How to grow a beard if you can’t – the TRUTH you need to hear!

If you have found this page you are probably looking for some magical pill or hormone treatment that will help you grow a thick luxurious beard. I’m here to tell you that there are a few things that you need to consider if you are not seeing the growth that you want. But don’t be swayed by the supplements that promise a thicker beard – most of them simply do not work!

If you cannot grow a beard there are methods to boost your beard growth such as resistance training, your diet, getting enough sleep, and looking after yourself. Combining this with the right beard style for your beard will make sure that you rock any facial hair with confidence.

I’m sorry to be the one to tell you that if you can’t grow the beard of your dreams no oil, balm, or tablet that’ll help with your facial hair – there’s just no evidence that these things work! BTW – that is what this is all about anyway- rocking what you have with CONFIDENCE!

The good news is that there are some things that you can consider that go beyond simply taking an expensive pill. There are beard style options and methods that you can use to maximize the hair (or lack of it) on your face.

There’s no magic pill

I want to warn you that there are tonnes of supplements that simply do not work. These are just sold to people like yourself who are feeling insecure about their facial hair. These pills or supplements are simply good marketing designed to separate you from your money.

There are many scam products like Beardilizer, Beard Grow XL, or Vitabeard that are nothing more than a load of promises with little to no research behind them.

Before we do a delve into what actually works for people who want to grow a thicker and more substantial beard lets look at the actual growth cycle of hair growth.

Hair growth cycle

Hair growth goes through three different stages.

  1. Anagen stage
  2. Catagen stage
  3. Telogen stage
How to grow a beard is you cant - phases

In the anagen phase of the cycle, 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. Interestingly, about 80 percent to 90 percent of the hairs on your head are in this stage of hair growth.

The catagen phase is a short intermediate stage that occurs at the end of the anagen phase. 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 is after the short catagen phase. Here the hair is released from the skin and the hair follicle takes a well-earned rest for the 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 stages of this cycle.

Growing a beard with anagen stimulators

Some beard and hair products claim to be able to help hair stay in the anagen phase for longer. But do not believe them without seeking professional advice.

Before using any of these over-the-counter products, first talk to a doctor, or a dermatologist, and ask if there is any peer-reviewed research that supports the claims that your new-found product makes.

At best, you’ve gotten confirmation that your newly found product is as good as it says it is. And at worst you’ve just found out that you’ve dodged side effects from hell!

While the hair growth on your body all go through the same phase the beard hair growth cycle is dependant on the level of testosterone in your body.

Let’s take a look at how testosterone is responsible for beard growth.

What you need to know about testosterone and beards.

Testosterone is the primary male sex hormone that you learn about in high school. During puberty testosterone is responsible for a load of bodily changes and the one we are interested in is the development of facial hair.

Most males have a very similar level of testosterone in their body. But the men with the thick body hair and beards are more sensitive to the testosterone produced in their bodies. These men are also more likely to go bald because of the increased sensitivity that their body has to the male hormone, testosterone.

Testosterone receptors can be found in hair follicles and can cause hair to grow or not grow. For example, beard hairs are stimulated by testosterone while head hairs can stop growing due to testosterone. It just depends on the sort of hair follicle.

In regards to beard hairs, testosterone can cause it to grow faster and fuller as well as cause hair to grow where it didn’t in the past. It takes a long time for testosterone to have its full effect on the face. So if you are only young, remember that beards look best when people are in their 30’s.

Ways to boost testosterone

Although boosting your testosterone using these methods won’t turn a non-existent beard into a lush thick face hugger. If you want to boost the amount of testosterone in your body these are some natural way that you can achieve it.

Resistance training

This is the most effective ways to boost testosterone and it has the added benefit of being a way to prevent many lifestyle-related diseases.

Studies have shown that weight lifting is the best type of exercise you can do to boost your testosterone. High-intensity interval training comes in a close second but any type of exercise that you do will help in some way!

Diet – Eat lots of protein, fat, and carbs

What you eat has a major impact on all of the hormone levels in your body including testosterone.

If you are a binge eater or you are always on a calorie-restricted diet you are at risk of changing your testosterone levels.

A diet based on whole foods is best for encouraging testosterone production. A healthy balance of fat protein and carbs, when combined with resistance training, can boost your beard growing hormone!

Minimize stress and sleep well

We are seeing more and more research into the dangers of long-term stress that can increase the amount of cortisol in your body. Cortisol is a hormone related to stress and when it goes up in the body testosterone goes down!

Reduce the repetitive stressful situations in your life.

The ideal amount of sleep varies from person to person but a study has shown that sleeping only five hours per night resulted in a 15% decrease in testosterone levels. You should aim to get about 7-10 hours of sleep a night.


Now, be very careful when taking any supplements that aren’t recommended by a professional.

That said, multivitamins and other health products are being investigated for their testosterone boosting power. Take vitamin D for example.

Vitamin D may act as a natural testosterone booster. A 12-month study showed that supplementing with around 3,000 IU of vitamin D3 per day increased testosterone levels by around 25%.

Getting out in the sun is another great way to boost your vitamin D levels. So stop sitting in front of your computer and get out in the sun and do something fun!

Although these are the main ways to boost for testosterone naturally, growing a thick, full beard may just not be within your reach. Those with male relatives that cannot grow a long thick beard may also struggle because of the genetic factors.

The genetic factors are impossible to change and you can cause yourself a lot of anxiety if you worry about things that you cannot change.

One option is to look at the different short beard styles that can really help you work with what you’ve got!

Short beard styles that look good!

Just because you can’t grow a massive thick wizard beard it doesn’t mean you can’t rock some sort of facial hair.

Check out my recommended tools page for a trimmer that can keep your beard short and looking sharp – click here.

Here are some beard styles that mean you can grow a beard that matches your strong growth areas.


Maintaining a low level of stubble is such an easy way to keep the bearded look without taking it to the point where it looks a little rubbish.

Keep it trimmed up short at least once a week and you’ll be on to a winner. There was also a study where women preferred men with stubble over a beard – so statistically speaking you are sexier if you choose this option!

Trimmed beard

A trimmed beard has a little more meat to it than a stubble. Set the trimmers to a longer cutting length and keep it all at that set length.

The bloke above is able to rock a patchy beard that would look bad any longer by keeping it shorter. Maybe you could consider doing something similar?


Fading is such an awesome way to choose where the attention is drawn to on your beard. Keep the fade short and professional and you can easily cover up any problem areas by fading out of them.

Using a simple fade requires professional intervention – a DIY job can really turn this style into one that you don;lt want to take out into public!

Clean and short goatee

If you struggle to grow anything on your cheeks this could be a great option for you. Make sure you keep it trimmed up and you could even grow out the chin a little bit to give it a little bit of variety.

Pair this beard with a sharp haircut and it’ll keep it modern and fresh looking.

The final word

Not being able to grow the beard of your dreams is not a medical issue. Sometimes it’s just the cards that you have been dealt with.

I strongly advise against using non-prescribed or store-bought supplements due to the nasty side effects such as scar-inducing acne, liver problems and balding.

By accepting your uniqueness and choosing a beard style that highlights your strengths, I’m in no doubt that you’ll feel stronger for it!

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!