How long it takes to repair a beard [Times explained]

If your beard has started to become damaged, you may be in for a long battle to return it to its former glory. Catching any beard damage early is the key to stopping it quickly and exponentially getting worse.

It can take anywhere between two weeks and six months to repair a beard. The deeper and more extreme damage can take many months of meticulous care to return your beard to its former condition. Catching damage early is the key to repairing it quickly.

Growing and caring for a beard relies on regular use of organic products and monitoring your beard for any drastic changes. Changes such as increased frizziness, dryness and a greater number of tangles may be the early warning signs of much deeper issues with your maintenance routine.

Each beard is different. Your beard will require a completely different routine to someone else’s. Monitoring your beard for early warning signs of damage is the only way to hone in on the perfect schedule and maintenance regime.

My beard has taken me two years to fully understand when it needs different products and the best product formulations for the beard issues I face.

In this article, we will have a look at the level of damage and the early warning signs so that you can reduce the amount of time it takes to repair your beard. Then we shall look at what caused the damage and how to repair your beard rapidly.

The level of damage depends on how quickly you can repair a beard. In the table below, I have summarised the length of time depending on the severity of the beard damage.

Level of damageHow long it takes to repair
Cuticle damage – beard looking dull and lifelessTwo weeks of intense hydrating treatments.
Shaft damage – knotting and shaft defectsThree months of intense hydration treatment and caring for a beard carefully.
Full breakage – brittle beardFour months caring for the beard and allowing the breakage points to grow out.
Full beard hair lossUp to one year of lifestyle changes, including better eating habits and regular exercise.

What level of damage?

To understand how long it’ll take you to recover from any beard damage, we need to understand the different levels of damage that a beard can encounter.

I like to think of beard damage in terms of the layers found in beard hair. The outer layer of the beard is called the cuticle, and it is the appearance of this part of the beard which will give you your earliest warning signs.

Cuticle damage

Cuticle damage is the easiest to spot. It is the earliest stage of beard damage and the easiest to notice.

Healthy beard hair is shiny, lustrous, flows well and is easy to manage. It is very easy to know when your beard is becoming damaged when the shine quickly dulls. The shininess of your beard hair relies on the cuticles to be lying flat. When the cuticles become compromised and stick up, it is likely to cause your beard hair to become dull.

The dullness is the scattering of light from cuticle cells that have been damaged and are not laying flat against the hairs shaft.

Should you notice that your beard is becoming dull, jump at the opportunity to trial different creams and conditioners for your beard.

If it is only cuticle damage, it will likely take you one or two weeks to return your beard to its shiny and healthy state.

Once the cuticle opens, the hair shaft is much more susceptible to further damage.

Shaft damage

If your beard hair has shaft damage, it will take much longer to repair. In extreme cases of shaft damage, you may have to wait for it to grow out completely. This growing process can take weeks.

Shaft damage is easy to identify by running the pads of your fingers across your beard. I first noticed shaft damage towards the ends of my beard, and by rolling individual hairs on my fingertips, I often feel little bumps.

I feel the bumps are areas of the beard hair that has become compromised. They are a centralisation point of tangles and can easily become a full breakage.

I often feel these under the jaw area of my beard. Every time I feel one, I pull at it until it breaks off completely. This pulling is a habit rather than a useful intervention for shaft damage.

If you notice shaft damage throughout significant portions of your beard, it can take a couple of months to fully hydrate and condition your beard to minimise the concentration of bumps and defects in the beard hairs.

Shaft damage is the next stage of damage and can lead to complete breakage.

Complete breakage

If your beard hair starts to snap and break completely off, this is a sign of significant damage. Trimming back the beard to the height of the compromised area of the beard is one way to stop the damage from progressing up through the shaft of the beard. A clean-cut is much easier to condition and manage than a frayed end.

If you notice a significant amount of complete breakage and your beard hair has a significant number of lengths, it can take up to 4 months for the beard hair to grow out to a uniform length.

Fall out

The last stage of beard hair damage is the complete fallout of beard hairs from the root.

The intervention for this level of damage comes at a foundational health level. Beard hairs that are easily pulled out from the root are typically a symptom of a bad lifestyle and poor diet choices. Maintaining a decent level of exercise and eating healthily are the only ways that you can properly combat any issues with your beard falling out.

It can take many months to repair the damage done to beard hair if the root cause is your lifestyle. It can take up to one year to properly change the habits of a lifetime and create the necessary changes to continue growing a healthy and lustrous beard.

Commitment to a lifestyle change to improve the quality of your beard is a big undertaking and will likely cause someone to fail and try again before getting the new lifestyle perfect.

What does damaged hair look like?

Understanding what damaged beard hair looks like will allow you to identify the problems early. Should you encounter any of the issues below, you need to jump on to the fix as soon as possible. The earlier you intervene in this beard problem, the better the long-term outcomes.

