I find it amusing how popular the question, 'How to grow a full beard' is among men. (I’m assuming most persons asking this question would be men.. but I might be wrong!). In fact if you type this in google you get over 31 million results.
That's alot of information, especially for something you'd think there isn’t much to, except letting mother nature do her work.
Now, in theory that's true, and mother nature really does most of the work for growing a beard, however if you’re looking to get on board the latest trend of growing out that manly facial hair than you need to get your facts in order.
So that is what I set out to do; after all there seems to be enough persons interested in this topic to warrant a nice long post covering the main aspects of how to grow a manly beard, including answering questions such as 'will rogaine grow a beard?'.
Let's start with this video clip brought to you by the lovely bearded folks at Beardbrand.
What you need to Grow a Manly Beard!
Let’s start by understanding the science behind it.
All you need to have for a big, bristly beard are two things; Testosterone and the right Genes.
While both males and females produce the sex hormone, testosterone, the highest levels typically occur in males who have reached sexual maturity.
Testosterone is in fact responsible for all of the secondary sex characteristics you generally find in men, like more muscle mass, more body hair, the enlarged larynx which gives you that deep voice, and, it also triggers the growth of facial hair.
Now, your whiskers don't just show up out of nowhere. From a very tender age, we already have very fine hairs on our body. Testosterone interacts with the little wispy peach-fuzzy hairs that everybody already has, pigmenting them to make them darker and stimulating them to grow thicker.
But make no mistake, the bushiness of a man's beard is not a measure of how much testosterone he's producing. Lots of research comparing men across various ethnic groups found that guys who produce less facial hair have the same hormone levels as those who look like Duck Dynasty stand-ins.
So what else do you need? The right genes.
Yes, genetic variations can change your follicles' sensitivity to hormones. The follicle is the sac in the skin where the little fuzzy hair grows into a thick bristle, but the thing is, not all follicles respond to testosterone's chemical signal in the same way.
Some guys' hairs have a hard time reading and responding to the signal, resulting in your kinda patchy, Bob Dylan scraggly look. On the other end of the scale, others are really sensitive to the hormone, giving you your Sacha Baron Cohen types.
So, just as the hair on your head is a certain color and texture depending on your genes, so is your beard ... or lack thereof.
The genetic growth of your beard starts when you hit your 20's. That is really when your prime starts growing up, and then as you get older and older you'll see there's a curve of your beard growth potential.
Once again, it’s essentially your genetic growth, so everyone's growth rate will be different.
How to Grow a Full Beard Faster?
If you’re looking for some magic potion that will help you grow a thick and full beard fast and easily, then you’re going to be disappointed.
There really is no potion, no oil or vitamin, that's actually going to change the make-up of your own DNA to grow a bigger, fuller beard. So please, please, please, don't waste any money on these gimmicks.
Having said this, there are options that actually work.
Will Rogaine grow a beard?
Just to be clear, I completely disagree with the following methods, but for the sake of completeness, I must mention that there are two ways out there which can help you get a thick full beard fast, especially if when your genes are not helping you out in your quest.
The first is to use Rogaine, which is a hair growth formula.
Now there's a lot of debate over this product and the thing with Rogaine is that it will make your beard grow thicker and fuller, but the minute you stop using it your beard hair is going to fall out!
The other option, which has become a trend in the last couple of years, is beard implants.
This involves an operation, which usually lasts around 8 hours, in which hair (and roots) are taken from your head (or chest if you lack the hair on top) and planted into your face.
Similar to hair transplants, once the hair is implanted in the face, your beard will take root. This means that the actual hair transplanted will eventually fall out however the root will remain in place and will actually begin to grow new hair within a few weeks.
So the hairs will re-grow everytime you shave or trim them and you will actually treat it like a natural beard which you will need to groom regularly.
This procedure can be quite expensive, with a full beard setting you back around $8,000. However you can also opt for just fill-in procedures where you just transplant hair in those areas to fill in the gaps to get a more full and complete beard.
