Much has been written and said about the beard and what it means. We already know that it’s a symbol of masculinity and has been for thousands of years.
A beard gives off so many positive vibes. Confidence. Wisdom. Virility. Courage. Strength. Women find beards attractive. And the list goes on.
The bottom line is that nothing quite says “I’m a man” like a beard.
If you’re having trouble growing a beard, or if your beard is not as full and lush as you’d like, it can be frustrating. But take heart, gentlemen. Don’t lose hope.
We’re here to help. We have solutions to help face your frustration head-on and emerge victorious with a beard that will be the envy of others.
So, let’s start – how to grow a thicker beard.
- Give yourself a month (That’s all we ask) – The four weeks rule
- 5 Ways how to grow a thicker beard
Give Yourself a Month (That’s All We Ask) – The four weeks rule
OK, let’s digress for just a bit before we get into the how-to of growing a thicker beard and talk about time.
Time is perhaps your closest ally regarding beard growth. So is patience. If you can give your beard time to grow and practice patience, you’ll be amazed at the results.
And it all starts with four weeks.
If you can give us four weeks – less than 30 days, fellas – we’ll help you grow a thicker beard. It comes down to this:
You have to let your beard grow for a least four weeks before you can truly evaluate its status.
Never, ever, give up on your beard after a couple of weeks simply because it looks patchy, scraggly, or like another adjective you prefer. Impatience claims the lives of too many beards, as does the often-inevitable itchiness that comes in the initial stages of facial hair growth.
Let’s face it, anyone can grow stubble, and it doesn’t take a lot of time to do so. But we’re not talking about stubble in this post – we’re interested in a full-grown beard that gives you the manly, well-groomed look that others admire.
Here’s the other thing: don’t start shaping your beard too soon, either. The chances are that you’ll cut off more than you intended before letting your beard reach a sufficient length that shows it’s real “lines.”
Growing a beard is like achieving a lot of good things in life, whether it’s a killer body or earning an advanced degree, in that it requires a commitment. And it’s not even that long of a commitment when you compare it to other things that require discipline.
Let’s break down the four weeks:
Week 1 – Yes, it feels weird, but …
It’s not what you do during the first week of beard growth but what you don’t do. Indeed, it not only feels weird on your face, especially if it’s your first time growing a beard, but it may also look weird. The temptation to scrap the project may become overpowering. But giving waving the white flag at this stage isn’t how you grow a full beard.
What you can do, however, is start applying beard oil. Oil makes your beard look and feel healthier (as well as the skin underneath) and is an important weapon in your fight against beard itch. Beard oil is your friend.
So, hold your ground and don’t touch that razor!
Week 2 – Let it grow, let it grow, let it grow
By the second week, you’ll have a better sense of the shape of your beard. It will be thick in many places, patchy in others, but you’ll begin to get a better idea of what beard style best suits your face. Growth is still your priority, however, so resist the urge to trim the edges or “clean it up.”
The second week is also a good time to use a growth supplement if you so desire. We’ll dig deeper into beard supplements a bit later.
Week 3 – Now we’re getting someplace!
Many beards men would argue that the first two weeks of beard growth are the toughest and with good reason. By the third week, that pesky itch will have subsided, and your patch of facial hair is taking the shape of a real beard.
It’s OK at this point to trim the patchy edges, but don’t touch any hairs that you’re planning to keep. You can even brush your beard to start training the hairs to lie a certain way (and a quality beard brush is essential to any beardsman’s grooming kit).
Week 4 – The victory lap
The end of Week 4 is the finish line for this initial stage of beard growth and puts you well on your way to growing a thicker, fuller beard that’s the envy of men and women alike. You’ll also have a clear picture of the final shape of your beard. You can also begin grooming it in earnest. Congrats!
Now that we’ve covered the importance of time, let’s get down to the business of how to grow a fuller beard that will become the thick statement of manliness you’d prefer.
5 Ways How to Grow a Thicker Beard
1. Products: A Little Help From Our Friends
Serious beardsmen constantly seek ways to help their beard reach its full potential. They’re open to suggestions and ideas, both natural and human-made when it comes to information on how to grow a full beard. And by human-made, we’re referring to hair growth products.
Never mind that, at least yet, there haven’t been clinical trials done in the U.S. concerning the effectiveness of hair growth supplements – which is why they aren’t approved by the FDA. They are approved for hair growth on the human scalp, however, and many, many, many men have used them with positive results on their beards.
In other words, feel free to try them on your beard if you’re curious (and, of course, want to grow a thicker beard).
