How late can beards come in? [with videos]

When you are waiting for your beard to grow it can be incredibly frustrating. You see, everyone’s beard growing journey is different and it depends on a variety of factors as to whether or not your beard grows when you are younger or if you have to wait into your mid 30s until it gets thick and dense. It is normal for new beard growers and young people to ask how late can beards come in? Well, there is no simple answer but in this article we will cover everything you need to know about how and when you should expect your beard to grow.

Some beards can come in as young as 18 to 20 while others may only have patched and sparse coverage up until their late 20s. Beards are a secondary effect of testosterone. Depending on their genetics some men may also never achieve a full thick beard.

When I was about 13 I just couldn’t wait to shave. I had fuzziness on my top lip and on my cheeks… Just. I actually lied about when I started shaving because I was so impatient and just wanted to live up to what my friends were experiencing as they had all started shaving. Little did I know at the time but I didn’t have to worry. Throughout my 20s and into my early 30s my beard continued to develop. Now I have a full, thick beard without patches that grows densely and evenly. If you had told young Andy that he would be rocking a full-length beard in his early 30s he would have relaxed much more about his facial hair.

One of the biggest determinants of your beard growth is all about your genetics and heritage. People of Asian descent quite often struggle to grow a thick and luxurious beard whilst Indian and Mediterranean heritage dictates that you are more than likely able to grow a good thick beard.

Now, let’s take a look at different ages and what we can expect for each age group.

Is it normal to have a beard at 16?

There is something seriously wrong with this question…We have to define what normal is. The simple answer is there is no normal and everyone’s beard develops at different stages. Beards do not care what age you are they only care about the man of testosterone and androgen receptors that are in your face. Due to the huge variation in human beings there is no normal age to expect about grow a beard. It’s actually anywhere between about 16 and 40 years old and it’s also perfectly normal not to ever to be able to grow a beard.

You may have friends who are 16 and have a full beard. I actually had a friend who seem to have gone through all the stages of puberty when he was about 13. This made me compare myself to him and feel like I was not normal. The truth is that we were both normal and that normal exists on a spectrum.

So, some people will have beards at 16 while others will have to wait until there late 20s to see any significant growth. That doesn’t mean that you can’t look after your facial hair and skin before your growth sets in.

Also, have a look at the men in your family. Can they grow beard? Has everyone in your family got a beard? What about your uncles and cousins – do they have beards? If you want to know if you can grow a beard check out my YouTube video where I go through full simple checks that you can make to see if your beard will grow into something you’re proud of:

Is it normal to not have a beard at 20?

If you do not have a beard at 20 years old do not worry there is plenty of opportunity to grow a thicker and fuller beard. If however you do not have any hair on your face or it is incredibly thin and patchy you may not be able to grow a full coverage beard. But that shouldn’t stop you from thinking about the sorts of beard styles that will work for you.

Once again, there is no normal when it comes to beard growth. Everyone’s journey is different. For me I did not have a significant beard at 20 I had strong growth on my chin and upper lip but the cheeks were patchy. It wasn’t until my late 20s that everything combined and I was able to grow a great beard.

Some users from Reddit talked about this exact subject, this is what they have to say:

I’m 24 and can grow a great beard now (actually get compliments on it) and it gets better every year. I had a neck beard starting at 15-16 and it was fairly patchy till 20-21, and I wasn’t fully confident growing it out until I was 22.

I believe the magic age for my brothers has been 25 or so. The whole facial hair thing seems largely dependant on genetics, so if you have any male relatives maybe look to them for a clue?

I’m 23 and it’s still growing. I’m noticing it has increased in uh..fullness..a lot since I started working out. I’ve got a few patches left, but it’s 100% better since I was 20.

Yes. I had a very patchy, comical beard at 22, the last time I tried to grow a full one. I’m 42 now, and it comes in full and complete, but also gray.

As you can see, these users still have a fair bit of growth that they are able to achieve and it looks like they are continuing to see increases in growth after 20.

So if you are 20 and you are worried that you don’t have a beard just yet don’t worry. Just wait. There is no reason why you can’t look after your beard and skin by keeping it well moisturised and if you have a little bit of stubble you can soften up and condition the hair by using products like beard oil and other moisturising products.

If you want to know about my journey and if beard growth increases with age check out my YouTube video where I go through my journey from 17, to 21, to 35 and everything in between.

Can a beard grow after 30?

If you do not have any facial hair on your face after 30 you probably can’t grow a beard. However, if you have facial hair but are waiting for it to thicken up you may be in luck. Facial hair can thicken after 30 and the hairs can get thicker and denser. But it is uncommon for men who have no facial hair before the age of 30 to experience any significant increase in their facial hair.

But do not worry there are a few ways that you can grow your facial hair after the age of 30 that has been proven by science. For a full rundown check out my other article – is there a proven way to grow facial hair? [The studies you need to know about] – click here.

Here’s a quick rundown of what you can do after the age of 30 if you want to grow a beard:

  • beard transplants – beard transplants are a pretty intrusive intervention for growing a beard. They take hairs from other parts of your face and inject them into your skin grafting the full hair root and a little bit of skin around it.
  • Minoxidil – minoxidil was first used as an oral medicine for the treatment of hypertension. But at the same time doctors observed that there was hair regrowth in bolding patients which led to the development of a topical treatment for hair growth. It has been used off label on the face with varying results. If you feel like minoxidil is a good option for you check out the sub Reddit Minoxbeards for a full rundown on everything that you need to know about.
  • Testosterone injections – the importance of androgen hormones in determining beard growth was first found in 1942. In 1949 a small study found that if you administer testosterone to elderly males that they produce more beard growth. The results of experiments showed that the average weight of beard production was 46 mg of beard and after two months of testosterone injections it was 71 mg of beard.

