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Beard Growth 101: The secret life of your growing beard

by Nicholas Karnaze

Beard Growth 101: The secret life of your growing beard

 

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 hair growth cycle | stubble + 'stache

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 –

 

stubble beard | stubble + 'stache


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.

 

guy with stubble | stubble + 'stache


...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 Premium Beard 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.

   

Timing

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 will dive into this very topic. Subscribe to our email list below and be the first to know when it drops.

 

An educated beardsmen is a happy beardsmen. If you enjoyed this article – and like helping small businesses – please consider sharing.

If you have any questions, please drop us a comment below!

 

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Nicholas Karnaze
Nicholas Karnaze

Author

Warfighter turned entrepreneur. Founder, stubble & 'stache. Grooming expert. Skincare nerd. Marine Corps combat veteran.




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