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  #1  
Old 10-14-2009, 09:43 AM
Amazon Floozy Goddess Amazon Floozy Goddess is offline
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Does hair really stop growing at a certain length?

Over the years I've heard from different sources that the hair on an individual's head will stop growing at a certain length, which varies from person to person. Is this true, or a myth? I wondering mainly because I've been growing out my hair for about 7 years now, but I seem to have trouble getting it past mid-back length.
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  #2  
Old 10-14-2009, 09:47 AM
Colophon Colophon is offline
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I was told that it's not that each strand of hair grows to a certain length, but that they have an average lifetime before falling out. So once your hair reaches a certain length, it will reach an equilibrium between older ones falling out and newer ones attaining the same rough length before falling out. If that makes sense...

Last edited by Colophon; 10-14-2009 at 09:48 AM.. Reason: Cannot type length without spelling it lenght. Every. Time.
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  #3  
Old 10-14-2009, 10:01 AM
Muffin Muffin is offline
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I don't know about a limit on length, but there is a limit on numbers of hairs. A fellow's hair is on top of his head at one end, and out his nose, ears and back at the other end. In the middle, it simply fills up his brain case. As he gets older and starts shrinking (height, penis size, etc.), his brain case gets smaller, and can no longer contain as many hairs as it used to, which kills off some of the hairs and causes the remaining ones to be extruded downward. That's why older fellows go partially or entirely bald on their heads while getting rather furry elsewhere.
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  #4  
Old 10-14-2009, 10:12 AM
pan1 pan1 is offline
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The limit is in the lifetime of the hair. How long it gets in that time is a secondary effect of the time limit. When the lifetime is up, the hair falls out and soon a new one will start to grow. The process repeats until the follicle becomes permanently inactive.
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  #5  
Old 10-14-2009, 10:14 AM
purplehorseshoe purplehorseshoe is online now
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Look at it this way: think about arm hair or (if you don't shave) leg hair. No one is walking around with three-foot-long arm hair. It's a uniform length, right? That uniform length varies from person to person (Robin Williams, for example, has some loooong-ass arm hair) but it's pretty uniform on that person.

Or think about an animal's fur. Like a shorthaired cat. All one length. The length varies from cat to cat, but no cat is walking around with hair that just won't stop getting longer and longer and longer, which is what you seem to expect your scalp hair to do.

FWIW, my hair won't get longer than mid-back, too. After around bra strap level, it pretty much has peaked. Not cutting it simply results in more split ends.
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  #6  
Old 10-14-2009, 10:49 AM
FlyingRamenMonster FlyingRamenMonster is offline
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Yeah, the average age of the oldest people in a population is 70-80, but it doesn't mean people stop aging. They just die.
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  #7  
Old 10-14-2009, 11:48 AM
Projammer Projammer is offline
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The master speaks

It grows for a time and then stops and dies. Eventually a new hair starts again from the same point and pushes the old one out. The time and length vary from person to person and from area to area on the person.
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  #8  
Old 10-14-2009, 03:20 PM
rhubarbarin rhubarbarin is offline
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Every hair on every person's head and body has an growth cycle, ranging from months to years.

It grows for a set time, then it falls out, and another hair takes it place.

How long head hair grows is genetic (although can be influenced by environmental/hormonal factors) and varies widely between individuals. Some can only grow their hair past their shoulders, some can grow it longer than the length of their body.

From what I see on thelonghaircommunity.com, a terminal length of around thigh to ankle is most common.

If you wear your hair down and it gets a lot of friction, your growth can appear to stop because the ends are splitting and breaking off. Dye a small marker in a lock of hair, that way you can see if you are still getting growth at the roots.

Last edited by rhubarbarin; 10-14-2009 at 03:22 PM..
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  #9  
Old 10-14-2009, 04:34 PM
fiddlesticks fiddlesticks is offline
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Yep, my hair has a "terminal length" of about eight to ten inches I'd say. I grow my hair long (I'm a guy), but it never gets much past my neck, no matter how long I go between haircuts.
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  #10  
Old 10-14-2009, 04:37 PM
rhubarbarin rhubarbarin is offline
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fiddlesticks, a terminal length that short would be very unusual.

How long have you gone between haircuts? It took me nearly two years with no cuts at all to go from a buzz cut to about neck length. Hair grows very slowly.
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  #11  
Old 10-14-2009, 05:55 PM
Chronos Chronos is offline
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Note too that hair has no way of knowing that it's cut. So if your "terminal hair length", as others put it, is 12 inches, then if you have a particular hair that's reached 11 inches, it's only got one more inch of growth left. If, while that particular hair is 11 inches long, you get your hair cut down to 3 inches, that hair will get to 4 inches and then fall out. It won't go all the way out to 12, like it's "supposed" to be.

