When the film Tangled was first shown, I remember hearing a child loudly ask his mother, in front of one of the many advertisement posters for the film:
“Mommy, are those itchy hairs on your legs going to grow like that lady’s hair?”
Awkward silence… Out of the mouths of babes……
Rapunzel could tell you a thing or two about hair, hers grew to be many metres long. The current real world record for this is held by a Chinese woman in the Guangxi province, Xie Qiuping, whose hair was measured in 2004 to be… here it comes… 5.5 metres in length. For me, being just 1.78 metres tall, that’s over three times my height… Impressive, isn’t it? The person who actually had the longest hair in the world is… a man named Tran Van, whose hair was 6.8m in length and weighed 10kg…he died before his record could be registered.. but imagine a headline on the next Elle magazine cover saying: “Lose 10kg in less than a second!” Just one snip of the scissors. That’s probably another record.
Even if the hair on our heads can grow that long, our body hair could never hope for such a glorious destiny.
So we can answer that little boy’s question: “No, little guy, don’t worry, mommy’s leg hair won’t ever be that long. They’ll always just be a little itchy.” 😉 To understand why, we’ll need to very briefly discuss how hair works (it’s the same way for both kinds of hair). Every hair on our heads goes through a life cycle consisting of three phases:
1) The anagen phase
The anagen phase is the growth phase of a hair, which can take between 3 and 7 years, explaining the amazing length of some people’s hair…
2) The catagen phase
The catagen phase is a transition phase, where the hair’s growth slows down until it stops. This phase takes 2-3 months.
3) The telogen phase
The last one, the telogen phase, is the resting phase, where the hair stops growing and falls out, after which a new hair “takes its place”. This takes roughly 3 months.
Body hair goes through the same three phases, but the main difference is in the duration of the anagen phase, the growth phase, which only lasts for 4-6 months, which is nothing like the 3-7 years of head hair. That’s why they could never grow as long as our head hair. Whew..sigh of relief. We could never end up looking like Chewbacca from Star Wars.
Of course, the duration of those phases and the speed of one’s hair growth can vary with things like gender and race. Hair grows faster for women than for men. Asians are the champions of hair growth, being the quickest of us all (1.3 cm a month, or 0.9 for frizzy hair). Now you can probably understand why Asians hold most of the records for length… (Remember that Chinese lady I mentioned at the start of the article?)
What about you? what’s your point of view on body hair? Are you the kind of person who says “oh! body hair? I am not touching that, natural is the way to go..” or ” Body hair? Ewwwww! It ‘s all gotta go!! “
really cool post; at least I understand how it works now, thank you (I also really liked this movie by the way)
the cosmetist says
you’re welcome 😉
interesting post, mate!
by the way , I am a huge fan of star wars.
the cosmetist says
thank you david, well I am a fan too, though I did not like the latest films as much though.