Wonder Contributors

Today’s revisited Wonder was inspired by Wonder submissions from our Wonder Friends: Susy, De’lishia, Anastasia, and Mia. Thanks for submitting your Wonders about how hair grows! We’re happy to brush up on such a WONDERful topic!

Along with facial features and eye color, one of the most prominent defining characteristics of a person is hair. Whether straight or curly, black, brown, blonde, or red, a person’s hair helps to set him or her apart from others.

If you look beyond the head, though, you’ll realize that the body is covered in hair. With the exception of the lips, the palms of the hands and the soles of the feet, there’s hair just about everywhere else on your body.

Regardless of where it’s growing, all hair comes out of the skin in the same way. Hair begins underneath the skin at a place called the hair root. This is where cells are grouped together to make keratin, the protein hair is made of. (Keratin is the protein that your fingernails and toenails are made of, too!)

Hair roots are the living parts of your hair, and they exist inside small tube-like places in the skin called follicles. As hair starts to grow, it rises up from the root and pushes out through the follicle.

Eventually it comes out of the skin where it can be seen. The part of your hair that can be seen above the skin is called the hair shaft.

Every follicle has tiny blood vessels at its base. These blood vessels feed the hair roots to keep them growing. By the time a hair has reached the surface of the skin, though, the cells within that piece of hair are no longer alive. That’s why it doesn’t hurt when you get your hair cut!

Hair follicles are also attached to sebaceous glands, often called oil glands because they produce oil that makes your hair shiny. If they make too much oil, your hair can look greasy. Don’t worry, though. A little shampoo takes care of that problem!

The average human has over 100,000 hairs on his or her head. And it’s a good thing! Would you believe that you lose about 50-100 hairs every day? It’s true!

You’ve probably seen them in the shower, the sink, the bathroom floor, and your clothes. Hairs fall out all the time, whether you’re washing your hair, combing or brushing your hair, or just sleeping peacefully.

Don’t worry! New hairs are always growing and replacing the ones that fall out. Each hair on your head goes through the same cycle.

Hair grows for somewhere between two to six years. The growth phase is called the anagen phase. Then it rests for a few months (called the telogen phase) and falls out. A new hair then begins to grow from the same follicle and the cycle repeats itself. At any particular time, about 85% of your hair is in the growing phase, while the other 15% are in the resting phase.

Most people’s hair grows at a rate of about a half-inch per month. That’s why most people get their hair cut every six to eight weeks when it grows longer than they like it. If you never cut your hair, would it keep growing forever?

Nope. Everyone has a maximum hair length, although most of us never know what that length is. Some people’s hair might never grow past their waist, while others might have hair that would grow to over five feet in length. Of course, it would take over 10 years for hair to grow that long, and most people would find hair that long to be quite uncomfortable and burdensome!

87 Join the Discussion

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  1. Dear Wonderopolis,

    I loved today’s wonder! I want a wonder about how did the solar system start. I think tomorrow’s wonder of the day is like the very 1st wonder. I am not positive though.

    TJ

    • Thanks for letting us know you really enjoyed today’s Wonder, TJ! We think a future Wonder about the solar system would be AWESOME…thanks for suggesting it! Have you visited all the past Wonders in our SPACE category yet? Here is a link so you can explore them: http://wonderopolis.org/category/space/. Happy WONDERing! :-)

  2. Dear Wonderopolis,
    Cool wonder! I think tomorrow’s wonder is about bugs. P.S. I think I’m the first wonderer! That’s so cool!
    XOXOXOXOXO,
    Paige ;)

    • Happy Saturday, Paige! Thanks so much for trying to be the first Wonder Friend to comment today…we appreciate it! We hope you have a WONDERful day! :-)

  3. I saw all the wonders about space. They were pretty cool. And to be honest, On the Why is Pluto no longer a planet wonder, I never knew that Pluto is not a planet anymore.

    Thanks for that awesome wonder!

    TJ

    • We’re SO HAPPY to hear that you explored the space Wonders today, TJ! We think it’s super fun to learn about the planets (even the ones that aren’t really considered planets anymore), the moon, the stars….EVERYTHING! Thanks for letting us know you did some extra WONDERing about space today! :-)

  4. Hey, Wonderopolis. It’s me, Lauren, from yesterday. I just got on to see the wonder of the day and it’s really interesting! I had a great time job shadowing yesterday and I hope I’ll get to come back soon!

    • We’re SO glad that you stopped by Wonderopolis, Lauren! You ROCK! We hope you learned some cool new facts about hair today. Keep WONDERing about the world around you and please leave us a comment whenever you stop by a Wonder of the Day®, OK? :-)

    • Thank you for sharing your thoughts about what makes hair grow, Kelly! We sure appreciate your comment and hope you have a GREAT day, too! :-)

    • Those are AWESOME questions, Wilbert! Your hair will grow after you get it cut because of the growth cycle explained in this Wonder of the Day®. Some hair products claim to help your hair grow faster, but we can’t say for sure which ones work (if any)!

