Do beard growth kits work? Are they a SCAM?

There is a little moment in every beard grow as a journey where they feel like they need a little boost to help their beard grow. This moment is where they are likely to type into Google “beard growth kits”.

The reality of beard growth kits is that they rarely work because they do not contain any ingredient known to boost growth applied topically or taken orally. The only proven ways to grow a beard is with minoxidil, beard transplants and testosterone supplementation.

Unfortunately, a huge industry has formed around people’s desire to grow beards quickly and naturally. They offer many different products, including oils, multivitamins, sprays, and beard growth kits.

Buying a beard growth kit seems reasonable because all of the supposed growth components and products are included in a convenient package.

However, what is typically in a beard growth kit falls between quality beard products for people who already have a beard and clever marketing that will never grow a beard.

There is no magic pill, and growing a beard relies on looking after your body and utilising the proven topical medication treatments that we will go through later in this article.

There are many scientifically proven ways to grow facial hair if you struggle to sprout new terminal hairs from your face, and beard growth kits contain none.

The general issues with “beard growth” products

Overall, the general issues with beard growth kits and products fall into these three main categories.

do beard growth kits work

1. They typically don’t contain any active ingredient

Beard growth kits very rarely contain any active ingredient that has been scientifically proven to work on hair follicles and increase the density, length, or thickness of your beard.

To be viewed as effective, the molecules in the formulation have to go through a double-blind and peer-reviewed placebo-controlled study.

This level of scientific study means that we can be certain that a certain molecule has a beneficial growing and therapeutic effect on your beard.

Most of the time, the molecules reported as a secret active ingredient in the growth kit are nothing more than fancy marketing.

Even if scientists have made them for the research lab, they probably have not been through a rigorous peer-review process and are likely not to work.

At the sinister end of the spectrum, it could be that these companies are outright lying about the effectiveness of their product.

2. Expensive versions of normal ingredients

Many of the ingredients used in beard growth kits are commonly found in other less expensive products.

Because growing a beard is a problem for many young adults, companies can use this pain to get them to buy regular products that have been relabelled as beard growth-enhancing.

A lot of the time, you can purchase the same products at a much-reduced price.

3. Are more marketing than science

It will come as no surprise to you that many of these companies are much better at marketing their latest beard-growing product than at delivering on the science.

They are only interested in separating you from your money as quickly as possible.

They are very good at making their product seem like it will work much more efficiently than competitors by using deceptive tactics such as study claims. The studies are often very small and not peer-reviewed or done scientifically.

Never believe a marketing spin on products and always look for the independent analysis of their claims before purchasing any beard growth kit.

When writing, the only medicinal way of increasing your beard growth is by using minoxidil.

What is typically in a beard growth kit

This section will go over what is typically in a beard growth kit and whether or not they will support your beard growing journey and give you a boost.

Spoiler alert – many ingredients are good quality beard products but contain no active ingredient for boosting your beard growth.

Derma roller

Derma rollers are small barrels with tiny needles attached to puncture your skin lightly.

The idea behind a derma roller is that the small punctures placed in your skin allow for deeper penetration of the ingredients and products applied to your face and stimulate blood flow.

As you will see later, derma rollers can help improve the absorption of ingredients such as minoxidil to boost beard growth, but they are almost worthless on their own.

There is a placebo effect when using a derma roller. The more invasive treatment is, the more the patient thinks it will work.

Rolling a derma roller over your face and the small amount of irritation you feel afterwards can help improve the placebo effect from the beard growth kit.

Beard growth oils

Quite often, the beard growth kit will contain beard oil.

Beard oils are a popular product for men with beards but only work well when you already have significant growth and want to protect your beard from drying out.

There are many different types of beard growth oils, but most of them do not contain any other active ingredient for promoting your beard growth.

For example, take a look at the image below.

you can see that this oil contains eight natural oils including:

  • Almond
  • Castor
  • Gooseberry
  • Akai Berry
  • Watermelon seed
  • Avocado
  • Argan
  • Olive

There is no doubt that these oils can be very beneficial for beard hair. However, none of them actively promote beard growth.

At worst some of the oils used in some oils can inhibit beard growth by acting as a DHT blocker.

Terms like reactivating follicles boosting growth can be very misleading. These oils often rely on a single ingredient such as biotin, caffeine, and other “special ingredients” for promoting growth.

The “special” beard growth oil ingredients

To separate themselves from their competitors, manufacturers often use a fancy-sounding chemical name for promoting their products.

Here is a quick summary of the special beard growth oil ingredients and the scientific studies that may be useful for hair growth.

Special ingredientAny science to support the addition to beard growth kits?
RedensylA 2020 study showed that only two out of 26 volunteers showed a great improvement in scalp hair growth. With the majority of people, 73.1% showing a slight improvement. I cannot currently find any studies showing similar effects on beard growth.
CaffeineThere is no scientific evidence that coffee has a long-acting effect on hair development, especially hair growth that has slowed owing to DHT sensitivity decreasing. Because there is insufficient proof, the UK Advertising Standards Authority declared in 2018 that caffeinated shampoo could no longer promote that it can help decrease hair loss.
BiotinBiotin is also required for the formation of keratin. Keratin is the protein that makes up your beard. There is no scientific evidence that topical application can help boost beard growth.

