In the answer to this question, it is said that that is needed to be done to make the solution feasible is to increase the growth rate of human hair. But the problem is that I cannot think of any evolutionary explanation for hair growth to be that quick. What evolutionary history would support quicker hair growth (let's say 2 cm a week). I only have 2 constraints:

  1. They must have evolved this in, around or near jungles (for story reasons).
  2. I would prefer explanations other than sexual selection; that is an obvious answer that is over used by worldbuilders.
  • $\begingroup$ Actually, he just skipped the growth rate issue since the question specifically said it can be. Nobody did any math that says accelerated hair growth is needed, much less what kind of acceleration is needed. $\endgroup$ Commented Oct 21, 2015 at 3:09
  • $\begingroup$ Using your hair as rope swing to escape your enemies seems like some good reason to me - especially if you are living in trees! :) $\endgroup$
    – T3 H40
    Commented Oct 21, 2015 at 6:20

2 Answers 2


The unfortunate thing about hair growth is that it tens to grow at about the same rate for most animals.

Hair goes in cycles, Anagen, Catagen, Telogen. These are roughly, Growth, Transition and Pause phases.

The first step to faster hair growth is to skip these other two. The first phase lasts 2-6 years. Catagen is short and lasts a couple weeks at best. The last can be up to 4 months. So if you got those out you get constant growth, since this last phase is usually when you shed hair. This could be a genetic quirk lets say.

Moving on to the next issue. Hair grows at about 15cm (~6inches) per year. There aren't really any weird quirks that change this. You could simply claim genetics or magic for faster growth, or you could use some kind of substance.

Genetics would mean that the elves have more blood flow to the follicles and more nutrient delivery. You could then balance this with the lack of any hair on their bodies, or maybe lack of finger nails or any other similar lack. Honestly you could just avoid all that tho because it doesn't take much in the grande scheme to feed hair. They could simply eat a tiny bit more. I hate hair so I'd go with the lack of any other hair on the body :D

Magic, is magic so no explanation needed.

As for substances, in the real world there are some hair growth stimulants. Minoxidile is one. This one works as a vasodilator, it opens up the veins. This helps but it also seems to trigger the hair cycles to shift. So hair sheds and starts to grow again. There however isn't really a faster hair growth compound out there.

That doesn't mean you can't have a substances that's made up that helps the elves grow their hair thicker, faster, stronger, and maybe even magically infused or capable of storing magic. This is a Fantasy story after all.

  • $\begingroup$ You might find this article relevant. $\endgroup$
    – Compro01
    Commented Oct 25, 2015 at 20:52

Generally, hair, and particularly facial hair, is a sort of defense. It's harder to take a bite of someone's throat, or scratch their throat if it's covered in hair.

So in a jungle setting there can be predators that prey on humans, but if they have longer facial hair they will be more likely to survive.

Granted this doesn't depend on how fast it is, so an additional thing could be that there is a micro organism that feeds of dead cells (which includes hair) so it is impossible to grow a beard very long because it gets all eaten after a certain amount of time. In this case the faster that the hair grows the longer the beard can be and thus the more protection it offers the person and thus increases their chance of survival.


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