How Long Does It Take to Grow a Beard?
Thinking about growing out your facial hair? Read on to find out how long it takes to grow a beard and the various factors that can influence your beard growth.
Scruffy beard season is now in full swing, which means that many guys are putting down their razors and living the bearded life. If you’re growing out your beard for the very first time, you may be wondering: How long does it take to grow a beard?
The answer to that is a little more complex than you might think. While studies have documented an average beard growth rate, there are also genetics and lifestyle factors to consider.
Here are three things you need to know about how long it takes to grow a beard:
- Beard hair undergoes a growth cycle involving three stages
- How fast beard hair grows depends on several factors, including lifestyle, age and genetics
- Depending on the beard style you want, it could take up to a year to grow out your beard
Even if you’ve been genetically blessed, growing a beard requires a significant amount of patience. Here’s an explanation of why some guys grow beards faster than others, and how you can potentially speed up your own hair growth.
The Beard-Growing Process Explained
When you first start growing out your facial hair, you may notice patches in your beard. Don’t panic! This is a completely normal part of the beard-growing process.
Your beard hair may grow unevenly because your individual beard hairs grow at different rates. Just like the hair on your head, your beard hair undergoes a cycle of hair growth involving three stages: Anagen, catagen and telogen.
Here’s a quick breakdown of each phase:
- Anagen: When your hair is in anagen phase, it’s actively growing. The majority of your beard hairs are in anagen phase.
- Catagen: Catagen phase is a transitional phase that marks the end of the anagen stage.
- Telogen: In the telogen phase, the hair prepares to shed by detaching itself from the blood supply.
Androgens (male sex hormones) in your beard hair follicles can influence these phases, effectively changing the length of time for each hair. Androgens can also influence the size and color of your hair follicles, which is why your beard may be a different color than your head hair.
Factors That Affect Beard Growth
Now that you understand the beard growth cycle, you can begin to understand why some guys grow beards at faster rates than others. Indeed, there are several genetic and lifestyle factors that can influence the beard hair growth cycle.
There are many lifestyle factors that can slow down or even stop beard growth. For example, you may notice that you struggle to grow a beard during periods of high stress. Stress can trigger beard hairs to enter the telogen phase (the resting phase) prematurely, which ultimately slows down beard growth.
Similarly, eating a balanced diet can help deliver more nutrients to your hair follicles and support healthy beard growth. If you’re worried about missing any critical nutrients from your diet, consider taking a multivitamin for men to help you grow a thicker, healthier beard.
If you can’t seem to grow the big, bushy beard of your dreams, we have some frustrating advice for you: Just be patient!
Beard hair growth and thickness is largely determined by the quantity of testosterone in the body and how the body responds to testosterone. Some men don’t mature sexually until their late teens or mid-twenties, so you may just need to wait longer to grow an enviable beard.
Whether or not you can grow a beard fast may depend on your genetics. Specifically, factors include how sensitive your body is to enzyme 5-alpha-reductase, an enzyme responsible for converting testosterone into dihydrotestosterone (DHT).
There is a correlation between men with low DHT and the inability to grow facial hair. This was demonstrated in an older study published in the British Journal of Dermatology, which found that men with decreased DHT concentrations had impaired facial hair growth (see claim: “Linear facial hair growth was significantly reduced in coeliac patients compared with controls and correlated with plasma DHT but not with plasma T concentration.”)
How Long Does It Really Take to Grow a Beard?
As you can see, there are several variances that can influence how fast or slow you grow out your facial hair. How long it takes to grow a beard also depends on the beard style you’re going for. Case in point: Growing a full beard is going to take you much longer than growing a shorter beard style, such as designer stubble.
But if you’re desperate for a rough estimate, consider this 2016 study published in International Journal of Cosmetic Science, which states that beard hairs grow an average of 0.27 mm per day (see claim: “Beard hairs grow at an average rate of around 0.27 mm day.”)
This growth rate equates to less than half an inch per month. At this rate, it would likely take you the better part of a year to grow out a big, bushy beard.
While growing a beard will take time and patience, there are things you can do to speed up beard growth. In addition to eating healthy and living well, remember to take good care of your beard.
Start by using a gentle exfoliating scrub on your beard. This will clear out dead skin cells and oil from the skin underneath your beard, which will help new beard hair grow.
Just be patient, apply the right beard care products and you’ll eventually be rewarded with a healthy, magnificent beard.
Farthing, M. J. G., et al. “Relationship between Plasma Testosterone and Dihydrotestosterone Concentrations and Male Facial Hair Growth.” British Journal of Dermatology, vol. 107, no. 5, 1982, pp. 559–64. Wiley Online Library, doi:10.1111/j.1365-2133.1982.tb00406.x.
Cowley, K., and K. Vanoosthuyze. “The biomechanics of blade shaving.” International Journal of Cosmetic Science, vol. 38, no. S1, 2016, pp. 17–23. Wiley Online Library, doi:10.1111/ics.12330.