What does shaving do?

We scrunch. We twist. We pull the skin on our faces or legs taut just so razors can whisk away the undesired hairs sprouting on the fertile landscape of our bodies. Yet many of us do these tasks with a sense of futility, of inevitable failure, because we believe this regular ritual of removal causes hair to grow back mightier than before—rising like a phoenix renewed but with even coarser, thicker or darker offerings.

That is simply not so. But there are several reasons that the myth continues to flourish. One is the limitation of human perception. “People are just not very good observers, but there’s just no science behind hair growing back thicker,” says Amy McMichael, chair of the Department of Dermatology at Wake Forest Baptist Health. There’s also the power of coincidence. Indeed, pervasive myths—if a young boy shaves his mustache it will grow back thicker—are grounded in a kernel of truth: it might. But that’s because the shaving may overlap with the timing of natural hormonal fluctuations in his body that are developing his adult facial hair, not because of his hair removal. Body hair grows at different times and at different rates for everybody.

The very act of cutting may make hair appear thicker for a short time. A human hair shaft is like a pencil or javelin that tapers at the end. So when a razor slices away the tip, it may appear that the remaining hair, and subsequent stubble, is thicker or darker than it was before the cut. Those short hairs, sticking straight up from their follicles, may even appear coarser. But cutting away part of the hair does not typically change anything about that regrowth process. The tapered hair you had is the hair you’ll get back. (Although, in rare instances, excessive waxing, which tears a hair from its root, can eventually reduce growth from certain hair follicles due to the repeated trauma).

The medical literature has actually tackled this abiding hair question with studies directly comparing the hair regrowth among shavers versus au naturel growth for some 100 years. In 1928, for example, four men agreed to be part of a hair regrowth study attempting to settle the matter. The men shaved a portion of their faces in one downward stroke using the same brand of shaving soap, fresh razors and water at a constant temperature—all in the name of science. The study authors collected the shorn hairs and compared 100 of them after each measuring, arriving at their chief conclusion: There is no evidence that shaving accelerates the rate of beard growth.

In a somewhat more recent study five healthy young white men agreed to explore how repeated shaving impacts human hair regrowth. Each volunteer shaved one leg weekly for several months while leaving the other leg as a control (likely opting to wear long pants during the study period). The study, published in 1970, found no significant differences in the hair width, coarseness or rate of growth. That type of data jives with what dermatologists see in their practices, says Melanie Grossman, a dermatologist based in New York City. “Women shave their legs all the time. They would be like gorillas if the hair was coming back thicker or darker,” McMichael agrees. “Plus we would never have to think about hair loss on our heads if cutting the hair shaft would make it come back thicker.”

With hair waxing the story is similar. Hair is not coming back in a more robust way after it’s yanked out by the roots. Still, there are other genetic or hormonal influences that can affect hair growth. And environment can play a role, too. “If you scratch an area of your skin significantly (which doesn’t happen with an average shaving or waxing), it may get rough like a callus and that can actually stimulate thickening of the hair growth. That’s because the skin is getting thicker, the nerves are getting thicker and the hair may get thicker, too. But that is not typical,” McMichael says.

There’s also another factor to think about as a hair springs up through the skin for the first time—at first it may appear ever-so-slightly darker since it has not yet been lightened by exposure to pollutants, chemicals and the sun. But that minute impact will not last. So let’s try to put this myth to rest—although, like our hair, it will likely reemerge.

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It doesn’t matter if you’re a novice or you’ve been at it for years, you’ve likely heard a few myths about shaving (and didn’t even realize they weren’t true). For instance, did your mom ever say shaving makes your hair grow back thicker? If so, you might want to hear what Michael Dubin, CEO and founder of Dollar Shave Club, has to say about it. See his take on five shaving myths and one truth below!

MYTH #1: Hair grows back thicker and faster the more you shave it

FACT: “If shaving causes hair to grow in much thicker, wouldn’t balding men take “preventative” measures and shave their heads constantly? This is all perception, and in this case, perception is not reality. Shaving facial or body hair gives the hair a blunt, course tip. The tip might feel “stubbly” for a time as it grows out, making it appear thicker. Alas, it’s not.”

MYTH #2: A new razor blade causes more nicks and cuts than a worn-in razor blade because it’s too sharp

FACT: “It’s called a clean shave for a reason. A perfect shave is achieved when your razor glides evenly and smoothly over the skin with the right amount of slip. Yes, this is also affected by your skin care routine, shaving cream usage, etc., but first and foremost this has to do with having a clean, fresh blade. A dull razor causes skipping, tugging, and dragging, which nicks hairs at the wrong point, resulting in ingrowns and redness. Sounds painful, right? And unhygienic. If you’re a daily shaver, you should absolutely be changing your blade every week.”

MYTH #3: Ingrown hairs come from pressing too hard while shaving

FACT:”One of the best ways to ensure a clean shave (aside from having a fresh blade) is to exfoliate the skin thoroughly beforehand. This gets rid of the dead skin cells and dirt that can clog pores, which are the main culprit of ingrowns, not the pressure you apply. Make sure to moisturize afterward to soothe the skin.”

