Ordinarily, there are three phases that take place within the hair growth cycle. Unlike what many of us may be tempted to believe, the hair growth cycle is a natural process that cannot be rushed or slowed by any method. This means that no one has a direct control on how long one phase lasts. The three phases are best known as anagen, catagen, and telogen. Each hair strand goes through these phases and in its own pace.
Anagen phase, also known as the growth phase, is the growth phase of hair follicles. During this stage, the roots of the hair divide rapidly adding to the hair shaft. On average, hair grows about 1 centimeter every 28 days. Normally, scalp hair stays in this stage for 2 to 6 years. The length of time that hair stays in this stage is genetically determined. At the end of this stage, an unknown sign causes the follicle to enter the catagen phase.
The catagen phase, also called transition phase (and to a small extent shedding phase) lasts for 2 to 3 weeks. During this phase, hair follicles shrink. In most people, the follicles shrink up to 1/6 of their original length. No pigment is produced during this stage and hair follicles do not produce new hair. The lower part of the hair follicle becomes damaged. Also, the dermal papilla, which is responsible for nourishing hair follicles, breaks away.
After the catagen phase, your hair enters the telogen phase. This phase is also considered to be, and also called, the resting phase. It often lasts anywhere between 5 and 6 weeks. During this phase, hair follicles remain attached to the scalp, but they do not grow. While up to 85 percent of your hair may be going through the anagen or the growth phase, only 10 to 15 percent of your hair may be going through the telogen phase as of now.
After the telogen phase, all the three phases come together before anagen begins again. As already noted, the length of time that each phase lasts cannot be rushed or slowed. Also, wearing hats or any other types of headwraps will not affect these cycles.
An additional point worth noting is that hair shedding is something that happens every day. On average, people lose 50 to 100 hairs. It is even considered normal to lose 150 hairs per day. Whether you are in the hair shedding phase or otherwise, you will still shed some hairs.