      Did you know there is a past Wonder of the Day® about something you can eat that will help the condition of your hair? It’s Wonder #14 – Why Does Jell-O Jiggle? Here is a link that will take you right to it: http://wonderopolis.org/wonder/why-does-jell-o-jiggle/. :-)

    • Hi, Rashell! Hair grows at a rate of about a half-inch per month for most people, and you’re right! Hair does have roots! Thanks for exploring today’s Wonder! :-)

  5. We really enjoyed learning about hair! Our class has a few questions.

    1. Is baby hair dead or alive when the baby is born?
    2.Do all babies have hair right when they are born?
    3. How does hair start growing?
    4. When your hair comes out at the root, is it dead right away?
    5. If someone is bald, are there still hairs in their head?

    Thanks so much for your time – we are learning so much!

    • Good morning, Ms. Shultz’s third grade class! Those are all REALLY GREAT questions! They make us WONDER about hair, too! We will all have to try to learn some more fun, new facts about hair now! Thanks for exploring this Wonder of the Day®! :-)

    • Thanks for sharing what you think Rashell was talking about in the comment, Wonder Friend! Thanks, also, for visiting this Wonder of the Day®! :-)

    • It makes us super happy to hear that, Banks! Thanks for hanging out in Wonderopolis today and letting us know what you thought about the video for today’s Wonder! :-)

  6. Hello,

    I loved wonder #503! I have always wanted what makes hair grow?
    Also I really was interested to find out that your hair and nails are made of the same protein called Keratin. I knew that your body had hair in many different places besides your head, but I didn’t know that it’s everywhere but your lips, palms, and soles of your feet!! One more thing I learned, that I thought was interesting was that the part of your hair you can see is called the Shaft. I was wondering, How long does it take for one new hair to grow to the same length as the other ones?
    Thanks for the wonder!!!

    • WOW! You sure learned a lot about hair by exploring this Wonder of the Day®, Team Unger 11! Thanks for sharing what you learned! :-)

  7. Thanks for explaining the growing process of hair. It’s important to keep in mind that everyone goes through the phases hair growth.

  8. Dear Wonderopolis,

    I always wondered how Dinosaurs got their names. p.s. My class goes on you everyday!

    Your Friend,
    Emily

    • What if YOU discovered a dinosaur? Would you name it Emilyosaur?! We think that would be great name! :-) And, we’re so glad your class enjoys WONDERing with us!

  9. Hey Wonderopolis! I loved the video it was great and funny.I learned that hair roots are living part of your hair, they exist inside small tube places in skin called follicles. Thanks for sharing I really loved the video. By

  10. I think it is cool that the hair on you has a bunch of different cycles they have to go through to grow long. It is also interesting that everyone has a different hair length to grow to.

    • WONDERful, Hayley! We’re glad we helped you find the answers to your question! Keep WONDERing, Wonder Friend! :-)

    • Hello, Wonder Friend We’re! Thank you for visiting Wonderopolis and commenting today. The hair isn’t made out of dead skin. Hair is made of a protein called keratin. This is also the protein your toenails and fingernails are made of. Thank you for WONDERing with us today! :)

    • We agree, Joshua, learning how your hair grows is AMAZING! We’re so glad you stopped by Wonderopolis and left this AWESOME comment! :)

    • We’re so glad to have you WONDERing with us again, Tyler! We’re not sure how old you are, but you won’t get facial hair until you are a teenager. We hope you have a WONDERful weekend! :)

    • That’s a SUPER question, Jordan! We do know that they sell special shampoo to help out with dandruff. We’re not sure how well it works. You’ll have to try it out and let us know. ;) We hope you join us to WONDER again soon! :)

    • Hey there, Wonder Friend Logan! Thanks for sharing your thoughts about today’s Wonder with us. We hope you join us to WONDER again next week! :)

  11. If a human has over 100,000 hairs on his/her head, I would like to know, do you know how many hairs a large dog (like a lab) would have?

    • We LOVE how you are doing more WONDERing after exploring today’s Wonder, Sheri! We’re really not sure what the answer to your question is. We encourage you to think of a way you could answer this question on your own. Who could you ask that might be an expert? What could you read that might help answer your question? Happy WONDERing! :)

  12. We’ll I have a question about the baby that stays downstairs and he is a newborn baby is his hair dead or alive?

    • AWESOME question, Wonder Friend Kyreese! All hair is dead, so even though he is a baby, his hair is dead. We look forward to WONDERing with you soon! :)

    • We appreciate your excitement and enthusiasm for hair, Daniel! Thank you for checking out today’s Wonder and letting us know what you thought by leaving us a comment. You ROCK! :)

    • Hi there, Zachary. Hair growing and falling out is a natural process that happens no matter what amount of hair you have. Thank you for visiting Wonderopolis today! :)

