Many people think that growing a beard is a matter of genetics. Although this statement isn’t 100% incorrect and genetics do affect your propensity to grow a beard, there are scientifically proven ways to stimulate beard growth and accelerate the rate at which your facial hair grows.
In this post, we will go through every single method available, detailing our personal experience with it as well as suggestions for the best products and their key active ingredients. It is important to differentiate the snake oil from the real deal and as such we ask you to chime in in the comment section if you have any personal experience disproving our findings.
Beard growth, like any hair growth, is characterized by two periods: One “resting” period, where not much happens and one “growth” period where the beard actually developed. The former usually takes around 10 to 14 weeks for facial hair and the later can last anywhere from 3 or 4 months to 1 or 2 years. In the resting stage, the hair dies and is flushed out and in the growth stage, as the name would suggest, new hair develops and grows.
The rate at which the hair grows is usually around 0.3mm a day, though it varies from person to person. This growth rate is mainly determined by two hormones: Testosterone and dihydrotestosterone. Here lies the first and probably most impactful way of increasing beard growth: Increasing Testosterone and dihydrotestosterone levels.
The bottom line behind most of the methods outline below is that you need to increase testosterone levels. The majority of tips given below will thus revolve around that subject.
Increasing testosterone will also increase dihydrotestosterone since close to 5% of all testosterone is transformed into DHT due to the 5-alpha enzyme.
Method 1- The hormone way.
Natural ways to increase testosterone and dihydrotestosterone
The best recommendation we can give you is to improve your lifestyle. Eating healthy (e.g- the Mediterranean diet, which contains a lot of olive oil, which has been proven to increase testosterone levels) and exercising have an immediate impact on testosterone levels. Below we’ve listed some of the more common factors highlited by academia for facial hair growth:
- Getting a good night’s sleep is said to have a positive effect in facial hair growth due to the regeneration of lost cells. A 1987 study found that when ten young men underwent a sleep deprivation for 48 hours, they experienced a 19% decrease in beard growth rate.
- Reduce Stress. Stress will affect your immune system which will impair hormone production and hair growth.
- Stop smoking. Similarly to stress, smoking can have a negative effect in your immune system.
- Diet. A balanced diet containing ingredients such as olive oil and protein, which have been proven to increase testosterone levels, will help you grow a beard.
- Work out. It has been proven that explosive work outs such as weight lifting result in the release of testosterone.
Supplements to increase hormones
A more direct way of influencing hormone levels is by taking supplements. The basic idea is to increase hormone levels artificially. This can be achieved, for example, by stimulating the production of dopamine, which in turn is said to increase testosterone production.
Below we’ve listed a few good supplements:
Consuming zinc can also have an immediate impact, since it has been proven that it increases testosterone levels.
Once again, Creatines link with testosterone production is what makes it a suitable candidate.
Youtube user HuskyBeard made a nice and funny, albeit sometimes disturbingly close up, video detailing his 7-week experience with Creatine and Minoxidil:
- Multivitamin Mixes
A steady stream of a mixture of vitamins, such as B and D, is said to be beneficial for your beard. Beardalizer and Beard Grow XL are two examples of such supplements.
Another way to increase the growth rate of beard is by cleaning your pores and allowing for a more efficient system of killing and renewing hair in the face.
Method 2- The skin way.
By removing dead skin with an exfoliator, you can stimulate hair growth. There are two products we recommend in this category: A face wash and an exfoliator.
Washing your face regularly ensures that the pores stay free of dust and particles that might block hair growth. The face wash should have active ingredients such as Eucalyptus to encourage hair growth.
Exfoliating literally consists of cleaning dead cells out of your skin. In the process, you also take out any dead hairs in your face and dust that might be blocking your pores, reducing the chances of skin issues.
By doing this you are accelerating the “rest” period and you are allowing for a more rapid transition to the growth stage.
Method 3- You don’t necessarily have to shave!
There is absolutely no scientific evidence that shaving regularly will encourage beard growth. It only appears to do so as you’re cutting the ends of the hair, which are thinner and allowing the thicker base to grow. It makes absolutely no sense that cutting your beard more regularly will make it grow more.
And there you have it, our guide for beard growth. We will update this as we find more evidence and try some of these methods ourselves, but in the meantime, feel free to drop a comment on what has worked for you!