Beard growth balms

The balms included in beard growth kits are only there for starting the beard hair that you do have.

Of all of the beard kits that I checked, none of the balms had any special ingredient that would provide growth.

All of the kits had balms that you can purchase separately for styling and conditioning your beard.

Beard growth shampoos

The thing about beard growth shampoos is that they do not sit against your skin or beard for very long.

As soon as you apply them in the shower, you wash them out using water. Sure, a fantastic product for beards is a dedicated beard shampoo as it is less harsh on your face than a head shampoo.

However, none of the beard growth shampoos that I looked at contained any minoxidil or scientifically proven ingredients.

Because of the short timescale that these products are against your face, I would call beard growth shampoos unscientific and have no basis for promoting beard growth activity.

Scientific sounding active ingredients – smoke and mirrors

In all of the beard growth kits, they are trying to separate themselves from their many competitors.

If they can convince you that their product is the only product containing a newly developed or special ingredient that can boost beard growth, you will be more likely to purchase them.

Here are a few examples of scientific-sounding active ingredients that I have seen on beard growth kits, but does the science stack up?

Let’s take a look.

Capilia Longa

This molecule was extracted from turmeric and is a hair growth-promoting molecule.

It is created and promoted by a company called vyturus that claims it can help prevent hair loss and be included in beard growth treatments.

It works, apparently, by:

  • roosting hair growth density
  • delaying hair loss
  • resetting the hair cycle
  • reactivation of hair follicle
  • stimulation of hair bulb circulation and nutrition

The data behind this molecule is very hard to find, and I can only find one study from 2018 that talks about the molecule.

More double-blind and placebo-controlled studies will need to be performed on this molecule before saying that it works.

Biotin

Biotin, often known as vitamin B7, is an essential nutrient for your body. It aids in the digestion of protein, carbs, and lipids. Biotin is also required for the formation of keratin. Keratin is the protein that makes up your beard.

When applied as a topical treatment, biotin provides no extra benefit to your hair. There are no scientific studies that look specifically at the topical treatment of biotin to beard hair.

I could find small studies (5 patients) that utilised multiple molecule formulations, including minoxidil, biotin, caffeine, and other ingredients on the scalp of balding men.

Results of the application of biotin containing lotion to balding men. Results are likely due to the addition of minoxidil rather than the mix of ingredients.

In this study, the effects could easily be attributed to minoxidil.

Biotin is widely prescribed in pill form for brittle hair and other ailments, but taking more than is typically consumed in a healthy diet has not proven beneficial. In other words, unless you’ve been diagnosed with a deficiency, you don’t require biotin pills.

Nuts, seeds, bananas, and red meat all contain biotin. Biotin has a recommended daily consumption of 30 MCG.

Redensyl

A 2020 study showed that only two out of 26 volunteers showed a great improvement in scalp hair growth. With the majority of people, 73.1% showing a slight improvement.

I cannot currently find any studies showing similar effects on beard growth.

We will need to wait for placebo-controlled and double-blind studies before confidently saying that any molecule has beneficial effects for beard growth.

Beard growth supplements

Beard growing kits also contain beard growth supplements that are often multi-vitamins with added components for growing a beard.

Often, you can purchase a multivitamin with all of the same components for a fraction of the price.

The thing about any multivitamin is that whatever your body doesn’t use, you excrete.

This natural process means that you are flushing your money down the drain because your urine becomes very expensive with all of the unused tablet ingredients.

Here are all of the beard growth supplementation components I found in beard growth kits and their reported effect on the body.

Vitamin A, B, C

These vitamins are perfect for everyday health and can help protect the body against free radical damage.

Vitamin Ahelps in the development and maintenance of teeth and skeletal structures. Beta-carotene protects against free radicals reducing the risk of cancer it is important for the maintenance of skin and the mucous membrane.
Vitamin Bpromotes overall cell health involved in the production of hormones and cholesterol promotes healthy brain activity
Vitamin Cit is important for the growth and repair of body tissues aids with the absorption of iron vitamin C is also antioxidant which can help mop up free radicals produced in the body.

Vitamin D

A study on the effect of vitamin D in hair follicle biology was published in 2007.

This research isn’t exactly about beards, but it may provide insight into how to grow healthy hair everywhere on the body, including your beard.

Vitamin E

Vitamin E is a potent antioxidant that plays a key function in testosterone synthesis. Our testosterone levels rise as we ingest more vitamin E.

Biotin

Biotin, often known as vitamin B7, is an essential nutrient for your body. It aids in the digestion of protein, carbs, and lipids. Biotin is also required for the formation of keratin. Keratin is the protein that makes up your beard.

It is widely prescribed for brittle hair and other ailments, but taking more than what is typically ingested has not been proven beneficial.

In other words, unless you’ve been diagnosed with a deficiency, you don’t require biotin supplementation.

