It is one of the questions that every impatient man asks at some stage in his life: “how can I make my beard grow faster?” Facial hair is the cause of much jealousy and for many, the peak measure of one’s masculinity. Growing a beard is a journey. A journey on which you are bound to become at least a little impatient from time to time. It never quite seems like your facial hair is growing at the impressive speed you imagined.
Perceived wisdom says that there is nothing you can do to make your beard grow faster. When you ask a bristly brother for beard-growing tips, he will probably hit you with little more than a wisecrack. The thing is, there are a few things that you can do to encourage your beard to grow faster and thicker. And while there is no secret recipe to have you looking like Khal Drogo in a week, there are some simple steps that you can introduce into your daily routine to help you along on your bearded journey.
1. Commit to Growing a Beard
Picture this: you forget to set your alarm and wake up groggy, twenty minutes before work. In your haste not to be late on the one day of the week that you know your boss gets in early, you dispense with your daily shave. It gets to 3 o’clock, you look in the bathroom mirror and think ‘I actually look pretty good with some stubble’. The next day you skip the shave again, this time on purpose. Before too long people start asking you if you’re growing a beard.
Most guys won’t realise that they have started to grow a beard until they’re at least a few days down. When you are at that crossroad, you need to commit to the beard. The initial stages might be a little itchy and make you feel like a relapsed alcoholic in a cheesy daytime movie. But if you can get over the initial hump you will feel a lot better about the whole thing. Many men find that they just need to get over the ‘four-week hump’ before feeling like they have a beard.
2. Leave Your Beard Alone
Depending on the coarseness of your facial hair along with the sensitivity of your skin, those initial four weeks might feel frustratingly itchy. It is at these times that you will most feel like throwing in the towel. Resist the urge to shave, trim, twirl or scratch your facial hair. You want to get over the hump from patchy facial hair to a full beard. That means that any grooming is off the table. Once you pass that four-week mark, then you can start to think about shaping it.
Don’t be fooled into thinking that shaving will make your hair grow back thicker either. Unfortunately, that old wives tale has no basis in fact. The less you think about it in these early stages, the more likely you are to let it grow. Before you know it, the days of the itch will be long behind you.
3. Vitamins for Beard Growth
They say that the health of your hair offers a window into your health as a human. Facial hair is no different, and maintaining a balanced diet can help to encourage faster growth. Your hair is made of protein, so foods rich in protein will contribute to making a stronger, healthier beard. Low iron levels can result in stunted hair growth or loss, so make sure your diet has plenty of iron-rich foods. Vitamin C helps the body absorb that iron.
Omega-3 fatty acids contribute to keeping your hair hydrated and can be found in oily fish like salmon and sardines. Increasing your vitamin A intake will help your body make sebum which provides a natural conditioner. Finally, too little of the B-vitamin biotin in your diet can lead to a brittle beard, avoid that with foods like whole grain and egg yolk.
A balanced diet is key, but of course, if you find that you are not getting enough of these vitamins you can look to supplements. As with any diet, you should speak with your G.P. to create a safe supplement intake and sustainable diet.
Recommended Beard Vitamins
4. Getting Rest
Testosterone is an essential ingredient in growing a thick, masculine beard. One of the best ways to increase your body’s testosterone level is by giving it time to rest. A recent study published in an American medical journal points to a lack of sleep as the cause of a significant drop in testosterone levels in men. Sleeping gives your body a chance to regenerate the hormone, in turn giving your beard the secret manly ingredient. Getting a full eight hours of sleep is a suggestion from which most modern men could benefit.
5. Reducing Stress
Increased stress also reduces your body’s ability to regenerate testosterone. Stress can also restrict the flow of vitamins to your hair follicles. It is a real problem with real physiological effects. If you find that your life is particularly stressful, think about taking up meditation or breathing exercises. Reduce the amount of ‘screen hours’ in your house by turning devices off by a set time each night. Take up jogging or any activity that will let you unpack some thoughts by yourself for a while. Your body will thank you for the drop in stress, rewarding you with a solid set of bristles.
6. Start Exercising
Every man should exercise, if not for his beard then for himself. Not only can exercise help bring down your stress levels, but it will also help you shed some excess weight if you’re on the portly side. How does this help you grow a beard? By helping your body regenerate testosterone of course. Exercise will also increase blood flow and help provide nutrients to your facial hair follicles.
7. Use Good Products on Your Beard as it Grows
While there is no real evidence that using beard care products can help with growth, they can make the itchy stages more comfortable and give you a nicer looking beard. Beard oils and balms will help to make your facial hair softer. As a minimum, look for products that clean, style and soften your beard. Some beard products containing ingredients like jojoba oil do claim to encourage growth. On the whole, you should opt for anything that will help you get through the early stages when all you want to do is shave.
How Long Does it Take to Grow a Beard?
For men wanting to know how long a beard takes to grow, the short answer is, it varies. Your genetics, testosterone levels, age and a bunch of other factors all come into play. Manage your expectations and remember to be patient. If you find yourself becoming impatient in these early growth stages, just think about how shaving every day is so much worse than waiting for your beard to grow.
How to Grow a Thicker Beard
Guys know that it’s not all about the length. Just because you have grown a long beard quickly doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ve got what it takes to be a bearded model. Without density and thickness, you could be sporting a ‘Keanu Reeves’ without even knowing it. All of the tips mentioned above can help in making your beard appear thicker. Unfortunately, there is only so much a man can do.
Your genes have a significant say in how thick your beard grows. If your dad has always struggled to cultivate a manly, bushy beard, there is a good chance that you too will have trouble in that department. If you can’t grow a beard right now but your father can, you just might need to tap into that beard-growing patience again.
It really does all come back to patience and time. You may be past the four-week hurdle only to find that you’re still riddled with patches and bald spots. You might just need to give it some more time. Let it fill out and be patient. Once you have more to work with, you can then trim and shape your beard to make it appear thicker.
You can solve so many of life’s problems with a little money and the right product. It makes sense to think that you can help a patchy beard with a hair growth product like Rogaine. Unfortunately, there is no rock solid proof that this type of product can help. The internet abounds with plenty of anecdotal evidence around these kinds of products, but be careful before spending too much money on this unproven approach.
4. Hair Transplant
The hair transplant is by far the most drastic and invasive way to remedy a beard that refuses to grow to your masculine potential. We most often associate hair transplants with the heads of balding gentlemen, but we can use it in the beard zone too. Doctors take hair from the back of a patient’s scalp and graft it onto his face. And although not every guy is a candidate for the procedure, it actually does work. It is, however, the most expensive solution and a very dramatic fix.