Maybe you have a decent beard, but you would like to know if there was anything you could do to make your beard better, longer, or thicker. Maybe you've never tried to grow a beard before, and you're wondering if they keep growing and growing and never stop. Wherever you are in the beard-growing stage, there is a lot that you probably know, but there is a lot that you don't know, and what you don't know could be affecting your beard.
As we all know, beards don't grow overnight, but they do grow, and there are things that you can do to help that growth. Unfortunately, there are also things that you have zero control over, and knowing what those things are and focusing on what you can do will make the process easier to manage. Having support from the people in your life is also very helpful, as you may be tempted to cut your attempt short (pun intended). Enough preamble, let's get growing!
Related: The Stages of Growing a Beard
Understanding The Science Of Hair
I'm sure that you just want to get to the good stuff and start growing your glorious, magnificent beard. We'll get there, but we need to better understand what is going on under the skin on your face.
When we understand this, it will change how you think about your beard, and hopefully, this will help down the line when you don't see what you thought you should see. The biggest thing to know is that your facial hair goes through three stages: a growth stage, a dormant stage, and a reset phase. During the growth stage, also referred to as the anagen stage, your facial hair will continue to grow for several months and up to a year.
Odds are you will not have a beard to the floor, but you could end up with a substantial beard length. Once your hair follicles have reached their predetermined length, they shift into the dormant stage. This dormant stage, referred to as the catagen stage, is where the hair strand separates from the follicle under the skin.
The last stage, referred to as the telogen stage, is where the hair follicle resets to the anagen stage, and this takes between two and four months. The new hair being grown will push out the old hair, and the process repeats itself.
So now you understand the basic science of how your beard grows and replenishes itself. This is the basic routine for all hair on your body, and you obviously know that the hair on your head can and does grow longer than most of your other body hair. But how fast does a beard grow? How long will your beard get? Will it remain patchy, or will it fill in?
On average, facial hair will grow about a half-inch per month. This means that if you were to leave your beard alone for an entire year, you would have a roughly six-inch long beard in a year. Regardless of how long your beard gets, it takes several months for a full beard to emerge.
While it might start out patchy, eventually it will fill in so that you get the full beard effect. Most men will have the most significant beard growth between the ages of 25 and 35, which corresponds to the highest testosterone levels in a man's life. Ultimately, typical beards will only get to about three feet in length, but this depends on the length of the hair follicle's anagen stage.
Factors In Your Beard Growth
So we now know about the stages of beard hair growth, as well as the average speed of growth and roughly how long of a beard you could potentially grow. These are set by genetics, but what factors are there that can affect your beard growth? Plenty, as it turns out, which we'll discuss some in detail later. Basically, the following factors play a role in your beard growth: your age, your genetics, the level of testosterone you have, your diet, sleep, exercise routine, the amount of stress you have in your life, and how you treat your facial skin. There are probably other factors, but these described factors are known to affect a man's beard in various ways. Let's dive into these a little more.
Related: Why Some Men Can’t Grow A Beard
Aspects Out Of Your Control
Unfortunately, while we would like to have total control over things, our beards have aspects that we can only know about, not influence. But as long as you know about them, then you can focus your efforts in areas that you CAN affect. Perhaps the most significant aspect that is out of your control is your genetics.
Your genetics will dictate just how fast your beard will grow, how long it will take to fill in fully, how long your beard will ultimately get, and even if you can grow a beard. There are a small set of men who are just unable to grow a beard, and you can blame your genetics for that. Another aspect that you can't control is your age.
You are always getting older, and as you get older the amount of testosterone in your body slowly goes down. This will affect your beard growth to a degree, but not as much as your genetics. And many men report that they are still able to grow a good beard well beyond the prime growing years of 25 to 35 years of age.
Again, knowing these factors means that you can effectively ignore them because there is nothing that you can do about it. You might curse your lineage if there is a history of subpar beards, but we all have to work with what we are born with, so make the best of what your genetics are supplying you.
Aspects In Your Control
In the list that was laid out previously, only a couple of things were out of your control, and the rest is in your control. And while genetics is probably the king of beard factors in your life, that doesn't mean that you can't work with what you have and try to make the most of it.
While some things might seem obvious, others play a role as well and you should take note of them. First is the health of your facial skin. You can and should do things to help ensure that your beard has the best environment to grow in. Next would be the foods you eat and if you exercise.
These will affect your beard growth, believe it or not. Also in your hands is the amount of sleep you get, as well as your stress levels. And perhaps one of the more difficult aspects that you have control over is your patience level. All of these are in your control, and we'll discuss these each a bit more.
