It’s a crime that beards don’t grow easier.
But if they did, then all that hard work put into your beard game would be less impressive.
However, what if there was an oil that helped boost your hair and beard growth? You’d probably be interested in it.
Lucky for you, that’s exactly what minoxidil is.
No matter if you’re suffering from onset male baldness, or just can’t seem to grow a full beard, minoxidil can improve your results.
In this article, we’ll cover the A to Z of minoxidil – what it is, how it works, how to use it, and common side effects. Now, no more messing around – let’s get to it.
What is Minoxidil?
The million dollar question is — what is minoxidil?
If you’ve ever looked for products to overcome hair loss, thinning, shedding, or breakage, you’ll know exactly what it is.
But, if you don’t know, there’s no need to worry – we’ve got the answer.
Minoxidil is a chemical treatment that’s used to improve hair growth in men. While it’s most commonly used for those struggling with male pattern baldness, it’s also effective for patchy beard growth and stimulating hair follicles.
That being said, it’s only recommended to use minoxidil if you’re over 18 (although, this shouldn’t be a problem since you most likely won’t be growing a beard until you’re in your mid-20s anyways).
How Does Minoxidil Work?
If you want to understand how minoxidil works, it will help to first understand the stages of beard growth (also called the hair growth cycle).
While it’s a pretty complex process, we’ll try to keep things simple for you.
Your hair grows in three periods – growing, transitioning, and resting. Minoxidil works by lengthening the growing period (which is called the anagen stage) and shortening the resting phase (called the telogen stage).
That means each hair follicle will grow for a longer time period. Additionally, it will grow thicker, stronger, and quicker.
In short, minoxidil is really a complete multi-tasker for beard growth. Even if you don’t have a patchy beard you just might benefit from it.
And guess what? This isn’t hearsay – there’s actually evidence to back it up, and we’re covering that next.
What Does The Research Say?
You can’t ignore that minoxidil oil sounds great.
But what does the research say?
Multiple studies, like this one from 2016, found that minoxidil, compared to a placebo drug, increased facial hair growth and thickness.
But that wasn’t the only study that found beneficial results from minoxidil.
A one-year-long German Study found that minoxidil was very effective at both minimizing hair loss and reversing hair loss.
Finally, let’s cover one more for good luck.
This last study found that minoxidil was 60% effective at doubling beard growth and strength.
With three studies backing it up, minoxidil’s abilities to help fill out patchy beards and help people grow better facial hair is clear.
How Long Does It Take To See Results?
It’s another million dollar question.
How long does it take for minoxidil to work its magic? And when can you expect results?
Compared to some of the benefits of other popular beard growth oil (which we’ve covered here), you’ll be waiting quite a while before you see results.
Hair growth results start to be noticeable four to six months after starting to use minoxidil oil. While, you’re probably thinking, “that’s a long time,” if you’re struggling with severe hair loss and beard thinning, it’ll be worth it in the long run.
And, if this seems like too long for you to wait, you can always try something else to promote beard growth.
How to Use Minoxidil on Your Beard
If the time frame of seeing results doesn’t scare you off, then you’re probably ready to start using it.
But before you start rubbing it all over your face, let’s take a moment to learn the proper way to apply minoxidil.
Here’s what we recommend:
Prepare Your Beard for Application
Before you use the minoxidil oil, you’ll want to clean your beard.
That way, any excess oil, built-up skin cells, or plain old dirt is out of the way – making the treatment more effective.
To wash your beard, we recommend using beard wash (like Beardbrand’s Utility Wash). However, you can also use warm water to gently wash your beard – just keep in mind that beard wash will ultimately be more effective.
After using the beard wash, it’s time to dry your beard until it’s damp. You can dry a short beard by patting it dry with a towel. If you have a long beard, it’s easier to use a blow dryer on its lowest heat setting.
Apply the Treatment
Next up, it’s time for the real deal – time to apply the minoxidil.
It’s pretty simple to apply, however, there are a few things to consider before using it.