Check out this CNN clip on how Beard Implants are increasing in popularity.
Hopefully this helps give you guys a look into what really is optional out there to grow a fuller thicker beard without having to spend money on all the crap people are trying to sell on the market.
What I would suggest though is that if you're in your teens or your 20's then please just give it some time. Your beard's going to get better as you get older. If you're older and it's really something that's important to you, then maybe one of these options is something you can look into and try, but again, I encourage you always to embrace what you've got.
7 Steps to Grow a Thicker Beard Naturally
OK, so we saw how to grow a full beard with the help of some products or procedures, but to grow your beard naturally without using any of the options mentioned above, you will have to let Mother Nature do her thing.
This will require a lot of patience and trust. Why?
Because it's not always easy to grow a beard naturally. You have to overcome moments of despair because it does not grow as you would like it, and you must endure the itch that comes with the beard growth phase.
Having said this, I will give you 7 steps to follow, which will help you follow through on your beard growth decision.
Let's dive right into it.
Step 1: Commit to your decision
The first step is deciding to grow a beard and committing to it. This is not a spur of the moment decision. Growing a beard requires around four to six weeks and therefore you need to stick to it for the whole duration.
Some days you will be tempted to give up. It can be difficult because you'll feel itchy and you have to face the myriad of questions and snarky comments from your friends.
So in one word, the key to the peaceful growth of your beard is ‘commitment’.
Take the decision to grow your beard seriously and commit to the goal. Do not be influenced by negative people and their comments. Do not let a few hours of itching get you discouraged.
You must be strong and give it, at least, 6 weeks’ time. Resist any temptation to cut it before the six week period is over.
Step 2: Choose your beard inspiration
Find someone who has a beard similar to the one you’d like. It could be an actor, sports star, model or even a friend or acquaintance, and make him your inspirational beard model.
He will be your source of inspiration any time you get discouraged or start getting second thoughts on the whether you should actually grow a beard.
Look at him; how much do you wish to have the same beard and look? If he can do it, so can you!
Step 3: Time it right
Choose the best time for you to start growing your beard. If you’re self-conscious of what your friends or colleagues will think in the beginning, when you start leaving a bit of stubble, then start it while you're on vacation or over a long weekend.
You’ll still get some comments once you’re back to your usual environment, but you’ve now already been committed for a few days and this will give you momentum.
Pay no attention to the reactions of other people! You've made this decision and you’re going to stick to it.
Step 4: Do not try to shape the beard early on.
Resist the temptation to cut or shape the beard too early. Let it grow as full and thick as possible before you try and style it.
The facial hair does not all grow in the same way, so you need to let it fully grow in order to understand what you have to work with and what style will work for you.
So do not make the, all too common, mistake of premature styling. Once again, ... you must be patient.
Step 5: Work with what you have.
Facial hair does not cover every single centimeter of the skin evenly. Some men have hair on their neck or even under their eyes.
By the way if you’re one of those dudes with hairy patches under their eyes, please go ahead and shave them off!
Many men have thinner hair on the cheeks or chin, for example. This, unfortunately, is a genetic factor and there is little you can do about it.
So, try to make the best with what you have. Choose a beard style that fits you and that looks natural.
So, try to make the best with what you have. Choose a beard style that fits you and that looks natural.
Step 6: Limit the Itch
Growing a beard will lead to itching and redness at times. You can reduce this by using a dandruff shampoo on the beard, two or three times a week.
It’s important that you avoid scratching it as much as possible as this may irritate the skin and cause ingrown hairs and other infections that may inhibit hair growth.
Step 7: Target Reached.
After around 4 to 6 weeks your beard will have grown enough to start styling.
At this stage, the hairs are often quite rigid and hard. Don’t worry, they will soften over time.
