There seem to be two main reasons that a persons hair length grows to a certain point and then seems to stop growing. The main reason this happens is credited to a persons genetics. But a secondary reason seems to be the cumulative effect of brittle hair and split ends. We will discuss both of these possibilities of why hair length seems to stop at a certain period in time.
One school of thought says that hair length is completely controlled by the length of the anagen phase of your hair follicle. How long this period lasts is generally determined mostly by genetics, but can also be affected by hormones, and even extreme stress. More specifically, there is a chemical signal that ultimately controls the exact growth cycle.
The four phases in the growth cycle of hair are:
- Anagen (growing phase) the growing phase lasts two to seven years and determines the length of our hair.
- Catagen (transition phase) this is the transitional stage that lasts about ten days. The hair follicle shrinks and detaches from the dermal papilla.
- Telogen (resting phase) this is the resting phase which lasts around three months. Around 10-15 percent of hairs are in this phase. While the old hair is resting, a new hair begins the growth phase.
- Exogen (new hair phase) this is part of the resting phase where the old hair sheds and a new hair continues to grow. Approximately 50 to 150 hairs can fall out daily, this is considered to be normal hair shedding.
Different parts of the body have varying hair length cycles. For the hair on your head, the average length of the anagen phase is about 2-7 years. For your arms, legs, eyebrows, etc., this phase usually lasts just 30-45 days. However, in extreme cases which are quite rare, some people have anagen periods for their heads as small as most people’s anagen phases for their arms and legs. For these people, their hair never naturally grows more than a few inches long. The opposite is also true, with people whose anagen phase can last decades for their scalp hair. Both of these extremes are very rare though.
As you might have now guessed from the fact that hair length growth is completely controlled by what’s going on under the surface, within your hair follicles, and that genetics and hormones are the primary things determining hair length growth, which are in no way affected by shaving, shaving does not in any way alter your hair growth rate nor does it alter the color of the hair.
The second main reason why some experts believe hair length grows to a certain point and then stops is brittle hair and split ends. This might not seem like that significant of a reason for hair length to stop growing, but when one thinks logically about it there is some foundation for this belief.
I first became aware of this line of thinking from a cosmetologist of thirty years experience. She explained to me that the longer hair gets the more brittle the ends become and the more frequent were the split ends. She explained to me that when they get to a certain length those brittle and split ends break off which limits the total hair length to a certain point.
Your hair may appear to be not growing, but in reality, it could be breaking once it reaches a certain length. Showering, brushing, styling, and bleaching hair can all lead to major split ends and breakage. Handling hair too roughly, using uncovered hair elastics, and brushing too often can cause dryness and brittleness. Bleaching and chemical processes can cause hair to be over processed and lose elasticity and moisture. Since hair grows about half an inch each month, if it is continuing to break off at about that same rate, you will see little to no growth.
When you think about this second reason it makes a lot of sense. But I think that the real truth is a combination of both reasons for hair length to seem to stop growing. It is probably influenced mostly by genetics, but it can also be influenced by the brittle hair and split ends finally breaking off thus limiting hair length appearance. The good news is that we can influence the extent of brittle hair and split ends by how we take care of our hair.
By the way, for good growth of long hair you should use quality cosmetics for men. For example, I always recommend brands such as American Crew, Reuzel or Morgan’s because I am confident in their quality. Most importantly, be sure to pay attention to the product description to avoid components to which you are allergic.