One of the most common misconceptions when it comes to growing a beard is that human facial hair grows at the same rate as scalp hair. The truth is that it doesn’t for beard hair grows faster than your scalp hair.
You might be surprised to know that the facial hair follicles on your head develop when you are in your mother’s womb. When you hit puberty, the hormones in your body become active, triggering your facial hair growth. From that moment you can grow a beard.
However, it’s also true that some males won’t have a full beard.
Factors that Affect Beard Growth
Beards aren’t the reserve of some special guys. The biggest hurdle between a man and a good-looking beard is time. Lucky for all men, beard hairs can grow out thick and even fill those unsightly patches on your scalp after a while. Just keep tending and be patient.
If you’re trying or want to grow a full beard or mustache, plan on waiting several months before you reach that bushy goal. That will mean being patient and also watching for signs of potential medical conditions that might affect the rate of your beard growth.
If your desired beard seems to be taking ages to grow, or it’s growing in patches, one or several factors may be affecting it.
You might recall classmates in high school who had attained a full beard even before they acquired their driver’s license. That, rather than being the norm, is the exception. Most men begin to grow facial hair at about age 13.
Typically, you can have a full beard at around age 18, although for many males, that may not come until they are well into their 30s. So, if your dream beard growth is taking too long to be realized, it could be because it’s not yet your time. Usually, the fastest facial hair growth occurs when a man is between 25 and 35. As men age, the rate of hair growth tends to slow down.
Certain ethnic groups are inclined to be hairier than others. For example, Chinese men generally have less facial hair compared to white men. Males of Mediterranean descent generally tend to have thicker fuller beards.
Beyond your ethnic origins, genetic traits have much to say when it comes to whether you can develop a full beard. Your genetics are also instrumental in determining the texture of your facial hair, the likelihood of going bald, etc.
For clues about how your beard might look in the future, look at your male relatives. However, that is not to say that genetics will guarantee everything—simply because your father carried a healthy, long beard doesn’t automatically mean you are going to also rock the same enviable whiskers. Your history is only an indicator of what you can expect in terms of overall beard health and quality.
Low testosterone levels make it more challenging to grow a full beard. You may want to consult your doctor about supplements or testosterone therapy that might help in combating low testosterone levels.
Lifting and weight training helps in boosting testosterone levels. The most effective are functional, big compound movements that utilize multiple muscle groups. Also recommended are pushups, pull-ups, deadlifts, squats, rows, overhead and chest presses.
Diet and Nutrition
Diet and nutrition affect many aspects of your life, including the beard. A healthy diet can help in reducing the time it takes your beard to grow. It also helps your hair to remain in the crucial anagen phase longer (more on that later).
Foods that are rich in vitamins A/B/C/E help boost beard health, as do that contain zinc, magnesium, iron, silica, and selenium. Perhaps even more importantly, your body will need plenty of protein to enhance beard growth.
Your hair’s outer layer is mainly made of keratin and consuming protein-rich foods such as meat, eggs, and nuts boost the production of keratin. Besides gaining some mirth, your beard will also be stronger and shinier!
Fruits and vegetables form an important component of any healthy diet, including one that helps you grow your beard faster.
It’s not just your body that needs enough water but your beard if it’s to grow fuller and faster. Although this may sound obvious, most men neglect drinking water each day and don’t hydrate properly. Water, along with foods rich in proteins, minerals, and vitamins is essential for faster beard growth.
Vitamin B5, C, E, Niacin, Biotin, and Inositol promote hair growth. However, you need to know that although these supplements promote hair growth, they don’t cause hair growth. There is not much supplements can do if genetics have already deemed you whiskerless.
Getting sufficient sleep improves the rate of beard growth. During sleep, the body’s temperature drops which boosts blood circulation which, in turn, leads to faster and fuller hair growth. Proper sleep also accords the body an opportunity to recharge after a long day. This helps in ensuring that the body systems supporting your facial hair keep running efficiently.