When it comes to hair growth products, you have to start with Minoxidil. Also known as Rogaine, it’s the most popular product of its kind available and scores of men have vouched for its effectiveness.
- What is minoxidil?
Originally used to treat high blood pressure – and it still is – Minoxidil had an interesting side effect on it early users, namely, it caused hair growth. By 1988, the FDA had approved Minoxidil as a hair-growth product while also allowing it to be marketed under the Rogaine name.
Because it worked so well on scalp hair, men naturally took the next step to see if it would work on their face. And it did, although not in the same way. Specifically, Minoxidil stimulates hair follicles already on your face rather than stimulating new growth as it does on your head.
- How does the stuff work?
That, in fact, is the million-dollar question. Scientists still aren’t sure how exactly Minoxidil promotes hair growth, although they do know that it’s a potassium channel opener that stimulates blood circulation in hair follicles. Better blood flow means more hormones and nutrients reach your hair’s roots while stimulating growth.
Minoxidil is different from other hormonal-based hair-loss products in that it works topically to stimulate circulation to hair follicles.
Another possible reason for Minoxidil’s hair-growth powers is that it stimulates the enzyme prostaglandin synthase-1 via the immune system. Scientists have long speculated that hair loss is somehow involved with the immune system.
- Only one more science fact (we promise)
Your hair cells have three phases of growth: Anagen, Catagen, and Telogen. The phases are repeated, in the order listed, as new hair follicles replace existing ones. Minoxidil prolongs the Anagen phase – which is the phase that promotes hair growth. A shortened Anagen phase is the precursor to hair loss disorders such as Male Pattern Baldness.
Types of minoxidil
Choosing which type of Minoxidil to use on your face (and scalp, for that matter) is important.
Minoxidil/Rogaine form is the most popular version used for hair loss, both for men and women. It’s more expensive than liquid Minoxidil but dries twice as fast.
Wash your face thoroughly before you apply Minoxidil foam and rinse your hands and fingers under cold water to prevent the foam from dissolving before you apply it. How much you use with each application is up to you, but the suggested amount is only enough that would fill half of the container’s cap.
You can use Minoxidil more than once a day but wait 8 to 12 hours between applications.
The liquid is the original form of Minoxidil application and can be applied twice a day. As mentioned, the liquid version is less expensive than foam, but it takes longer to dry.
After washing your face, use the amount of liquid that’s measured out in the dropper that comes with your product. Use the dropper to apply small drops of the liquid on your beard area. Use your fingers to rub the solution into your facial hair gently.
OK, here’s the catch:
Nothing in this world is perfect, and Minoxidil is no exception. While the chances are good that it will help you grow a thicker beard, there are a few drawbacks:
- It may cause dry skin
Some users of the Minoxidil liquid version have experienced dry skin – as well as redness, itching, and irritation – after application.
- Lower blood pressure
Well, considering Minoxidil was first used to treat high blood pressure, a lowered blood pressure isn’t a big surprise. But it shouldn’t be used in place of the blood pressure medicine prescribed by your doctor and always be careful that your BP doesn’t dip too low.
- Weight gain
Not to worry, because there’s no strong correlation here, but some users have complained about weight gain as a possible side effect. What caused their weight gain is open for debate, however.
The Minox Beard Spot
No article about Minoxidil and beard growth would be complete without a mention of The Minox Beard Spot on Facebook. It follows the beard-growth journey of Beard Spot founder Basik Ali Coe in a video that chronicles his progress every two weeks until an entire year has passed.
Mr. Coe is an unabashed supporter of Minoxidil. Without it, he says, “I wouldn’t have the beard I have today.”
Other Thicker Beard Products
Rogaine isn’t the only player in the hair-growth game. There is a variety of other products, and it’s worth taking a look (albeit shorter) at them:
Vitabeard has a mix of vitamins that boost the growth rate of your hair while also improving its overall quality. To be clear, however, Vitabeard does not generate new facial hair growth but is intended to help with the process.
A key ingredient in Vitabeard is biotin, which plays an important role in the process of growing hair. Some research has shown that biotin is also effective in preventing hair loss, but biotin for beard growth is our focus here.
Vitabeard also includes vitamin C, which increases collagen production (collagen is a structural protein found in skin and other connective tissues) while also helping to repair and prevent split hairs.
And, let’s not forget zinc – another one of Vitabeard’s main ingredients. Zinc is said to help you avoid hair loss, as well.
