Hair Cycling Is The Viral New Trend That May Give You Your Healthiest Hair Ever

Your hair is your crowning glory. When your hair looks good, you feel good. While most of us are born with healthy hair, hair problems is something most of us struggle with. Perhaps it's thinning, lacks volume, or is super frizzy — we can blame the humidity for that.

If you're wondering why some of your friends' hair grows faster than you, it has a lot to do with genetics. According to WebMD, scalp hair's growth rate is "about .3 to .4 mm/day or about 6 inches per year." Our hair grows and sheds in three stages: anagen (active phase when the hair is growing), catagen (transitional phase when growth stops), and telogen (resting phase and then sheds). That's the cycle of hair growth.

Now there's a new hair trend called hair cycling that's going viral, and it's not the same as the cycle of hair growth. If you're a beauty lover, you must have heard of skin cycling for healthy skin. "The concept of skin cycling applies to a nighttime skincare routine, which involves using active ingredients only on certain days, and following them with 'rest' days," Dr. Alexis Granite told Vogue. It's like working out when you work your muscles hard on some days and then allow them to rest and recuperate on others.

Well, if you're curious to find out what hair cycling is, it might just be the way to get the healthiest hair of your life.

What is hair cycling?

Dr. Whitney Bowe is the mastermind behind skin cycling, who coined the term as people were using too many products. She told Harper's Bazaar, "I was thinking about their skin care and changing variables, I knew we needed to find a more strategic and deliberate way to approach skin care." She said using potent ingredients on separate nights worked best.

Similarly, beauty influencer Kelsey Griffin introduced hair cycling to TikTok, where she said, "I have been doing skin cycling but for hair care for a long time." She added that she washes her hair about twice a week and said, "Every time I wash my hair, I do a different type of shampoo and conditioner routine." Her first wash is a reset routine with detoxing and hydrating products, second with a reparative bond-building product or mask, and then the third wash with a "specific benefit ... like smoothing shampoo." She also added that she matches her post-shower hair product with something that has the benefit as her shampoo and conditioner used during the wash.

Celebrity hair colorist Rita Hazan told PopSugar, "Hair cycling is essentially alternating products in your hair-care routine in order to achieve the healthiest, most optimal results for your hair." Hazan added that it's like skin cycling because it gives your hair "rest days" from using all other hair products. It works under the same principle as you'd use harsher products like clarifying shampoos to clean and very moisturizing products to hydrate your hair in rotation.

Benefits of hair cycling

With skin cycling, you use strong, active ingredients on some nights to get the full benefits and then get rest days'for your skin to recover and heal; that's how hair cycling benefits your hair.

Board-certified trichologist Helen Reavy told PopSugar, "Overexfoliating or adding too much product to your scalp can ultimately harm the hair follicles and imbalance the scalp biome, leading to an increased risk of scalp irritation and inflammation." Reavy added that hair cycling is great for the overall health of your hair, especially the scalp, as rotating products would cause less inflammation in the area.

Most people care for their hair but forget the scalp, leading to "dull hair, clogged follicles, and itchy, flaky skin," per Byrdie. Regular exfoliation of the scalp removes dead skin cells, balances the natural oils, and allows your hair to grow better. Removing too much would irritate the scalp, and not doing enough could clog the hair follicles or make your hair too greasy, so rotating products can help.

Celebrity hair colorist Rita Hazan said it's an ideal way to care for your hair if you have multiple concerns such as frizz or dehydration. You could use products that help tame frizz on one wash, and the next wash could be hydrating products.

Creating a simple routine for your hair products can keep your scalp healthy while allowing you to address your hair concerns on separate days without overwhelming your hair, so your hair is healthy.