To start, there are two choices of minoxidil: a liquid solution and foam. While both have the same beneficial results, the foam is easier to apply and often more accessible.
To use it, all you need to do is spray a thin layer of the foam over your beard. After it’s covering your beard, gently massage it into your skin – trying to keep it around your hairs.
And, one more thing, don’t forget to wash your hands directly after this step.
Of course, there are a few other things to consider when applying minoxidil. Here’s what you should know:
- Don’t wash or wet your beard hair within four hours of using minoxidil.
- Allow the foam to dry for two to four hours. This even includes before going to bed – so, if you’re planning on using it, then, you’ll need to plan ahead. If not, minoxidil can leave a permanent stain on your sheets or pillow.
- Don’t try and quicken the drying process by using heat. It will decrease the effectiveness of the product.
Frequency of Use
Now you know how to apply it – but how often should it be done?
If you’re applying minoxidil too often, you might face some negative side effects, (which we’ll cover next). On the other side of things, if you’re not applying it enough, you won’t notice any effects – not even the good ones.
For the general population, it’s recommended to use minoxidil once or twice per day (just like you would with beard oil).
With that being said, if you have sensitive skin, you should be using it less.
Before you go ahead and start applying it for your first time, we always recommend spot-testing the treatment on a spot of visible skin (like your forearm). That way, you’ll know how your body will react.
Potential Side Effects of Minoxidil Oil
For starters, it’s a chemical treatment.
So, while it’s highly effective, this means that it can have some potentially negative side effects.
Let’s start with the common ones:
Common Side Effects
When applying any topical cream, there are a few side effects you should be aware of.
The most notable is itching or dryness.
While this is often the precursor for a rash or allergic reaction, that’s not always the case. Either way, if you start to notice this when using minoxidil, stop using it.
Once the irritated skin subsides, use it again with caution.
For some people, minoxidil just might not agree with their skin. If that sounds like you, you might benefit from reading our article on other ways to grow a beard.
Serious Side Effects
Next, we’ll cover some of the more serious side effects.
However, we also want to say that these are relatively uncommon. So, unless you have prior skin conditions, you shouldn’t worry too much about these. As we said above, just take it slow, and you’ll get the best results.
Now, let’s talk about serious side effects. Here are a few of the most common:
- Blurred vision
- Chest pain
- Irregular heartbeat
- Feeling lightheaded
If you’re noticing any of these symptoms, you should speak to a doctor as soon as possible. It’s usually a sign you’re using too much minoxidil – however, it can also be a negative reaction from your skin.
Some other serious, but less severe symptoms are:
- Swelling at the area of application
- Soreness in hair follicles
- Reddened face
- Burning sensation
Again, if you’re noticing any of these symptoms, go to a doctor. Nobody needs to risk their well-being for a couple of extra inches on their beard.
Who Shouldn’t Use Minoxidil?
Like any stronger treatments, there are certain people who should avoid using minoxidil.
For starters, if you’re under 18, there’s no need to use this treatment. At that age you shouldn’t be facing early onset male baldness or other beard hair problems. The only problem you may have is not being able to grow a beard – but that’s just your age.
At the other end of the spectrum, you shouldn’t use minoxidil if you suffer from sensitive skin or chronic skin conditions. Some specific examples include: eczema and psoriasis. Instead, you might be better suited to using a gentle carrier oil that promotes hair growth, like coconut oil.
Last, but not least, you should stay away from minoxidil if you’re pregnant.
And just like that, the party is over.
You’re now double as knowledgeable about minoxidil for beard growth.
Before this article, maybe you didn’t think it could be used on your beard. Maybe you didn’t even know what it was.
Now you’re a walking, talking minoxidil expert.
If you’ve learned nothing else, please use caution when applying minoxidil.
And if you don’t think it’s the right fit for you, don’t worry. Here at Mission Beard we’ve got plenty of products that are safe for your skin (like beard oil, beard balm, and even boars hair beard brushes).
You can also read more articles just like this one on our blog. Seriously, check it out – your facial hair will thank you later.