MYTH #4: Shaving with soap and water is totally fine

FACT: “Try to avoid this if you know what’s good for you. Soap is good for removing dirt or impurities but does not add enough cushion for the razor to glide smoothly over your skin. It’s best to apply a moisture-rich shave lubricant like Dr. Carver’s Shave Butter, which allows for easier removal.”

__MYTH #5: Always shave the day of an event or special occasion __

FACT: “If your skin is sensitive, you may want to shave the day before. Given the time of year, your event may be at a beach or pool, in which case it’s also best to shave the day before so any irritation has time to heal, which can be aggravated by salt water, chlorine, sun, etc. Otherwise, the right razor makes it simple to shave day of and get perfectly smooth skin. Just make sure to finish with a lightweight moisturizer.”

TRUTH #1: Shaving is good for your skin

“Shaving actually provides short term and long term skin benefits. It essentially exfoliates the skin, gets rid of dead skin cells, and smooths the skin. And back to the blade again, a fresh blade is key as it provides just enough friction to gently but effectively glide over the skin to remove hair and dead skin cells. A dull blade will cause too much friction and tug at the skin, removing cells that aren’t ready to be removed, causing irritation.”

What’s trending on the Lipstick Index right now?

ELI5: Does shaving with a razor every day make your hair grow back thicker?

Only hairs that have grown from scratch have a tapered tip; ones that already existed and then were blunted by shaving do not change shape, taper or become thinner if left long enough after shaving, they just grow out longer with their blunted tip and then eventually fall out.

OP: When you shave a hair close the the skin, you are shaving a hair that has already gone through the process of having grown a tapered tip, which is what you’ve just cut off it, so when it continues to grow out of your skin (which it was doing whether you shaved it or not) it does not do that again, and instead simply keeps growing at the full width of the hair, which is how the old wives’ tale came about. The hair looks darker because the shaft that emerges is now the same width from skin to tip, i.e. the whole part that is visible to you, which obviously gives it a greater volume, and so more colour to see. So the old wives’ tale of saying shaving causes hair to grow back thicker is misdirection; it doesn’t cause anything to happen at all, it’s just highlights the hair not repeating a stage of growth.

9 Post-Shaving Tricks To Keep Hair From Growing Back Too Soon

Shaving is not many people’s favorite grooming ritual. Sure, hairless legs feel amazing under a fresh set of sheets, but the whole shaving process is a time-consuming drag. That said, the post-shaving tricks to keep hair from growing back can prolong that silky feeling and limit the number of times you have to shave during the week.

Although plenty of hair removal methods are available, from waxing to laser treatments, shaving remains the most popular approach. According to the Statistic Brain Research Institute, approximately 58 percent of women use shaving as their go-to hair removal method. The site also noted that it takes an average of 11 minutes to complete a shave job, you probably want to make sure the time consuming task lasts as long as possible.

For the record, plenty of feminine people don’t shave at all, according to Bustle, and that’s totally cool too. Hair removal is not a sacrosanct ritual — it’s just an option.

If you’re into shaving though, it’s understandable if you want to make that work last. A few changes to the skin care routine, and even a bit of razor maintenance, can go a long way. Even if you’re a skincare devotee, some of these tips might come as news to you. Read on to learn all about getting the smoothest skin of your life.

1. Exfoliate Regularly

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If skin care has one secret weapon, exfoliation may be it. In fact, regular exfoliation can make get the closest shave possible when it is time to wield the razor, according to Beauty and Tips.

2. Let Skin Rest

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After a shave, your skin needs a little time to chill. According to the website for Schick, it’s smart to let your shaved skin rest for about 30 minutes before applying any lotion containing alcohol or contacting chlorinated water. Basically, it’s a good idea to shave a little ahead of time if you’re headed to the pool or beach.

3. Moisturize Wisely

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Regular moisturizer may not stop hair from growing back, but it will at least help maintain soft skin. (Softness is the name of the game, right?) If your skin is sensitive, look for lotions that are alcohol-free and less likely to irritate that just-shaved skin.

4. Splash With Cold Water

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Razor bumps can get in the way of a smoother shave next time. Plus, they can be uncomfortable. According to The Knot, splashing razor-bumped areas in cold water can help soothe skin immediately. If you’re hardcore, consider an all-over cool water rinse in the shower right after you shave.

5. Replace Your Razor

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How often do you remember to change a razor before hopping in the shower? If you’re like me, the thought only comes to mind in the middle of the shower, when you’re covered in soap and several feet away from the drawer of fresh cartridges. Making the blade change a part of your post-shave routine can help prevent these awkward moments. According to HuffPo, it’s best to change a razor cartridge after about five uses. Swap out the razor after your shave if the blade was performing less than perfectly.

6. Sanitize Your Razor

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When you’re done shaving, you may be prone to rinse off the razor and leave it, dripping wet, in the damp shower. This, however, may hurt your skin in the long run. As noted in The Telegraph, razors can harbor bacteria, leading to red, bumpy skin and a less than close shave. Thoroughly rinsing and drying your razor, then storing it out of the shower, can keep things sanitary and, ultimately smoother.

