How to grow a hair faster

How to Make Your Hair Grow Faster

Hair loss, slowed growth, or reduction in fullness may happen as a result of various factors that affect the hair growth cycle, including the natural effects of aging, hormonal changes, illness, autoimmune disorders, various medications, and even severe stress. Although changes in hair growth are not life-threatening, they can cause distress and can negatively affect your quality of life.

Yes, You Can Actually Make Your Hair Grow Faster—Here’s How

Want Rapunzel-esque lengths? Here’s the long story, short.

Kristin Granero is a lifestyle writer, content creator, and digital media expert residing in New York City. When she’s not interviewing experts or test-driving the latest products, she can be found exploring new museum exhibits, volunteering for her local animal rescue, or scouring the five boroughs (and beyond!) in search of the best guacamole. Highlights: * 3+ years writing Style, Beauty, Health, and Home content for Real Simple * Has held positions at and/or contributed to a wide range of lifestyle and entertainment publishers, including Seventeen, Cosmopolitan, Women’s Health, Shape, Self, Glamour, HBO, TODAY, NBC, Discovery, Yahoo, and beyond * Experience includes copywriting, web production, social media strategy, and email marketing

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Isaac Winter is a fact-checker and writer for Real Simple, ensuring the accuracy of content published by rigorously researching content before publication and periodically when content needs to be updated. Highlights: Helped establish a food pantry in West Garfield Park as an AmeriCorps employee at Above and Beyond Family Recovery Center. Interviewed Heartland Alliance employees for oral history project conducted by the Lake Forest College History Department. Editorial Head of Lake Forest College’s literary magazine, Tusitala, for two years.

Hard to believe, but in this era of quick tans and almost insta-dry nail polish, there’s still no easy way to grow hair faster (extensions aside) than your genetics allow. Trim and brush all you want, but your hair. prefers. to take. its time.

Genes Do Play a Big Role

Exactly how much time it takes for hair to grow depends on genetics. On average, each strand grows about a half-inch a month. But hair doesn’t grow like that nonstop; it grows in cycles. “Fortunately for many, hair is in the growth phase over 80 percent of the time, meaning the opportunity is there,” says William Yates, MD, FACS, a board-certified hair loss surgeon based in Chicago, Ill.

how-to-make-hair-grow-faster: woman with long hair

Hair Grows in Phases

At any given moment, about 90 percent of hair follicles are in the anagen (growing) phase. The rest of the follicles are in either the catagen (transitioning) phase or the telogen (resting) phase. For some lucky individuals, the growing phase lasts as long as seven years; for others, it’s as little as two. At the end of this stage, the strand falls out, and its follicle remains dormant and hairless for about three months. After that, a sprig of hair finally sprouts, and the hair growth process starts again. “If your hair never gets past your shoulders, chances are, you have a shorter anagen cycle than others do,” says Francesca Fusco, MD, a board-certified dermatologist in New York City.

From how to choose products that promote healthy hair follicles to external factors that could be affecting your hair growth, experts offer their top tips for taking your locks to greater (healthier, stronger, shinier) lengths.

How to Grow Hair Faster

Hair grows faster when it’s healthy. Consider these factors and learn how to make your hair grow faster.

Choose the right shampoo.

One of the easiest ways to streamline your hair growth is to make your shampoo work for you. For example, try a hair-thickening shampoo to address density concerns.

When reviewing product labels, look for ingredients that are known nourishers. “Pumpkin seed oil, yucca root, and saw palmetto are my favorite ingredients for promoting hair growth,” says Dr. Yates. “Pumpkin seed oil extract and saw palmetto have been shown to help stop hair loss and regrow hair. They block the action of 5-alpha reductase, which converts testosterone to dihydrotestosterone (DHT)—the culprit of male pattern baldness. Yucca root, a gentle and natural ingredient popular in Native American culture, has high concentrations of saponins (create a suds effect without sulfates) and is a natural anti-inflammatory, which helps with itchy scalps in addition to promoting hair growth.”

Yates says to avoid products and fads that seem too good to be true, and allow three to four months after starting a new regimen before you see any change in growth.

Don’t forget the conditioner.