    • Happy Friday, Jake! We bet if you think about it for awhile you could come up with some reasons why humans have hair. We’re glad to hear you like your hair. Thank you for exploring today’s Wonder of the Day! :)

    • What a GREAT question, Lexi! If your hair falls out or is pulled out, a new hair will grow back. Thank you for visiting Wonderopolis and joining the WONDERful fun! :)

    • Hi, Brandon! We’re so glad you stopped by Wonderopolis today and left us this AWESOME comment… THANK YOU for letting us know you want long hair. :)

    • We’re SUPER GLAD you enjoyed this Wonder and video, Bria! Thanks for letting us know! We sure hope you do some more WONDERing with us again soon! :)

  13. Love it. But I have short hair and I am going into 4th grade and my hair is about 3 inches in a half. How long will it take for my hair to become 20 inches in a half?

    • Hello, Wonder Friend Lilly! We bet you can figure it out on your own. Hair grows about a half-inch per month, so by the end of July your hair should be four inches. Keep adding a half-inch and a month until you get to twenty inches. You could create a table which would make it easier to figure out. We bet you learned how to make tables in math. Good luck! :)

  14. Cool wonder! Can you do a Wonder about… Did people a long time ago only see black and white and everything was black and white is that a good wonder I am clueless about this subject. Thanks wonderopolis you are awesome you help me learn in summer school and regular school can I like this website WONDERS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! THANKS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  15. Thanks for the article! It was very informative and prooved me wrong about something. It pays to research. Thanks

    • We’re so glad you learned something new while exploring this Wonder, LiGlisa! Thanks for letting us know! We hope you WONDER with us again soon! :)

    • Hmmm, we’re not sure, Maren! There might be several different factors that affect how fast your hair grows, including nutrition, exercise and your unique DNA! :)

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Have you ever wondered…

  • What makes hair grow?
  • How many hairs fall out every day?
  • How long would your hair grow if you never cut it?

Wonder Gallery

hair-blowing_shutterstock_66569263dreamstime_xl_23645199 customdreamstime_xl_36127004 customdreamstime_xl_36218151 customkeep-calm-and-wear-mustaches-2Vimeo Video

Try It Out

Today’s Wonder of the Day is hair today, but it’ll be gone tomorrow! (Pun totally intended!) Don’t let this opportunity slip by. Get a few friends or family members to be a part of a group as you comb through the following activities:

  • What color hair do you have? What about your parents and siblings? For fun, do a scientific study of the hair colors of your classmates. Observe all of your classmates and record the hair color of each individual. (Don’t forget to include yourself!) If you can, make a chart showing how many of each hair color is represented by the kids in your class!
  • Ready to learn how to take care of your hair? The main part of taking good care of your hair is keeping it clean. Some people might wash their hair every day, while others might only wash their hair once or twice a week. How often you need to wash your hair depends upon your particular hair and what you’ve been doing. If your hair has lots of natural oils, you may need to wash it daily to keep it clean. Likewise, if you exercise or go swimming often, you’ll need to wash your hair more frequently. When you wash your hair, use a gentle shampoo and warm water. Gently massage your hair with your fingertips to make sure you get all of your hair clean. You might also want to use a separate conditioner or a shampoo that includes conditioner. Conditioner helps to untangle your hair and makes it look smooth. If your hair already has lots of natural oils, you might not need conditioner, especially if conditioner makes your hair look flat or greasy. When you’re finished shampooing and/or conditioning your hair, rinse it thoroughly to remove all the soap. Gently dry your hair with a towel and then use a comb to remove any tangles. Always be gentle with your hair. Avoid yanking your hair when you’re trying to untangle it. If you want to curl or blow dry your hair, make sure you ask an adult for help, as curling irons and blow dryers get very hot and can be dangerous if you’re not careful. They can also damage your hair if you don’t use them properly.
  • Up for a challenge? Using your family members (including yourself!) as test subjects, measure how quickly hair grows. If everyone agrees, you could even go out to get haircuts as a group before you start this project. You’ll need to keep a close record of the starting date and how long each person’s hair is at the start. It’s up to you how you measure. Do whatever is easiest for you. Just make sure you use the same measurement method each time, so that your results will be consistent. Over the next several weeks, measure each person’s hair again and record the results. Set a certain time period for your study, such as two months. At the end of your study, calculate your results. Whose hair grew the fastest? Can you point to any reason that one person’s hair grew faster than another? Try to separate out factors that may have contributed to particularly fast or slow hair growth. For example, did everyone use the same hair care products? Did age or sex seem to play a role? What conclusions can you draw from your findings?

Still Wondering

Check out Illuminations’ Survey of Hair and Eye Colors activity to explore how we use numbers in school and every day settings.

 

Test Your Knowledge

Wonder What’s Next?

Can the air you breathe make things change colors? Find out tomorrow in Wonderopolis!

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