Growing a beard is a rite of passage for many men. But after growing out your beard for a while, you start to wonder if you’re making any progress at all. You see other guys and feel like they just sprouted a beard overnight.
Slow beard growth is an issue faced by many men (excuse the pun). The reality is that every man’s beard is different. Some grow fast, others not so much. However, beard growth is affected by a lot of different factors. Your lifestyle, care routine, and age will all affect how quickly (or slowly) your beard grows.
There are some things you can do to either speed up growth or help your beard grow in fuller to make it look better. Just because your beard is not growing as quickly as you want it to doesn’t mean it isn’t still growing in just fine.
Am I Just Being Impatient?
Many men, and especially young, first-time beard growers, want their facial hair to come in overnight.
Unfortunately, that’s not at all how biology works. Beards won’t grow in overnight, or within a week, or even 2 weeks.
In fact, the average growth rate of beard hair is ½-inch every month. If you’re trying to grow a full, thick beard, expect it to take 3 to 4 months, not just a matter of weeks.
Very often guys will mistake the normal hair growth rate for unusually slow growth. That’s pretty normal, but don’t let impatience get you down. Still, there are quite a few things that can cause your beard to slow down its growth. Taking measures to make sure your beard is healthy will only improve your overall look.
Common Causes for Slow Beard Growth
You’re Not Getting Enough Vitamins and Nutrients
Beards are an extension of your well being. Surprisingly, many lifestyle factors will affect how well your beard grows in. Your diet is probably the most important factor (aside from genetics) in a slow beard growth.
We get almost all of our vitamins and nutrients from food, after all. Furthermore, hair uses calories to grow. You need to, first of all, make sure you’re eating enough.
A low-calorie diet is going to severely inhibit the rate at which your beard is growing. Your beard also needs a bunch of vitamins to keep it strong and healthy. Fortunately, a daily multivitamin will go pretty far in helping you get the nutrients you’re lacking otherwise.
Hair specifically needs B-vitamins, and facial hair more specifically needs Biotin. Getting a biotin supplement too will likely help your beard grow in faster, and at the very least, will make it thicker and fuller.
Certain products are marketed specifically for hair supplement growth. These are usually biotin with other vitamins added to it, like vitamins A, B, C, and E, as well as some minerals for good measure.
You’ve Had a Change in Hormone Levels
Beard hair is the type of hair called androgen hair. This is a fancy term that means hormones are what make it grow.
The reason why men can’t grow beards until they’re…well, men is because we don’t release hormones, like testosterone, as children.
Your hormone levels can fluctuate a lot throughout your life. Eating less (and lacking nutrients) is actually linked with lower testosterone levels. However, other things like weight gain, lack of sleep, lack of activity, and just simply getting older.
If you feel like you have a specific drop in testosterone levels, it may have an underlying medical cause. If this is the case, it’s recommended to visit your doctor. Your doctor will be able to give you a specific supplement to restore your testosterone levels.
However, there are more natural remedies for improving your hormone levels.
Exercise is probably the key solution to keeping a better track of your hormone levels. It not only improves blood circulation (which is also really good for beard growth), but it also regulates your hormones.
You Might Be Too Stressed Out
Stress will mess with our bodies in all sorts of crazy ways. It acts no differently for your beard. Stress can interfere with how well your beard grows, so if it’s growing slowly, it could be the cause.
Managing your stress levels is an incredibly difficult thing to achieve. However, since it can have other serious ramifications to your health (and also make you age faster), try what you can to manage it.
Overall lifestyle changes may help, but in the meantime, just make sure you’re keeping as healthy as you can. Maintaining a balanced diet and drinking lots of water, as well as exercising regularly will go a long way to keep you in good shape while you navigate the stresses of everyday life.
Shaving Your Beard Does Not Make It Grow Faster
A popular myth that has been thrown around for ages is that shaving your beard makes it grow faster. But it’s just that, a myth.
Shaving does not make your beard grow faster. If you really want your beard to grow in, you need to leave it alone and let it grow in naturally.
This myth is a pretty understandable logical fallacy. It does come from people shaving and noticing their hair grows in thicker. However, what they get wrong is the cause of that. Your hair just grows in thicker as you get older. Plus, when hair first starts growing, it’s finer and wispy, then thickens in diameter as it grows in. You’re likely shaving off the finer hairs and leaving the thicker stubble in its place.