Does Vitabeard work? Some men swear by it, and there’s no harm in giving it a try. But if you’re already getting all of the above vitamins and nutrients via a healthy diet, then you may not need Vitabeard.
There is no shortage of products that are available on Amazon (from a variety of sources) that are designed to grow facial hair faster and thicker. Do they actually work? Well, that’s debatable, and we’ll leave it up to you to decide.
We’ve discussed the importance of beard oil in other posts, and it’s great for softening your beard, reducing beardruff, and making it more manageable. And that’s all that it’s intended to do – not to necessarily thicken your facial hair or make it grow faster.
The same is true of beard shampoo.
But, if you want to see for yourself whether an oil or shampoo promotes better beard growth, we suggest that you use one that offers a refund if the stuff doesn’t work on your facial hair.
Now let’s delve into the business of how to grow facial hair faster naturally.
2. Diet (Feeding your beard)
Can you eat your way to a thicker beard?
Yes, you can.
You can also eat your way out of a thicker beard.
While we all know how our body benefits from a healthy diet, it also has a positive impact on our facial hair. So, before you dig into that delicious but fat-filled dessert, think about your beard, too. It needs you to be healthy so it can be healthy.
We’ve already talked about how supplements – and a supplement-packed product like Vitabeard – can help you in your quest for a thicker, less patchy beard. Taking your vitamin, or vitamins, can help, but a healthy diet will ensure that you’re getting the right amount of vitamins and nutrients, as well.
Again, vitamins support a thicker, healthier beard moving forward, and that’s the result you want.
- You (and your beard) are what you eat
The good news is that you’ll find vitamins that are essential to beard growth in a wide variety of foods. You won’t have to eat the same few foods over and over again, and you can simply ignore ones that don’t suit your taste buds. Of course, there’s the old saying that the worse a food tastes, the better it is for you, but that’s not entirely true by any means.
Here’s the other thing: men who eat healthier foods tend to lose weight or easily maintain a weight that’s healthy for them. And losing weight boosts testosterone – the male hormone that has a major effect on facial hair growth.
Testosterone, meanwhile, has a byproduct called dihydrotestosterone which also aids in forming and growing facial hair. So, not only will you look good when you lose weight, but you’ll increase your testosterone and DHT levels that, in turn, promote healthier beard growth. Talk about a win-win.
- Your beard wants you to consume the right vitamins and nutrients
Specifically, your beard knows that certain vitamins and nutrients make it healthier just like it makes you healthier. Let’s take a closer look:
Vitamin A and Beta A Carotene – These vitamins help repair skin tissue, which leads to better hair growth. Foods like carrots, egg yolks, sweet potatoes, kale, and spinach are loaded with Vitamin A and Beta A Carotene.
Vitamin C and E – Sebum is a natural oil produced by humans to lubricate and moisturize hair to give it a thick, lush look. Vitamins C and E boost sebum production and are found in citrus fruits, green peppers, broccoli, almonds, peanut butter, spinach, mangoes and sunflower seeds.
Protein – Protein is part of the conversation in any discussion about a healthy diet or fitness routine. For our purposes, protein is important because hair is mainly composed of keratin, a type of protein consisting of amino acids. We can’t produce keratin on our own, so we need to get it from our diet – including from foods such as fish, lean meats, poultry, eggs, legumes, rice, and beans.
Omega-3 fatty acids – This type of “fat” is essential to our overall growth, including facial hair. They also protect cell membranes which help to keep your beard from becoming dry and brittle. You’ll find Omega-3 fatty acids in fatty fish like salmon, as well as in flaxseed oil and walnuts.
Vitamins B6, B12, and Biotin – Foods such as fish, poultry, nuts, brown rice, eggs, oatmeal, and wheat germ contain Vitamins B6, B12, and Biotin, all of which promote the growth of hair and new skin cells. Moreover, B vitamins help your body synthesize the protein you eat (and we’ve already mentioned how protein is important to hair growth).
The bottom line when it comes to diet is that the health of your body directly corresponds to the overall health of your beard. The same vitamins and nutrients that have a positive effect on major organs such as your heart, also benefit your hair.
3. Exercise & Stress Relief
This subheading could also be titled, “Get your butt to the gym. And relax!” but we’ll stick with the more generic title for now.
No matter how you say it, however, exercise and stress relief are both great ways to improve beard growth. In many ways, they go hand-in-hand because exercise is an excellent stress reliever. If you’ve exercised regularly, you know the blissful feeling you often have when you finish a workout.