A damaged beard hair has the following properties:

  • dull – the outside cuticle cells have become damaged and are not reflecting the light evenly. Cuticle cells are the first line of defence and, once compromised, will allow more damage to take place.
  • Frizzy–damaged beard hairs tend to stick out from the mainline of the beard.
  • Stiff – stiff beard hairs are dry, and the inflexibility shows how little moisture there is in the deepest parts of the hair.
  • Easy to break – beard hair that snaps off easily is a sign of the later stages of beard damage.
  • Very tangled – dry and inflexible beard hairs become much harder to brush, and therefore the hairs tangle much more easily.

Luckily, these issues are very easy to solve by using the right interventions. Sometimes it is as simple as changing your morning beard routine, while others rely on applying the right products and ingredients.

What caused the damage?

Another important variable that determines how long it takes your beard hair to repair is the mode of damage. Chemical and heat damage causes chemical changes to the beard hair, which causes irreversible changes at the molecular level. Most of the causes will require you to grow the beard hair out to eliminate the damaged portion of the beard.

Chemical

Any chemical you put into your beard could potentially damage the beard at the protein level. If you die your beard hair, you may be sucking the moisture out from your hair, making it very rough to touch. Dry hair is much more prone to split ends and breakage.

The easiest way to minimise hair damage due to chemical exposure is to reduce the beard’s frequency is exposure to the chemicals. Give your beard a chance to recover in between applications of chemical dyes or straighteners.

The Sun

The sun is one of the most damaging things for your beard. UV rays can produce free radicals, which will hurt the beard cells at the DNA level.

Free radicals are highly energetic species that exist in your beard. They are produced naturally by metabolic processes in the body and rely on antioxidants to neutralise their activity.

Making sure that you eat a varied diet full of antioxidants and protect your beard when out and about in the sun is important for minimising the effects of the sun and UV rays on your beard.

Heat tools

Using a hair straightener on your beard is a simple but effective way of taming even the wildest of beards. However, the truth of the matter is that beard straighteners, if they are used too much, can damage your hair.

Any extreme heat treatments can quickly dry out beard hair and leave it in a worse state than it started in. The daily use of a straightener can exacerbate dry hair problems.

This high heat makes it more vulnerable to split ends and breakage. The more heat you use and the more often you use it, the worse it will become. It’s like a vicious cycle of bad hair treatment.

In extreme cases of overheating hair, you can cause bubbles to form in the shaft of the hair.

These bubbles were first reported in 1986 and further characterised in 1992.  In 1994, there was a study performed to have a look at the origin of bubble hair. They found that if you heat the hair too much, you can form gas bubbles in the hair.

The study found that bubbles can be formed in the hair if you use a hairdryer operating at about 30° hotter than a typical hairdryer. This heating can also be caused by a beard straightener operating at too high a temperature.

The damage caused by heating tools causes permanent changes to the beard hair structure and will require your patients to allow the beard hair to grow out.

Bad lifestyle choices

For your beard to grow strong, it will have to be supplied with very specific nutrients throughout your growing journey. If you do not provide your beard with the appropriate nutrients, it can take a very long time to repair.

To ensure that your beard grows strong and healthily, check out my YouTube video, where I talk about the seven foods that will help increase your beard growth. These same recommendations mean that your beard is less likely to become damaged, and any repairs you perform will be more effective and repair the damage faster.

Rapid damaged beard fixes

if you want to repair your beard quickly, I recommend using coconut oil as it is an incredible, highly penetrating oil that has been scientifically proven to benefit your beard.

Coconut oil

Coconut oil is a fantastic solution to create soft beard hair. It is suitable for every type of beard, whether long, short, dark, grey or any other combination. This natural oil is jampacked with fatty acids, which penetrate deep into the beard hair, leaving it conditioned and feeling awesome.

In 2015 researchers looked at several studies and found that coconut oil has a high affinity for hair proteins and a unique ability to penetrate deep into the hair shaft. This penetration is a key factor in making this a brilliant home remedy for your beard.

How to use coconut oil:

  • you can use coconut oil like any conditioner. You can replace the common beard conditioner with coconut oil. I have used it in my DIY beard oils and farms and find it a fantastic additive. Use this after shampooing your hair and rinse out with water
  • If you need a deeper treatment, you can use a teaspoon or two throughout your beard hair and leave it in the beard for at least 30 minutes. Rinse out with water and shampoo. You can even leave it in for extended periods if you need a deep hydration treatment.

The final word

This article is gone through everything you need to know to determine how long it will take your beard hair to repair after becoming damaged.

Catching the problems earlier will result in a much quicker resolution to your beard damage. As soon as it starts looking dull and feels dry to the touch, you should immediately infuse the beard with deeply penetrating and long-lasting conditioning.

Coconut oil is a fantastic way of doing so and can be used as an emergency treatment for damaged and dull beard hair.

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!