1. BEARD TERMINOLOGY
Before we get into all the details of how to grow a beard, let’s knock out some common terminology that will help in your journey. To begin, a beard is facial hair on the cheeks, neck, chin, and upper lip. When most people hear the word “beard,” they think of a full beard that is generally longer than 1/2”. That thought process considers a beard a specific facial hair style, whereas the word “beard” could also be a general term like the term “facial hair.” So really, you have a beard if you have any facial hair – from scruff to sideburns, and of course, the full beard.
There are also a few terms we must clarify before we dive into this beard growing business. A “yeard” is a beard that has grown untrimmed for an entire year. Similarly, a “tweard” is one that has grown for twice that amount of time. The “terminal beard” is the granddaddy of them all, signifying a man mane that has hit its critical mass and seemingly stopped growing because of split ends forming or hair simply shedding.
There are also two types of hair that grow on your face, vellus (the light, blond, more youthful hair) and terminal (the darker, coarser hair). As you age, your vellus hairs will convert into terminal hairs and those are the hairs that become a beard in a traditional sense.
2. PHYSICAL ASPECTS OF BEARD GROWING
Beards can start growing anywhere from your teenage years to your late 20s and early 30s (and even later for some folks – seriously). Unfortunately, there is no way to control when your beard comes in, how thick it is, or its color or texture. All of these factors are tied in with your DNA, much like your height and hair color. The key to physically growing a beard is patience. Every beard is completely unique and your own. Sometimes, you just need to wait a few years before it really finds its shape. In a world of instant gratification, we know this can suck. Remember that all of the bearded men you see online and on TV weren’t born with the beard they have now. They too may have been late bloomers or battled patchy beards in their youth.
Whether you’re a seasoned beardsman or letting your facial hair grow out for the first time, the first month of growing your beard out can be a trying experience for anyone. Depending on the day or the week, your beard can look exactly like you want it to one minute and then do the exact opposite the next.
Beard growth is tied to your health, your genes, and actually your testosterone levels. Unfortunately, the same hormone that grows thick beards also affects the thickness of your head hair in the opposite direction. However, those are all things you can’t control, so let’s talk about what you can control. You have heard this time and time again, but the reasons to take care of your body continue with beard growth. Beards aren’t at their best when you are stressed out, missing nutrition from your diet, and not properly exercising. For maximum growth, you need to take care of your body, eat right, and exercise.
3. THE HORMONES THAT AFFECT A BEARD
Growing a beard all comes down to your hormones, specifically testosterone and dihydrotestosterone (or DHT). Regular testosterone is converted to the more potent androgen hormone DHT. The amount of DHT you have in your reproductive system directly affects your beard and hair growth patterns. Men with higher levels of testosterone and DHT will typically have significantly more facial hair than men with lower levels. If your body is genetically prone to be sensitive to these hormones, you’ll likely grow a beard at an earlier age than others.
On the other end of the spectrum, guys with lower levels of DHT have a better chance of keeping their head hair. That being said, just because you are in your 20s and still have a patchy beard, it doesn’t necessarily mean you have low hormone levels. It’s about your body’s sensitivity towards these hormones and not the set values of them.
Since testosterone occurs naturally in your body, that means there are ways to increase it without supplements. Lifting weights and exercising is a huge factor in that, and we’ll get into the best workouts you can do later. Along with working out, you’ll want to be getting plenty of carbs, proteins, and the good kind of fats in your body. This ups your energy level, metabolism, and helps with testosterone production. Getting plenty of rest and reducing stress will keep your body healthy and ready to grow a beard as well. So, let’s dive deeper into all of that!
4. BEST FOODS FOR A HEALTHY BEARD
The relationship between beard health and body health is a close one. If you have a well-balanced, healthy diet, not only will you reap the benefits, but your beard has a much better chance to bloom. To really in tip-top shape you’ll need to keep an eye on these foods.
Sweet Potatoes – High in Beta-carotene this will help with the cell growth in your beard. What happens is that the Beta-carotene is converted into Vitamin A and this will lead to more cell growth within the hairs located on the beard.
Oysters – One of the best sources of zinc. Zinc is a key mineral which helps the cells which are designed for building hairs. Oysters are also a great source of protein.
Eggs – Rich in protein, eggs offer a serious bang for your buck. They’re a natural source of biotin, which is known to strengthen hair and is a well-known supplement that promotes beard growth. Eggs also contain many minerals in them such as iron, calcium, and zinc.
Spinach – Spinach is rich in calcium, iron, magnesium, protein, and potassium, all major factors in having healthy beard growth. It’s great raw, sautéed, and even works well in smoothies if you want to try and mix it with other food sources.
Liver – This animal organ is jam packed with protein, iron, and biotin.
Cinnamon – Cinnamon encourages the flow of oxygen to hair follicles. A little goes a long way when you add it to food. Toss it in oatmeal, protein shakes, and other dishes where sweetness is desired.
5. DECIDE ON A STYLE
If you’re going to grow a beard then there’s actually alot more to it than just putting down the razor and waiting. If you don’t decide on a style then you will grow a scruffy mess of a beard and end up looking dishevelled!
A good way to make a choice is to pick a style of beard that suits your face shape.
The other consideration you need to take into account is the amount of facial hair you can actually grow. Do you have a splendid amount of hair that sprouts from your upper lip but not much on the cheeks? Then maybe a style that emphasises your moustache would be best. Maybe you have glorious sideburns but struggle to grow anything on your chin? In that case a mutton chop style beard would suit you
6. BEARDS ARE MESSY. KEEP YOURS CLEAN!
Beards are pretty brilliant, but of course like everything in life they have a downside. Beards have an unfortunate habit of attracting mess. Food, dandruff and just general grime. If left unchecked then pretty soon your beard can go from a glorious mane to a matted mess. You wouldn’t walk around with a greasey, dirty head of hair would you?
The best thing to do to keep your beard clean is to wash it with a good quality beard shampoo as often as needed, this will keep your facial hair hygenic and clean.
7. BE PATIENT!
There’s not much to this tip! A good beard takes time. There really is no better solution to growing a better beard than allowing some extra time. If you’re not satidfied with your current resuts then don’t give up! Wait another couple of months and see how you feel about your beard then. This however requires patience, but just remember, good theings come to those who wait!
8. TRIMMING YOUR BEARD CAN KEEP IT HEALTHY.
As great as hair is, it isn’t invinsible. Your beard hairs will eventually get split ends. It’s a natural part of growing your beard hair follicles out to such a length. A split end is no good for the hair, if left unchecked then the split can travel down to the root of the hair and ruin it. The best way to co bat this is to trim the hair. This will leave the freshley trimmed hair whole and healthy. It’s a good idea to trim your beard a general trim every few months to remove split ends and keep your beard healthy.
The other reason to trim your beard is to keep it neat. If you’re growing your beard out to a significant length then you’ll stat to find that some parts of your beard grow at different lengths to other parts. This may lead to the overall shape and style of your beard changing from how you originally wanted it to look.
Trimming your beard doesn’t need to be a drastic thing, just neaten up a few areas and ensure that all the hair follicles are healthy.
9. ENCOURAGE GROWTH WITH COMBING/BRUSHING
You can help speed along the growing process by combing and brushing your beard. Doing this on a regular basis helps to stimulate the hair follicles and encourages blood flow to the hair cell. This will help to ensure that it receives vital nutrients for growth. The more nutrients that it receives, the more growing potential the hair has. It won’t have a magic effect and allow you to grow a beard in a matter of days, but it will help to add an extra bit of length to your beard over the course of a few months.