7. Try A Hair-Inhibiting Cream

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Want to slow your hair growth? It might be possible. More suggested you invest in a hair inhibiting creams may help weaken the hair follicle until it stops growing hair entirely. If you’re curious, there are loads of creams to try out.

8. Use Shimmery Lotion

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When the regrowth comes in strong, despite your best efforts, try camouflaging it. Bustle suggested that shimmery lotion can make stubble less visible. Plus, you get an excuse to wear more sparkly stuff.

9. Consider Alternatives

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If shaving is just not providing the smooth skin you want, then look beyond the razor. Waxing, epilators, and laser treatments are all popular methods of hair removal. The razor is far from your only option.

Hair Doesn’t Actually Grow Back Thicker After Shaving, But Here’s Why It Looks That Way

But what about darker? Even though hair doesn’t actually grow back thicker after being shaved, it still grows back darker right? Taylor explains, “Similar to the misconception that shaving makes hair grow back thicker, the same answer can be said for whether it causes hair to grow back darker. It appears that way because…the hair is cut at a blunt angle as opposed to a fine point, so it can look like it’s darker when growing back in.”

OK, so if hair looks darker and thicker after shaving (even though it’s not), what about after other forms of hair removal?

Taylor clarified that as long as the root of each hair is not affected by the removal process, hair will continue to grow back in the same way as shaving. So, for example, a depilatory cream will have the same effect as a razor on how hair appears as it grows back. If you want your hair to take longer to grow back, and potentially grow back thinner or lighter, longer-term options like waxing or laser hair-removal are key.

Taylor says, “Laser hair removal works by weakening and deadening the hair follicle, so that hair grows back finer and slower.” So even though no sort of hair removal will actually make your hair grow back thicker or darker, if you do want it to grow back thinner, there are other options besides shaving to explore.

Images: Bianca Consunji/Bustle

Does Shaving Make Your Hair Grow Back Thicker?

It’s November — make that “Movember” — a full month when many men abstain from shaving their moustaches and beards to raise money and awareness for prostate cancer.

And many women have decided to join in by not shaving their legs, armpits, or other body parts for the month as well. That’s quite a sacrifice, since an estimated 80 to 90 percent of American women remove their body hair regularly, according to a 2008 report.

But will this break from shaving make a difference in your hair’s texture? After all, it’s common advice passed down from moms and grandmothers that shaving makes your hair grow back darker and thicker, making it more difficult to remove the next time you take a razor to your leg. But does shaving really have any effect on hair growth or color?

“Shaving your body hair doesn’t make it grow darker or thicker,” says Everyday Health expert dermatologist Jessica Wu, MD, assistant clinical professor of dermatology at the University of Southern California Medical School in Los Angeles. “Your hair is dead, and shaving it doesn’t affect the living part of the hair, which is the follicle that sits deep under the skin.”

That’s backed up by published research dating back as far as the 1920s, which measured how quickly individual hair shafts grew after shaving and found that razoring away hair had no effect on hair growth. Another classic paper published in 1970 studied five men who each shaved one leg weekly for several months and left the other leg alone. There was no difference in rate of hair growth or texture between the unshaved and shaved legs.

“It’s a common belief because when hairs grow out naturally, they taper at a sharp point, so they look thinner,” says Dr. Wu. “However, shaving hair cuts it at a blunt angle so hairs look thicker — you see the cross section of the hair.”

When your shaved hair grows back, the bluntness of the re-growth may feel coarser and thicker. It can also appear darker against the skin, but this is simply because it’s more noticeable. But what actually determines the thickness of body hair is the size of the follicle from which the hair grows, says Wu, while your melanocytes (the cells that produce melanin, the pigment that colors hair and skin) determine how dark your body hair will be.

While shaving won’t cause your body hair to grow back thicker or darker, it does produce bristly stubble — something many women would rather do without.

To get a smoother, closer shave, try these tips:

  • Use a sharp, clean razor. Replace your razor or blade whenever it becomes dull — which can vary according to how often you shave — or if you notice rust.
  • Try using a moisturizing gel or cream to help lubricate the hairs.
  • To help remove dead skin cells that can clog up the razor, exfoliate gently between shaving sessions.
  • Moisturize with lotion after showering to help keep skin soft and smooth.

Besides shaving, other popular body hair removal methods include waxing, threading, and depilatories. For the smoothest results, Dr. Wu recommends “waxing and threading, since they remove the hair root.” If you never want to worry about body hair again, there’s also electrolysis and laser hair removal, which target the follicles to permanently remove hair.

Does shaving make you hairier?

Now that summer is ending, a lot of female legs are getting a well-deserved break from razors.

But will the leg shaving have any effect on hair growth?

Is it true that hair grows faster and thickens when you shave – for instance if women shave their upper lips or the hair on their legs?

Hair is dead

“Hair doesn’t grow faster and it doesn’t get any thicker if you shave,” says Joar Austad.

Hair is dead above the skin and isn’t changed by shaving, except that it gets shorter, explains Chief Physician Joar Austad. (Photo: OUS)

He is a chief physician at the Oslo University Hospital’s Department of Dermatology.

The reason why you can’t increase the coarseness of hairs by shaving is that the portion of hair that sticks out from your skin is already dead.

