How Science Can Support Healthy Hair Growth

Understanding hair structure and the stages of hair growth allows one to understand the ingredients and processes in hair maintenance that can support healthy hair & scalp.



Hair growth can be explained via 3 stages: Anagen, Catagen & Telogen. The growth phase is the Anagen phase in which hair strands get longer. It can last anywhere from two to six years. The Catagen phase is a transition time when the hair fibre stops growing and detaches from the growth portion of the follicle. It lasts about two weeks. The Telogen phase is a dormant phase of the hair follicle and lasts anywhere from 1 to 4 months. At the end of this phase the hair follicle starts growing again and the Anagen phase commences. Hair grows about ~1.2cm per month. Hair fibre diameter changes as people age.  It starts out thin and gets thicker as a person enters adulthood. Then it begins to get thinner and become more fine with advancing age. Maximum hair length changes too with older adults having generally shorter growing hair.


The Hair Growth Cycle




The Hair Structure

There are 3 main structures of hair: Cuticle, Cortex, and Medulla. The cuticle is the out layer of the hair and looks like tiles on a roof or scales. It is responsible for hair shine, smoothness, and ease of combing. Most hair products will interact with this layer. The cortex is the inner structure of the hair which is responsible for the fibre strength and flexibility and is mainly made of keratin. The medulla is the inner core of the hair fibre which is made of sugars and amino acids. 

The shape of a hair fibre depends on the shape of its follicle. Hair gets pushed out of the head through a tiny hole. The more circular the hole, the straighter the fibre. The more elliptical the hole, the more curly the hair.


Shape of the Hair



The surface of hair (the cuticle) has a net negative charge. Especially when in contact with products that have a higher pH than ~3.7. The reason why this is important is that it allows us to choose the right ingredients that will work with the hair. That’s why cationic ingredients (positively charged) are more substantive to hair.


Virgin or Damaged Hair and Treated Hair Illustration



The haircare market is poised to grow by $4.93 billion during 2020-2024, increasing at a CAGR of over 1% during 2020-2024, with 41% of growth predicted to come from APAC.


  • Hydrolysed Protein
  • Glycerine
  • Panthenol (Vitamin B5)
  • Broccoli Seed Oil
  • Caffeine
  • Biotin
  • Quats (Polyquaternium-7, Polyquaternium-10, Polyquaternium-80)


The TOP 10 Hottest Hair Care Brands

According to Google search data, as well as the increase in searches, the number of Instagram followers and hashtag mentions, and the brand’s social media engagement rate.

  1. Sugar Bear Hair 2,917,706 followers
  2. Revlon 2,739,499 followers
  3. Olaplex 2,013,483 followers
  4. Vichy 1,533,050 followers
  5. Kerastase 1,489,021 followers
  6. Ouai 1,292,707 followers
  7. Wella 1,201,709 followers
  8. Wahl 1,179,268 followers
  9. Redken 1,152,305 followers
  10. Dyson Hair 1,113,213 followers


The Rising Stars of Haircare According to Google Searches

  1. Curlsmith 298% search increase
  2. Bleach London 154% search increase
  3. Bondi Boost 153% search increase

Biggest Social Followings on Instagram: Social media is increasingly essential for the haircare industry as brands leverage social media to engage with their customers and fans through tutorials and collaborations with influencers. Below are the most followed brands, most tagged brands, and the brands with the best engagement on Instagram.

Most Followed

  1. Sugar Bear 2.92 million
  2. Revlon 2.74 million
  3. Olaplex 2.01 million

Most Tagged

  1. Olaplex 11.3 million hashtags
  2. Wahl 6.4 million hashtags
  3. Redken 6 million hashtags

Best Engagement Rate

  1. As I Am 3%
  2. Lee Stafford 1.97%
  3. Dapper Dan 1.78%

The Most Powerful Hairfluencers: There are instances where the faces behind the haircare brands are as big as the brands themselves, and others have built powerful platforms to promote products for brands. Cosmetify used Instagram and YouTube data to calculate ranking and determine the biggest influencers.

  1. Negin Mirsalehi (@negin_mirsalehi) is based in Amsterdam, has 6.3 million followers on Instagram, and takes in a combined $20,714 per post, which is almost 50% more than her nearest competitor.
  2. Brad Mondo (@bradmondonyc), the New York-based hairstylist, has 4 million fewer Instagram followers than Negin but leads the rankings in terms of YouTube subscribers at 6.83 million, making him the highest-ranked hairfluencer for the number of followers, and he earns $6,698 per post.
  3. Sarah Anguis (@sarahangius), a Dutch-based hairfluencer, has estimated income per post of $12,523, which narrowly keeps her from claiming second place overall; the majority of her earnings come from Instagram.

Insight According to Google Search: Last year was a strange one for the hair care category. The shutdown caused by the pandemic gave rise to DIY hair out of necessity, but trends still emerged. Here are the most searched hairstyles over the past 12 months, as well as the styles that saw the biggest increase in popularity.


Most Searched

  1. Mullet 15,583,000 searches 142.12%
  2. Waves 14,920,000 searches 16.51%
  3. Wings 13,100,000 searches 17.57%
  4. Curtains 12,923,000 searches 15.09%
  5. Extensions 12,880,000 searches 32.43%

Biggest Search Increase

  1. Curtain Bangs increase 1,016%
  2. The New Pixie increase 508%
  3. Layered Locks increase 207%
  4. Modern Mullet increase 242%
  5. Middle Parting increase 187%