Ideally, for maximum body and hair health, you should get at least eight to nine hours of good, uninterrupted sleep daily. That also promotes your immune health and reduces stress.
It’s not always necessarily a joke when someone points at stress as the cause of their hair falling out. Stress is known to cause hair loss. Indeed, stress can affect the growth rate of both scalp hair and beard because it leads to a weakened immune system. Inevitably, a weakened immune system may mean reduced hair growth.
Your beard grows faster when you’re relaxed. Exercise can prevent or mitigate stress. A good method of relaxation is to exercise daily, whether it’s hitting the gym, going for a walk, or attending a local yoga class.
The health hazards associated with tobacco are many, but one less-known risk of smoking is that it may cause hair loss, and that includes beard hair. Because smoking makes you feel like your body has consumed enough food even when you haven’t, it prevents you from taking in the minerals and vitamins found in food. These are also needed to grow a beard faster. Perhaps that’s another good reason to stop smoking for good!
The Phases of Beard Growth
Beard and hair growth has three stages. The anagen stage is the growth phase when the hair follicle cells are rapidly dividing to create the hair shaft. The phase can last anywhere between two to six years, depending on your age and genetics.
Once the beard hair stops growing, you enter the catagen phase. Your beard is dormant at this stage. The telogen phase is the final one. New hairs start pushing out the dead or older hairs in hope of restarting the growth process. At any given stage, about 10% of your hair follicles are in the telogen state.
Taking Care of Your Beard as it Grows Longer
Any man can have a beard. However, only a few can manage to make it look great. This comes down to having a proper beard care regime and using suitable beard care products.
Beards need to be maintained just like you do with scalp hair. They need to be regularly trimmed and properly styled to keep them looking their best. Using styling products such as beard balm and beard brush help in keeping you from looking disheveled and messy.
Growing a beard takes patience and dedication. It can take up to 9 months for your beard to bear fruit. And, the journey is fraught with many challenges. That’s why you need to use quality and safe beard care products.
Beard oil is among the most essential products you will need for your whiskers. Without it, the beard will feel dry and crunchy, prone to breakage while combing. Contrary to common belief, beard oils are really not styling products but something that keeps your skin and beard healthy.
Particularly after washing, the beard needs re-hydrating with beard oil. If your beard is two weeks past the scruff phase, beard oil reduces itch, while also restoring moisture.
Similar to beard oils, balms are also hair conditioning products and are usually made using beeswax. However, some brands may use coconut butter or wool wax (lanolin) as their main ingredient.
Balms are good at taming flyaway hairs while nourishing and shaping your beard. In particular, essential oils and Shea Butter-based balms leave your beard feeling fresh all day. Wax-based balms are generally firmer in their consistency, while butter and lanolin-based ones are creamier and softer.
Many people use a moisturizer to help keep the skin from flaking and drying out. Beard hair is prone to the same damage as the skin, and you can help reduce the time it takes to grow a beard by ensuring it is always moisturized.
Beard Wash and Shampoo
When choosing beard washes, you need to be careful. Avoid having beard products that contain the same ingredients as your standard hair shampoo. When picking a shampoo avoid beard products that contain parabens, sulfates, and phthalates. Such chemicals may improve the cleansing properties and texture of the shampoo but they also tend to dry out your skin and hair.
To help in restoring some of the lost moisture during the beard washing process, add a beard conditioner as it helps soften your beard and adds shine. Wash your beard sparingly because daily washes can dry it out leading to breakages.
Beard Brush and Beard Comb
Beard brushes and combs are ideal for grooming, styling, and shaping beards of all lengths. Although you can use any brush and comb including that old comb in your bathroom, tools that are designed specifically for beards are much better than generic ones in performance. To get the best outcomes, get a boar bristle brush – excellent for beard grooming.
Trends in Beard Growth
One reason why many men struggle to grow a well-groomed and nice-looking beard is that they often choose the wrong style and give up too quickly. When trying to grow facial hair quickly, expect to experience a period of discomfort where the skin beneath becomes itchy. You will feel like scratching your chin day and night.
