In many cultures, a sign of manliness comes in the form of a full, thick beard. Today, facial hair is also a symbol of men’s fashion, with various styles and shapes taking the fore as the most trendy look of the season.
Because growing facial hair has become so popular, the race is on to develop thicker, more impressive beards faster than ever.
The rate at which you grow a beard depends primarily on your genetics and your hormone levels. Perseverance, patience, and a healthy lifestyle will also put you on the path to growing the beard and mustache you have always wanted.
How Long Does it Take to Grow a Beard
The length of time it takes to grow a beard depends on a few different aspects.
We are born with hair follicles that develop when we are still in the womb. It is from these follicles that our hair then grows. When men start puberty, the hormones that activate the growth of hair from these follicles are triggered.
These hormones are Testosterone and DHT (Dihydrotestosterone). DHT determines how dense or full your beard will grow, and Testosterone plays a role in how thick the hairs will grow.
Men with low hormone levels or teenagers whose bodies are still regulating their hormone levels may not be able to grow beards that are full and thick and often end up with what is commonly referred to as a patchy beard.
If you have higher hormone levels or your body is more sensitive to them, chances are you find it easier to grow a fuller beard more quickly.
Many men are under the impression that facial hair growth occurs at the same rate that the hair on your head. This is a myth. Your facial hair grows much faster and moves through a three-phase cycle. The cycle takes the same length of time to complete and averages two to four months to develop a full beard. Men with higher hormone levels may find this takes them two months and those with lower levels may take the full four months to produce the results they’re after.
Maintaining a healthy lifestyle with lowered stress levels will help regulate your Testosterone levels and help you grow a more substantial beard.
But, if genetics are involved, the task of growing a thicker beard becomes more challenging. This doesn’t mean that you can’t end up with the beard you’ve always wanted; you just have to work a little harder to get there.
While genetics and hormones largely take the reigns when it comes to growing your beard, there are a few simple steps you can follow to help things along. We have compiled a few of these below to make it easier for you to get started. So, let’s dive in!
Step One: Maintaining a Healthy Lifestyle
Taking care of your body will help you produce the bushy mane you want to achieve. Factors such as diet, stress levels, and the amount of sleep you get each night all play a role in regulating your hormones and, subsequently, the type of beard you grow.
Eating protein-rich foods such as fish and chicken and keeping away from processed, sugary foods is an excellent place to start.
Ensuring you drink enough water will improve your blood circulation and carry more oxygen to your blood cells and hair follicles, stimulating your facial hair growth.
Getting enough sleep (between seven and eight hours a night) and lowering your stress levels will help regulate your body’s amount of Testosterone
Sufficient exercise also is a great help. It not only improves your circulation and blood flow, but it improves overall well-being.
Practicing good hygiene by washing and exfoliating your face regularly will also promote beard growth. Using a beard wash formulated especially for use on the face and warm water (not hot water) will help keep your skin clear, and your pores unclogged by removing dirt and dead skin cells. Maintaining good skin health encourages hair growth within the follicles and will leave you with a fuller, thicker beard.
Using a beard moisturizer will keep your facial hair supple and strong while nourishing the follicles.
Eating more of the right foods will also help stimulate beard growth. Many of these items are rich in vitamins, minerals, and nutrients that promote faster growth. Let’s look at some of the foods you may want to add to your balanced diet:
- Proteins – Fish, poultry, eggs, milk, cheese, and beans
- Nuts or Seeds – Almonds, walnuts, peanuts, sunflower seeds, flaxseed
- Green Leaf Vegetables – Brussel sprouts, cabbage, spinach, collards, broccoli
- Fruit – Oranges, grapefruit, lemons, blueberries, strawberry, papaya, avocado
Step Two: Increasing Your Uptake of Vitamins and Minerals
While including a healthy diet in your day is a good step in the right direction, you may find that incorporating supplements, vitamins, and minerals offers an added boost.
Consult a dermatologist, and they will help you find the right combination of vitamins that you should be taking to aid you in growing a healthy beard.
One of the supplements you may have heard thrown around when people talk of hair growth and hair loss is Biotin. Biotin is also known as Vitamin B7, and it is known to support the increased production of keratin which aids in hair growth and the strengthening of both hair and nails.
You can find biotin supplements at pharmacies and health stores, but it is always best to chat to your physician first before taking supplements of any kind.
Other vitamins and minerals you may want to look into include:
- Vitamins A – This vitamin, also known as Retinol, helps by supporting the secretion of sebum which improves the strength of your hair and prevents breakage.
- B Vitamins – These vitamins are great for improving your metabolism and help strengthen and condition your hair.
