We’ve written about beard growth rates before, and you may remember that, on average, your beard grows half an inch per month. It's an average because your beard – and all of your other hair – has a defined, four-phase growth cycle, and during several of these phases, your beard isn’t actually growing. The hair follicles are dormant.
Okay, we may have exaggerated a little...your entire beard isn’t growing or dormant at the same time. The majority of your hair follicles are on a similar timeline, but not all. Some will be growing while others take time off. So let’s get to it: Here are the secrets of your growing beard.
The Four Phases of Beard Growth
1. Anagen – The growth phase
During this stage, the hair forms and grows. The duration of anagen varies by hair type. For the hair on the top of your head, this growth phase can last for years. For your beard, this can range from two to four months...or longer depending on genetics.
2. Catagen – The regressive phase
Once anagen is complete, your hair enters catagen. During this stage the compartments of the follicle used for growth begin to shrink. The hair follicle shortens by up to 70 percent. This regressive phase allows the follicle to be ready to evolve and grow again once the proper stimulus is applied. This phase can last several weeks.
3. Telogen – The resting phase
Vacation time. After months (if not years) in action, the follicles take a break. This resting phase can last several months.
4. Exogen – The shedding phase
This fourth stage was only recently recognized in humans. While anagen, catagen and telogen hairs are anchored to the follicles, exogen hairs are only passively retained… meaning they can easily fall out.
– Repeat –
Why? It’s hormonal
Hair growth is coordinated by hormones. These hormones instruct the hair follicles on what changes to make during the next growth cycle. Androgens – primarily testosterone – are one of the prime regulators of human hair growth.
As adolescents our bodies are primarily covered by vellus hairs. These hairs are tiny and virtually colorless. Think “peach fuzz.” Once we hit puberty, hormones signal the hair follicles to evolve. Instead of producing vellus hairs, these follicles now begin producing terminal hairs, often thicker, darker body hair. This transition doesn’t happen in a single day, week, or even year.
In your twenties and still don’t have the beard you want? Don’t worry about it, there is still time. Patchy beard? That too can change. The only way to know your true beard potential is to let it grow and watch what happens as your hair follicles evolve. Your beard weight continues to rise until your mid-thirties. That’s right, you studs in your twenties still have your best beard years ahead of you.
...But it’s also genetics
It’s kinda like your height: If you aren’t genetically predisposed to have a big, thick beard, no amount of “beard growth” supplements will magically cause your body to create new hair follicles. There are, however, ingredients that cause increased circulation to your existing hair follicles, which encourages healthier growth. Our Softening Beard + Face Oil contains such ingredients. But it is irresponsible for us, or anyone, to lead you to believe by using some magical elixir your beard will miraculously go from scrawny to brawny. Sorry boys.
Now some of you might be wondering: Since there is a defined growth cycle, if there is an ideal time to grow your beard, or a time when your beard grows faster? Short answer: yes, but it’s probably not when you’d expect! Our next blog post dives into this very topic. Read Now.
stubble + ‘stache is a Certified B-Corp™ and service disabled veteran owned small business. All of our packaging is made from recycled plastic and with each order, we remove five plastic bottles from the ocean. While our products are formulated with facial hair in mind, all of our products can be used by all, regardless of gender or beard status. Proudly made in the USA with ingredients responsibly sourced from some of the most exotic places on earth.