Learning how to grow a beard takes more than just putting down the razor, although that’s the first step, there are other things you need to be aware about if you expect to grow and maintain your best beard.
Since we’re all unique and our beards reflect that uniqueness, it’s important to know how facial hair grows and what you can do to create the right environment so that your facial hair grows at its best.
It’s important to understand some of the pitfalls and myths associated with growing a beard, so you’re not misled or get discouraged prematurely and shave your beard off in frustration.
To grow a great beard requires you to understand two key areas of beard growth:
- First, it’s important to understand how your facial hair actually grows and the factors that affect it.
- Second, you’ll want to learn how to maximize your hair’s growth by optimizing your lifestyle to create the right environment for your beard to thrive.
Understanding these two key areas will give you everything you need to grow your beard faster and fuller and empower you to push through the awkward phases.
You will gain more confidence and become less frustrated when you know exactly how things work, allowing you to set the proper expectations as you move forward.
Before we dive into the two key areas there are a few beard tips I would like to share with you.
These beard growing tips will give you a starting point to work from, a foundation to build upon.
Every great beard started as nothing, grew to stubble and developed into the epic beard you see today.
The men who wear them have gone through the same challenges you’re about to go through, the difference is they didn’t quit but instead pushed through when things got tough or awkward.
Beard Growing Tip # 1: Stop Shaving and Commit To Growing
It all starts by stopping. To grow your best beard you’re going to have to put down the razor and make a commitment to allowing your beard to grow.
Growing your beard is going to present some challenges, but if you commit in advance and understand the challenges that will come up along the way, you’ll be in a great position to push through any awkward stages.
Committing to growing your beard doesn’t have to be complicated. You may want to start by setting a goal to grow your beard for 90-120 days.
Three to four months of growth will give you a good idea of what you’re capable of growing naturally and what beard style may be best for your face shape. You’ll also get an idea as to how your facial hair grows and if there will be any patchy areas or not.
If three to four months seems like a long time for you, then simply break down your goal into more manageable chunks. An easy way to do this is to break it down week by week.
You will find that by breaking down your larger goal into smaller more manageable chunks, you will be more motivated to continue and be less likely to quit prematurely.
The feeling of achievement at the end of each week will give you the motivation to continue the following week and the next week after that, until you’ve reach your ultimate goal of 90-120 days of beard growth.
Beard Growing Tip #2: Set Proper Expectations
Now that you’ve stopped shaving and made a commitment to growing your beard for the next 90-120 days, it’s important to set proper expectations.
Setting the proper expectations from the start is going to help you overcome frustration in the long term. You must understand that you’re unique and so is your beard.
It’s easy to search online or swipe through your Instagram feed, seeing nothing but majestic, full and thick beards. The harsh reality is that we’re all unique, both in genetics and environmental factors.
You may be able to grow an epic mustache but have a patchy cheek line. You may be able to grow a long and thick beard naturally, while others cannot.
Whatever the case, it’s okay – you shouldn’t think any less of yourself, but instead focus on how to make what you do have the very best there is. That’s what this article is going to show you how to do.
The Internet is full of “perfect beards”, and it’s okay to look online for inspiration, but just remember to make the best of what you have and enjoy the process.
Growing a beard is a reflection of yourself and your uniqueness, embrace your uniqueness and that which you have been given.
Beard Growing Tip # 3: How To Deal With Beard Itch
In your first three months, especially the first 30 days — you need to understand that you may experience itchiness. This is normal.
The reason you experience itchiness, is because you use to shave.
When you shave, you actually create sharp pointed tips at the end of your facial hair and as your facial hair grows out, it begins to poke and prod your face and neck, which can create an unnerving itch.
The solution is to learn how to soften your facial hair so your not tempted to scratch it, which will only makes things worst.
A great way to soften your facial hair is to use beard oil or beard balm. You’ll want to use beard oil for the first 90 days when your facial hair is shorter then switch to using a beard balm as your beard gains length.
The difference between beard oil and beard balm is that beard balm allows for more styling control as it often has a wax base, this is useful when your beard is longer and you want to control its look and feel.
Beard oil is a mixture of carrier oils and essential oils used to soften your facial hair and to give it a nice healthy shine. It doesn’t have a wax base and therefore doesn’t allow for control when styling.
Using beard oil is simple.
After a shower, pat dry your beard with a towel, put 5-8 drops of beard oil in the palm of your hand and massage it into your beard down to your skin.
How often you use beard oil depends on your own unique needs. You can use it daily or every other day; however, you’ll want to experiment and see what works best for you.