Even if you’re using a great shampoo for damaged hair, if you’re not using a conditioner every time you wash your hair, you’re not doing it right. Dry hair hinders growth by increasing the chances of breakage, so it’s important to moisturize your strands to restore growth proteins back into hair follicles. Look out for hydrating formulas that include growth vitamins such as zinc and biotin.

According to Penny James, IAT, a trichologist and founder of Penny James Salon in New York, it’s best to avoid heavy formulas, especially when it comes to conditioners. “The use of a lightweight conditioner helps smooth the cuticle that has been swollen while shampooing,” she says. “Additionally, there is always a difference in the pH in shampoos and conditioners, so you also want to stay in the range of 3.5-5.5. Anything over pH7 and your cuticle will over expand.”

Add a clarifying shampoo and booster.

Hair looks more voluminous when follicles are not blocked by dirt, dead skin cells, and product buildup. Once a week, treat your scalp to a clarifying shampoo that also moisturizes.

With your scalp wet, James says it can also be helpful to integrate a topical solution to your haircare routine. “For more volume and density, my go-to is Virtue Flourish Density Booster ($50;, which is a drug-free alternative perfect for anyone who has not yet seen a trichologist to determine why their hair is falling out,” she says. “It is packed with peptides, along with other nutrients for nourishing the scalp and hair, and the spray lightly coats the surface area without leaving any buildup behind.”

Get a trim.

It may seem intuitive to skip snips when you’re trying to elongate your strands, but Cheryl T Bergamy, a celebrity hairstylist and founder of Contents Haircare, cautions it can have adverse effects. “Getting a trim every six to eight weeks prevents split ends and damage, making ends stronger and leading to faster growth,” she explains. “I recommend trimming 1 to 2 inches at each appointment to avoid fraying ends and keep hair healthy.” Also, invest in a good hair brush for your hair type.

Switch up your diet.

Diet can take the backseat when it comes to hair growth, but James says there are some important amino acid forms that shouldn’t go ignored. “The big ones for keeping hair stronger and fuller while growing in the hair cycle are proline (avocados, beans, broccoli, and soybeans), lysine (salmon, cod, nuts, and broccoli), and cystine (keratin-rich foods including pork, whole grains, chicken, and fish).”

See a professional.

Last, but certainly not least, if you’re experiencing excessive hair shedding or loss, experts recommend seeing a trichologist, dermatologist, or physician who can help. “Look for one that specializes in hair loss so they can properly assess your condition and recommend the best plan of action,” advises Dr. Yates. “There are certain diseases that are associated with hair loss and can be corrected. Having a hair transplant can also be a good solution for a certain subset of patients (men and women).”

What to Avoid to Promote Hair Growth

If you come from a family of women with Rapunzel-like locks but yours are not, the problem may be external. Here are some factors affecting hair growth (and ways to counteract them).

  • Alcohol: As for what to look out for, Dr. Yates suggests avoiding alcohol-based products that can dry out hair and cause breakage. “Similarly, sulfates used to create the sudsing in shampoos can cause drying and strip color-processed hair. Phthalates are chemical substances that can be added to shampoos and conditioners to soften the formula but have been shown to damage the kidney, liver, lungs, and reproductive organs,” he adds.
  • Extensions: Over time, both the types that are glued in and those that are sewn into tight braids can pull on follicles, injuring them and slowing hair growth. Consider temporary clip-in pieces to get a longer look if your hair breaks easily.
  • Bleaching: Peroxide, ammonia, and other oxidizers used to lift hair cuticles and remove pigment may also allow natural moisture to escape, leaving strands brittle. So condition at least three times a week to keep it healthy and help hair grow faster.
  • Stress: Anxiety increases your level of the stress hormone cortisol. This can cause nerve cells to release chemicals that, in the case of chronic stress (which affects eating and sleeping habits), may shift follicles from the growth phase to the resting phase.
  • Medications: “Some antidepressants, such as Zoloft, may shorten the anagen phase,” says Alan Bauman, MD, a hair-restoration physician in Boca Raton, Fla. Other drugs, such as certain contraceptives and medications for thyroid or cholesterol conditions, can compromise hair growth as well. See your doctor for alternatives.

How to Make Your Hair Grow Faster

Wendy Wisner is a lactation consultant and writer covering maternal/child health, parenting, general health and wellness, and mental health. She has worked with breastfeeding parents for over a decade, and is a mom to two boys.

