stop growing.

Telogen: Stage 3 in the hair growth cycle

This is typically a three-month period in the hair cycle when the follicle “rests” before starting the Anagen phase again. Stay too long, or start too early, and you’ll see noticeable thinning. 

Unfortunately, sometimes the scalp will be unhealthy and hair will stay longer in the Telogen (resting) stage. This is known as telogen effluvium and results in severe daily shedding for long periods. So make sure to nourish your scalp by eating a healthy diet, practicing stress management, and getting plenty of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, essential amino acids (the building blocks of protein), and plant-based adaptogens.

Exogen: Stage 4 in the hair growth cycle

This hair growth cycle stage is just an extension of the “resting period.” Dead hair will shed, and new hair simultaneously starts to grow. You’ll probably shed 50-100 hairs per day during this time, and that’s normal, as long as you don’t stay in this phase too long. Make sure to keep your scalp healthy and nourished, as well as reduce negative internal and external triggers such as stress, smoking, and environmental toxins.

Have more questions about the hair growth phases?  At Nutrafol, we’re here for you and your hair. We want to help anybody and everybody committed to growing. Connect with our experts at Nutrafol, and learn more about what Nutrafol can do for your hair.


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