- Vitamin C – Vitamin C is an antioxidant that protects your hair from pollutants and sun damage. It also helps strengthen your hair and prevent breakage.
- Vitamin E – Here is another vitamin that works as an antioxidant. Vitamin E is known to soften your hair and give it shine as well as promote growth.
Step Three: Drinking More Water to Grow Your Beard Faster
An important point to consider, and one that is often overlooked, is that dehydration can hinder the growth of your beard and even slow down the process of hair growth.
Just like the rest of your body, your hair needs water to stay moisturized and to stay strong. Making sure you drink enough water in the day also promotes cell regeneration and increases circulation, improving hair growth.
Scientists advise drinking at least half a gallon of water a day, but no more than a full gallon. Drinking too much water can have an adverse effect on your body too.
Step Four: Quit Bad Habits
Smokers, this one is for you. Smoking affects your circulation and prevents nutrient-rich oxygenated blood from reaching your hair follicles. As a result, the hair has not nourished the way it should be, leading to slowed growth and, in some cases, hair loss.
Smoking also dampens your appetite, great for weight loss but terrible for beard growth. By not consuming enough of the right foods, your facial hair growth won’t happen as fast as you want it to, nor will it grow out as thick or full.
Scientists also believe that smoking may turn your beard hair prematurely grey, leaving you with that salt ‘n pepper look sooner than you had hoped.
Step Five: Commit to Your Beard Growth
Often, men will throw in the towel and shave off their beards just as they are starting to grow and make progress. However, if you want to produce an impressive beard, you need to make the decision to stick it out.
We understand this is tough, as many men go through a period of facial hair growth that results in severe beard itch that can drive you to distraction. Unfortunately, this is often the point where most men turn to their razor and shave it all off. The good news is that this itch doesn’t last long, and as soon as the hair grows a little longer and softens, the irritation goes away.
There are many products on the market made with natural ingredients that can help alleviate the itch, too, making it more bearable.
Hair follicles take up to four weeks to start growing new hair. This is a cycle you need to be patient with. Once the process begins, it only takes another month or two to produce a full beard before the cycle of hair growth starts all over again. Sticking it out through a few of these will leave you with a thick, long, and lush beard.
Step Six: Leave Your Beard Alone
The idea that if you trim or shape your beard, it will grow faster is a myth. Shaving it will also not make it grow any faster. The trick is to do the opposite instead and leave it alone.
During the first month of growth, you may find your beard becomes scraggly as you begin to sprout hairs that seem to grow in every possible direction. The impulse here is to trim it or neaten it up with your trimmer. Don’t! Instead, let your beard grow.
Resist the urge to groom and shape the hair until it has grown for at least a month. By this point, it will have lengthened and softened and shouldn’t end up needing a trim.
Step Seven: Don’t Pick Your Beard
As your beard grows, you may find yourself playing with it more and more. Don’t.
Dirt on your hands may transfer to your beard and the skin beneath it and lead to breakouts and ingrown hairs, which can slow down the growth of your beard.
Secondly, if you’re in the habit of tugging or pulling out your beard hairs, you’ll want to refrain from doing this. Before you know it, you may end up creating patchy areas in your beard that look odd and leave you with uneven facial hair.
Combing or brushing your beard too vigorously or too frequently can also lead to patchy growth. If you want to brush your beard, use a wide-toothed beard comb of a beard brush with softer bristles.
Step Eight: Groom Your Beard Correctly
Grooming your beard the correct way will also help you increase the growth rate of your beard while leaving it looking healthy and shiny.
Start by washing your face and beard daily using skincare and beard products designed specifically for your skin type.
It is essential never to use shampoo or conditioners intended for the hair that grows on your head. These products often contain harsh chemicals that are too strong for use on the sensitive skin on your face and can lead to redness, dryness, and irritation. Instead, always use products designed especially for your beard.
Start by using a gentle cleanser and washing your face and beard using warm water. It is never a good idea to use hot water as this damages the skin and hair by drying them out.
Once you have washed your face, use a clean, dry towel to pat down your face and facial hair. Never scrub or rub your face with your towel, as this can damage hair strands and pull hairs from the follicles.
Once a week, it is advisable to exfoliate your skin and beard. Exfoliators come with microbeads or granules that help clear away dead skin cells that would otherwise block your pores and lead to ingrown hairs and breakouts.
These exfoliators also help remove dry skin flakes and clear up beard dandruff, leaving you with a clean, healthy-looking beard.
Step Nine: Moisturize Your Beard
Once you have exfoliated and washed your beard, applying a beard moisturizer is an excellent way to nourish your beard and keep it soft and supple.
