Have you ever looked at your stubble or sprouting facial hair and wondered when it’s eventually going to blossom into a full beard? Or perhaps you’ve been waiting for weeks and progress seems slow? This is incredibly common and most mean that have facial hair want to know how long does a beard take to grow and this is what I explore below.

To give you a quick summary, growing a full beard takes the average male between 2 to 6 months to achieve, with expected hair growth of half an inch per month. But, as you see below, there are many factors involved and it’s a little more complex! So, to see how long your beard will take to grow, read on!

Beard Growth Quick Facts

Let’s start with some quick-fire facts about the wonderful world of male facial hair! I must admit, I didn’t know some of these and I found them pretty incredible!

  • On average, your beard will grow around ½ an inch per month.
  • For most men, beard growth reaches terminal growth after 6 years.
  • If left undisturbed and un-shaved, most men can grow a beard up to 3ft long.
  • On average, it will take two to six months to grow a full beard.

So, to answer the original question of how long does a beard take to grow, on average we can get an impressive, luscious crop of facial hair in half a year. But this varies widely from person to person. For example, my facial hair grows especially quickly and I can grow a full beard in less than two months.

Interestingly though, who would have thought that most men are capable of growing beards to rival Gandalf and Santa Clause at 3ft long? I’ve never tried this, but it’s tempting now just to see how long mine will eventually reach!

The main point is, is that there is hope for everyone and we males have a powerful ability to grow epic beards!

Understanding the Typical Beard Growth Process and Its Stages

Before we delve into beard-growing tips, it’s important to understand how your facial hair grows. Each follicle of facial hair goes through a growth cycle[1] including several stages. This doesn’t just apply to facial hair, but all androgenic hair (hair grown after puberty).

Stage 1Anagen Phase

Your facial hair life starts with the anagen phase and this is known as the growth phase. Here, your facial hair follicles are working like crazy to produce actual hair fibres. Within this phase there are the proanagen and metanagen phases.

Essentially, during the anagen phase, the follicle forms it’s spherical onion shape under your skin, and hair shafts appear on your skin and start to grow. This phase can actually last for up to two years. During the anagen phase, you can expect your facial hair to grow on average half an inch per month, but this varies depending on lifestyle choices and genetics.

Stage 2Catagen Phase

Once the anagen phase is completed, your facial hair goes into a stage of semi-regression during the Catagen phase. Here, it’s not uncommon for your hair follicles to lose around one-sixth of their diameter which can give the appearance of your beard actually thinning.

During this stage, the hair strands are separated from the follicle and stop receiving a blood supply. Instead, they are attached to your skin. Depending on your genetics or lifestyle choices, the Catagen phase can be pronounced and you can lose a little of your facial hair.

Stage 3Telogen Phase

Did you know that at any one time, around 15% of all hairs on your body are in the Telogen or resting phase? This means that they are dormant and not experiencing any growth. Depending on a range of factors including hair location, the Telogen phase could last for up to a year.

Stage 4The Terminal Phase

Your hair eventually reaches a terminal growth phase where your beard will not grow any longer. This varies from person to person due to extraneous factors and genetics. But the main point is, is that your beard does not grow indefinitely – there is always an end point.

As per the hair growth cycle, your beard hair follicles will go through the process repeatedly though, always starting with the Anagen phase and ending with the Telogen Phase. This is why when you comb your beard or wash it, you may notice hairs falling out.

At anyone time you could have hundreds of hairs at different phases of the hair growth cycle so where old ones are falling out, new strands are already growing in the follicles to replace them.

Factors Affecting Beard Growth

When looking at how long does a beard take to grow, you also have to understand the contributing factors. These include things you can and cannot change:

  • Genetics: It’s a simple fact that some men will never be able to grow a beard as fast or thick as others because of genetics. Take a look at your dad. If he has the ability to grow an epic tangle below his mouth, you most likely have the same genetic ability! The follicle density, size, and growth rate is often a pre-determined thing at birth due to genetics.
  • Hormone Levels: While genetics sets the standard for our beard growing ability, hormones are integral to the speed at which this happens. Testosterone is the primary hair growth hormone and simply put, the higher your testosterone, the quicker your facial hair grows.
  • Health and Wellbeing: As you will see below, your physical and mental health plays an important role in how long does it take to grow a full beard. If you have bad habits and don’t look after yourself in terms of diet and stress, your facial hair can suffer as a consequence.
  • Hair Health: Healthy hair follicles bursting with the right vitamins and minerals will grow hair strands quicker and thicker. 

Tips to Speed Up Your Beard Growth

Although facial hair growth is largely genetic in the same way your head hair is, you can affect the growth rates and speed up the process of getting that epic beard you always wanted. To give you a head start, I discuss some simple tips below!

Don’t Shave!