Another reason you may experience beard itchiness is because the skin under your beard is dry or irritated. Using beard oil can help soothe the itch by moisturizing the skin under your beard.
If you tend to have really dry skin and facial hair, using beard oil daily may be the right solution. However; if you tend to have oily skin and facial hair, you might want to use beard oil only once a week.
Another reason you may experience beard itch is because your beard is dirty.
As your facial hair grows and you develop a bigger and fuller beard, you will need to start washing your beard regularly (1-3 times a week).
Washing your beard will strip it of its natural oils and clean any food particles, dirt or grime out of your beard.
Using regular shampoo will often leave your beard very dry and created unnecessary itchiness.
When washing your beard ensure you rinse it well as any left over shampoo could irritate your skin causing you to experience unnecessary beard itch.
Beard Growing Tip # 3: How To Keep Your Beard Clean and Tidy
Your first three months are going to present the most challenges as a new beard grower. We’ve already touched on the few challenges you will face including how to set proper expectations and dealing with beard itch
Another challenge you will face is how to keep your beard looking clean and tidy as you allow your beard to grow out.
Many people will suggest you don’t trim your beard for 3-4 months. I don’t believe that’s practical, especially if you work in a job that requires you to look clean and well groomed.
There are ways to trim your beard without losing any growth that keeps your beard looking clean and tidy.
I like to call what I’m about to share with you micro maintenance. It’s a term I came up with to describe how to maintain your beard during the critical first couple of months.
Micro maintenance is the practice of trimming three main areas of your beard as you allow it to grow out.
The three main areas you’ll want to trim are your neckline, cheek line and your jaw line which runs vertically down your sideburns and behind your jaw.
When it comes to trimming your neckline, a good rule of thumb is to measure two fingers above your Adam’s apple.
If you feel that your neckline is too low and it looks untidy, you can opt to trim it higher and progressively allow your neckline to grow out lower week by week until it reaches your desired location.
If you want a beard that looks full and thick, you’ll want to leave the hair above your Adam’s apple alone.
Too many guys trim their necklines too high, often following their jaw line — this is a huge mistake when growing a beard. You’ll never get that full look without letting that part of your beard grow out.
When trimming your cheek line, it’s best to use scissors, follow your natural hair line trimming the few hairs that are out of place. This is a more natural look as opposed to shaving a hard line like you’ll see in most YouTube tutorials.
I recommend you use hair clippers to trim your jaw line. The easiest way to trim your jawline is to line up your hair clippers with your sideburns and follow the line vertically down and behind your jaw. This will give you a nice clean appearance in front of your ears.
Now that you’ve learn how to commit yourself to growing a beard, setting proper expectations, and how to deal with initial beard itch while keeping things tidy let’s learn how your facial hair actually grows and what you can do to maximize it.
How To Grow Facial Hair like a man
It’s important to understand how your facial hair grows in order to make the necessary lifestyle changes to maximize your genetic potential.
Facial hair has three specific growth phases and is affected by hormones called testosterone(T) and dihydrotestosterone (DHT) as well as the sensitivity of your androgen receptors located in your facial hair follicles.
The Three Phases of Facial Hair Growth that your beard goes through.
Facial hair grows at a rate of 0.3-0.4mm a day which means your beard has the potential to grow up to 6 inches a year.
This works out to about ½ inch per month under perfect conditions.
Remember though, that we’re all unique genetically and have different environments and lifestyles which can influence these numbers.
Unlike other mammals, your facial hair doesn’t have a set shedding cycle. It’s not dependent on the seasons but instead passes randomly through three unique phases of hair development called: Anagen, Catagen, and Telogen.
Phase # 1 – Anagen Phase
The anagen phase is known as the growing phase. You can expect to have 80-90% of your facial hair in this phase at any given time.
During this phase the root of your facial hair is dividing rapidly and creating a new hair shaft.
You can expect your beard hair to be in this phase on average between 2-5 years.
However, the time at which your facial hair stays in this phase is dependent on your genetics and overall lifestyle. Too much stress can prematurely end this phase of growth.
Phase # 1 – Catagen Phase
The catagen phase is known as the transition phase. This phase happens at the end of the anagen phase and can last between 2-3 weeks.
About 3% of your facial hair will be in this phase at any given time.
During this phase your facial hair has detached itself from its blood supply (nutrients) and no new growth is produced. It has become what is known as a “club hair” and is ready to move into the next phase.
Phase # 3 – Telogen Phase
The Telogen phase is known as the resting phase. Around 6-8% of your facial hair will be in this phase at any given time.
This phase can last up to 3 months and begins the shedding cycle.