The hair shaft doesn’t register that it’s been cut off and thus cannot send any information about it to the hair follicle, which continues with business as usual, regardless of your shaving antics.

“It’s akin to clipping a fingernail,” explains Austad.

“It doesn’t grow any slower or faster because you trim it.”

Old myth

A quick web search reveals that this question has been posed time and again during the history of the internet and many of us were misinformed about the alleged consequences of shaving long before internet arrived.

Why won’t this myth lie down and die?

“There are lots of these so-called old truths, and a shaved hair does indeed feel stiffer,” says the dermatologist.

“If you shave off a hair, it does of course get shorter, and a shorter hair is like the stub end of rope. It’s stiffer than a longer segment of the same rope. If you let your hair grow out again you’ll see that it’s just like it was before being shaved.”

Just as stiff with removal creams

Shaving does no harm, at least with regards to growth and structure.

But is it the best way to get rid of unwanted hair?

“At least it’s one way, and hair removal creams are another. These make the hair shaft even shorter because the cream works closer to the surface of the skin.”

So creams can prolong the time it takes for the hair to grow back.

“But the hairs will be just as stiff and thick when they push through the skin, whether you use a cream or a blade,” adds Austad.

Wax can sometimes hamper a little growth

A third method of removing hair is to yank it out, for instance by using a wax.

This method is rougher for the person undergoing the treatment and for the hair follicle. But the dermatologist predicts you’ll be disappointed if someone has claimed a wax job will curtail growth.

“You pull the hair out much deeper so it takes longer before you see the hair again.”

He says that sometimes when hair is removed with wax, this injures the dermal papillae, the growth zone down at the bottom of the follicle.

“This can curb growth to some extent, but it’s uncommon. The general answer is that waxing doesn’t have any effect on hair growth either,” says Austad.

Read the Norwegian version of this article at forskning.no

Translated by: Glenn Ostling

  • Joar Austad’s profile
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Mythbusting: Does Shaving Make Your Hair Grow Back Thicker and Coarser?

You may have heard it from your mother growing up, from your friends, or even while doing some Google sleuthing: If you shave your hair, it’ll grow back thicker and coarser.

The thought is enough to put down the razor forever!

But is there any truth to the oft-repeated warning?

Not according to the experts.

“I think this myth has stayed with us too long!” says licensed esthetician Jordana Mattioli of Complete Skin MD. It’s partly just perception.

“Cutting or shaving slices away the tip of a hair, which is tapered at the end. Those short hairs, when they continue to grow past the surface of the skin aren’t tapered anymore, so we perceive this temporary process to be that the hair is thicker,” she explains.

So while the stubble of a sliced hair will feel different than the ends of longer tapered hair, they’re not actually different; and those short, sliced hairs will taper eventually.

“Shaving doesn’t affect the hair follicle, and doesn’t affect how fast the hair will come back,” Mattioli stresses.

But why does hair sometimes look darker after it grows back? You might notice it more around the summertime–and for good reason.

“Hair can be affected by the elements, like chemicals, pollutants, the sun,” explains Mattioli. “For example, if your arm hair has never been shaved and you shave it–when it grows back that new hair hasn’t been exposed to the elements that can lighten it yet.”

Fortunately, the hair on a woman’s face (i.e. vellus hair) is finer and shorter than arm hair, so you likely won’t notice this effect if you’re maintaining your facial fuzz with DERMAFLASH on a regular basis.

Researchers have also found no difference in hair thickness and coarseness before and after shaving over the years. A study in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology states,“No significant differences in total weight of hair produced in a measured area, or in width or rate of growth of individual hairs, could be ascribed to shaving.”

Translation: Shave away and put your mind at ease!

Your facial hair will not seek out revenge when it grows back.

How fast hair grows, and other hairy science

On average, your scalp hair grows 0.35 to 0.45 millimeters a day — that’s half an inch per month. Depending on your ancestry (genetics), diet and hormonal state (pregnant women grow hair a bit faster; it’s also thicker and shinier), your hair will grow at a higher or lower rate.

Why hair grows

The human body contains roughly 5,000,000 hair follicles, and the function of each hair follicle is to produce a hair shaft. Our early ancestors used to have most of their bodies covered in hair, like our other primate cousins. This served to conserve heat, protect from the sun, provide camouflage and more. Today, however, humans stand out from the 5,000 mammal species because they’re virtually naked, but why is that?

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Scientists believe that our lineage has become less and less hairy in the past six million years since we shared a common ancestor with our closest relative, the chimpanzee. Our ape ancestors spent most of their time in cool forests, but a furry, upright hominid walking around in the sun would have overheated. One of the main theories concerning our lack of fur suggests that temperature control played a key role. Bare skin allows body heat to be lost through sweating, which would have been important when early humans started to walk on two legs and began to develop larger brains than their ape-like ancestors. Nina Jablonski, a professor of anthropology at Pennsylvania State University, says there must have been a strong evolutionary pressure to control temperature to preserve the functions of a big brain. “We can now make a very good case that this was the primary reason for our loss of hair well over 1 million years ago,” she said.

“Probably the most tenable hypothesis is that we lost most of our body hair as an adaptation to being better at losing heat from our body, in other words for thermal regulation,” Professor Jablonski said.

