Natural hair is one of those things that looks fabulous at any length. Whether you just began your natural hair journey with a big chop, or you chose to slowly transition your hair, being able to rock your curls and make them work for you is the most important part. If you’re on a mission to achieve the healthiest and strongest hair possible, I support you completely but just remember that patience is key. Quickly growing your natural hair requires consistent effort, much like anything else that can produce various results—like a diet or working out. You won’t receive life changing results overnight, but there are proven ways to speed up the growth cycle of your strands. There are a few celebrity hair experts who have discussed a variety of tips to consider when growing your hair fast but get ready to dive into this unique guide to quick natural hair growth.

Hair Growth Cycles

First, try to have realistic expectations for how fast your hair will grow to avoid stressing yourself out. Hair must go through 3 different cycles: Anagen, Catagen, and Telogen. The length at which your hair will grow is ultimately dependent on how long your hair is in each cycle.

The first stage is the growth cycle, anagen. This phase normally lasts anywhere from 2 to 6 years. Next is the shortest cycle, catagen, which has a very quick transitioning period that lasts only 1 to 2 weeks. Lastly, we have the telogen cycle that consists of a 5 to 6 week resting period, this is the phase in which you may notice your hair starting to shed.

Now that we’ve briefly discussed the hair cycle, now let’s talk about how quickly hair grows.

How Quickly Does Hair Grow?

It’s hard to tell exactly how fast your hair grows —everyone’s hair is different. But the average hair growth rate is about 1/2 an inch per month, which means that it’s not uncommon for someone’s hair to grow as little as a centimeter or as much as an inch per month. Many people become impatient with the process and start to believe that their hair isn’t growing at all. But unless you have a serious medical condition effecting your hair—believe me, your hair is indeed growing it just may not be retaining length. This is where a great hair care routine and the proper products come in.

There are a multitude of factors that can have an impact on your hair’s growth, some of which you can prevent but many others will be out of your control. Age, scalp health, stress, hair care practices, medications and other health related conditions have the potential to influence hair growth, but genetics play the largest part in determining the speed in which your hair will grow.

At the beginning of your hair growth journey, you’ll notice a change in the feel, thickness and look of your hair within the first three to four months. This means your hair will have more volume before you recognize a change in length—don’t get impatient, the length is coming. In about six to eight months you’ll start to notice a difference in length, especially if you’ve been actively taking care of your hair.

Studies have shown that men’s hair tends to grow a little faster than women’s, but certain circumstances like pregnancy or seasonal changes can affect how fast or slow your hair grows.

Why Do Men Have Faster Growing Hair Than Women?

Men have a genetic advantage when it comes to growing hair quickly—crazy right? The testosterone in men acts as a natural hormonal steroid, which creates thinker and longer hair. However, women produce testosterone also through the adrenal glands and ovaries, but it is at a relatively small amount.

As we all know, men tend to manipulate their hair with chemicals or heating tools a lot less than women, giving them access to longer and healthier hair a lot faster. Most men don’t pay attention to specific shampoo brands, and they’re likely not to shampoo every day. Moisturizers and conditioners are oftentimes not used by men, and it’s very uncommon for them to wear protective styles.

Regardless of how little attention men pay to their hair, it still tends to grow faster than women’s. However, the difference is not significant at all. The average growth rate for a man is only 6.5% faster than a woman.

Below we have created a very general timeline of hair growth rates. This is not something that you should expect to be completely accurate across all hair types, it’s just an estimate. Everyone’s hair growth rate varies significantly from one another, meaning this timeline is not designed specifically for your hair. The timeline will be very beneficial for most people during their hair growth journey—ok, lets jump right in.

Timeline of Hair Growth from Big Chop

Shoulder Length:

Imagine you just big chopped, and you have begun to grow your hair out. Depending on how short your hair is, it will probably take you about 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 years for your hair to reach shoulder length with an effective natural hair routine.

Bra-strap Length:

Bra-strap length is determined to be the spot on your back where the bottom of your bra’s straps rest. To achieve this length, it can take about 3 to 4 years.

Mid-back Length:

Mid-back length hair tends to fall beyond your bra-strap but above your waist. To achieve this length, it can take roughly 4 to 5—maybe even longer. Healthy hair care must be maintained for this length of hair to be achieved.

Waist Length:

It is likely to take you an additional year or 1 1/2 years to go from mid-back length to waist length, depending on your hair growth rate and the length of your back.

Please note that this is a very general timeline to keep in mind if you’re trying to grow your hair out from a big chop. Remember that the measurements are just estimates and should not be taken literally. For example, the estimates can differ substantially if you’re a taller person with slower than average hair growth compared to a shorter person with a much faster growth rate.

Tips to Increase Natural Hair Growth

  1. Get Trims Regularly

Cutting your hair may be the last thing you want to do when trying to grow long hair. However, getting regular trims will help your hair sprout in the long run, because split ends do more harm than good.

  1. Put the Hot Tools Away or Limit Heat Usage 

We’ve all been addicted to hot tools before, but excessive heat usage can result in damaged curls that take years to repair. But in order to speed up the growth rate of your hair, it’s very important for you to lay off the hot tools—hide them if you need to. I know it may be hard to let your hair be free when you’re so used to applying heat, but try air drying when you can or using a diffuser as a heat alternative.

  1. Use Strengthening Products That Promote Hair Growth

Certain hair product ingredients can suppress your hair’s growth process. I recommend eliminating products that contain sulfates, silicones, and parabens from your hair care routine, because these ingredients weigh your hair down and limit the hair from reaching its full growth potential. In fact, to achieve healthy hair you must first have a healthy scalp—make scalp treatments your best friend.

  1. Concentrate on Health and Wellness

The human body is linked in so many ways. As a result, what you put in your body can affect multiple things on the outside, such as your hair. So, for your hair to grow at the quickest rate possible, you must first make sure to take care of your body on the inside. Make sure to excise regularly to keep your stress levels down and your hair growth rate up. Exercise in fact boosts your metabolism, which speeds up your hair growth. Also try eating a balanced diet rich in iron, zinc, omegas, and vitamins—especially B, E and biotin. Food plays a huge role in hair growth and if you feel as if you’re not getting enough vitamins from your food, you can add a supplement or multivitamin to your daily routine.

  1. Wear Protective Styles That Don’t Require Heat 

Usually, the most reliable protective style for growing out your natural hair is braids. However, if the braids are done incorrectly or installed too tight, they could cause damage to your hair’s growth process. Sometimes the tight pulling and manipulation done to your hair can cause an overflow of stress to your scalp, which is a huge no-go when growing out your hair. Instead I recommend trying two loose French braids—which is my go-to style. This style will protect your hair from different elements without pulling your hair too tight. You are welcome to choose any protective style you want during your hair growth journey, but protective styles for naturals often require minimal upkeep and absolutely no heat.

  1. Work Diligently and Trust Your Hair Growth Process

The average hair growth cycle is long and can last about six to seven years. This will give you plenty of time to care for the strands you have before they enter the shedding (telogen) phase. If you incorporate vitamins and supplements in your daily routine, along with following the tips to boost your hair growth rate, you can expect about a quarter-inch of hair growth if not more per month.

If you have any quick hair growth tips or questions, please feel free to comment below because you may be able to help someone experiencing a similar issue.