As you are growing out your beard you may become increasingly concerned about the asymmetry of your beard growth. I just want to let you know up front that asymmetrical beard growth is completely normal. As you are growing a beard, in the initial stages you are acutely aware of all of the differences in growth. Perhaps you have one side of your face that is denser than the other. Perhaps you feel like your moustache is growing quicker or slower than your beard. Everything that I just mentioned is completely normal and is easy to fix.
If you are suffering from asymmetrical beard growth, aim for at least three months of growth before making any decision to cut or restyle your beard. At that point, your hair will be about 2 to 3 inches longer and you will be able to gauge whether your options.
At that length, the hair will fill any patches and will be long enough to overcome most issues with cattle licking and direction of beard growth.
Your beard growth and density depends very much on your genetics. There are a few things that you can do to help even up the beard growth by cutting longer sides and using products to maintain the symmetry. However, there may be more reasons why your facial hair is asymmetrical and we will have a look at that now.
Does facial hair grow uneven?
When you have a short beard there is no doubt that there can be some slight differences in beard growth across the face. When you have a short beard these differences are more obvious. It is unlikely that there will be a significant difference from one side of your face to the other unless you suffer from a medically diagnosed condition where the hair follicles do not receive the nutrients across your face in an even manner. Also, you may not have the same density of hairs on each side so no matter what you do to try to increase the growth of the hairs no hair will grow.
There are a few reasons why your facial hair may not look as if it is growing evenly. This is commonly not due to the rate of the hair growth but rather the way in which the hair grows such as the following.
Direction of hair growth
The direction of the hair growth will have a huge impact on the way it sits on your face and how it looks when it is short. Commonly people have a load of different directions that there beard grows and they will be aware of this from the days when they were shaving.
As your hair gets longer the direction of the hair growth will matter less and less and the weight of the hair will dictate how it falls. If you want to check the evenness of your beard growth and its direction I recommend drawing a little schematic of your face and add arrows to show the direction of the hair growth on different parts of your face. This will give you an idea of the growth direction and what to expect as it comes in and to identify any gaps that may appear due to the direction of the hair growth.
There is only one way to solve this issue and that is to let your hair grow out for at least three months. If you want to stop your beard at a shorter length you can use beard products that have a much higher wax percentage to provide a strong hold and keep the hair sitting in one direction.
Curliness of growth
Facial hair is curly because the hairs are flat. Unlike the hair on your head (which is typically circular in cross section) the flatness of the beard hair causes it to curl and sit bushy than straight hair. This means that your growth may be a bit of an optical illusion and it is not that one side is growing slower it’s just that is growing curlier than the other side.
You can combat this by using a beard straightener or blow drying your beard straight using a hairdryer. If you want to know more about using hair strainers check out my other article – should you straighten your beard? Everything you need to know… – Click here.
If you find that your beard is particularly curly and that a beard straightener or other heat treatment doesn’t work you can try a chemical beard straightening cream/relaxer.
Using a beard relaxer and straightener is incredibly simple. It is something that you can do at home. You can fit it into your weekly or monthly routine with ease. And if you can you shampoo and conditioner you can quite easily use a beard relaxer. Here are the basic steps:
- wet your hair in the shower like you would usually do when shampooing your hair
- apply the relaxing shampoo from the roots to the tip of the hair – divide your beard into smaller sections if you have to.
- Use a fine tooth comb to get the relaxing agent to evenly distribute throughout your beard
- leave the beard relaxing shampoo in for about 30 minutes – go about your normal showering routine
- after about 30 minutes rinse your beard with water to remove the majority of the relaxing shampoo
- once a note of the shower blow dry your beard on a medium heat setting
- use a straightening iron to straighten out any of your curls
- apply the neutraliser to stop the relaxing cream from working and lock your straight beard hair in place
- using the shampoo that came with the beard straightener cream wash your beard three times.
- Towel dry your beard and apply the sealer – this is to seal in and lock the hair in a straight position.
- Finish drying your beard how you would normally do so for example, with a hairdryer, and the process is complete.
Your hair will stay straight for a relatively long time and the new hair growth will be curlier than the straightened part. You can repeat this process once the new growth makes up about 25 to 50% of your beard. You may find that this is what you need to overcome the optical illusion that one side of your beard is growing faster than the other resulting in an asymmetrical beard.
Density of growth
The density of your beard growth is all about your genetics. If you want to know if you can grow a good beard you should have a look at the males in your family. The hair density on your face is strongly correlated to and dictated by your genes.
So the most important question to ask yourself if any of your relatives have a great beard…or, at least, the potential to grow a great beard.
The issue is that the inheritance of genes can get pretty complicated. For example, your brother may be able to grow a beard and you can’t! That’s because your brother, like you, inherits 50% of their genetic makeup from their father and 50% from their mother BUT they could be different genes!
We even get a very small amount of genes from even more distant relatives. You share about 0.78% of your DNA with your great-great-great-great-great grandfather (aka 5th great-grandfather). So, even though it is very unlikely that your beard growing potential comes from your great-great-great-great-great grandfather – it is a possibility.
That is why sometimes why siblings may have a very different appearance despite having the same mother and father.
If you want to find out more about whether or not you can grow a decent beard check out my other article – can you grow beard? For important questions to ask yourself – click here.
