Growing a beard through all its stages means that sometimes your beard will become unbalanced. This is completely normal and if your beard is growing longer on one side there are a range of simple and quick things you can do to balance it out.
You really have two options when your hair is growing longer on one side over the other. The first is if you are happy with the length on the shorter side you can cut the hair to match. If you are still growing your beard out you’ll need to wait but you can help balance up the weight of the beard with a little styling! If you are unsure of what to do, my advice as always is to seek professional help!
It is very common that facial hair grows at different rates. I have very strong growth on my chin and the right side of my face tends to grow a little thicker and faster than the left side. But if you feel that your beard is growing slower than usual check out my other blog post – click here.
Check out my short video on this subject:
Before we jump into the solutions in detail let’s have a look to see if there’s anything that can be done to make the hair grow faster or thicker on one side.
There seem to be two different sides of the beard-growing spectrum. One person who will struggle their whole life to grow a beard – while there are others who seem to sneeze and more hair pop out! But your hair will not stop growing as discussed in my other article.
What causes hair to grow
No matter where hair grows on your body it all starts the same – with a hair follicle. Here there is a hair root where cells are grouped together to make keratin. This is the protein that forms hair (as well as your fingernails too!).
I remember that there are about 9 amino acid groups per second added to the hair which results in a growth rate of about 1.25 centimeters or 0.5 inches per month, or about 15 centimeters or 6 inches per year.
Hair growth cycle
Hair growth goes through three different stages.
- Anagen stage – the cells in the root of the hair divide rapidly, slowly adding to the length of the hair. Hair will remain in the phase for anywhere from two to six years.
- Catagen stage – this is the end of the growth phase of the hair and no more cells are produced to increase its length. The hair is detached from the blood supply and lasts for up to three weeks.
- Telogen stage – here the hair is released from the skin and the hair follicle takes a well-earned rest for about three months.
The average person can lose up to 100 hairs per day. After three months, the follicle goes back into the anagen phase and begins to grow new hair.
Importantly, all of the hairs undergo this at a different time and a thick beard relies on a dense collection of hair follicles that are in the anagen phase for a long period of time. Typically, 15 percent of hair is in the final stage of this cycle.
The rate of hair growth
Given that we’ve got an imbalance in our beard the most important question is: is there a way that we can change the rate of hair growth or the density that it appears on our face?
Unfortunately, there is no good way to stunt the growth of facial hair without running the risk of killing the hair completely. That means you have the option of trying to speed up the rate of growth and thickness using topical creams.
But a word of warning! This should be used as a last resort as there are plenty of side effects which these topical hair growth products could cause.
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.
Side Effects with Minoxidil
No medication comes without side effects. Here are some of the common side effects that Minoxidil can cause:
- Itching or skin rash
- Acne at site of application
- burning of scalp
- facial hair growth
- increased hair loss
- inflammation or soreness at root of hair
- reddened skin
- swelling of face
Signs and symptoms of too much medicine being absorbed into the body—Rare
- Blurred vision or other changes in vision
- chest pain
- fast or irregular heartbeat
- numbness or tingling of hands, feet, or face
- swelling of face, hands, feet, or lower legs
- weight gain (rapid)
Should you start to encounter any of these side effects you need to contact your healthcare professional immediately.
Medical intervention is quite a serious step to take if you are finding that your beard is growing longer on one side of your face. While others have found topical treatment to be most benificial you may want to consider the non-medical interventions before taking that leap.
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.
Get professional help!
I cannot stress enough the importance of asking a professional for advice. Building a relationship with your barber will help you overcome a range of issues. I have always found that barbers are incredibly giving of their time and have always been keen to answer my questions in a professional and helpful manner!
There’s one final note that I’d like to mention!
Accept that not all beards are symmetrical
Ask any man with a beard to give you a ‘beard tour’ and they’ll always tell you what is not right or what they want to change about their beards! It’s just the way that this beard growing thing tends to work.
Everyone’s beard is different and unique in some way. Taming the untameable is a constant battle and, personally, I enjoy the process.
Remember to enjoy the process of growing a beard and make sure that you keep track of your progress with photos!
The final word
If you find that your beard is growing longer on one side than the other – fear not! Embrace your beard and it’s uniqueness. There are medical and non-medical interventions for making sure that your beard is not growing longer on one side over the other but make sure that you are not jumping to medical interventiosn too quickly.
Look at styling options and if in doubt – speak to a professional.
But overall, learn to love your beard.
There seem to be two different sides of the beard-growing spectrum. One person who will struggle their whole life to grow a beard – while there are others who seem to sneeze and more hair pop out!