I once met a bloke who taught me the only French phrase you need to know – which is “ça dépend.” That depends. Ask me any question in French – how old are you? What are your hopes and dreams? How long does it take to grow a beard?
My answer, mes amis?
However, here at Mission Beard, we know that’s not the answer you want to hear. We endeavor to find you all the reliable information you could ever ask for about beard styling, growing, grooming and more. So, if you’re asking yourself “how long does it take to grow a beard?”, then you’d probably expect more than a two word answer in French. And that’s exactly why this blog will tell you everything you need to know about the time needed for optimum facial hair growth.
The Short Answer
The average beard grows at between a quarter and a half an inch per month. If you’re lucky enough to experience speedy beard growth, you might hit six inches of growth in a year. On the slow end of the scale, you’re looking at maybe three inches per year. Either way, count yourself lucky – some dudes may never grow a beard at all!
There are a number of factors which affect how long it takes to grow. The genetics, testosterone levels, general health and diet of the individual can affect the speed at which your hair grows, as can using beard products (to speed it up) and smoking (which slows it down).
Finally, beard hair reaches a maximum length – which usually takes between two and six years – before it falls out. So (again, depending on the individual) growing the longest possible beard takes between two and six years.
The Answer for Dudes With No Beard
There’s a chance that you’re reading this article because you’ve been waiting patiently but despite all of your best efforts you don’t seem to have any beard hairs. Some of your pals have managed to grow a full beard – so why can’t you?
You’ve put down the razor. You’ve bought the expensive oils. And you’ve sat down, closed your eyes and braced yourself for a hairy explosion on your face.
But nothing happens.
A trickle of hair emerges from your top lip, but the beard is yet to be seen. Some of your pals have managed to grow solid beards, so why can’t you? What’s going on?
Don’t worry, we get you. And we’ve got the answers.
The Pace of Facial Hair Growth
In this case, what you’re really wondering is how long it takes for your beard to start growing. Generally, hair starts growing around the corners of the upper lip between the ages of 11-15. A mustache will commonly sprout between the ages of 16-17, and this will eventually spread to the chin and cheek lines to form a fuller beard between 17-21.
As is becoming a running theme in this article, the beauty of natural selection and diversity of life choices which make humanity great also contribute to a lot of variation in this department. It’s perfectly possible to clock up a full beard a lot earlier than 21 or to have to wait a lot later.
Can Everyone Grow a Beard?
As you’ve no doubt realised, not all men have a beard by twenty-one. Some may never grow one at all – others will continue to find hair growing in new parts of their face until they are almost thirty. In fact, beard growth may continue to get thicker throughout your thirties as well, meaning it will seem like you are growing a full beard increasingly fast.
If you’re in the camp of dudes who can’t grow a beard for love nor money then look at the silver lining – the evidence suggests that you’re less likely to go bald!
Want to do everything you can to speed up your beard growth? Check out our article on how to grow your beard faster!
The Beard Circle of Life
When growing a beard, there’s one key point you need to remember – although not all beards are created equal, they all go through the same hair growth cycle.
At the beginning of the cycle, the root of a hair first pokes its little self out your hair follicle. By the end, a hair will be so long that it naturally malts. I know what you’re thinking.
Naaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaants ingonyama – it’s the circle of life. There are three phases to the hair growth cycle, which are basically as follows:
- The Anagen phase – (growing out).
- The Catagen phase – (kind of just… Chilling out).
- The Telogen phase – (falling out).
Let’s check them out in a bit more detail…
1) The Anagen Phase
Otherwise known as the growth phase, the Anagen phase lasts between two and six years on average for normal head hair. Interestingly, this phase lasts longer in Asian people – a growth phase of seven years can mean that they can grow longer hair than other ethnicities.
For beard hair though, the Anagen phase is usually shorter. The amount of time for which your beard-hair remains in this phase depends on your genetics – it’s generally between two and six years. A handy tip – peppermint oil has been known to cause hair follicles to enter the Anagen phase, so any beard oils or beard balms containing it will ensure that your cycle is starting again as quickly as possible.