Now you can decide on the actual type of beard that you can go for and also confirm whether this was a good idea after all. You may not like what you look like with your new beard. Well, at least you tried; now go ahead and shave it off.
For those of you who love their new beard, however, the work is just starting. It is now time to style the beard and also keep taking care of it. You look awesome!
How to Style Your Beard
Once you've managed to grow a thick beard with some length, then it’s time to choose your style. You can easily do this yourself, however it's not a bad idea to get it done by a professional barber the first time around just so you can see how good it can look.
At some point, however, if you've committed for a long term relationship with your beard, then you need to learn how to take care of it and style it yourself.
For this, you'll obviously need the necessary tools. A tool that can trim, shave, and define your beard. I personally use the Gillette Styler.
Once you have the necessary tools, it's time to trim to get that nice even look.
Control the length using the comb attachments. It's best to start long because this will allow you to correct any mistakes you may make and also gives you the option to go shorter if necessary.
Even out your beard, making a few passes for consistency, then remove the comb attachment and trim the edges to define the shape you're creating. Check the symmetry to make sure it's even.
Now prep your face for shaving so you can get that nice groomed look. Use a shave gel to help increase glide and protect against razor burn, and don't forget to rinse the blades often.
Remember to shave your neck also so as to keep that well-groomed look, while you're growing in that stylish facial fern and reapply shave gel as you go. Now you can also use the precision trimmer on the back to define the lines along the cheeks and sideburns.
Wash your face with cool water and pat it dry. Rub in a hydrating after-shave to replenish moisture and soothe your skin.
Now that you've got that showstopper beard, use a lightweight beard oil to help soften the beard and keep moisture in your hairs.
Interesting Facts About Beards
To conclude this article I wanted to jot down a few amusing facts and trivia I found while doing my research for this post. These will come in handy as conversation starters with your mates.
Scientific Beard Terms
First off, if you want to get real technical then throw in some really difficult words, like Poganatrophy.
No, this is not some new style of porn. Poganatrophy is actually the official term for beard growing.
Dihydrotestosterone is the chemical that promotes both beard growing and unfortunately baldness.
To conclude, and yes this is a thing, Pogonophobia is the fear of beards.
Men usually start developing facial hair between the ages of 14 and 20 and they're usually not able to grow a full beard until their early twenties. Some men actually never develop the ability to grow a full connected man beard, while on the other hand some women actually do!
Now, for a tip that might save you some trouble: shaving really does not make your beard grow faster. We're not sure how that myth got started, but it probably has to do with the fact that hairs are long and tapered, coming to a narrow point at the end. When you shave off the skinny top of the hair, you leave the thicker lower part exposed, making it look a little bigger, but your whiskers won't grow in any more full or lush because you shaved them.
Did you know that Beards used to be a sign of Honor. Oh who are we kidding, they still are, but seriously, around 345 BC Alexander the Great made his soldiers cut their beards so they wouldn't get pulled in battle.
Amish men grow beards after they get married but they shave off their moustache to avoid association with military facial hair because of their pacifistic beliefs.
Beard Trends come and go. Way back in the nineteenth century President Lincoln made beards a thing again in America. Today, around 35% of American men have some kind of facial hair. That number grows to 55% worldwide.
That's right guys we're the majority...fist bump!
Unfortunately though statistics show that women find men with full beards two-thirds less attractive than their clean shaven counterparts.
On the other hand, according to recent studies of men and women, guys with full beards are usually perceived to be older, (not really sure if that's a good thing), more powerful (definitely a good thing) and of higher social status.
Having said this, 98% of dudes in Forbes 100 richest men list don't have beards, so, you know, at least you are perceived of being of a higher social ranking!
So there you have it. Just about all you need to know about how to grow a manly beard and some fun facts for conversation with the lads. Now, you not only have the perfect beard, but you can show that you really know your fluff!
Share this with your bearded friends and if you have some other interesting facts or tips on how to grow a thick beard, just pop them in the comment box below.