If you think it’s time to join the ranks of actors, musicians, and style icons who rock the flawless beard look, you may hesitate because you think it will take too long. Fear not! We have what you need to help guide you through the process of how to grow a beard until you’re sporting luscious facial hair that elicits the envy of all around you. Okay, maybe that’s a bit much. But at the very least, we’ll give you our best tips to encourage healthy beard growth at a speed somewhat faster than glacial movement.
So how long will you have to wait for those admiring glances? Many factors affect beard growth, such as your age, ethnicity, genes, and even lifestyle — so there’s no one answer to that tricky question. But a few lifestyle changes can help influence facial hair growth and get you started on the path toward obtaining the beard you want as quickly as possible.
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The truth about why and how fast your hair grows isn’t cut and dry. Regardless of when or how you shave, your facial hair will grow near the same rate: About one-quarter of an inch a month. In fact, while your body does have ways of governing the maximum length of different types of body hair, all of your hair grows at roughly the same rate, no matter how often you trim.
There’s no evidence that shaving affects hair thickness, but there are several reasons why this myth has persisted for so long. In their teenage years, boys experience a spike in testosterone that results in that unfortunate phase of patchy, unreliable facial hair growth that many young men experience. While you were going through puberty, you might have shaved your facial hair only to have a thicker beard grow back in its place. It was purely coincidental. Your body was simply sorting out the kinks of adulthood while you happened to be learning to shave.
Regardless of when or how you shave, your facial hair will always grow at approximately the same rate: about one-quarter of an inch per month. There’s no evidence that shaving has any effect on hair thickness.
Optical illusions play no small role in the long life of the myth that you can shave your way to thicker hair. We’ve all heard the persistent myth that shaving makes hair grow back darker and thicker. The truth, though, is that the individual strands of your hair taper to the tip. When you shave those hairs, effectively sheering all of those tapered strands into flat ends, they look thicker to the naked eye. Combine that with constantly shedding hair naturally from your beard, and the short, densely concentrated dots on your freshly shaven face can appear thicker than the beard they came from.
Your shaving method can play mind games with you, too. Higher-end razors with multi-blade designs lift your facial hair before slicing it, resulting in a deep shave that means new growth of your freshly shorn hairs will take longer to become visible, since they will be starting from much closer to the surface of your skin.
The same happens if you use a standard double-blade razor and shave multiple times in a row to get a perfectly smooth shave. A single-pass shave with a standard razor or a beard trimmer will result in a more shallow shave, meaning the new growth starting from the cut ends are already a bit past the surface of your skin. Hence, these shaving methods make your beard appear to fill in again more quickly.
Right about now, you might be thinking, “Great. You’ve told me what won’t help my beard growth, so what will?” You’ve come to the right place. As usual, we’ve done the research and legwork for you. Here are a few things you can do to help your beard become a little more robust.
Pamper Your Face Fuzz
A smooth, fluffy beard is a thing of pure beauty, but let’s get real for a second: Even the most well-maintained beard lives a rough life. Besides acting as a loyal crumb-catcher (even when you wish it wouldn’t), your beard sits proudly on your jaw, soaking in all the sunlight, dust, dirt, heat, cold, spittle, and other elements you encounter on a daily basis. You probably wouldn’t ignore taking care of the hair on your head or the sensitive skin on your face, so why should your facial hair be any different? If you want to touch up your chin curtain, there’s just no way around it — you need to care for it properly.
Beard oils are loaded with ingredients that condition your beard, protect the skin underneath, and leave you looking downright classy. If you live in a particularly cold or dry environment, it’s a good idea to upgrade from beard oil to beard balm, which typically contains beeswax for extra conditioning and protection. Keeping your beard squeaky clean helps the hair stay strong and healthy, so you’d be wise to freshen up between washes. If you’re a ramblin’ man, consider picking up some beard wipes to keep those whiskers tidy while you’re on the go.
Up Your Protein Intake
One of the best things you can do to help your chances of growing competition-worthy scruff is to eat a diet high in protein. The outer layer of your hair is made mainly of keratin, and eating foods high in protein, such as nuts, meat, and eggs, boosts the production and strengthening of keratin. This means your beard won’t just gain some girth. It will be stronger (and shinier!) too.
Work Hard and Rest Hard
Regular exercise increases blood flow, and proper sleep gives your body a chance to recharge at the end of the day. Both of these help to ensure that the systems responsible for hair growth and strength keep running smoothly.
While improving your beard may not be as easy as a quick shave, these tips (and a little TLC) will enhance the health of your facial hair and have you on your way from dud to DaVinci in no time.
In the meantime, take a look at the most effective shaving creams that won’t irritate your skin.
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