“We became very good sweaters as a result. We lost most of our hair and increased the number of eccrine sweat glands on our body and became prodigiously good sweaters,” she told the American Association for the Advancement of Science meeting in Boston.

Besides sweating, losing our furry coat may have also been driven by having fewer parasites infesting our bodies like ticks, lice, biting flies and other “ectoparasites.” These creatures can carry viral, bacterial and protozoan-based diseases such as malaria, sleeping sickness and the like, resulting in serious chronic medical conditions and even death. By virtue of being able to build fires and clothing, humans were able to reduce the number of parasites they were carrying without suffering from the cold at night or in colder climates.

Despite exposing us to head lice, humans probably retained head hair for protection from the sun and to provide warmth when the air is cold, while pubes may have been retained for they role in enhancing pheromones or the airborne odors of sexual attraction. The hair on the armpits and groin act like dry lubricants, allowing our arms and legs to move without chafing. Eyelashes, on the other hand, act as the first line of defense against bugs, dust, and other irritating objects. Everything else seems to be superfluous and was discarded. It’s important to note, however, that we haven’t exactly shed our fur. Humans have the same density of hair follicles on our skin as a similarly sized ape. Just look at your hands or feet: they’re covered in hair, but the hair is so thin you can barely make them out.

How hair grows

Image: Apollo Now

Hair, on the scalp and elsewhere, grows from tiny pockets in the skin called follicles. Hair starts growing from the bottom of the follicles called the root, which is made up of cell proteins. These proteins are fed by blood vessels that dot the scalp. As more cells are generated, hair starts to grow in length through the skin, passing an oil gland along the way. Emerging from the pit of each of these follicles is the hair shaft itself. By the time it’s long enough to poke out through the skin, the hair is already dead, which is why you can’t feel anything when you get your hair cut.

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The hair shaft is made out of a hard protein called keratin. There are three main layers to the hair shaft. The inner layer is called the medulla, the second is the cortex and the outer layer is the cuticle. It is both the cortex and the medulla that holds the hair’s pigment, giving it its color.

Some quick facts about hair:

  • You’re born with all the hair follicles you’ll ever have – about 5 million of them. Around 100,000 of these are on your scalp.
  • The hair on your head grows about 6 inches a year. The only thing in the human body that grows faster is bone marrow.
  • Males grow hair faster than females due to testosterone.
  • You lose between 50 to 100 strands of hair each day. That’s because follicles grow hair for years at a time but then take a break. Because follicle growth isn’t synced evenly, some take a break (causing the hair to fall out), while the vast majority continue business as usual.
  • Some follicles stop growing as you age, which is why old people have thinning hair or grow bald.
  • Everybody’s hair is different. Depending on its texture, your hair may be straight, wavy, curly, or kinky; thick or thin; fine or coarse. These are determined by genetics, which influences follicle shape. For instance, oval-shaped follicles make hair grow curly while round follicles groom straight hair.
  • Like skin, hair comes in various colors as determined by the same pigment called melanin. The more melanin in your hair, the darker it will be. As you grow older, your hair has less and less melanin, which is why it fades color and may appear gray.

Hair growth cycle

Image: Belgravia Center

Follicles have three phases: anagen — growth, catagen — no growth, preparing for rest, and telogen — rest, hair falls out. At its own pace, each strand of hair on your scalp transitions through these three phases:

  • Anagen. During this phase, cells inside the root start dividing like crazy. A new hair is formed that pushes out old hair that stopped growing or that is no longer in the anagen phase. During this phase, the hair grows about 1 cm every 28 days. Scalp hair stays in this active form of growth for two to six years, but the hair on the arms, legs, eyelashes, and eyebrows have a very short active growth phase of about 30 to 45 days. This is why they are so much shorter than scalp hair. Furthermore, different people, thanks mostly to their genetics, have differing lengths of the anagen period for a given body part compared to other people. For the hair on your head, the average length of the anagen phase is about 2-7 years.
  • Catagen. About 3% of all the hair on your body this very instant is in this phase. It lasts two to three weeks and during this time, growth stops. During this phase, the hair follicle will actually shrink to 1/6 of its original length.
  • Telogen. About 6 to 8 percent of all your hair is in this phase — the resting phase. Pulling out a hair in this phase will reveal a solid, hard, dry, white material at the root. On a day-to-day basis, one can expect to shed between 100 to 150 pieces of hair. This is a normal result of the hair growth cycle. When you shed hair, it’s actually a sign of a healthy scalp. It’s when the hair loss is excessive that you should feel worried and contact a doctor.

Why hair only grows to a certain length

Each hair grows out of a follicle and as the hair gets longer and heavier, the follicle eventually can’t hold on much longer and it sheds the hair. But that’s okay: it then starts growing another one. How long you can grow your hair depends on your genetics, and in general, Asians can grow their hair longer than Europeans. This may be surprising for many, but as in all mammals, each of us has a certain hair length beyond which the hair simply won’t grow. Hair length is longest in people with round follicles because round follicles seem to grip the hair better. So, people with straight hair have the potential to grow it longer. Shorter hair is associated with flat follicles. A study published in 2007 also explains why Japanese and Chinese people have thick hair: their follicles are 30% larger than that of Africans and 50% larger than that of Europeans.