One logical implication is that if you don't cut your hair, and just let it reach its natural maximum, not all of your hairs will be the same length: There'll be a uniform distribution of lengths, from 0 (a hair that just fell out and is starting over) to whatever the maximum is (a hair that's just about to fall out).
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  #12  
Old 10-15-2009, 11:56 AM
carlb carlb is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rhubarbarin View Post
fiddlesticks, a terminal length that short would be very unusual.

How long have you gone between haircuts? It took me nearly two years with no cuts at all to go from a buzz cut to about neck length. Hair grows very slowly.
I don't know about that. I went roughly one year between haircuts once, and after about 3 months there was no discernible change in length. I could get it into a small pony-tail, but that was it; certainly not far past the top of my shoulders. So I guess I'm a data point you could call fast-growing/short terminal length.

I seem to have the same thing going on with facial hair; it seems to reach terminal length after a week or so, two at the most. It's still relatively short, too. During the above-mentioned time period I stopped shaving for about three months. No recognizable growth after the first week or two. And it looked like I hadn't shaved in a few days.
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  #13  
Old 10-15-2009, 01:00 PM
johnpost johnpost is offline
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i've seen 2 to 6 year hair fallout times cited. about 1/2 to 1 inch growth per month.
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  #14  
Old 10-15-2009, 01:16 PM
KlondikeGeoff KlondikeGeoff is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by purplehorseshoe View Post
FWIW, my hair won't get longer than mid-back, too. After around bra strap level, it pretty much has peaked. Not cutting it simply results in more split ends.
Well, the solution is simple if you want longer hair: go braless.
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  #15  
Old 10-15-2009, 06:37 PM
redtail23 redtail23 is offline
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My mother's hair only grows enough to brush the tops of her shoulders. She was raised in a church that didn't allow women to cut their hair, so hers grew unfettered for the first 18 years or so. I'm pretty sure that's enough time to determine the natural stopping point for her hair.

OTOH, I remember seeing a woman when I was a kid, who had her hair braided from the top of her head (a huge giant fat braid). The end of the braid (still bigger around than my braid is) was bouncing off the backs of her high heels. If she'd been barefoot, it would have dragged the ground. *That* was impressive.

For those of you who can only grow to mid-back: do you keep your hair up or down? If you usually wear it loose, you'll break the ends off on the backs of chairs, which will keep it from getting any longer.

When I started braiding mine (which helps keep it out of the way, makes it more obvious when you lean on it, and helps keep it from breaking as much), I went from mid-back to long enough I could sit on it. I was paying attention, though, to try and grow it out.

I had to chop about a foot off the other day. Once it got long enough to sit on, I started having the same problem again (i.e., sitting on the ends caused breakage, then the damage worked up the hair because I didn't keep it trimmed). So now I'm back to lower-back length. That's really much easier to manage.
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  #16  
Old 10-15-2009, 06:39 PM
redtail23 redtail23 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KlondikeGeoff View Post
Well, the solution is simple if you want longer hair: go braless.
Yeah, like I was told when I complained about sunburn due to my red hair: well, dye your hair!
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  #17  
Old 10-15-2009, 07:02 PM
rhubarbarin rhubarbarin is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by carlb View Post
I don't know about that. I went roughly one year between haircuts once, and after about 3 months there was no discernible change in length. I could get it into a small pony-tail, but that was it; certainly not far past the top of my shoulders. So I guess I'm a data point you could call fast-growing/short terminal length.

I seem to have the same thing going on with facial hair; it seems to reach terminal length after a week or so, two at the most. It's still relatively short, too. During the above-mentioned time period I stopped shaving for about three months. No recognizable growth after the first week or two. And it looked like I hadn't shaved in a few days.
It sounds like your hair, facial and head, grows very slowly as well as possibly having an unusually short terminal length. But this doesn't mean if you left it uncut for a very long time that you couldn't achieve longer lengths.
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  #18  
Old 10-16-2009, 12:01 AM
T. Slothrop T. Slothrop is offline
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My older brother doesn't cut his hair. It's always about Einstein's hair length. It hasn't made him any smarter.
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  #19  
Old 10-16-2009, 12:22 AM
serious lark serious lark is offline
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I can attest to both the routine pre-determined maximum length (on me, a couple of inches lower than shoulder level) and the hormonal change : my hair went down to the small of my back by the end of my pregnancy. Post-pregnancy, the longer hairs fell out and new hairs just wouldn't get to the same length. My mother also had the same thing happen to her with her pregnancies.
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