There are many fables and legends surrounding beard growth and one of the most irritating is that shaving frequently makes your beard grow quicker. I want to stamp out this nonsense! There is no scientific evidence to support this theory.

Shaving doesn’t accelerate hair growth or affect your hair follicles. All it does, is put you back to square one and mean you have to start growing those same hairs again! Therefore, the simplest thing you can do to grow your beard quickly is to let human physiology take its course and allow your facial hair to grow uninterrupted!

Maintain a Healthy Diet

Just like our bodies and organs, our facial hair needs the right balance of nutrients, vitamins, and minerals to stay healthy and grow. Therefore, if your diet is less than ideal and you rely heavily on processed food or have an excess of sweets and bad things, you could be prohibiting your beard growth.

  • Vitamin A: This vitamin helps produce sebum which is vital for the moisture and oils that keep our facial hair looking fantastic and healthy. Fish, cheese, and eggs are great sources of Vitamin A.
  • Vitamin B: Within the Vitamin B category, we have Biotin which is the most important sub vitamin for facial hair growth. This is because Biotin strengthens the keratin in our bodies which is a protein that forms our hair, skin, and nails. Higher Biotin levels mean healthier facial hair that grows faster. Meat, fish, eggs, some vegetables, and seeds all naturally contain Biotin.
  • Vitamin C: This vitamin helps with iron absorption and the production of collagen which are vital facets for keeping your skin healthy. This has the knock-on effect of affecting your beard health and growth. If your skin is poor quality and try, your hair follicles and hair strands will likely be poor quality too and your beard could look thin and wilted.
  • Vitamin D: People with a Vitamin D deficiency can experience facial hair loss so it’s important to keep this up. Luckily, this is one we can take in naturally via sunlight! However, fishes like tuna and salmon are also rich in Vitamin D.

Try to Reduce Stress Levels

Stress is the antithesis of hair growth. Indeed, high stress levels is known to cause hair loss in the form of Telogen Effluvium[1]. This is where during the Telogen phase we explored above, your hair sheds excessively and you lose more than the average hairs we typically lose per day.

One of the main factors is stress, but it can also be caused be hormone imbalances and medication. Therefore, if you have a particularly stressful lifestyle, it could be time to try and change it. Your beard growth will suffer, but stress also has wider potential health impacts and can lead to other complications.

Take a look at your world including your work and personal life. Maybe you could make changes to reduce stress and improve your wellbeing.

Get Plenty of Sleep

I get that it’s tempting to try and make the most of every hour of the day, and you may feel like you can operate on little sleep, but it’s a vital function all humans need. Sleep is vital for your mental and physical wellbeing, but also for your facial hair health!

While we sleep, our bodies go into a state of restoration and rejuvenation. Our cells repair damage, our muscles relax, and we essentially top up our bodies with life and vitality. It’s no coincidence why you wake up and feel refreshed! 

On average, adults need between 7-9 hours of sleep per day – aim for this and you will help your beard growth and keep your hair healthy and revitalised.

Practice Good Beard Hygiene

There is a basic link between beard health and growth – basically, a healthy beard will grow faster because it has the nutrients and minerals it needs for the hair follicles to do their work.

You can enhance this with your diet, but also with excellent beard hygiene. Whenever you shower, make sure that you was your beard. This helps with hydration and moisture, but you should also use specially formulated beard shampoo that protects it and replenished the vital oils and nutrients.

Also consider using products like beard oil as these help form a protective layer around your hair strands and keep the goodness locked inside. Plus, beard oils also smell fantastic!

Consider your lifestyle choices

It’s a known fact that smoking and drinking alcohol affects hair growth and hair quality including your facial hair. Smoking[3] can cause oxidative stress, reduce blood flow to your facial hair, and reduce the quality of your hair. Essentially, it stunts beard growth and can make your facial hair brittle and dull.

Excessive alcohol can make you dehydrated and dry your hair out. The hair follicles and strands need hydration to grow properly and to remain healthy.

I’m not telling you to quit smoking and drinking alcohol, but they are contributing factors and if you want your facial hair to be thick and luscious, perhaps exercising a little restraint could work.

Fequently asked questions

In most cases, yes. Beards have a phase called terminal growth which is usually pre-defined by genetics. Terminal growth is when your beard hairs reach their maximum length and stop growing. Therefore, beards usually have a maximum length.

No! I see this misconception everywhere but there is no scientific evidence to support it. Simply put, if you shave your beard off, you are hampering the growth process.

A healthy lifestyle with exercise, a balanced diet, minimum stress, and plenty of sleep all contribute to healthy hair and hair growth. Testosterone levels also help beard growth as do proteins and nutrients.

On average, most men can grow a full beard in around two to six months. This varies depending on numerous factors such as your lifestyle, health, stress levels, facial hair health, and genetics. Some men can grow beards especially quick, whereas some may struggle to grow anything at all.

Conclusion - Phew!

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