I took a poll on our Facebook page and asked followers if there were any questions about beards I could answer for them. “How can I make my beard grow faster?” was one of the most popular, so here you go.
For those with short attention spans, here is the summary: eat protein, wash infrequently, take your vitamins, use beard oil, and get a chin massage.
How Beards Grow Fast
To better understand beards and how they grow, we need a little background. If you read my previous article on how long it takes to grow a beard, you’ll remember that genetics are the primary dictator of beard length, and that a man’s beard can take anywhere from two months to six years to reach its maximum length.
The same is true for the speed at which a beard can grow. Beards grow when the hair is in the first of three phases of life, called the “anagen” phase, or growth phase. The longer a beard hair stays in the growth phase, the faster it will grow. So, if your beard is genetically predisposed to have a long anagen growth phase, then your beard will grow significantly longer than those with a shorter anagen phase.
A hair grows as the cells in the follicle divide. The faster cells divide, the faster the hair will grow. On average, a beard hair grows half an inch (1.25 cm) per month, or six inches per year. That’s not a whole lot. However, you might have noticed that your beard grew faster when you first started growing it, and now it has slowed down, or, that it grew faster when you were younger, and now that you’re older it has slowed way down. You may even have noticed that your beard grew faster and was more colorful during the summer months, or while you’re on vacation. How can we explain all of this?
Even though our bodies are programmed to grow only half an inch of hair per month, environmental factors can speed things up or slow things down.
Hair is made of keratin, which is fed by amino acids, which come from protein. The human body alone can produce 11 of the 20 amino acids necessary to grow hair. But that leaves another 9 amino acids that can only be obtained by eating protein. When your body lacks protein, it makes the natural decision to ration the protein it has by shutting down other processes that consume protein—namely, hair growth. Thus, you need to eat your daily dose of healthy protein in order to maximize your body’s beard growth potential.
Lesson kids: cook your food first.
To find out how much protein you need to eat, take your weight (in pounds) and multiply it by .37. That’s how many grams of protein you need to eat to avoid having a deficiency. So, if you weighted 150lbs, you’d need to eat 55.5 grams of protein—or just under 2 chicken breasts—per day.
Now that you have your protein down, you need to tackle other food health areas. A severe lack of iron can directly lead to baldness. A good multivitamin for men should take care of everything you need to grow a healthy beard. Beard champ Jack Passion recommends Vitabeard—a multi-vitamin with biotin and vitamin B, created specifically to aid beard growth. Take your daily vitamin and you’ll be fit as a fiddle.
3) Natural Oils
A dry beard is an unhappy beard. Whenever you take a hot shower and wash your beard, you’re washing away a bunch of dead beard hairs and dead skin. But you’re also washing away natural beard oils your body produces to keep your chin supple and your follicles open. A dry chin will get irritated by beard hairs as they grow, causing the skin to get red, itchy, and even painful. Severe cases of dry chin skin can lead to cracking, flaking, and even bleeding.
Instead of washing your beard every time you take a shower, try washing it two or three times a week, with warm (not hot) water, as hotter water can dry the skin faster. Wash yourself like normal, but leave the beard alone. When you do wash it, avoid store-bought products, especially the cheap ones, as they tend to contain chemicals (which can be hard on your skin) and wax, which can clog your pores. Instead, use a product designed just for beards, such as all-natural beard soap, or some of Bluebeard’s beard shampoo and beard conditioner.
You should also use a daily beard moisturizer, in the form of beard oil. There are dozens of beard oils that you can choose from, and many have the same ingredients. Find one that works well for you, and use it every day. Dab a few drops in your hands, rub them together, and then rub it all over your beard. It will protect your beard, keep your follicles moist, reduce irritation, and promote a fast growing beard.
A normal person loses many beard hairs every day. That’s fine. But you don’t want to lose beard hairs that are still growing in the anagen phase. To prevent this, try to not brush your beard. Instead, use a beard comb. This will tug on the beard less, and be easier on the beard. You also want your beard to look as full as possible, so leaving beard hairs alone that are in the resting phase is a good idea. Let them fall out on their own, don’t pull them out.
This probably goes without saying, but avoid using heat to style your beard, and avoid using chemicals on your beard. A damaged beard hair grows slower than a healthy one. Hair damage tends to spread from tip to root, and a damaged root will grow far more slowly than a healthy one. Also, trim your beard’s split ends every seven weeks or so, to keep them from splitting even further. This will maintain a healthy hair that grows for years.
It may sound weird, but your beard needs to be massaged. Hear me out.
Each of your beard hairs is fed the nutrients it needs from capillaries in your skin, which connect to veins, which deliver the blood to your follicles. Blood delivers iron and amino acids, and removes dead stuff. The easier it is for blood to reach your follicles, the faster they will get the nutrients they need. So then, stimulate blood circulation by getting your chin massaged regularly.
Now don’t get creepy about this or anything. I don’t want to see any of you walking into your local barber shops and saying, “How much for a chin massage?” Instead, get your significant other to massage your chin, or simply do it yourself. Remember, we’re not tugging on beard hairs here—we’re just gently massaging the chin and cheeks to keep that blood a-flowin’.
Get your lady to massage your beard. Don’t be weird!
As you age, each of your hairs has a shorter anagen phase. This means that the potential for your beard hairs to grow long is lessened with age. It is therefore even more important to maintain a healthy beard lifestyle when you’re over 30. This also means that your greatest beard-length potential is when you’re in your mid-20s.
Stress can hinder your over-all health, including beard health. Stress can cause your beard to gray sooner and to have stunted growth, so try to keep chill about life. Remember that the genetic cocktail your parents gave you has more to do with your beard’s final look than any of these tips. Just use these tips to help you achieve the most of what Mother Nature has in store for you.