Wanna know why beard oil is the one of the most important beard care products for faster growth? Check out our article on beard growth products and how they’ll help you achieve a sweet beard more quickly!
2) The Catagen Phase
Once your it reaches the end of the Anagen phase, your hair stops growing.
It simply hits pause.
This resting phase lasts a few weeks, during which time your beard hair will cease to grow any longer. Remember though – not all hairs begin their lives at the same time. It’s not like your whole beard just enters the Catagen phase and stops growing completely.
3) The Telogen Phase
Finally, after a little chill out in the Catagen phase, your hair is released into the wild – back from whence it came. Is this the last of the beard growth stages? Kind of, but technically not, as of course the cycle will start again. In fact, no matter how bushy your beard is, about 10% of your hairs are probably in this phase right now. So chill out – it’s not like the whole thing’s gonna fall off.
As old hair follicles retire, new ones will take their place – the process usually takes about four months. This is basically the phase during which a new hair starts to push the old one out. If you find that your whiskers are malting naturally as you run your beard comb through, it’s not always down to poor beard health. It could simply be because new ones are on the way.
Are There Any… Shortcuts?
We’ve already written a handy blog with a few key tips for growing your beard more quickly. You can check it out here if you missed the link earlier.
There are no true shortcuts to cutting down the time which it will take to grow a full beard – but there is a lot of advice we can give you. Growing a beard faster requires a bit of effort, but there are a few things you can do to help the process.
1) Stop Shaving
It’s a bit of an urban myth that if you shave, the hair grows back quicker and thicker. Now that you know about the good old hair growth cycle, you’ve probably realised that shaving a hair doesn’t cause the cycle to start again. It just kinda interrupts it.
In fact, when we shave our beards we give the hair a blunt tip. It means that the hair feels more coarse and stubbly as it grows out. This might make it appear darker or thicker – but in reality it doesn’t change anything at all. Except you have to start growing from scratch – so it’ll probably take your beard even longer to grow.
2) Start Exercising
This is in pretty much every guide to growing a beard more quickly – so on behalf of Mission Beard I’d like to apologise to all of you guys who wouldn’t start working out if it meant you started growing beard hairs made of nine carat gold. However, just because you probably aren’t going to do it, doesn’t mean I’m not gonna science this article up.
Exercising will help your beard growth in a number of ways. If your beard isn’t fully developed, higher testosterone levels can stimulate your Vellus hair follicles (which sprout baby-hair) turn into Terminal hair follicles (which form thicker, more pigmented hair). This is basically the process which hair follicles go through as your beard grows and begins to flourish for the first time, so testosterone inducing exercise (such as weight-lifting) will help speed it up.
Secondly, exercise is a sweet deal for improving your circulation – and good circulation is an essential for growing a beard. This is because you need fresh blood to regularly supply your hair and pores with nutrients for consistent growth.
3) Eat Healthily
Finally, a balanced diet will give you a good spread of the essential vitamins and nutrients you need for healthy hair growth. Different vitamins help in different ways – we’ve put together a few of the main ones responsible for boosting your beard growth:
- Vitamins C and E – these babies boost your sebum production. Sebum is an oil secreted by your face, which basically acts as a lubricant. It keeps your hairs moisturized and soft, which leads to healthier growth. These vitamins are also handy for your circulation.
- Vitamin A – the little dude which helps repair skin tissue. The condition of your skin will affect the growth of your beard!
- Biotin – responsible for improving the production of keratin, this little vitamin is found in eggs and salmon. Keratin is the key material which makes up all body hairs.
As a guy who part-majored in philosophy, I can tell you that there are a lot of different ways to say “Ça dépend.” If you made it to the end of this blog then kudos! There’s not much more you can find out about beard hair growth without measuring it yourself. Which takes ages.
One of our favourite pieces of advice here at Mission Beard is that if you look after yourself and your beard, your beard will look great. It’s the only proven way to max out growth speed.
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