If you are 30 it is up to you how you intrusive you want the beard treatments to get. Before launching into any surgical intervention however make sure that you know what you’re getting yourself in two and you understand the side-effects and the reasonable outcomes. You wouldn’t want to go through all of this invasive treatment to not end up with a beard that you are happy with and a wallet that is way emptier than before.

Do beards get thicker with age?

The thickness of the beard hair is determined by the production of testosterone and the amount of testosterone and androgen receptors that are in the face. Many people experience beard is getting thicker with age. Most men report that their beard growth thicker from the age of about 25 mile after the age of about 35 men’s testosterone production reduces by about 1 to 2% every year. This can cause thinning out of beard hair and a reduction in the thickness of the beard.

Testosterone (and beards) as we age

Clearly we can see that there is an important link between testosterone and DHT and the growth of a beard.

We can, therefore, take a look at the amount of testosterone produced in the body as a function of time to determine whether or not beard growth increases with age.

Normal testosterone

The “normal” or healthy level of testosterone in the bloodstream varies widely, depending on thyroid function, protein status, and other factors.

According to recent guidelines from the American Urological Association (AUA), a testosterone level of at least 300 nanograms per deciliter (ng/dL) is normal for a man. A man with a testosterone level below 300 ng/dL should be diagnosed with low testosterone.

The decrease in testosterone

As men get older, their testosterone levels may decline by about 1 -2 percent per year after age 30.

Although this slight reduction of testosterone doesn’t seem like much on the surface, what this means is that after ten years of a 1-2 % drop every twelve months, a man could find that his production of testosterone is down 20 percent.

Now that can make a tremendous adverse impact on his overall well-being quality of life as well as the growth and thickness of the beard.

Here is a breakdown of the testosterone levels in men at different ages from this source.

Age YearsTotal Testosterone Average RangeNormal Total Testosterone
30 – 40219 – 1009 ng/dL600 – 675 ng/dL
40 – 50201 – 993 ng/dL500 – 550 ng/dL
50 – 60170 – 918 ng/dL400 – 450 ng/dL
Over 60156 – 700 ng/dL300 – 350 ng/dL

This reduction in testosterone from the age of 30 will likely cause the beard to reduce in thickness and color but it is your genetics that really plays a huge part in determining your beard growth.

Who is the youngest person with a beard?

The youngest people to develop beards typically have rare genetic conditions. In 2016 a toddler who was one year old had facial hair and had been through adult puberty. The child was diagnosed with a super rare condition known as precocious puberty. This caused the baby to have all of the effects of puberty at a very very young age. The doctor that treated him said it is a rare case that happens once in 10 or so years.

The youngest woman to have a beard is Harnaam Kaur who is a 24 year old British anti-bullying activist, life coach, and motivational speaker. She first started to notice that she was grow facial hair at the age of 11 and was diagnosed with polycystic ovary syndrome at the age of 12. This is a condition which means she has much more testosterone than most women which is what causes the facial hair to grow.

The two cases above are examples where there is a rare genetic condition. Therefore when you are looking for the youngest people with beards you need to make sure that you are comparing them to yourself with similar genetic make up.

Beard growth stages

If you are interested in the stages of beard growth going check out my other article – growing a beard? These are the stages that you can expect to go through – click here.

The stages of beer growth come down to the time that you have not shaved. The speed thickness and density of the growth will vary from person to person but largely this is what you can expect:

  • one week in – you don’t have much to show the state other than a little bit of overgrown stubble.
  • Two weeks in – you are starting to look a little bit scruffy as the hairs are starting to curl and escape the safety of your skin.
  • One month – your beard will start to be looking much thicker and you will be getting an idea of where you are and are not able to grow a beard.
  • Week six – this is where you are able to define the neckline and trim up any stray hairs that may be escaping the overall shape of the beard.
  • Week 10 – you’ll start noticing that the chin is looking denser and has got some nice length to it.
  • Week 16 – this is only the start and your beard can get much longer than you thought. Take a look at the length and patches and approach a barber to trim up if you feel like you need a little bit of help moulding the style.

Check out my YouTube video where I go through all of the stages of beard growth and what you can expect. I include pictures of every single stage of my beard growth from day zero until full coverage. It is important to note that my beard journey is only about my experience. There are plenty of other videos online and I recommend that you look at a range of them to get an idea of the types of stages and beard growth that different people experience.


Your beard can come in anywhere from 16 through to 35. It is common that people see a significant amount of beard growth in their mid 20s as the testosterone is having its secondary effect on the hairs of your face.

There is no doubt that waiting for a beard is a painfully slow process. You will go through every stage and question whether or not you should or shouldn’t be growing a beard. The solution to nearly every problem with beard is to wait. You need to wait for at least three months without shaving before you know whether or not you can grow a good beard.

It will take some time and you may have to wait until your mid 20s before you decide on your beard growing potential. There are lots of things you can do before growing a beard such as moisturising and using beard oil on the shorter hairs to prepare your face for its beard growing journey.

Happy beard growing my beautiful beard growing friends and I wish you good luck in your beard growing journey!

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 trialling different beard styles, he started this blog to share the tips, tricks, and science that he has learned along the way!