In most cultures, women keep their hair longer than men. Cultural rules aside, hair length is actually sexual dimorphic. Generally, women are able to grow their hair longer than males. European males can reach a maximum length of wavy hair to about shoulder length, while the maximum for straight hair is about mid-back length. For European females, wavy hair can usually reach the waist, and straight hair can reach the buttocks or longer.

The world’s longest documented hair belongs to Xie Qiuping (China) at 5.627 m (18 ft 5.54 in) measured on 8 May 2004.

How to grow your hair faster and longer

While genetics caps your hair length, it is possible to accelerate its growth rate.

1. First of all, your hair growth reflects your general body health. Eat a diet rich in marine proteins, vitamin C (red peppers), zinc (oysters), biotin (eggs), niacin (tuna) and iron (oysters) to nourish strands.
2. If changing your diet isn’t possible, you can try supplements with marine extracts, vitamins, and minerals that nourish your follicles.
3. Besides general health, the next thing you should mind is your scalp health. Use a shampoo that gently exfoliates oil and debris from the scalp as well as a conditioner to moisturize scalp and hair.
4. Trimming is a proven method to grow your hair longer. Although in itself trimming doesn’t promote growth, it does help prevent breakage and, therefore, increases hair length.

Things that actually hurt your hair:

1. Silicone shampoos dry out the hair and degrade it. Blow dryers and flat iron produce similar effects, breaking the hair shafts. Use these products as rarely as possible.
2. UV light bleaches and breaks down hair. When you’re out at the beach, wear a hat to protect your scalp.
3. Salt and chlorine water both soften and dry the hair.
4. Bleaching, dyeing, hair extensions and perms also damage hair.

Tags: hairhair growth

Why Does My Hair Grow So Fast? Read This To Find Out!

For women who have observed an increase in hair growth, especially in areas where hair is supposedly sparse, this could mean that she has more male hormones – particularly testosterone or androgens.

Commonly, this is not something that gravely affects one’s health. However, if this symptom comes along with other worrying factors, you must visit your doctor to discuss about it. Your hair growth may be the effect of a hormonal imbalance issue.

2. Blood Circulation

When I was younger, I was often told to keep brushing my hair if I wanted it to grow faster. I did about 50 brush strokes daily as a child who wanted waist-length long hair. And boy, did it work to the point that fast hair growth became a pressing problem for me even today.

I have always thought that brushing would magically add more length to my hair, as if my brush has this extending function I did not know about. But actually, science says that frequent brushing improves blood circulation for your hair follicles.

With good blood circulation, your hair follicles are healthy enough to deliver nutrients to your hair. Massaging your hair often can also contribute to good blood flow.

If this is you, this probably means that you are doing something right for both your body and your overall health.

3. Protein and Biotin Intake

Your hair is made out of protein. It only makes sense that if you are consuming a lot of protein from your diet or through protein shakes, your hair will grow faster than usual.

Does it feel like your hair takes forever to grow? You’re not alone.

Waiting for your tresses to transform into long, luscious locks can often feel like a painstakingly slow process. It takes a healthy dose of patience.

But whether you’ve been trying to grow Rapunzel locks for years (with no luck), or are just sick of your cropped cut (no judgment here!), there are a few things you can do to help your hair grow a little bit faster. And TODAY Style is breaking them all down with the help of the pros!

The time of year even influences how quickly your hair grows (faster in the summer and slower in the winter).Getty Images stock

How fast does hair grow?

It’s hard to say exactly how fast your hair grows — everyone is different! — but on average, hair grows about half an inch over the course of a month. That being said, it’s not unusual for hair to grow as little as a centimeter or as much as an inch in a month.

A number of factors can influence hair growth, some of which you can control and others you can’t. “The speed at which hair grows is determined by genetics but there are other factors that can affect the growth rate. Age, diet, stress, hormonal fluctuations, scalp health, hair care practices, medications and other health conditions can potentially influence hair growth,” said master hair colorist, Stephanie Brown.

In general, men’s hair grows faster than women’s, but pregnancy can actually speed up the hair-growth process. Even the time of year can affect how fast or slow hair grows.

“Hair tends to grow a little faster in summer and slower in winter,” said Dr. Alan Parks, board-certified dermatologist and founder of DermWarehouse. “An underactive thyroid can also slow down hair growth.”

If you’ve got damaged hair (thanks, hot tools!), genetic structural abnormalities (they typically cause hair to break off at a certain length) or certain hair types, your hair might also grow more slowly.

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“Some people have finer hair that breaks easily, so it just may seem that your hair isn’t growing but it is,” Brown said.

According to Randy Veliky, clinical studies director for HairMax, hair grows faster from the age of 15 to late 20s and slows down considerably after that, especially with the onset of menopause.

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“Hair growth can be described in three cycles, the anagen growth phase, lasting 5-7 years; the catagen resting phase and then the telogen shedding phase. Each follicle goes through these phases independently. As we age or experience pattern hair loss, the anagen growth phase is shortened. This is why it is difficult for women over 50 to grow their hair long like they did when they were younger,” Veliky said.