If you’re still skeptical, consider this: When you’re stress, your body produces stress hormones called cortisone which affect your whole body and may lead to hair loss. Exercise, meanwhile, increases beneficial hormones (serotonin) that help reduce stress.
Either way, your beard is strongly encouraging you to get some exercise and chill out. Here’s why:
Why exercise is important
How is exercise good for you and your beard? Let us count the ways:
- Increased blood flow
Exercise increases blood flow to your muscles, skin, and scalp which also brings with it more oxygen and nutrients. This, in turn, nourishes the scalp to promote healthy hair growth.
- It gives your body a good flush
We sweat when we exercise. Sweat not only lets us know that we’re getting a good workout but also carries with it toxins and waste products from the body that are released through the skin pores. It also helps unclog hair follicles and provides room for new hair to grow.
- Exercise boosts your testosterone
Exercise has been proven to boost testosterone levels in your body. Testosterone is the hormone most associated with masculinity. A sign of masculinity is facial hair.
You get the picture.
Testosterone’s role is significant in just about everything associated with men. Testosterone is responsible for the increased androgen levels in your body as you enter into puberty. You voice changes, you get taller, there’s an increase in muscle growth and bone density; hell, your genitals get bigger.
Androgen is also significant for hair growth and as its levels increase, that wispy, kind-of-a-beard you sported through high school – and even into college – becomes thicker. It’s no longer kind of a beard, it’s the real deal, and you probably noticed, or will notice, increased attention from the opposite sex.
DHT, testosterone’s by-product, is similarly crucial for hair growth. Researchers say that testosterone helps hair follicles get in optimal condition for hair growth, while DHT promotes the linear growth of each hair. The result is facial hair that’s different from the hair on your head, i.e., it’s curlier and thicker.
While testosterone rages through your body when you’re younger and developing into full manhood, it begins to decline once you’re in your 30s. You’ll also start to lose muscle mass and gain fat. All the more reason to drag yourself to the gym!
Exercise – the magic drug
As one scientist put it, if exercise came in pill form it would be the hottest drug on the market. Exercise is beneficial for every part of you, including your hair, and, like a beard, will help you become more physically attractive. Let’s be real – a bearded man with a sculpted body and excellent muscle tone? You better hide your girlfriend if you’re not him.
Like with a drug, however, you need to use some caution when adding exercise to your daily routine. For one, find a routine that you’ll enjoy (yet makes you work enough to get results), and always begin slowly if you’re just starting to work out. Seek the advice of experts, such as a personal trainer, who can show you how to perform certain exercises while reducing the risk of injury.
Finding a workout regimen that you’ll enjoy is important; the more your workouts feel like drudgery, the less likely you are to stick with them.
What exercises are good for facial hair growth? Well, most types, although cardio workouts such as brisk walking, running, cycling, dance, Zumba, etc., are especially beneficial. Many yoga exercises are helpful too, and the beauty of yoga is that it’s also an excellent stress reliever.
Which leads us to your next point:
Why reducing stress is important for facial hair growth
Stress and facial hair growth: let’s just start by saying that there two schools of thought:
- Stress has been shown to increase facial hair in women. The adrenal glands become overactive and produce more stress hormones, especially during periods of prolonged stress. In turn, these hormones circulate androgens more readily throughout the body (it’s the old “fight or flight” syndrome kicking in). A similar process occurs in men, or so it’s said because stress kicks out extra testosterone, which can lead to hair growth.
They say, in fact, that your best college beard is usually during exams, when you may be experiencing an overload of stress.
- HOWEVER, there’s another school of thought that says cortisol levels in your body increase during times of stress. Cortisol decreases your levels of testosterone (women don’t have to worry so much about this), and we already know that testosterone triggers better beard growth.
In any case, experts say stress comes in two forms: short-term and long-term. Short-term stress is what many of experience during the daily grind, the rat race, whatever you want to call it. One of the negative aspects of short-term stress is that it disrupts your sleep patterns – and how well you sleep has an affect on many things, including the strength of your hair.
Long-term stress is the kind that builds over an extended period and can be harmful to your health and overall well-being. But no matter what kind of stress plagues you the most, we highly recommend that you find ways to relax – whether it’s meditation, listening to music you enjoy, or just hanging out with friends. Your beard will approve.
4. Rest (Letting your beard getting some much-needed shut-eye)
You know how it feels after a poor night’s rest. You’re groggy; you have trouble concentrating, your productivity suffers – it’s can be a day from hell.
You’re not doing your beard any favors, either.
Several studies show that a lack of sleep also has wide-ranging effects on your body, including that it reduces testosterone levels. And we know the connection between testosterone and facial hair growth.
