Laura L. sent me a great question that many people ask, so it should settle the minds of alot of people. Laura wants to know:
None of the ladies in my family on either side have ever had very long hair. Although I really want to grow my hair out, I wonder if genetics will keep my from reaching my long hair goals. Is there anyway my family genes could keep me from growing my hair long?
Hi, Laura! Thank you so much for your question! This is a question that I pondered at the beginning of my hair journey and one that I believe most of you ladies will ask at some point along your hair journeys. So does genetics play a role in how long your hair can grow? Well, sort of. You see, genetics doesn’t determine how long your hair can grow, but it does determine the amount of time your hair strands have the opportunity to grow. Hair length is not guided by genetics, but the length of time individual hair strands on your head stay in the growing phase, which is also known as the anagen phase, is determined by your family genetics.
The anagen phase lasts anywhere between 2 to 6 years for most people before the hair strand sheds, this is known as terminal length. Some people will have a shorter anagen phase and others may have a longer anagen phase. Even two people within the same family can have drastically different anagen phases. This stuff can get kind of tricky because some people will argue that if how long the anagen phase lasts can be translated into an actual length, then you can determine the maximum length someones hair can grow if you know the anagen phase, but it’s not that cut and dry. Scientists have found that on average most people have an anagen phases that lasts about 4 years, meaning your hair strands can at least reach waist length.
My advice is don’t go by the length of hair for the women in your family to determine if you can reach your long hair goals. For all you know, none of the women in your family ever wanted long hair and never tried to actively grow their hair long, so even they don’t know how long their hair can potentially grow. So I suggest that you just focus on developing a hair care regimen that reduces the opportunities your hair has to break and sustain damage and that will ultimately allow your hair to gain as much length as growth rate will allow within your personal anagen phase. Your hair care journey is yours and yours only, so just try to focus on your hair and giving it the tender love and care it deserves. Good Luck!