The high level of discomfort often makes many men give up and shave off what would have probably been a great goatee. It takes patience and dedication to cultivate a soft, healthy, and full beard.
Having noted that, today there are several trending styles when it comes to beard growing.
If you are looking for a beard style that is short on effort but big on style, go for the goatee. For long, this has long been the choice facial hairstyle for intellectuals, rockstars, and those with a rebellious, wayward streak.
Essentially, the goatee refers to any style featuring beard hair above the lip and only on the chin. Sometimes the two sections are connected to create a beautiful frame for the mouth. The goatee is artistic and slightly villainous.
The stubble wasn’t as popular back in the 1930s as it is today. The trendy beard style we know today was once considered a sign of laziness or an individual who was down on his luck. The stubble is now considered fashionable for those seeking a rugged look.
If you are not ready to go for a goatee, the stubble style can make an excellent alternative. It sits between a short beard and clean-shaven. The stubble is practical in length and quite stylish. It also provides a good cover for skin imperfections such as acne scars and pigmentation.
Of all the beard hairstyles available, stubble is certainly the easiest to grow. All you need to have one is simply stop shaving for a couple of days. It’s also among the easiest to maintain and suits most male face shapes.
The Full Beard
For some guys, growing a full, thick beard is now akin to a holy grail. Unfortunately, however, not every man can pull it off because it needs gapless, full beard growth. If you are blessed with such characteristics, then consider growing a full beard.
To keep things under control, you have to trim the beard regularly and well. Make sure the cutting is only done when the beard is dry otherwise the results might not be too pretty. Also, wash the full beard from time to time with a mild beard shampoo to ensure it stays supple. Using a nourishing beard oil also does wonders and helps stop itching especially while your beard is still growing.
Of all the beard styles available to males, the hardest to take care of is the full beard, partly because it’s rather complex. Men with oval faces are best suited for this style. If you have any other face shape, it may require some creative trimming to make it fit you.
The Short Beard
The short beard is a neater, dialed-down, and generally less ‘lumberjacky’ version of the busy, full beard. It’s a more understated and office-friendly, versatile alternative if you like moderation. Perfect if office regulations won’t accommodate a full beard. Kept neat and trimmed, the short beard style looks as good in a pub as it does in the boardroom.
The Corporate Beard Style
The corporate beard is an office-friendly and versatile option for those who seek to bring a serious look to their faces. This is a middle ground option – not overly preened, yet tidy. The short beard style goes comfortably with a suit as it does when at the pub over the weekend.
A well-trimmed corporate beard style suits most face shapes. You may, however, need to tailor the beard angles to bring out your best features and also downplay any facial imperfections.
You might, for example, want to reduce the side lengths if you have got a round face to give the impression of an elongated face. Similarly, when you leave the sides slightly longer, it adds width to a narrow, thin face.
The beardstache style is a hybrid that falls somewhere between a full beard and stubble. The mustache is usually kept fuller and longer than the surrounding beard hair. It’s a rather polarizing beard style that has been deemed the hot new thing by some men as well as the equivalent of a mullet by others. However, when done right the beardstache oozes masculinity.
In the same way, the beardstache straddles two styles, it looks just as good on a suited city slicker as on a lumberjack. The style instantly adds a rugged hyper-masculinity to any face.
No matter how long it will take you to grow that dream beard, somewhere along the way, expect to face a couple of problems. At some point, dryness and itching will be your daily routine. The good thing is that most of the problems are surmountable. Patience is essential.
Endure through the early stage of growth as your beard will outgrow it. Counter that with good beard care products and proper grooming. After all, that’s why manufacturers have developed beard oils and balms to help you survive this stage of itch and dryness.
Just as you tenderly care for your skin and scalp hair, your beard yields better results when correctly washed, conditioned, treated, and well-styled with the proper beard care tools.