In fact, a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association said a week’s worth of sleep deprivation (in which subjects got no more than five hours of sleep per night) resulted in a 10-15 percent reduction in daytime testosterone levels. That’s a significant number when you consider there’s only a 1 to 2 percent reduction during the normal aging process.
It’s true – you need sufficient rest to allow your body to regenerate testosterone. If you’re wondering why you have patchy areas throughout your beard, check your nightly sleep schedule. Are you getting 7 to 9 hours worth of sleep each night? If not, then you’re selling your body, mind, and beard short.
Here’s the other thing about rest – a lack of sleep raises your stress levels. As we mentioned above, stress is a major obstacle in the way of the thicker beard you desire.
So, get some rest. The difference will surprise you.
5. Procedures, Hormones, and The Part Where We Talk About Genetics
Let’s cut to the chase and say a word or two about genetics. After all, genetics play a major role in the quality of your beard – if not the most important role.
Genetics tells me that if my father and grandfather had no trouble growing a full and hearty beard, chances are I can do the same.
They also tell us that if dad or grandpa struggled to grow a thick beard, then we could easily suffer in the same way.
Our genes are 85% responsible for the thickness of our facial hair. So, technically speaking, there’s only so much you can do about the overall quality of your beard, but that’s not to say you shouldn’t do anything at all. On the contrary.
We’ve already discussed the importance of time (and waiting) and the four-week rule. Your facial hair will grow – in fact, it never stops growing. Waiting is of particular importance when you’re younger, and your manhood is first kicking in because you need time for your beard’s density to properly develop.
Eric Bandholz from Beardbrand explains pretty well in this video. You can see a graph demonstrating your beard thickness potential over the years.
You’ll hear a lot of discussion about genetics when it comes to another body hair dilemma – male pattern baldness. If you’re going bald, or are bald (and bald is also beautiful), then you’re father and grandfather were probably bald, too.
- OK, so if it’s genetics, what else can I do to make my beard thicker?
Good question. The answer lies in the four strategies listed above – supplements, diet, exercise/stress, and rest – as well as a fifth option that you may or may not be willing to try.
We’re talking specifically about beard implants and hormone therapy. Both offer another solution to the problem of patchy beards, albeit solutions that aren’t as simple – and inexpensive – like those we’ve already listed.
a) Beard Implants
Some describe beard implants as an extreme solution to a minor problem but, hey, if you’ve thrown up your hands and given up on trying to get a thicker beard, perhaps you’d like to look into implants.
Many have, as the number of beard implants has increased dramatically in recent years.
Typical beard implant clients are men who’ve struggled to grow a beard since adolescence, as well as those undergoing a gender transition from female to male.
How is it done?
For starters, the hair needed for transplants is typically taken from the patient’s head (roots and all, mind you) and then surgically implanted on a bare patch of the face. You only need a local anesthesia, though the procedure does take several hours in most cases.
There are plenty of pros and cons with implants, including:
- (Pro) You can get the beard you always wanted and dictate to your surgeon how you want it to look.
- (Pro) While the transplanted hairs will fall out in a matter of weeks, they will grow back because their roots are in it for the long haul. The results are permanent.
- (Potential Con) You have to sacrifice some hair from your head. This may be an issue if you’re balding or don’t have a thick head of hair.
- (Con) Beard implants aren’t cheap and range in price from $3,000 to $7,000.
Do beard implants work? The answer is yes, but there’s a lot to consider – including your budget – before you decide if they make sense for you.
b) Hormone Therapy
If a male hormone deficiency is a culprit for you and your beard, hormone therapy is another option. The therapy comes in pill form, hormonal creams, or via hormonal injections.
If your hair roots are determined to be hormone-resistant, your doctor will prescribe medication that enhances the effect of hormones on your hair roots.
So, does hormone therapy work? And, is it safe?
First, men have seen decent results through hormone therapy although not at the high-success rate of beard implants.
Secondly, hormone therapy does pose health risks. It’s up to you to decide whether you’re willing to take those risks. If not, we’ve already mentioned other, safer ways, of getting your beard to become thicker.
And that, friends, wraps up our look at ways in which you can enhance your beard. Remember, your genetics play a big role, but there are solutions to the facial hair patchiness that may be driving you crazy. Better yet, many of those solutions are good for your body and mental health as a whole, so if you have nothing to lose (and a whole lot to gain) by trying them.
As always, we encourage and welcome your comments, feedback, and suggestions. We’d love to hear from you.