Zinc

In one trial, zinc and vitamin B supplementation improved sperm quality by 74%. Zinc also increases testosterone levels in athletes and people who are zinc deficient. That means if you do a lot of exercises, you should consider taking zinc to ensure you are not deficient.

If your zinc levels are already enough, you’ll likely have an increase in DHT, which isn’t always a bad thing for your beard’s growth potential.

Folic Acid

Supplements like biotin and folic acid may be extremely helpful if you have a large issue with split ends.

I’m not typically advocating vitamins, but supplements like biotin and folic acid can be quite helpful if you have a significant issue with split ends.

Biotin and folic acid are two nutrients that help your hair produce keratin and stay strong. Using vitamins may be the key to transforming your beard into a strong, split, and free beard.

Iron

Iron is a critical micronutrient for supporting biological activity and is one of the most significant. Hepcidin is a hormone that declines in reaction to low levels of our body storage.

This hormone aids in the absorption of iron from the diet. Hepcidin is reduced by testosterone, which implies more iron is absorbed.

How long does it take for a beard growth kit to work?

If you have purchased a beard growth kit and are waiting for it to work, I have some bad news for you – it is unlikely to work.

Continuing to use a beard growing kit for a long time can result in beard growth only because your beard would have developed this way anyway.

If you want to understand the proven ways to grow a beard backed by science, check out my list below.

The proven ways to grow your beard

If you are more of a visual learner, check out my YouTube video, where I give you a quick rundown on all of the proven ways that you can grow your beard without having to rely on beard growth kits.

Minoxidil

In the 1970s, minoxidil was launched as an oral medication to treat hypertension. Doctors saw hair regrowth in bolding patients at the same period, leading to a topical formulation for treating male pattern baldness in males and eventually females.

A 2% minoxidil solution was first introduced to the market in 1986, followed by a 5% solution in 1993. It has remained an effective topical therapy for a variety of hair-related issues.

Although it has never been approved for use on the beard, it is used by many beard growers who struggle to fill in patchy areas.

How to use minoxidil

Men who used topical minoxidil grew beards faster than those who used a placebo. The findings were published in the Journal of the Japanese Dermatological Association in 2016. These are the results of this study:

Effect of 3% minoxidil solution of the growth of a beard

You can see that the 3% minoxidil solution resulted in a much higher hair count relative to the baseline.

Patients were instructed to dab a 0.5 mL of 3% minoxidil ointment on their chin twice a day.

  1. Wet the face using a towel
  2. Apply the solution
  3. Do not wash your face for 4 hours
  4. Repeat twice a day

I believe the people with the most success with this intervention need to apply this treatment religiously for many weeks before seeing any significant results.

Minoxidil and micro-needling

Derma rollers and micro-needling are popular among women for wrinkle reduction, and now the producers are targeting guys.

They function in a certain way.

  1. The beard roller’s microscopic needles penetrate the skin’s surface.
  2. The body responds by mending the injured region and delivering blood to it.
  3. Where the skin has been rolled, circulation improves. This increased blood flow delivers nutrient- and hormone-rich blood to the afflicted region.

Derma rolling stimulates scalp hair, according to a study. The results of this combined approach can be seen below.

Effect of microneedling and minoxidil combination on scalp hair growth

Beard transplants

Beard transplants appear to be a very invasive and risky operation for something that doesn’t seem to matter in the end.

Every bearded guy wishes for a fuller, thicker beard, but undergoing surgery sounds a bit excessive for various reasons. Specifically, the dangers that come with any surgical operation.

This isn’t to say that individuals don’t desire it.

According to 2013 research, facial hair can be transplanted utilising a technique known as follicular unit grafting. You can see the results of this in the photo below.

Testosterone

The treatment of testosterone in senior men gave a substantial stimulation for beard development, according to research published on July 1, 1949, titled impact of testosterone administration on the beard growth of elderly males.

This research is old, but it demonstrates that injecting testosterone into older men can help them develop beards. The study’s shortcomings were that it only employed a small sample of 11 males to conduct it.

  • The experiment results showed that the average beard production was 46 mg of beard after the treatment.
  • During one month of the testosterone injections, it rose to 67 mg, and at the end of two months, it was 71 mg of beard shavings.

All after being administered 25 mg of testosterone three times a week.

Vitamin D

Research on the effect of vitamin D in hair follicle biology was published in 2007. This research isn’t exactly about beards, but it may provide insight into how to grow healthy hair everywhere on the body, including your beard. As a result, it is critical to comprehend.

Conclusion – Do beard growth kits really work?

In summary, beard growth kits do not work in boosting your beard growth.

At best, the beard growth kits will help you maintain a healthy beard once you already have one. At worst, the beard kits are misleading and mainly marketing with no scientific basis for growing your beard.

You are much better off spending money on multivitamins (should you need it) and looking at the use of minoxidil for filling out your beard if you need a little bit of help.

The Author


Andy Stapleton

Andy is a writer and YouTuber with a PhD in science. He has written and/or produced videos for Science Alert, COSMOS magazine, and Australia's Science Channel among others. He is an avid beard grower and after many years of growing and trialing different beard styles, he started this blog to share the tips, tricks, and science that he has learned along the way!