William Truswell, MD, FACS, operates his own cosmetic and reconstructive facial surgery practice. Dr. Truswell was the first in his area in Western Massachusetts to have an accredited private office surgical suite.

A young woman applying a serum on her scalp to help make her hair grow faster

Although you may not notice it, your hair is in a constant state of growth and loss. A normal hair growth cycle consists of four main stages: anagen (growth phase), catagen (regression phase), telogen (rest phase), and exogen (shedding phase). Most of your hair (90%) is actively growing, but it’s normal to lose up to 100 hairs a day as part of the natural shedding phase.

Hair loss, slowed growth, or reduction in fullness may happen as a result of various factors that affect the hair growth cycle, including the natural effects of aging, hormonal changes, illness, autoimmune disorders, various medications, and even severe stress. Although changes in hair growth are not life-threatening, they can cause distress and can negatively affect your quality of life.

Thankfully, there are various methods you can try to make your hair grow faster and fuller, including changes to your hair care routine, topical hair treatments, and treatments prescribed by a medical professional.

How Fast Does Hair Typically Grow?

Most people have about 2-5 million hair follicles on their bodies. Hair growth occurs all over the body, including arms, legs, face, and armpits. But the most hair grows on your head, which has about 100,000 hair follicles.

Normally, your hair grows about half an inch in any given month. Most hair will continue to grow for roughly six years before it falls out and then regrows.

A typical hair growth cycle is composed of four basic stages: anagen phase, catagen phase, telogen phase, and exogen phase. Here’s what to know about each phase:

  • Anagen phase: when active hair growth occurs. Usually, 90% of your hair is in this phase.
  • Catagen phase: when hair growth slows and the hair begins to detach from its follicle. About 10% or less of your hair is in this phase.
  • Telogen phase: the resting phase of hair growth, where hair is neither growing or shedding. About 5-10% of hair is in this phase.
  • Exogen phase: the phase when hair is shed. It’s common to lose up to 100 hairs a day during this phase.

Factors That Affect Hair Growth

There are many factors that affect hair growth, thickness, and texture. Many of these factors are out of your control, such as hereditary factors, hormonal changes, and the natural effects of aging.

Factors that can impact your hair growth may include:


It’s normal for hair to become thinner and less abundant as you age. The age and rate that this happens is largely hereditary and is controlled by hormonal changes. These changes tend to impact men more noticeably than women.

Male pattern baldness can occur as early as the teen years or twenties, but usually starts in middle age. By the time men reach the age of 70, up to 80% will experience some form of male pattern baldness.

Illness or Hormonal Changes

Certain physical conditions can impact the rate that your hair falls out. For example, having a high fever can cause hair loss. Many parents experience significant hair loss after having a baby (after experiencing a fuller head of hair during pregnancy), known as postpartum hair loss. Hair loss may occur after major surgeries, other illnesses and infections, and severe blood loss.

Severe Stress

You may notice that most hair accumulates on your brush or after you run your fingers through your hair after times of intensive stress or emotional upheaval. This may occur after a trauma, a break-up or divorce, or after losing a loved one. Once the stress dissipates, the hair loss should resolve, and your hair should return to its normal rate of growth and loss within 9 months.

Medical Issues and Hair Growth Disorders

There are certain medical issues that can contribute to hair loss. These include:

  • Alopecia areata, where you develop bald patches on your scalp and elsewhere
  • Hair loss from chemotherapy or radiation therapy (treatment for cancer)
  • Anemia (low iron)
  • Autoimmune disorders like lupus
  • Bacterial scalp infections
  • Tinea capitis (ringworm on your scalp)
  • Scalp burns
  • Thyroid disorders
  • Hormonal imbalances

Various Other Causes

Other factors that may contribute to hair loss include:

  • Trichotillomania (hair pulling disorder)
  • Hairstyles that pull on the hair follicles
  • Diets that significantly reduce protein
  • Side effects from medications, including beta-blockers, NSAIDs, retinoids, birth control pills, and some antidepressants

Ways to Make Your Hair Grow More Quickly

If you are dealing with increased hair loss as a result of factors like severe stress, illness, or the changes that occur after you’ve had a baby, your hair growth will accelerate naturally once the situation resolves.