Speed of growth
One of the last things that you should consider is the speed of growth of your hair. No matter where your hair grows on your body it all starts the same – with a hair follicle. In the hair follicle there is a hair route where cells are grouped together which may keratin, the protein a form sure hair. The growth rate of facial hair is about 1.25 cm per month (or 0.5 inches per month) which is about 15 cm or 6 inches per year.
There is not much you can do to change the rate of this growth but there are some tricks that you can do to even after your beard growth if it is growing longer on one side than the other. Let’s have a look at that now
How can I even out my beard growth?
If you feel like your beard growth is not even you really only have two options. The first is that you can trim up the longer side to match the hair on the short side. Or, you can use something like minoxidil to enhance the growth on one side of your face. The issue is that applying minoxidil unevenly to your face is not recommended as it can result in a whole range of growth issues and side-effects that are only on one side of your face.
Speeding up the rate of hair growth
The most well-known hair growth treatment is Minoxidil – you can find out more about it in this wiki – click here. It’s found in hair regrowth products such as Rogaine.
The FDA has NOT approved Minoxidil for use on the face and so all of the instructions are for the scalp.
One of my favourite places on the internet, Reddit, has a subreddit where people show their progress pics. check out this from user u/ImBadAtHalo.
You can see that the cheek hairs of his beard are much hairier and denser than when he started.
One of the issues is that once you stop using a Minoxidil containing product the hairs will simply stop growing. So, you need to be aware of the potential expense and commitment required before embarking on this usage.
Besides the fact that you need to do this treatment for a long time – up to a year and a half, you may experience some side effects.
What else you can do about it
Here, we are going to look at all of the options available to you which don’t require the use of medication. You can achieve some amazing things with simple beard and hair products and techniques.
Trim it up regularly
If you are not experiencing a lack of hair but a growth rate mismatch regular trimming can work wonders.
I trim up my beard at least once a week. During this time, I check the length of each side of my face and trim the longer side if I need to. The techniques I use is to fan out the hair on each side of my face and check to see if each side has an equal length. I trim the longest side to match the shortest side and also remove any ‘hero’ hairs that are a lot longer than the rest.
I’ve also seen people use fades to hide the fact that they have weaker growth on some parts of their beard. Check out my other blog if you are struggling to grow a beard.
Use products to control the shape
Besides trimming you can always use products to hold your beard into the right shape and give the illusion of balance on each side of your face. Some beards have a natural sway or curve to them which can make them look unbalanced or that one side is longer than the other.
This technique works well if you are looking for volume and not length.
- Look for a beard wax with a strong hold and work it into your beard’s problem areas.
- Take a comb or brush and work your beard into the shape that you want it to be.
- Use a cool blast from a hairdryer to lock the shape of your beard into position.
The problem with this technique is that your beard can quickly get out of shape. I carry a pocket comb around with me in my bag and I can tame my beard when I head to the bathroom or when I notice that it is not looking as sharp as it could.
Does asymmetry in growth usually correct itself?
Asymmetry in beard growth can usually correct itself by waiting for the hair to grow eight. You’ll find an asymmetric beard continues to feeling quite significantly as you grow older. It is common for people to have thicker and better coverage on one side of the face and in some instances it can be about six months behind the other side. But by using a good trimming regime and having a little bit of patience you can match up the length of the hair on both sides.
If you are suffering from significant patching us and an unconnected beard I want you to know that my connector spots didn’t really connect well until I was over 25 years old. Then for some reason there was no issue.
Just be aware of this: that you are the most critical when it comes to your beard growth. I have never had anyone say that my beard is uneven – even though I think it is relatively noticeable. You are probably the person who will be the most critical about your beard as you will be teasing and maintaining it for many months. The good news is that most issues solve themselves and if you are under the age of about 30 then you properly still have a fair bit of growth to do. Which means that any asymmetry in growth will usually correct itself.
What you can do to make your beard grow evenly
One of the most important things to make your beard grow evenly is to look after your beard and laid the foundations for healthy beard growth. This includes:
- looking after your body – making sure that your body is in tip top form with regular exercise, sleep, and healthy foods will make sure that your beard growth has the best opportunity to coming full and thick.
- Use products regularly – when I was first growing a beard I thought products were there to scan me out of a load of money. But this could not be further from the truth. You don’t need every single hair product out there and beard growth products do not work unless they are medicated, like minoxidil. But use a good beard oil from the moment you have stubble and supplement that with a beard balm or butter as your beard hair gets longer.
- Seek a professional help – one thing that we are not doing well enough as beard growers is seeking a professional help from a barber. Barbers have seen all of the problems before and typically have a way to cover up even the most obvious issues and beard problems. Getting advice from a barber in the early stages of your beard growth will mean that you have the ability to grow a great relationship with someone who will be able to help you look after your beard all the time.
Ultimately, all you have to do is wait for your beard to grow out for at least three months before making any decisions on whether or not your beard is asymmetrical. Buying a good tremor and good pair of scissors will help trim the long pass to match the short parts.
So there we have it there are all of the reasons why your beard may be growing asymmetrically and what you can do to fix it.
As beard growers we quite often are very critical about our beards and in the early stages it can feel like it is taking forever. But do not give up. Try to exercise a fair bit of patience when growing your beard and I can assure you that most of the issues will sort themselves out. It is not until after the age of 30 that you can be sure that your beard has settled into its full shape and growing potential.
Happy beard growing and make sure that you are kind to your face so that you can push through the issues that arise.