You can expect to lose 25-100 telogen hairs per day. While combing or brushing your beard you may see these hairs fall out. They are easy to spot as the root will have a hard, white and dry tip.
You may be wondering why your beard doesn’t seem to grow as fast as other people’s beard. When you understand the three phases, you realize that your beard isn’t growing slower it’s just that your facial hair may be at a different stage of its growth cycle.
The two hormones you need to grow a beard faster.
If you want to grow a beard faster, fuller or thicker it’s important to understand the hormones involved that produce your facial hair.
The reason why men and women have differences in their facial hair is because of two hormones called testosterone (T) and dihydrotestosterone (DHT).
Men typically have higher levels of both while women do not.
These two hormones are involved in “activating” your facial hair.
The more testosterone and dihydrotestosterone you have coupled with how sensitive your follicles androgen receptors are, will determine how much facial hair you’re able to grow naturally.
It’s important to understand that these hormones don’t create new hair follicles; however, they do stimulate the follicles you already have. The amount of follicles you have is predetermined by your genetics.
The sensitivity of your follicles adrogen receptors will also play a role in how much facial hair you’ll be able to grow.
You can have all the testosterone (T) and dihydrotestosterone (DHT) in the world, but if your hair follicle androgen receptors aren’t responsive to them, it won’t produce the beard you desire and can create patchy spots.
Your follicle’s sensitivity is determined by your genetics, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t things you can do to help improve them . I’ll that later in this article.
Unlike scalp hair, facial hair growth is androgenic, this means that it’s stimulated and regulated by androgenic hormones like testosterone (T) and dihydrotestosterone (DHT).
Contrary to the marketing hype, beard oil will not give you a fuller or thicker beard, but rather a softer one.
This is because it’s testosterone (T) that’s responsible for “priming” (stimulating) your follicle and encourages beard thickness, while dihydrotestosterone (DHT) is responsible for your beard’s density.
Dihydrotestosterone is converted from testosterone by an enzyme calls 5-alpha-reductase (5-AR) and is a more potent form of testosterone which has a stronger bond to your follicle androgen receptors.
Having more dihydrotestosterone will naturally help you grow a better beard.
The downside of having too much DHT is that it’s also linked to male pattern badness – this could explain why some of the most epic beards tend to be on men with bald heads.
If you’re not able to grow a beard, have a patchy beard or if you feel your beard isn’t growing to your expectations it’s because of one or all of these things:
- The amount of testosterone (T) your body creates
- Your current level of dihydrotestosterone (DHT)
- How well you body is able to convert testosterone into dihydrotestorone via the enzyme 5-alpha-reductase (5-AR)
- Your follicles androgen receptor’s sensitivity.
How your body produces, converts and utilizes these four factors are determined by your genetic baseline. Your genetic baseline is your starting point which you can build and improve upon.
Some men will have a genetic baseline that produces more testosterone, dihydrotestosterone or follicle sensitivity while other men will not.
It doesn’t matter where your baseline starts, because there are ways to naturally increase your testosterone (T), dihydrotestosterone (DHT) and your follicles androgen receptor’s sensitivity which is what we’re going to talk about next.
You have the power to control these factors by making changes in your lifestyle.
Sure, there may be limitation to what you can grow naturally, but the following will give you the very best chance to maximize your natural beard growth.
How To Grow a Beard Fast by optimizing your lifestyle.
Now that you understand how your facial hair grows and the hormones responsible for its growth, let’s look into the best ways to naturally increase your testosterone and dihydrotestosterone levels and and help improve your androgen receptor sensitivity.
There are four key areas you want to focus on when changing your lifestyle for peak beard growth performance.
These areas are exercise, diet, rest, and stress management.
Exercise for Optimal Beard Growth
Did you know that body fat contains an enzyme called aromatase which converts testosterone into estrogen (the female sex hormone)? Well, it does!
Too much body fat can lead to higher estrogen levels and a decrease in your testosterone production. This is why it’s so important to lose excess body fat through exercise.
A quick search online will produce all kinds of exercise routines, but which one is best for improving overall testosterone levels?
According to experts, the best type of exercises are HIIT ( high intensity interval training), high intensity weight training, and calisthenics.
High intensity interval training (HIIT) is a training method where you have low intensity intervals followed by high intensity intervals of a certain exercise. It can be applied to pretty much any exercise from running, biking, squatting or skipping rope.