There is a selection of beard moisturizers available, including beard balm, oil, and lotion. Some even say that eucalyptus oil promotes the faster growth of a fuller beard. A moisturizer is an important part of your beard care regime, but they’re not all the same. Let’s look at the different types:
Beard oil is made from a blend of oils such as hydrating Jojoba oil, sweet almond oil, avocado oil, and even coconut oil. These nourishing oils are then blended with other oils such as essential oils like eucalyptus or tea tree oil to add fragrance and additional benefits.
Beard oil comes as a liquid and is simple to apply, and it is favored by men with longer beards for this reason and because a little goes a long way. Beard oil is also great for smoothing down those longer flyaway hairs and adding a subtle shape to the beard.
Beard oil is better suited for men with very dry skin as it locks in moisture and offers longer-lasting hydration.
Beard balm comes as a solid formula and is often rather tacky or sticky. A balm is better suited to men with shorter beards as it is a little more challenging to apply, and it doesn’t stretch as far as the oil does.
Beard balm is also ideal for giving shape to your beard. These balms often contain beeswax, which allows you to sculpt or shape your beard as you wish. Beeswax also locks in the moisture provided by the shea butter or coconut oil found in these products. Shea butter is excellent for adding hydration and moisture to your hair, and because it contains so few proteins known to cause allergies, it is ideal for use with all skin types.
Included with the shea or cocoa butter are often essential oils for fragrance and other elements such as aloe vera to soothe irritation and vitamin E to add shine and strength.
Beard lotion falls somewhere in between beard oil and beard balm. It is not as sticky as the balm but not as fluid as the oil. As a result, beard lotion is often better suited to men with oily skin who need moisture without applying a heavy or greasy product to their skin.
Beard lotion is often lightweight but packed full of nourishing ingredients that won’t clog the pores.
One aspect of this trending product is that it often comes intensely fragranced. It can be used as a cream cologne, which, in some cases, is excellent. However, if you already wear cologne, you’ll want to find a beard lotion in a scent that doesn’t contend with the fragrance of your cologne or that is unscented.
Unscented lotions are better suited to men with sensitive skin as fragrances often cause skin irritation, redness, and itching.
When purchasing a product for your beard care regimen, it is always advisable to stick with products made from natural ingredients. Steering clear of those with high chemical content and that make use of parabens and phthalates will benefit your skin and facial hair. These chemicals and preservatives often dry your skin and hair and leave you with a beard that takes much longer to grow and looks less healthy.
Step Ten: Avoid the Myths
You will read and hear many myths surrounding hair growth and how to make your beard grow faster. However, trimming your hair, for example, will not make it grow faster.
Certain products available may also claim to make your beard grow inches in a matter of days. Don’t believe it. No product on the market will make your hair grow tens of inches in just a week. Even products such as Rogaine and Minoxidil take four to six months to show any results.
These fad items are often expensive and can’t offer what they promise, wasting your time and money and often leading to more significant damage to your beard.
Other Ways to Stimulate Beard Growth
You can utilize other, more drastic ways to ensure your facial hair grows faster and thicker. However, these are often last-resort options and are usually a lot more expensive than the other methods we suggest in this article.
Minoxidil / Rogaine
This is a serum that increases the amount of DHT and Testosterone that circulate to your hair follicles, stimulating the growth of more hair that is thicker and healthier.
Rogaine often takes up to six months to produce results, and should you stop using the product. You will find your hair reverts to its original condition. In other words, you need to continue this treatment permanently for it to remain effective.
Microneedling makes use of a derma roller that features a series of tiny needles. Rolling this device over your beard causes a series of micro-injuries that your body then treats as it would any other injury, sending increased blood flow to the area to speed up healing. This increased circulation stimulates facial hair growth and causes an increase in keratin and collagen to the affected area.
Red Light Therapy
Red Light Therapy is a lesser-known treatment for the stimulation of hair growth in beards. This technique uses red light to stimulate cellular activity in the skin and hair follicles. The energy causes the hair to grow faster and stronger, leaving you with a more lush beard.
A beard transplant is the most drastic measure you can take in the effort to achieve a full, strong beard. Here, hair follicles are taken from your head and are transplanted onto your face. This is an expensive and painful procedure, but it is noted as being effective.
While your hormone levels and genetics largely determine the type of beard you grow and how fast you can achieve this mane of facial hair, there are ways to promote faster growth.
Incorporating vitamins and minerals and following a balanced diet and healthy lifestyle all contribute to increasing the growth rate of your facial hair. Maintaining good grooming practices and using products with natural ingredients will also help the process. By following these simple steps, you should experience a spurt of growth in your beard.