Want to get good products to care for your beard? Check out all of these options to make your beard its best
Fitness And Food
We've been told numerous times that we should have a good diet. Did you realize that the effects of that diet can affect your beard? It's true that if you eat a well-balanced diet that includes vegetables, meats, and fruit, you are more likely to have a healthier-looking beard, and your beard will grow faster and better than if you have a poor diet.
Equally as important is getting exercise regularly. Exercise helps with blood flow, and your hair follicles are connected to the bloodstream where nutrients and other helpful things get delivered to the hair to help it grow. So if you needed another reason to eat better and get regular exercise, your beard will reward you by being a healthier beard versus a scraggly mess. And both of these will affect your levels of testosterone, which helps with beard growth as well.
Sleep And Stress
During your sleep is when your body works to rebuild itself and heal. Your beard is no different, benefiting from adequate sleep like the rest of your body. If you start shortchanging your body on sleep, that will end up building up your stress levels. High levels of stress have been shown to lead to various human body issues, including loss of hair. Sleep allows your body to heal from the stresses of the day, and you need to average between 7 and 8 hours a night. If you have a high-stress job, see if there are ways that you can decrease that stress. Do your beard a favor, distress and get a good night's sleep.
I can hear you now, claiming that men shouldn't have to deal with any skincare. But if you want to have a great looking beard, you'll want to spend some time on your face to ensure that you have the best possible landscape for your beard to grow.
Wash your face twice a day to help eliminate oils and other dirt and grime. Maybe even attempt to exfoliate once per week, but definitely use a moisturizing lotion on that mug to help keep your skin from drying out.
Do this until your beard starts to come in and interfere with the routine of getting at your facial skin. Once you have a good start on a beard, there are other things that you can do to keep the momentum going, which we'll touch on in a bit.
Related: How Often Should You Wash Your Beard
I put this last on our list of things that are in your control, but make no mistake that this can often be one of the hardest things to deal with. Growing a beard is a long-term endeavor, and that requires patience to see it through until you have that full, thick beard that you've been waiting for.
It's easy to throw in the towel and shave it all off, but you haven't seen the final results yet. And you'll always have the option of shaving off your beard, but that will be done in 10 minutes; it took you months to get to where you are, so don't give in yet. I've read that for each month you have grown your beard, you should take a day to really think about shaving it off.
The Role Of Beard Products
As was mentioned earlier in the section about keeping your face moisturized and healthy, at some point your beard will become long enough that you can't get to your skin any longer. At this point, you should switch to other products that will help with your beard and help with keeping your skin hydrated.
Just like the hair on top of your head, you should also use shampoo on your beard to help keep it and the skin underneath clean. Be sure to rinse your beard thoroughly as well. Consider using a brush on your beard to help direct your beard hair and keep it looking neat.
These are the easy things, but the others you may think twice on. You shouldn't because they help in different ways. First up is beard oil, and this is something that can be used daily and provides multiple benefits.
First, the oil helps to retain moisture in your beard and skin, reducing dandruff from your beard. Second, it helps your beard to look more healthy and full, and we all like that as a result.
The other items are beard balms and waxes, and these are more viscous allowing you to shape your beard if you like, and they still provide some benefits like beard oil does.
What About Minoxidil
This is a common question, especially from those who aren't able to grow much of a beard. Minoxidil is the ingredient in Rogaine, which is designed to help people regrow their own hair on their head.
This could also work for the beard-challenged men who would like to give it a shot to try to get a fuller, thicker beard. You will likely need to speak with your doctor about using Minoxidil and to understand the benefits and the risks of using it for your beard.
But if you really want to have a beard, and you find that your efforts with all of the other things above aren't filling the bill entirely, you may want to try this out for an extra helping hand.
Growing a beard isn't as simple as taking a magic marker to your chin, but fortunately the results are worlds better than the magic marker. When you set out to grow your beard, understand that this is a long-term project that you are having your body do.
Most men like their facial hair, and most people in general also like beards, so you will be in good company when you choose to grow a beard. Be sure to give yourself the best possible opportunity to have a great looking beard by utilizing the above tips. Don't be discouraged if your beard isn't coming in quite how you expect, you need to give it time.
A full beard takes a few months to happen, and if you are going for length, you really need to commit to at least a few years before you'll see the wizard-type beard that you hope to have. And no matter how long or short you keep your beard, enjoy it and embrace it, and welcome the compliments that you'll receive.
Wondering what makes up the best beard products? Learn where the oils are sourced from and why that makes a difference