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Mega Long Hair

December 18, 2009

When I was a little girl I remember one of my neighbours having the longest hair that I had ever seen. It was way past her bottom, poker straight and very shiny.  I wanted mine to be like that but it wasn’t.  She later went on to get it all cut off, making a tidy profit in the process. I kept dreaming of the day when I too could earn some pocket-money by selling my goldie locks……

So what is it that makes some people able to grow their hair long?

One word: Anagen

Hair grows in a three-step cycle.

1) Anagen – this is when the hair is growing.  On any given day between 80-90% of your scalp hair is in this phase that can last anywhere from 2-6 years for the majority of people.

2) Catagen – This is when the hair follicle starts to stop as the bit of the hair follicle under the scalp starts to shrink and the hair-growth production line slows right down until it eventually stops. The hair is starting to become loose. This phase usually lasts between 1-3 weeks.

3) Telogen – Lasting around 2 1/2 months, this phase is often called the “resting” phase as the hair is preparing to be discarded before growth starts again. Around 15% of the hairs on our heads are in this phase at any given time.

So, what makes some people able to grow extremely long hair?

Well, some lucky people have an extra long anagen phase (due to a genetic mutation) and this, coupled with a good diet and careful handling can lead to Rapunzelesque hair tresses!   The rest of us will have to make do with what comes naturally or fork out for some extensions.

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