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4a Hair Growth Stages & 4 Tips to Help it Grow

With its coily and tightly curled pattern, 4A hair is easily recognizable. This hair looks coarse but actually, it is very delicate and soft.

When stretched, the tight coils of 4A hair form “S” patterns. 4A hair is usually very thick and looks darker than it actually is.

In this post, we are going to discuss the growth stages of the 4a curly hair type. If you are trying to grow your curly hair, this post is for you.

If you’re not sure if you have this type of hair, you could also read about what 4a hair is.

4 Stages of 4a Hair Growth

The growth of hair may look simple, but actually, there are 4 distinct phases in the natural hair growth cycle. To understand the process, scientists have deeply studied these stages.

If you are looking for ways to deal with your natural hair growth, you may find it helpful to understand these stages.

1. Anagen phase

This is the first phase or growing phase of your natural hair growth. The duration of this phase is long: 3 to 5 years. This length varies from person to person.

It also depends on the type of hair. For pubic hairs and eyebrow hairs, the anagen phase is much shorter.

During this phase, hairs come out from hair follicles. The growth continues until the hair strands reach a certain point-basically at the end of the lifespan.

Hair strands are usually cut before they reach their full-lengths. The vast majority of your hairs (about 90%) are in this phase.

How long does the awkward stage last for natural hair?

Within this phase of growth, you will also be in what people affectionately refer to as the “awkward stage”.

The awkward stage means different things to different people, but the most widely accepted meaning is from the point when your hair length starts to look like you need a trim and is awkward to style, until the point where you can either tie it up, or it becomes easier to style.

For the 4a hair type, this could last years or you might not feel there is ever an awkward stage at all. It depends on the individual, how you want to style your hair and what your goal is.

2. Catagen phase

Also known as the transition phase, this is the second phase of the 4A hair growth stages. During this stage, hair strands begin to fall out.

But, behind this seemingly horrible phenomenon, there is an interesting science. Your body sends a signal to your hair, telling it to stop the process of growing. As a response, your follicles shrink slightly and stop receiving blood supply.

The duration of this phase is a few weeks. Your hair “detaches” itself at this stage, but it does not fall out immediately.

It falls out only when a new hair comes out and pushes it upward. At any given time, about 5% of your hairs are in this phase.

3. Telogen phase

Once a hair strand has been detached from the scalp, it goes to the next phase, which is known as the telogen phase.

This is a resting period, and it can cause anxiety for some people. However, this stage has no straightforward pattern.

The telogen phase can also be accelerated by an unexpected stressor or a body change. This condition is known as telogen effluvium.

If you are suffering from telogen effluvium, you might end up losing up to 300 hairs every day. This level is far higher than normal hair loss, which is 100 hair strands per day.

4. Exogen phase

This is the last of the stages of 4A hair growth, and the duration of this stage is a few days. With the growth of new hairs, your old hairs detach themselves from the scalp.

At this stage, plenty of old hair falls out. When you comb your hair, you may notice large quantities of hair falling out. You may also notice it in the shower drain or when you are styling your hair.

This may seem upsetting if you’re trying to grow your curly hair, but it’s what happens to most natural hair types and is perfectly normal as your hair will have already been replaced by new ones.

Effects of These Stages on Hair Loss

Hair growth cycles can vary from person to person. If hair follicles get smaller, you may notice male pattern baldness.

This condition is often associated with a shorter anagen stage and longer telogen stage. To a great extent, these things are determined by your genetics.

Genetic hair loss can not be stopped, but treatments can slow down the process.

Effects Of Genetics, Hormones, and Ageing on 4a growth

We do not have any control over these factors, but they have significant effects on the process of hair growth. Let’s discuss these 3 important factors briefly.


Genetics has a lot to do with hair growth stages, and 4a hair growth is no different.

But if you have issues with your hair and hair loss, many large-scale studies were unable to confirm the role of genetics on female hair loss.

Looking at older members of your family can give you clues to how your hair will act when it’s growing, but not so much if you are experiencing hair loss that is beyond normal.


Hormones also influence the growth stages of your hair. Dihydrotestosterone (DHT), for example, hurts hair wellness.

DHT can thin your hair and prevent its growth. Thyroid hormones also have a role. Some supplements can interfere with the ways hormones have effects on your hair.


With age, hair changes become prominent. For men and women, these changes may become noticeable when they are over 30 years old.

More so in men, but 1 in 3 women will also notice hair thinning or loss after they hit the age of 30. Though for most women, this becomes more prevalent in their 50’s and 60’s coinciding with menopause.

Hair loss is more prevalent among men than among women. Both hormonal changes and genetics play their roles.

There are some specific times when women experience hair changes. They lose hair during the postpartum period and when they approach menopause.

A receding hairline may also be noticeable when a woman has an elevated level of testosterone.

Ways to Take Care of 4a Hair

4A hair is coiled quite tightly (though not as tightly as 4c hair), and is susceptible to dryness. If your curly hair is properly taken care of, the final results can be satisfactory.

Here are some tips for maintaining healthy and natural hair growth for 4A hair.


The natural 4A hair type is prone to damage partly due to its dry texture. Keeping your curly hair moisturized is the key.

So, to take care of your 4A hair, make sure you choose a hydrating shampoo. Use your finger to delicately detangle your hair before shampooing.

  1. Detangle each tug at a time.
  2. Make sure the curls do not get matted.
  3. Apply shampoo only on the roots and the scalp.
  4. Gently rinse your hair.


After shampooing, it is important to condition your 4A hair. Your hair needs moisture, and conditioners replenish it. Be careful when choosing a conditioner. There are many brands on the market. Make sure you do not end up choosing the cheapest brand and choose the best shampoo for curly hair.

Daily moisture

Make sure you moisturize your 4A hair every day, or at least 3 days a week. If your hair is really dry, feel free to use oil.

Coconut oil can add adequate moisture. Unlike most oils, coconut oil can penetrate the hair shafts. To make your curls frizz-free, apply very little coconut oil in each session.

Pre-sleep hair care

  • Sleep on a silk pillowcase to avoid breakage and frizz.
  • Cotton produces friction, which silk and satin do not.
  • They are also good for preventing bedtime wrinkles.
  • Be as stress-free as possible when you go to bed. Stress can wreak havoc on your hair.

Final thoughts on the growth stages for your 4a curly hair

We have discussed the hair growth stages of 4a hair and provided you with some quick tips on caring for your curly hair.

Understanding these stages can help keep your hair healthy and provide an optimal environment for natural hair growth while you grow your curly hair.

With this knowledge, you’ll also hopefully stop worrying unnecessarily when you notice normal hair fall. It’s the normal process in a natural hair growth journey.

Want to know what separates 4a hair from 4b hair and 4c hair? Find out what 4c hair is. Or maybe you’re curious to find out what is the 4b hair type? We’ve got you covered in our ultimate guides.


About the Author Natasha Banks