There’s no doubt you’ve seen one of the many men strolling around sporting a big ole beard. It must have crossed your mind that it looks cool. Have you considered growing one for yourself?
I can’t blame you. Beards rock. They help shape your face and give you a more rugged look. You know they don’t just appear overnight, however. So you might be wondering just how long it takes to grow a full-fledged beard.
Unfortunately, there is no straightforward answer. What others have experienced isn’t necessarily going to be the case for you.
Many factors play a role here. Some, like genetics or your age, are beyond your influence. You’ll be happy to know that you can work on the others, like your nutrition and lifestyle, to get that facial hair sprouting as quickly as possible.
You’ll first need to understand some basics about hair growth to determine when you can expect a full bushy beard.
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How Hair Grows
You would be forgiven for thinking that facial hair growth is comparable to head hair growth. After all, it’s just hair, how different can it be?
Turns out, quite a bit. Let’s get scientific for a moment to figure out this distinction.
All over your body, you have vellus hair. This is the light, hardly noticeable hair you develop as a kid. It looks a bit like peach fuzz.
When you hit puberty, your body produces more testosterone, which replaces vellus hair in some parts of your body with the thicker, darker terminal hair. This happens in your pubic area, under the armpits, often on your chest and legs, and – you guessed it – your chin and cheeks.
So, your beard, along with the rest of your body hair, is a secondary sex characteristic. The individual facial hair tends to be coarser than the smooth head hair.
You might have noticed some guys with reddish beards even though they otherwise have darker hair. This tells you that beard hair dances to the beat of its own drummer, even in terms of pigmentation.
When it comes to growth, all hair goes through the same three phases, but with some important differences.
1. The Anagen Phase
This is the stage of the growth cycle that lasts the longest. During this phase, the root of the follicle keeps dividing, which means the hair is constantly growing. Head hair stays in this phase for a while, which is why it can grow very long compared to the hair on other parts of the body.
It’s mostly genetics that determines how your hair behaves in this phase. There’s sadly not much you can do about it. You might be lucky and have a fast-growing beard, or you might have to wait a while for it to reach your desired length.
2. The Catagen Phase
When hairs get to this stage, they embed in your skin and stop growing. They lose their blood supply and rest for a few weeks.
3. The Telogen Phase
Your hair stays in this phase for a few months, during which it’s slowly being pushed out by new strands. That means you’ll be losing some of your hair, but the cycle has started again, meaning new follicles will be sprouting out in the same place.
It’s important to note that each individual hair is at a different stage of its life cycle at any time. So don’t worry, not all of them will fall off at once, you’ll likely only notice some light shedding. You can expect to lose anything between 1 and 100 hairs daily.
A single hair on your beard can take up to 6 years to go through its life cycle. If you’re ambitious and want to grow the longest beard you’re able to, this is your mark. It won’t get any longer than it is at 6 years.
The longest any man has grown his beard is 17.5 feet. Now that’s impressive! Realistically, you and I probably couldn’t top this. The length an average beard can reach is approximately 3 feet.
Of course, there are big individual differences here. The best way to know when your beard has reached its maximum length is to see when hairs start to fall off on their own.
If you’re not picking your beard or pulling on it and you still notice shedding, that means those first hairs are reaching the end of their lifecycle. This is the maximum length of beard you were blessed (or cursed) with.
So How Fast Does Your Beard Grow?
After looking into some essentials of hair growth, you can guess that it’s hard to predict exactly how long it will take you to grow a full beard. Facial hair grows 1/2 inch a month, on average.
But you can’t rely on the math here to calculate when you can expect the wanted results. There’s no guarantee that your beard is average. The best you can do is to grow it for 4 to 6 weeks and pay close attention. During this period, you can find out a lot about your stubble.
As we’ve said before, many of the factors influencing your beard growth are beyond your control. Here are some of the things that you can look into to get some clues about your upcoming beard journey.
Hacking the Process
Now the good news: Not everything is out of your hands. You can give your beard a nudge and get it to grow a bit more quickly. A few easy tricks can do wonders!
1. Deal with Your Stress
The best thing you can do for your beard is to relax. Try to set aside some screen-free time where you can just unwind. Your whole body is at its best when fully rested. Get enough sleep and your hair cells will be chugging along exactly the way they should.
Exercise is a great stress-reliever. Some time on the treadmill can expel all that negative energy while getting your blood flowing. And better blood circulation means that your skin can work on growing more hair.
2. Feed Your Beard
Your facial hair needs nutrients to grow faster. You should keep your diet healthy no matter what, but make sure you focus on protein to give your beard a boost. Red meats, white meats, and fish work great. Other sources include eggs, milk, and nuts, so take your pick.
You should also focus on vitamins A, B, C, and E. Go for green vegetables (broccoli, spinach), oranges and lemons, carrots, and seeds.
The market for beard supplements is growing, but I’ll repeat what you’ve already heard from your doctor and your mom: There’s no substitute for a well-rounded diet. If you do go the supplement way, you can focus on biotin (vitamin B7) to start with, as there’s some evidence connecting it to increased beard growth.
3. Be Patient
A couple of weeks into the process, you’ll reach an awkward phase. Your stubble will not be as neat as it’s heading into beard territory. You might be tempted to tame this unruly beast. And look, it’s your face, you can do whatever you want. Just get a quality beard trimmer and stay on the length you think is best for you.
It’s worth a shot going all the way, however. You can always get rid of your beard if you don’t like it, but you won’t know until you try. I really recommend sticking through the weird stages to see how awesome your beard can get! Stay patient for a while longer and you’ll likely be amazed by the results.
4. Go the extra mile
It’s very important to keep your skin healthy if you want to get that beard sooner rather than later. Wash it with mild soap and warm water to keep it breathing. Exfoliate to remove dead cells. Moisturize regularly to nourish it. You have to put in the work.
Once your facial hair reaches a bit of length (about two weeks into the process), it would be wise to consider beard oils and balms. There are many different kinds and they both help you grow your beard faster and keep it looking amazing.
We’ve seen before that there are big differences between facial hair and head hair. That’s why you’d be better off investing in beard shampoos and conditioners, as they are formulated to take care of your beard and make it stand out.
So, how long until you can proudly rock that beard? We’ve seen that the answer is different for everyone. But keep at it, show your skin and beard some love and you’ll get awesome results. I promise that you’ll forget about any growing pains once you experience the amazing feeling a healthy beard brings.