Don’t shave or trim your beard and expect it to give you better results.
Your Beard Care Routine Might Be Too Little (Or Too Much)
A proper beard care routine is key to healthy beard growth. If your beard is unhealthy, it very well may slow down its growth.
Your beard is unhealthy if it’s too dry. That will make your beard more ragged, and likely will also make it itch. This can happen if you’re not taking care of your beard, but it can also happen if you’re taking too much care of your beard.
Don’t use shampoo and conditioner designed for your head. Shampoo strips your hair of the natural oils that keep the hair healthy. While conditioner is meant to replenish the moisture and nutrients to the beard hair, it won’t replenish an amount equal to what was removed. Beard hair tends to be drier than the hair on your head, too, which only makes that worse.
Your best bet is to get shampoo and conditioner designed specifically for your beard.
Also, make sure not to use shampoo too often. While it’s important to at least rinse out your beard every day, you shouldn’t use shampoo more often than every other day. If you already follow that schedule, invest in a gentle shampoo meant to repair your beard, or use it even less regularly.
Also, don’t blow dry your beard, as that will dry out your hair, as well. If you do so, use a lower heat setting so you only get an airflow. If you use a straightener on your beard, use it infrequently.
It’s important to keep your beard hydrated and moisturized. Use a beard oil or beard balm to keep it healthy and looking great.
Your Beard Might Just Grow Slowly
Unfortunately, your beard might just grow pretty slowly. While that’s frustrating, it might just require some extra patience from you. However, you could also just adjust your style to match the way your beard naturally grows. A shorter beard style might be a great thing to try out.
There are a lot of men out there who can’t grow beards, so if you’re feeling a bit dismayed by that possibility, keep in mind you’re still pretty far ahead in the pack if you can grow a beard at all.
Just because your beard grows slowly, doesn’t mean you can’t still have an awesome look.
You Might Be At Your Beard’s Terminal Length
This one’s a little tricky, plus it’s heavily dependent on a bunch of genetic factors.
Hair reaches a terminal length when it reaches the end of the growth phase. It then goes dormant before falling out altogether. This usually lasts 2 to 6 years on average, and it’s different for each part of your face.
If you’ve been growing your beard for a few years and it’s slowed down growth, you may be at your hair’s terminal length. Now, this doesn’t mean your beard is going to stop growing altogether. The term “terminal length” is misleading because it really just refers to the amount of time your beard has been growing, not how long it’s grown. If you’ve been growing your beard for a long time, the longest hairs may be at terminal length, but the younger hairs haven’t reached that point yet.
The newer hairs will keep growing. This really just means your beard has hit a phase of dormancy. The hair under the neck has the longest growth phase of the beard hair and could potentially grow indefinitely (the longest beard ever known was 17-feet long, after all). Your mustache and cheek hair hit that point far more quickly.
How Can I Make My Beard Grow Faster?
If patience, as well as other measures to improve your beard health fall short, there are some possibly more extreme measures you can take. However, do this as a last resort.
Minoxidil, or Rogaine, will help your beard grow. It’s primarily marketed as a hair loss drug for balding scalps, but it works well for beards as well.
It improves the blood circulation to the hair follicle. When hair is in its growth phase, it needs proper circulation to deliver the nutrients that will let it grow. What this does is speeds up that process.
A lot of men have tried this throughout the years, and it has proven to be a pretty effective measure. However, it only helps your existing hair follicles improve growth. It won’t make hair grow where follicles don’t exist.
The natural growth rate of your beard is probably a lot slower than you expect (or want) it to be.
Beards will grow only about ½-inch per month on average. So if you think your beard isn’t growing in all that fast, there’s a real possibility that you’re just being impatient.
However, there are still a lot of factors that can impede your beard’s growth. Troubleshooting all the different factors that affect this will help you address the issue, as well as improve the overall health of your beard.
After all, health is the biggest factor in how well your beard grows (and looks). Beard hair is a natural thing, and it needs calories and nutrients to grow effectively. If you’re not eating properly or are otherwise lacking in nutrients, your beard will probably show it. Other factors, such as stress or lack of regular exercise, also come into play.
These are likely easy fixes and will improve your health altogether.