Several factors play a role in how fast hair grows, some of which a person cannot change. However, there are some steps a person can take to slow down hair loss and improve the appearance of their hair.

This article looks at some ways in which a person can boost their hair growth, from improving diet to exploring natural remedies.

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The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) note that hair grows quickly and that a person can expect their hair to grow around 6 inches per year.

The Trichological Society, who are based in the United Kingdom, say that the average rate of growth is 0.5–1.7 centimeters per month. The rate of growth can depend on a person’s:

  • genetics
  • age
  • hormones
  • sex

For the most part, these are things that people cannot control.

However, diet and nutrition can affect how healthy the hair is, and some deficiencies can cause hair growth to slow down.

Maintaining a healthy diet and lifestyle may help improve hair growth and hair appearance for some people.

It is important to note that hair products and vitamin supplements are unlikely to make any noticeable changes to the growth rate.

According to The Trichological Society, hair reflects the overall condition of the body.

For example, brittle hair or hair that has stopped growing may be a symptom of a nutritional deficiency.

Also, rapid weight loss or a decrease in protein intake can lead to a condition called telogen effluvium (TE). TE is one of the most common causes of widespread hair loss.

The Trichological Society add that a person’s hair will typically grow back once they have addressed the nutritional deficiency.


One 2016 article notes that vitamin B2, or riboflavin, deficiencies have associations with hair loss.

Some sources of vitamin B2 include:

  • eggs
  • organ meats
  • green vegetables, such as spinach or broccoli
  • fortified cereals and bread

Additionally, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) state that vitamin B7, or biotin, deficiencies can lead to thinning of the hair and hair loss all over the body.

Some sources of vitamin B7 include:

  • eggs
  • salmon
  • pork
  • sunflower seeds
  • sweet potato
  • almonds
  • spinach
  • broccoli
  • dairy products, such as milk and plain yogurt

They also note that folate deficiencies can cause changes in the color of the hair. Folate is present naturally in foods, while manufacturers typically add folic acid to foods.

Some sources of folate include:

  • asparagus
  • spinach
  • Brussels sprouts
  • oranges
  • peanuts
  • kidney beans

A person can find folic acid in:

  • enriched bread
  • fortified cereals
  • fortified corn masa flour

Learn more about vitamins and hair growth here.


According to one 2016 article, a lack of protein can lead to hair fragility and brittleness. It can also lead to hair loss.

Cysteine, which is an amino acid, is important in the rate of hair growth.

Some sources of amino acids include:

  • cottage cheese
  • yogurt
  • fish
  • poultry
  • soya
  • lentils
  • peas
  • broad beans
  • pumpkin seeds
  • sunflower seeds
  • pistachios
  • peanuts
  • grain products, including buckwheat and brown rice

One 2019 comprehensive review suggested that caffeine can:

  • promote cellular division
  • promote hair shaft elongation
  • increase the expression of the hair growth promoter insulin-like growth factor 1

It also noted that female hair follicles are more sensitive to caffeine.

In the review, research into caffeine shampoo indicated that it could reduce the amount of hairs that fall out during combing and slow down hair loss progression.

As a result, topical use of caffeine may help reduce hair loss. However, the studies are limited and have a lack of quantitative data.

It is important to point out that, according to The Trichological Society, hair products such as shampoos are unlikely to make a noticeable difference in hair growth.

In recent years, several studies have looked into which essential oils have properties that can encourage hair growth.

One 2014 study found that peppermint oil was more effective at promoting hair growth than saline, jojoba oil, and minoxidil. Minoxidil is a medication that doctors prescribe to treat high blood pressure and hair loss.

A 2016 study into the use of lavender oil in mice found that it improved hair growth by delaying the phase at which the hair starts to fall out, as did sandalwood oil.

Rosemary oil may also be as effective as minoxidil in restoring hair growth, as researchers found in one 2015 study.

Although scalp massage can help relieve stress, the act of stimulating the scalp could also boost hair growth.

A 2016 study looked at how performing a 4-minute scalp massage every day for 24 weeks affected hair growth in a group of Japanese males.

The researchers found that there was a significant improvement in hair thickness at the end of the study, suggesting that boosting circulation to the follicles by massage could help promote thicker, healthier looking hair.

More recent research from 2019 found that 68.9% of 340 participants reported “hair loss stabilization or regrowth” after performing scalp massages twice per day.

Smoking reduces circulation, which means that hair follicles are not getting the nutrients they need from the blood.

A 2020 study into early onset alopecia found that those who smoke were more than twice as likely to have thinning hair than those who do not smoke.

Smoking is also more likely to cause the hair to gray prematurely.

The following tips may help prevent hair loss by reducing everyday damage:

  • Choose a shampoo that is appropriate for one’s hair type.
  • Gently massage the shampoo into the scalp.
  • Use a conditioner after each shampoo, concentrating on the ends of the hair.
  • Wrap the hair in a microfiber towel to absorb more water from the hair. Avoid rubbing the hair with a towel.
  • Avoid using heated devices — such as curling tongs, straighteners, hot combs, and flat irons — on the hair.
  • Avoid wearing hairstyles that pull tightly on the hair, such as tight ponytails or braids and tight cornrows. Alternatively, alternate these tighter hairstyles with looser braids or cornrows, if possible, to give the hair time to recover.

People with patches of visible hair loss or damage may wish to visit a dermatologist for advice and treatment.

Everyday care tips for Black hair

The AAD suggest the following for Black hair care:

  • Wash the hair once per week or once every other week.
  • Use a conditioner.
  • Use a hot oil treatment twice each month to add moisture and elasticity.
  • Use ceramic combs or irons.
  • Ensure that braids, weaves, or cornrows are not too tight.
  • Be cautious if using hair relaxers.
  • Be sure to use heating products before styling.

Learn more about Black hair care tips here.

Tips for weaves and extensions

Weaves and extensions can damage the hair follicles. To help prevent hair damage, a person can:

  • Take steps to ensure that natural hair is healthy by following the above hair care tips.
  • See a professional stylist and let them know if pain occurs.
  • Wash the hair as often as needed for the hair type.
  • Use water-based styling gels and conditioners to protect the fine hairs around the hairline.
  • Change hairstyles every 2–3 months.

Hair growth passes through four distinct phases in its life cycle. The sections below will look at these phases in more detail.

Anagen phase

This is when the hair follicles produce and push out hair.

Around 85–90% of the hair on a person’s head is in the anagen phase at any one time. This phase can last between 2 and 6 years.

Catagen phase

This phase is transitional and marks the change between the growth phase and the resting phase.

Telogen phase

This is when hair remains in its follicles but does not actively grow. Around 10–15% of all hair on the body is in this phase.

Exogen phase

This is when the follicle releases the hair, and it falls out.

This phase allows the follicle to grow new hair unless it is damaged or affected by an underlying condition, such as alopecia.

Learn more about hair growth here.

The speed at which a person’s hair grows depends on genetics, sex, age, and hormones.

However, a person can maintain the health and growth rate of their hair. Maintaining a healthy diet and exploring natural remedies, such as scalp massage and essential oil use, may help improve the hair’s appearance.

A person can also maintain the health of their hair through everyday care.