The Three Stages of the Hair Growth Cycle Explained

As a wax pro, you deal with hair all day long, but have you ever thought about how hair actually grows? The science of hair growth is real, and understanding those three important stages can be the secret to next level wax treatments you provide your clients. Hair growth is not seasonal or cyclical, in fact at any given time, a random number of hairs will be in one of three stages of growth and shedding—anagen, catagen, and telogen. Read on for all the details on each stage and how it can enhance your clients' waxing experience. 


Anagen = Active Stage

Anagen is the active stage of the hair, and the cells in the root of the hair are dividing rapidly. A new hair is formed and pushes the club hair (a hair that has stopped growing or is no longer in the anagen phase) up the follicle and eventually out (more about that below). During this stage the hair grows about 1 cm every 28 days, with scalp hair staying in this active phase of growth for two to six years, and about 80% of all body hair is in this stage at any time. 

So why do some people have difficulty growing their hair beyond a certain length? Blame it on the anagen stage being shorter than normal. On the other hand, people with very long hair have a long active phase of growth. When it comes to hair that is waxed—arms, legs, face, chest and eyebrows—there is a very short active growth phase of about 30 to 45 days, explaining why this hair is so much shorter than scalp hair.


Catagen = Transitional Stage

The catagen stage is a transitional stage and about 3% of all hairs are in this phase at any time. This phase lasts for about two to three weeks. Growth stops and the outer root sheath shrinks and attaches to the root of the hair. This is the formation of what is known as club hair.


Telogen = Resting Stage

Telogen is the resting stage and usually accounts for 6% to 10% of all hairs. This stage lasts for about 100 days for hairs on the scalp and longer for hairs on the eyebrows, eyelashes, arms, and legs. During this phase, the hair follicle is completely at rest and the club hair is completely formed. Pulling out hair in this phase will reveal a solid, hard, dry, white material at the root. About 25 to 100 telogen hairs are shed normally each day.


Waxing = Benefits

For the smoothest, longest lasting result, it is important that your client has as many hairs as possible in the anagen stage. Because regular waxing weakens the follicle, slowing down hair growth, and making the hair thinner and more sparse—it ensures all hairs are in the anagen stage when they get removed, leaving your client with a smoother result that lasts longer. This is why we want to wax every four weeks like clockwork!