We’ve talked about how to grow a beard, how to care for your beard, and the items you’ll need to maintain your mane in tip-top shape a lot on this blog, but we’ve never discussed beard growth. As in the process of growing a beard – how it works and the stages you’ll go through along the way.
So let’s get started.
Let’s take a look at the beard hair development cycle and the challenges you’ll face as your facial hair grows from stubble to full beard. Let’s start with the science.
THE BEARD HAIR GROWTH CYCLE
Before we get into the cycle itself, it’s important to understand why males grow facial hair while women and toddlers don’t. And why do some guys have an easier time growing facial hair than others?
It has something to do with testosterone. Testosterone stimulates hair follicles, and males naturally generate more testosterone than women and children. Some guys also have higher testosterone levels than others.
High-intensity exercise, consuming protein, fat, and carbohydrates, sleeping properly, and taking vitamin D can all help to increase testosterone levels. Supplements can also be beneficial. However, genetics plays a major role. Some guys can grow their facial hair without much effort, while others must put in a lot of effort.
The hair itself passes through three cycles: anagen, catagen, and telogen, when testosterone is working and the beard is developing. One of these things happens every time you gaze in the mirror at your beard. Anagen is the growth period, during which hair grows at a rate of around 1cm per month for two to seven years. This stage controls the length of your beard.
Men with beards that don’t seem to develop past a particular length have a shorter anagen phase than those with longer beards. The anagen phase of the hair weakens over time, which is why it’s critical to provide your beard with the nutrients it requires through a healthy lifestyle and good maintenance.
Catagen is the intermediate stage, which lasts two to three weeks. The hair is now satisfied with its development and has lowered its tools to admire its job. When the hair stops growing, it goes through a process that cuts it off from the blood supply, preparing it for the telogen phase. Telogen is the dormant period, which lasts around three months.
The hair follicle is now entirely dormant, ready to be replaced by the new kid on the block – fresh hair in the anagen phase. At any one moment, about 6% to 8% of the hairs in your beard will be in the telogen phase, which is why you’ll see hairs falling off while combing or scratching.
That’s how hair develops. But, in the trenches, how does that play out?
THE 4 BEARD GROWTH STAGES
You’ll travel through four stages from the beginning of your beard growing trip, when the anagen phase is in full swing, to the finish, when hair growth has delivered riches in the shape of a full beard.
STAGE 1: AWKWARD
Awkward is the best word to describe the early stages of beard development.
It might be strange at first to grow a beard. You’re on board and having a good time, but you’re still getting used to life without the razor and the way your face looks with stubble. People will acclimate to your new appearance as well.
However, the true unpleasantness begins after around 2-3 weeks of unbroken growth: beard itch.
Beard itch is a major issue. So much so that we decided to write a blog article about how to handle it.
Years of shaving have sharpened the hair and made it harsh like sandpaper.
When that hair breaks through, it irritates the skin, causing it to become dry and irritated. Itchy skin is caused by these factors.
When the itch strikes, it will put you to the test. Some people get it so terrible that they abandon their plans to grow a beard. However, if you maintain your beard clean with beard wash and hydrate your skin with beard oil every day, you’ll be able to alleviate the irritation long enough to go through it.
STAGE 2: THE 1-INCH+ CLUB
The second stage lasts four to six weeks. Itching will still be a problem (it always is), but you’ll be able to manage it.
Patchiness is a larger issue at this point. Your beard will be evident, with certain areas being less lush than others. This has a lot to do with genetics once again. Although certain lifestyle adjustments — exercising, sleeping better, eating well, and so on — will aid your cause.
If you have a patchy beard, it’s tempting to cut the rest of it to hide it.
It’s not a good idea.
Masking spots without wasting a month’s worth of growth is possible.
Beard oil should be used to keep your beard hydrated. To make your beard appear fuller, use beard balm to give natural volume. Brushing on a regular basis will help to cover up any areas.
STAGE 3: TIME TO TRIM
Stage 3 lasts eight to ten weeks. You have a big beard and the anagen is doing you proud. It won’t be the most elegant of manes due to the lack of trimming, but frequent brushing, cleaning, and oiling will have maintained it clean and clear of dandruff.
You should seek out a professional barber for a tidy up at 10 weeks. Allow them to sculpt your cheekbones, define your neckline, and remove stray hairs from your beard. Then, every three or four weeks, pay them a visit to keep your beard in tip-top shape.
STAGE 4: BEARDSMAN WITH A FULL BEARD
You’ve been doing this for four to five months now. Your beard is well trimmed, itching is under control, and keeping it clean and nourished is just as important to you as shaving.
At this point, you’ll notice that additional hairs are falling out. This is owing to the fact that there are more hairs in the telogen phase. It also signals that new hair is on its way, strengthening your beard.
You have a thick beard, which is just what you need.
TIPS FOR GROWING A BEARD
- You can’t change your genetics, but there are certain things you can do to help your hair grow healthier and thicker.
- Consume high-protein meals such as chicken, turkey, eggs, beans, yoghurt, soy products, seeds, and almonds.
- Take B9, A, E, B5, B3, and C vitamins. These are available as supplements or in foods such as poultry, fish, citrus fruits, and vegetables. Good night’s rest. A minimum of eight hours every night is required.
- Good night’s rest. A minimum of eight hours every night is required.
- Every day, do at least 30 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity. Jogging, cycling, swimming, or brisk walking are examples of moderate exercise. Weightlifting, cross training, running, squash, and five-a-side football are examples of intense exercises that get the blood flowing.
- Patience is required. It takes time for hair to grow. Take care of your beard and allow it to develop. Play for the long haul. You’ll be glad you did by the fourth stage of your beard development adventure.