Here’s a simple sample HIIT workout:
- Warm up for three minutes ( run or jog in place)
- Exercise as hard as you can for 30 seconds (high intensity interval)
- Exercise at a lower rate of intensity for 90 seconds ( low intensity interval)
- Repeat the high and low intervals 7 times
High Intensity Weight Training
High intensity weight training is a training method where you perform various exercises with heavy weight at lower repetitions.
When doing weight training you’ll want to lift heavy weights (with proper form) at lower reps with less rest between sets.
Focus on exercises that work large muscle groups like dead lifts, bench press or squats as these have been proven to increase testosterone production.
It’s important to focus on slow controlled movements while using heavy weights to achieve muscle failure between 6-7 reps.
If you’re not into lifting weights or doing high intensity interval training, another option is calisthenics.
Calisthenics exercises can be perform with no or very little equipment, they are essentially body weight exercises.
Some examples of calisthenic exercises are push ups, chin ups, handstands, lunges, squats, muscle ups. It’s the type of exercises done by gymnast and convicts.
Calisthenics works out your whole body. Each exercise you do uses multiple muscle groups at once, its been proven that the more muscle mass you stimulate the more testosterone you’ll create.
Diet and Nutrition can help you grow a beard that’s Thicker and Fuller.
You may not be able to do anything about your genetics, but the one thing you can change is your diet and nutrition.
By eating better you can help your body create more testosterone and
dihydrotestosterone which is needed to grow facial hair.
Eating well will also provide your body the vitamins and minerals it needs to actually create the hair itself.
The vitamins that are key to helping grow a beard are Vitamins A, B, C, D, E and K.
Vitamin A helps keep your skin healthy by repairing skin tissue. Having great skin is a first step to growing a great beard. It’s the soil in which your beard grows. Vitamin A is fat-soluble and should be eaten with fat. Some foods that contain Vitamin A include:
|Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.|
|Lamb Liver||Vitamin A – 492% Daily Value per 100g|
|Beef Liver||Vitamin A – 359% Daily Value per 100g|
|Sweet Potatoes||Vitamin A – 283% Daily Value per 100g|
|Carrots||Vitamin A – 334% Daily Value per 100g|
|Kale||Vitamin A – 199% Daily Value per 100g|
|Romaine Lettuce||Vitamin A – 174% Daily Value per 100g|
Vitamin B including B5 (Pantothenic acid), B7 (Biotin), B3 (Niacin), B8 (Inositol) are all involved in supporting healthy beard growth by helping synthesize your food so it can create new hairs.
Vitamins B5 and B7 are often used to help prevent hair loss, B3 helps promote blood circulation, which may help bring more nutrients to your follicles.
Vitamin B8 helps transport nutrients into and from cells which may help strengthen your hair. Here is a great list of common foods with B vitamins.
Vitamin C helps you grow a beard by protecting your hair from free radicals, which can leave your hair brittle and weak.
It’s also involved in building collagen and strengthening your hair.
Vitamin C is vital for the absorption of iron. Being deficient in iron can cause chronic hair loss by stopping the growth of your hair prematurely, thus never reaching your beards full length potential.
Below is a list of some common food items that have a high Vitamin C value.
|Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.|
|Acerola Cherries||Vitamin C – 2796% Daily Value per 100g|
|Guavas||Vitamin C – 380% Daily Value per 100g|
|Red Peppers||Vitamin C – 212% Daily Value per 100g|
|Kale||Vitamin C – 200% Daily Value per 100g|
|Kiwi||Vitamin C – 154% Daily Value per 100g|
|Oranges||Vitamin C – 88% Daily Value per 100g|
Vitamin D is known for keeping your bones and skin healthy but it has recently been discovered that it also helps “awaken” hair follicles which could lead to thicker hair and less hair loss.
Since most foods contain little amounts of Vitamin D the best way to get it, is by simply exposing yourself to sunlight and absorb ultraviolet B (UVB) through your skin.
If you live in a part of the world where you don’t get much sun throughout the year (like Canada) you can get Vitamin D by taking a quality Vitamin D supplement or by eating foods that are enriched with Vitamin D.
Vitamin E & K
Vitamin E is an important antioxidant that supports the creation of red blood cells and it helps your body use Vitamin K.
Your cells use Vitamin E to interact with each other and it helps widen your blood vessels which may be responsible for increasing the flow of blood and nutrients to your beard hair follicles.
In addition to vitamins, magnesium and zinc are two minerals worth considering. They play an important role in boosting testosterone levels and reducing estrogen (the female sex hormone).
Zinc is an essential mineral for men because it blocks aromatase. Aromatase is an enzyme responsible for converting androgens ( testosterone and dihydrotestosterone) into estrogen.