Before you get frustrated with your hair, try to keep in mind that any number of factors, including hair loss in general, can influence growth. “Hair loss can be caused by many things including illness, medication, poor diet, hormones and over-styling. Any one of these causes can interfere with the hair growth cycle, and can damage hair follicles, preventing them from growing hair,” Veliky said.

Eat up! Certain foods can help hair grow faster.

Can certain foods help hair grow faster?

Trying to grow your hair longer for a special event? The key just might be your diet. Hair craves nutrition, so a balanced diet filled with lots of nutrients will keep it healthy and happy.

“The foods you eat should contain vitamins and minerals known to support healthy hair growth, such as vitamin C, biotin, niacin, iron and zinc,” Veliky said.

If you want longer hair, stock up on any (or all) of the following powerful foods:

  • Salmon
  • Eggs
  • Avocados
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Berries
  • Nuts
  • Olive oil
  • Fish
  • Beans
  • Whole grains
  • Foods rich in protein, biotin (vitamin H) and omega-3

A healthy scalp is the key to hair growth.

How does your scalp influence hair growth?

Believe it or not, your scalp plays a huge role in hair growth, but it takes a beating on a daily basis — harsh brushes and strong products are often the culprit. Considering all that scalps can go through, it’s even more important that you treat yours with a bit of TLC.

“Lifestyle, diet and medication can slow down the hair growth process, so a clean, healthy scalp is truly instrumental,” said Angelo David, a hair loss and thinning expert. “Wash hair regularly and don’t overwhelm the scalp with too much product or abrasive chemicals.”

In other words, keeping your scalp healthy is all about taking little steps — like using a sulfate-free shampoo, a filter to remove chlorine from your shower or making sure to thoroughly wash your hair.

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“You just need to make sure you cleanse your scalp by shampooing and massaging to get all the dead skin cells off. And brushing your hair once a day will help. But don’t shampoo every day; try to shampoo every other day because this will help you have stronger, healthy hair,” Brown said.

Using hot tools too often or too close to the scalp can also damage hair at the root and prevent it from growing, so try to use them sparingly.

You’re bound to expose your scalp to harsh elements sometime, but the good news is, there are a few steps you can take to help protect yours:

  • Wet hair is super fragile, so use a wet brush on it to avoid damage
  • Condition your hair every time you shampoo
  • Prevent breakage by using a light hair towel to help hair dry faster
  • Use silk pillowcases instead of cotton
  • Use masks and treatments, such as Olaplex, to help strengthen hair

If food alone won’t do it, vitamins can give your hair the boost it needs to grow.Getty Images stock

What about vitamins for hair growth?

If you’re struggling to get the nutrients your hair needs through food alone, you might be wondering if there’s any other way to help your hair along.

“Proper diet and nutrition are essential to healthy hair growth,” Veliky said. “If you cannot get these nutrients in the foods you eat, try vitamins for hair growth.”

There’s typically nothing wrong with trying vitamins or supplements to boost your hair growth efforts. At the same time, foods in their original form usually hold more nutrients, so try to incorporate at least a few new foods into your diet before heading right to the vitamin aisle.

If you’ve worked your way through the list of hair-healthy foods and could still use a little help, you can always try some of these vitamins/supplements:

  • Biotin
  • Fish oil
  • Vitamins C, B and D
  • Iron
  • Omega-3 and fatty acids
  • Nutrafol
  • Hair Detox
  • Ducray Anacaps Activ+

At the end of the day, hair growth is still a bit of a mystery to scientists and skin experts alike, so no one solution will work for everyone. “We are learning more about how hair growth is controlled at a cellular level, but scientific evidence on how to speed up hair growth directly is still lacking, so certain methods have not been rigorously studied,” said cosmetic dermatologist Dr. Sejal Shah, founder of SmarterSkin Dermatology.

But that doesn’t mean you can’t (safely) try incorporating certain products or foods into your routine to at least see if they give your hair a boost. And when all else fails, don’t underestimate the value of regular haircuts! Frequent trims can encourage hair to grow more if you’ve hit a length plateau.

What To Do To Stop Hair growth on legs

Hair growth on our legs is something many of us really find a nuisance, and with so many ways to rid your unwanted hair, how do you know if you’re doing it right?

There are some methods that are great at ridding your hair as a quick fix, but then there are those that do slow down immensely the hair regrowth rate. Some can even permanently rid the legs of hair.

Quick fix

For immediate and quick hair removal, shaving is the best way.

It will take no more than five minutes to shave your legs in the shower or bath, moisturise afterwards and for you to get on with the rest of your day. You’ll have super, smooth legs, but this will only last for a few days.

When it comes to shaving your legs, you should do so towards the end of your shower or bath, so your pores are open and your hair and skin is soft. Dry shaving can be painful and leave your skin extremely irritable.

Finding the right razor is crucial to getting the best shave. Ideally you’ll want one with a pivoting head and one with many razor blades, so it can easily move and reach those tricky areas such as the knee and heel.

Before you start shaving, apply a shaving foam, to help moisturise and make shaving easier. Shave against the hair growth (from ankle upwards), in short strokes. It has been widely misconstrued that shaving in one long stroke is best, but actually it isn’t, and does result in missing hairs.

