This is part three in my series Longer, Faster, Thicker.
How to Grow a Beard Thicker
One of the top questions I get from visitors to this site is, “How do I get my beard to grow thicker?” Many who have tried to grow a truly epic beard have quickly discovered that their beard grows thin, or only grows in patches. Can anything be done to grow a fuller beard? Yes, but first, we need to understand a bit more about how a beard grows.
Count Your Follicles
Our hair follicles form in the womb. At 9 weeks, our eyebrow, mustache, and chin follicles are fully formed. At 5 months, the rest of our face follicles have developed. This means that the absolute number of hairs our beards will ever have are predetermined at birth [source]. There is nothing we can eat, and no product we can use, that will ever cause us to grow new follicles, resulting in thicker beards.
Our follicle count is determined by genetics. So, if you’re young and your beard hasn’t grown yet, take a look at the adult men in your family. Do they have thick beards? Or, if they don’t keep beards (shame on them!) do they have thick, full heads of hair? If yes, then it is likely that you have the genetic potential of growing a truly epic beard.
There are some of us who have genetic mutations that predispose us to grow thicker beards. Some men grow two, or even three hairs out of the same follicle. This is a mutation known as pili multigemini. I’m one of those guys. Ever since I started growing facial hair, I noticed that some of my beard hairs were extra thick. Upon closer inspection, I discovered that there were two, or sometimes three hairs growing from only one follicle. Because the follicles I have can grow more hairs than normal, I get a naturally thicker beard.
Now, just because your genetics are beard-healthy does not mean you’ll grow a thicker beard—it just means you have the potential to. Things that can get in the way of your beard growth include external factors like diet, overall health, and stress. I covered this in greater detail in my article on how to grow a beard faster, but in short, things like eating protein and taking beard growth vitamins can help stimulate the growth cycle of your beard hair, causing dormant follicles to start doing their work.
Additionally, follicles naturally lay dormant during your boyhood until they’re told to grow hair by a number of changes that occur during puberty, including the addition of testosterone (which is why some young men use testosterone boosters, if their follicles haven’t sprouted yet). You can trigger these changes quicker, or in certain places where they have failed to sprout, by again eating right with lots of protein in your diet, and by using topical solutions that feed follicles like beard growth creams and beard growth sprays. Your beard will grow thicker if you can jump-start all your dormant follicles to start growing beard hair.
Suppose you’re one of the unfortunate ones whose genetics simply are not in favor of a beard. You have few follicles to begin with, and no men in your family have ever grown beards. Well my friend, there is still hope for you, as long as you’re willing to be a bit extreme.
Hair transplants have been around for a while, but it wasn’t until the mid-90s when scientists perfected the art of single follicle transplanting. Here’s how it works: A doctor will cut out entire follicles from places on your body where hair grows thick, or from places where you don’t want hair—like body hair, your temples, and the nape of your neck. He will then punch holes into the skin on your chin and cheeks, and insert those follicles, where they will take root and continue to grow hair.
I covered beard transplants in an earlier post during an interview with Dr. Alan Bauman, a beard transplant specialist. They are very successful, but are costly at about $10 per follicle transplant. Read it to see photos of the surgery, and before-and-after shots.
Beard Thickening Ritual
If you want to thicken your beard without resorting to surgery, here’s a morning ritual for you:
- Use a beard shampoo only once or twice a week. Excess bathing can strip natural, healthy oils from your beard, causing them to age quickly and fall out. Make sure you use a beard shampoo, not head shampoo, as head shampoos often come with waxes in them that can clog your follicles, hindering growth.
- Brush it gently every morning with a beard comb. You don’t want to brush too vigorously, for again, you won’t want to pull any hairs out prematurely. It’s also a good idea not to play with your beard during the day, for the same reasons.
- Use your favorite beard oil every morning. This will fluff your strands and add gloss and weight to them, making them look thicker.
- Finally, if you have bald patches, or if you just can’t grow a beard but want to anyway, try a high rated beard growth serum. A 3-month supply of Lipogaine is my recommendation. It works by increasing blood-flow through your capillaries to your follicles, giving them the nutrients they need to sprout.
Beard on, O mighty beardling.