Popular entertainers such as Cher and Beyonce, while from different generations, are both known for extravagantly long hair and hair changes within performances that almost certainly involve wearing wigs. Is it possible that they suffer from hair thinning, perhaps due to the stresses of show business and exceptional amounts of coloring, treatments, and other styling methods?
Further, do regular folks with long hair suffer similarly – perhaps due to the styling or sheer weight of long hair? After all, it’s well understood that tight pulling on hair can lead to hair loss. So might longer, heavier hair – possibly tugging at the roots – be subject to the same problems and premature hair loss?
Probably not. In most cases, for celebrities and non-celebrities alike, it might seem like long hair falls out more (also, celebrities wear wigs as part of performance costumes). But that is probably due to longer hair simply being more visible than shorter hair. This is because all hair goes through three stages of growth, dormancy, and then shedding. Yes, all hair falls out eventually. Those stages have names:
Anagen phase. This is where hair is growing. The length of time it grows, and the length to which it grows, varies by individual.
Catagen phase. This is where hair stays on the head but is no longer actively growing. In fact, it detaches from the body’s blood supply which otherwise provide nutrients needed for hair growth.
Telogen phase. The roots of the hair (the follicle) enter a rest period, a time when the existing hair weakens and falls out. As soon as a new hair sprouts, it reenters the anagen phase all over again.
Physicians who specialize in treating various hair loss conditions through medications, as well as hair loss clinics that provide hair loss solutions like hair restoration surgery and laser hair therapy for women and men understand these phases intimately.
Still, something celebrities might get that non-celebrities don’t is hair care that is kind to hair itself. That starts with tangling and breakage, which a professional stylist would be careful about with regular trimming to eliminate split ends (splits can travel up the hair shaft). Also, use of wide-toothed combs to carefully remove knots and tangles. Professional treatment also keeps hair moisturized with quality conditioners applied to the driest parts furthest away from the scalp’s natural oils. If and when heat styling tools are used, the stylist would use heat protectant sprays.
Celebrities also have fitness trainers and nutritionists to help keep their bodies in shape. But hair is part of the body so when working to maintain a healthy diet, they naturally will have healthy hair too. A broad variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and proteins (especially cold water fatty fish like salmon, herring, mackerel, sardines, and tuna) will support hair health. And if swimming is part of the fitness routine, better that it’s a pool using salt water, ozone or ultraviolet systems instead of chlorine, which can change hair color and texture.
So the answer is hair damage and loss is not a function of length, but rather how that hair is treated through its three phases of growth.