Once you’re done, rinse away any remaining foam/gel, dry your legs and apply moisturiser, to replenish and hydrate those pins.

If however you are looking to reduce hair growth on your legs, then waxing and epilation is the answer.

Waxing

Waxing is an age old tradition of hair removal and one that is extremely popular. The thought of not having to deal with unwanted hair for up to a month is heavenly.

Whether you want to do it at home or via a professional at a salon, the choice is yours. Although initially painful, waxing will help reduce the thickness of your hair overtime and reduce its appearance, but it doesn’t permanently stop hair growth alone.

Although the major downside to waxing, are those in between days where the hair isn’t quite long enough to wax but can be seen.

Epilating

Epilating is another fantastic way to be hair free for longer, and all within the ease of your own home without any mess.

It’s basically an electric tweezer that can extract multiple hairs straight from their hair follicle in one go, on most body parts too.

It also works to sync your hair regrowth cycles into one, lessening the chance of sporadic hairs growing here and there.

Although initially it can feel slightly painful (a stinging feeling), the more times you use it, the less you’ll feel the pain.

You can expect to be hair free for up to six weeks at a time, but this comes in time. You’ll find that you may use your epilator more regularly when you first start, because your hair will still be in their three cycle stage and not synchronised into one. But as time goes on your hair will grow thinner, slower and weaker, meaning less hair.

The added bonus of epilating is that you can use it when your hair length is at a minimum of 0.5mm, so no more embarrassing inbetween days waiting for your hair to grow to be waxed.

It is a great way to achieve hairless legs with no mess or fuss, for longer.

But if you’re wanting your legs to become permanently hair free, then we have the perfect addition to your waxing or epilating regime.

Prevent unwanted hair growth, permanently

Our Frenesies body cream, facial cream and cream for men, work by attacking the hair regrowth process in your hair follicle. The follicle has to have all of its hair completely removed to be able to work, which is why it doesn’t work with shaving as this process is “trimming” the hair off at the surface of the skin.

It’s natural ingredients have been put to their scientific purpose by blocking the amino acids and proteins from working to produce hair. With as little as four cycles of treatment, your hair really could be gone forever.

All you have to do is use our cream straight after epilating or waxing, and to apply it for the following five consecutive days to see a reduction of 60%-80% in hair regrowth.

So what are you waiting for? The moment is now to start your journey to hair free, soft, and smooth legs, that you can show off year round.

At FRÉNÉSIES, and through our joint work with top European scientists and physicians, we have developed an innovative treatment to stop unwanted hair growth and to get you feeling your best.

If you are looking to stop unwanted hair growth, start by applying one of our specially formulated FRÉNÉSIES creams…

We all know that hair on your head grows gray after some time and that age inevitably thins it out. But does the same fortune hold true for your body hair?

You may be surprised to learn that hair below your neck has its own way of aging. Dermatologist Rebecca Kazin, M.D., medical director of the John Hopkins Dermatology and Cosmetic Center, gives us the lowdown your down-low strands.

All body hair that sprouts during puberty—think hair on your underarms, genitals, and chest hair on guys—is controlled by hormones. Since our estrogen levels drop as we reach middle to later age, body hair growth corresponds by becoming sparser and thinner, too. In fact, most people will see a significant slow down in the production of leg and arm hair.

RELATED: Are Your Body Hair Removal Habits Normal?

“Less body hair is the result of hormones, but there are also less building blocks for hair growth as we get older—skin is thinner, there is less subcutaneous tissue, and follicles get smaller over time, resulting in finer, fuzzier-textured hair,” says Kazin.

However, don’t get too excited at the thought of putting down the razor and tweezers in your later years—unfortunately, those same hormonal changes that result in less body hair often stimulate hair growth in other areas of the face, thanks to a rise in testosterone levels. (You’ve probably heard mom or grandma complain about more hair above the upper lip and strays on the chin—now you know why!)

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And it turns out that body hair can go gray just like the hair on your head. “Melanin pigments the hair, and with time, there is less melanin production, which turns hair gray,” says Kazin, who notes that the hair on your head goes gray faster, though. How rapidly this happens anywhere from the head to the body is largely genetic. To borrow a raunchy punchline, your carpet may not match your drapes for a few years.

If you’re considering laser hair removal, keep this in mind: Since hair becomes thinner and loses pigment (or color) with age, many older people are no longer good candidates for laser hair removal, which works by “chasing” down pigment in hair. So you’ll want to get this particular treatment sooner rather than later. “Sometimes, a patient may not realize that she has as much gray hair as she does until she does laser hair removal and those are the only hairs left behind,” says Kazin.

RELATED: Why I Quit Waxing May Face and Decided to Embrace My Beard

As with everything that comes with aging, taking it all in stride can help. If you’re someone who gets five o’clock shadow under your arms or on your legs (that’s us raising our hands!), at least that’s one thing you can look forward to getting better with age.

Grace is a beauty and wellness journalist who contributes to outlets like The Today Show and Marie Claire and Brides magazines, as well as digital sites, including WomensHealthMag.com. Her mission is to help you feel and look your best so you can go out and conquer the world.

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