However, there are situations when you may want to increase your hair growth or have thicker, fuller hair. According to the American Academy of Dermatology Associations (AADA), there are several simple methods you can try on your own, or under the guidance of a medical professional.

Change Your Hairstyle Routine

Wearing your hair pulled back tightly in a bun, ponytail, or tight braids (like cornrows) can damage hair and contribute to hair loss. The same is true of wearing hair rollers to bed, or wearing hair extensions for long periods of time. Experts recommend changing up your hairstyle frequently if you like to adopt these practices and give your hair more time to be loose and relaxed.

Change Your Hair Care Habits

Hair care habits to reduce hair damage include:

  • Using conditioner less frequently
  • Letting your hair air dry rather than blow drying it
  • When swimming in a pool, protect your hair with a swim cap or wash thorough afterwards
  • Use fewer products that guarantee a “longer hold”
  • Reduce your use of hair coloring or perms, or go longer periods between these treatments

Coily hair is especially prone to damage, and may require careful care. Tips include washing hair once a week or less, applying generous conditions to the hair, trying hot oil treatments, using heat protective products, and using irons or ceramic combs to straighten hair.

Consider Using Minoxidil

Rogaine (minoxidil) is an FDA-approved topical treatment for hair loss that can be purchased over-the-counter (OTC).

Minoxidil is applied directly to your scalp once or twice daily and works to grow hair, stop continued hair loss, and increase thickness. It can take 6-12 months for results to become apparent and the treatment needs to be done daily for effectiveness.


Microneedling instruments are hand-held devices containing many tiny needles. Although the research for their use in hair growth is limited, studies have shown that when combined with treatments like minoxidil, or medical treatments like platelet-rich plasma or corticosteroids, greater hair growth is often seen.


Certain vitamin supplements may be helpful to encourage hair growth. However, the AADA advises that people only take these supplements when a healthcare provider has determined that they are deficient in these nutrients. Vitamin supplements that can help with hair growth include biotin, iron, or zinc.

Some people look to herbal remedies to help with hair growth. These may include grape seed, ginkgo biloba, emu oil, primrose oil, sage, nettles, and rosemary oil. These agents have not been widely studied and it’s important to remember that the FDA does not regulate the manufacturing of herbal supplements.

Professional Treatments for Hair Loss

After diagnosing your condition, dermatologists or other healthcare professionals can offer medical treatments for your hair loss. The specific treatment you receive will be based on what will work best for your particular diagnosis as well as any other underlying health conditions you may have.

Some of the medical treatments used to help with hair loss are:

  • Corticosteroids injections
  • Laser therapy
  • Platelet-rich plasma (PRP)
  • Prescription medication such as Finasteride (Propecia) or Spironolactone (for female hair loss)

When to See a Healthcare Provider

Hair loss can have any number of causes, and only a healthcare provider can diagnose your hair loss condition. You should consider speaking to a healthcare provider if:

  • You are in your teens or twenties and are losing significant amounts of hair
  • Your hair loss seems to be happening in an atypical pattern, such as in patches
  • You are experiencing pain, itchiness, or red, scaly skin along with hair loss
  • You are female but your hair loss resembles male pattern baldness
  • Your hair loss is accompanied by irregular menstrual cycles or facial hair (in females)
  • You have other physical symptoms along with hair loss, like weakness, exhaustion, intolerance to cold

The cause of your hair loss can be determined after meeting with a healthcare provider. At your appointment, your provider will examine your hair and skin, take a full medical history, and ask you questions about your hair loss experience and timeline.

Certain tests may be performed to understand what’s causing the hair loss, such as:

  • Blood tests to look for vitamin deficiencies, hormonal issues, and diseases that may be causing the hair loss
  • Scalp biopsies to diagnose fungal, bacterial or other causes

A Quick Review

Hair loss is not harmful in and of itself, but it’s normal if it causes you stress. It’s understandable that you may be looking for ways to increase hair growth and hair fullness.

Although there are several promising at-home treatments and lifestyle/hair care tweaks you can make to improve hair growth, it’s important that you discuss any medical treatments or concerns with a healthcare provider.

Sometimes prescription medication or medical treatments may be necessary to make your hair grow faster.

How to grow a hair faster

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