Magnesium helps make your testosterone more bio-available so your body can use it more efficiently.
It’s also known as a calming and relaxing mineral, it helps regulate your nervous system and and can help you reduce stress and anxiety.
Stress is a big factor that kills your ability to grow a healthy beard and produce proper levels of testosterone.
Foods high in magnesium are dark leafy greens (spinach, broccoli, kale, swiss chard, collard greens), nuts ( brazil nuts, cashews, peanuts, almonds) and seeds ( pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds).
Foods high in zinc include legumes (kidney beans, chickpeas, white beans, baked beans) and seeds (pumpkin seeds, pine nuts, chia seeds)
Alright, so now that you know what vitamins and minerals are important to growing a beard, let’s look at another lifestyle change you can make to help grow your beard faster and fuller naturally.
reducing Stress and improving your sleep can help you grow a better beard
When it comes to growing a beard an important lifestyle change you can make is to reduce the amount of stress you experience.
Stress can lead to stunted beard growth and lower available testosterone needed for growing your best beard.
Stress can be experienced in two ways. Acute Stress and Chronic Stress.
Acute stress occurs when you experience momentary challenges or demands such as having an argument with your partner, preparing for a test or exam or when the car in front of you slams on their brakes.
Acute stress is a normal part of life and your body can recover from it quickly – bringing yourself back into balance. Chronic stress is what you need to focus on managing.
Chronic stress happens when momentary demands become recurring events over an extended period of time. This puts strain on your body and if left unchecked it can negatively impact your beard’s growth.
Types of demands or events that can cause chronic stress are: constant financial pressures, unhealthy relationships, ongoing negative thinking or a lack of interest in your current job or career.
Chronic stress can also be caused by poor diet and nutrition and an irregular sleep schedule.
When your body experiences chronic stress it can affect the growth of your beard by pushing your hair follicles into the “resting” phase (telogen) prematurely.
This process of pushing your beard into the telogen phase is known as telogen effluvium and it stunts your beard’s growth by limiting the amount of time it stays in the “growth” phase (anagen).
The reason this happens is because when your body is in a chronic state of stress it craves a hormone called cortisol.
Cortisol is created in your adrenal glands and helps your body to manage stress. It’s a natural response that your body uses to regain balance.
However; higher levels of cortisol may result in lower testosterone levels due to how the body creates both hormones.
Testosterone and cortisol are synthesized using cholesterol and since the body will prioritize itself in times of chronic stress to focus on creating cortisol, it may put testosterone creation on the back burner – or at the very least not have enough raw material (cholesterol) to create it.
Higher levels of cortisol may mean lower levels of available testosterone in your body — this is not good for beard growth , as testosterone is an important hormone for growing facial hair.
A few ways you can help reduce the stress in your life include practicing mindfulness, exercise regularly ( here’s a quick 7 minute workout), drink more water, breath deeply and improve your sleeping habits.
Improving Your sleep
We live in a world that encourages and praises 24/7 productivity, but this constant need for productivity can leave you feeling depleted and sluggish.
Sleep is your body’s way of repairing and resetting itself. It’s also vital for peak testosterone creation.
There are different stages of sleep, the most important being the REM phase.
This phase is where your testosterone is produced at its best levels. So, it’s important to be able to fall asleep and get a good deep sleep in order to produce multiple REM phases per night.
Strive To Be In Bed Between 8pm-12am. When you sleep you cycle through different phases known as non-rapid eye moment (NREM) and rapid-eye movement (REM) phases.
The NREM phases happens earlier during the nigh while the REM phases happen later.
NREM is known to be a deep restorative sleep state, so in order to take advantage of it, you’ll want to get to bed sooner than later, preferably between the hours of 8pm-12am.
Keep Your Room Dark and Cool. Light inhibits the secretion of melatonin which is the hormone responsible for naturally making you sleepy.
You’ll want to make your room as dark as possible to trigger your body’s natural melatonin production.
Consider installing blackout blinds, dimming your clock radio or if that isn’t possible, try wearing a dark sleep mask.
Your body’s temperature naturally lowers itself when you begin to fall asleep, so lowering your room’s temperature by up to 10 degrees can help speed up the process and help you fall asleep quicker.
Sensitivity to the effects of caffeine vary from person to person, but it’s a good idea for you to avoid or lessen your consumption of coffee, teas, colas, and energy drinks up to 6 hours prior to going to bed.
Alcohol may help you fall asleep quicker, but it will reduce the quality of your REM sleep phase. The more alcohol you consume the greater the REM phase is disturbed. Again, seek to avoid alcohol a few hours prior to going to bed.