Stages of Hair Growth: A Comprehensive Guide to the Life Cycle of Your Locks

Medically reviewedby Dr. Amy Revene M.B.B.S.
WrittenbyLuat Duong
Last updated

While it may appear simple, the growth and shedding of hair is actually a complex process involving four distinct phases.

Researchers have delved deep into these stages to better understand how hair grows and what can be done to prevent or treat premature hair loss.

The first three stages – anagen, catagen, and telogen – focus on the growth, maturation, and resting phases of hair follicles.

Meanwhile, the final exogen phase involves the shedding of "old" hair, making way for new hair to take its place.

Factors such as age, nutrition, and overall health can impact each stage's timeline, meaning you can take proactive steps to encourage a healthy hair growth cycle.

So, let's explore these fascinating stages and discover what you can do to support your locks throughout their life cycle!

What are the four stages of hair growth?

stages of hair growth

1. Anagen phase: active growth

The anagen phase, also known as the active growth phase, is the first stage of hair growth and the longest phase in the hair growth cycle.

This phase typically lasts between 3 to 5 years for scalp hair, although some individuals may experience hair growth for up to 7 years or more.

It's important to note that the anagen phase varies for different hair types, such as eyebrows and pubic hair, which have a much shorter active growth period.

During the anagen phase, hair follicles actively produce hair strands that continue to grow until they are cut or reach the end of their lifespan and naturally fall out.

At any given time, approximately 90 percent of the hairs on your head are in the anagen phase, contributing to the overall health and fullness of your hair.

2. Catagen phase: transition

The catagen phase, marking the transition between active growth and the resting period, begins when the anagen phase ends and typically lasts about 10 days.

During this stage, hair follicles shrink, and hair growth slows down. Additionally, the hair strand separates from the base of the hair follicle but remains in place as it undergoes its final days of growth.

At any given time, only about 5 percent of the hairs on your head are in the catagen phase. 

This transitional phase is vital in preparing the hair for the upcoming resting period, ensuring a seamless progression through the hair growth cycle.

3. Telogen phase: resting

The telogen phase, often called the resting phase, typically lasts around 3 months. During this time, approximately 10 to 15 percent of your scalp hairs enter a state of dormancy.

Hair growth ceases in the telogen phase, but the hairs generally do not fall out just yet. This phase also marks the beginning of new hair formation in recently released hair follicles during the catagen phase.

Although some health experts consider the telogen phase as the shedding phase, many scientists differentiate between the two, dividing the stage into two distinct parts: the telogen and exogen stages.

The telogen phase serves as a critical resting period, allowing the hair follicles to rejuvenate and prepare for the next cycle of growth.

4. Exogen phase: shedding

The exogen phase can be considered an extension or a distinct part of the telogen stage in the hair growth cycle.

This phase is primarily characterized by hair shedding from the scalp, often facilitated by washing and brushing.

Losing between 50 to 100 hairs per day is normal during the exogen phase. Spanning approximately 2 to 5 months, this phase also witnesses new hair growth in the follicles as old hairs are shed.

The exogen phase plays a crucial role in maintaining a healthy balance of hair growth and shedding, ensuring that your scalp remains refreshed and ready to support the next cycle of hair growth.

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Tips for maintaining healthy hair growth during all four stages

Hair care routines and products

healthy hair cycle and hair shaft

Keeping your hair healthy during all four stages of growth can be easily achieved with a good hair care routine and the right products!

One fantastic option is the Scandinavian Biolabs Hair Growth Routine, a 3-step system designed to not only reduce hair loss but also support new hair growth and keep your locks strong and vibrant.

The system features the clinically-tested Bio-Pilixin® Serum, which has shown impressive results in tackling early-stage hair loss.

What makes the Scandinavian Biolabs Hair Growth Routine so effective?

It combines the unique properties of Curcuma longa and other active ingredients to prime your scalp and hair for optimal growth.

The Bio-Pilixin® Formula works to extend the natural anagen (growth) phase and shorten the telogen (shedding) phase by nourishing hair follicles and promoting derma papillae cell growth while also increasing and stabilizing the blood flow to the scalp.

Packed with powerful, 100% vegan ingredients like Capilia Longa, Niacinamide, Aloe Vera, Amino Acid Complex, Vanillyl Butyl Ether, and Zinc PCA, the Scandinavian Biolabs Hair Growth Routine does more than just support hair growth—it also strengthens and restores your hair, controls sebum production, and improves overall hair texture.

Incorporating this scientifically-backed product into your hair care routine will give your hair the essential support it needs throughout its entire growth cycle.

Give it a try and enjoy the journey to healthier, more beautiful hair!

Hair Growth Routine | For Women
Hair Growth Routine | For Women
Formulated to combat thinning hair & visible scalp

Hair Growth Routine | For Men
Hair Growth Routine | For Men
Formulated to combat shedding & signs of balding

Good nutrition

hair shedding during the hair growth cycle

A well-balanced diet is crucial for maintaining healthy hair growth, and since hair is primarily composed of protein, it's important to consume an adequate amount of high-quality proteins. 

Make sure to add these tasty options to your meals:

  • Fish
  • Lean meats
  • Low-fat dairy products
  • Beans
  • Legumes

According to a 2019 study published in the journal Dermatology and Therapy, certain nutrients are also associated with promoting healthy hair growth.

For luscious locks, be sure to include these essentials in your diet:

  • Vitamin D
  • Vitamin C
  • Iron (particularly important for women)

Moreover, other nutrients like zinc, folic acid, and vitamin B12 can also contribute to your hair's health.

Ensuring your body gets all the vital nutrients, it needs will provide your hair with the essential building blocks for optimal growth and vitality.

So, don't hesitate to embrace a nutritious and delicious diet—your hair will certainly appreciate the extra care!

Read this: Top 7 Foods For Vegetarian Hair Growth According To Doctors

Reduced stress

phase of the hair, club hair

Reducing stress levels is essential not only for overall well-being but also for maintaining healthy hair growth.

The Mayo Clinic identifies three premature hair-loss conditions that are linked to high-stress levels:

  1. Telogen effluvium: This condition causes hair to transition rapidly from the anagen phase to the telogen phase and into the exogen phase, resulting in two to three times the normal daily hair loss.
  2. Trichotillomania: A psychological condition characterized by an uncontrollable urge to pull out hair from the scalp or other areas of the body.
  3. Alopecia areata: This condition arises when the immune system mistakenly attacks healthy hair follicles, leading to hair loss.

To help manage stress and protect your hair, consider incorporating stress-reduction techniques such as yoga, meditation, deep-breathing exercises, or counselling into your daily routine.

Minimizing stressors in your life can not only benefit your hair but also improve your overall health and well-being.

Read this: 9 Effective Methods How To Regain Hair Loss From Stress


Understanding the stages of hair growth and taking steps to support your hair's health during each phase can make a significant difference in maintaining beautiful, strong locks.

By incorporating a balanced diet rich in essential nutrients, using effective hair care products like the Scandinavian Biolabs Hair Growth Routine, and managing stress levels through various techniques, you'll provide your hair with the optimal environment to thrive.

Remember, the journey to healthy hair is a long-term commitment, so be patient and stay consistent with your efforts.

By taking care of your hair from the inside out, you'll not only promote strong and vibrant locks but also enhance your overall well-being.

So, go ahead and embrace these healthy habits—your hair will surely thank you for it!



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Luat Duong

Luat Duong is a Copenhagen-based writer and content strategist specializing in hair loss and health. His work has been featured in MyHealthGuide, The Right Hairstyles, and Woman's Era. He is a graduate of Vaasa University. You can connect with him on LinkedIn.