Before launching into a potentially long beard growing journey it would be nice to set expectations. Are you even capable of growing a beard? What would the end result look like and if there are any techniques that could be used to grow a thicker beard? How to know if you can grow a beard or not comes down to these four simple questions…
The important aspects of beard growing are your relatives, beard hair density, body hair, and the average hair growth for someone your age. But ultimately, no matter what the outcome, your beard will look good no matter what as long as you have confidence.
Here’s an infographic that summarizes the information below:
1. Can your relatives grow a beard?
One of the biggest factors in determining beard growth is genetics. The good news is that you don’t need to have an expensive DNA test to determine if you have the right genes to grow a beard.
All you have to do is look at your family – particularly the men in your family.
That also doesn’t mean the men on your father’s side of the family either. The genes required to grow a good, thick and lush beard comes from both your maternal and paternal (mum and dad’s) gene pool.
So the most important question to ask yourself if any of your relatives have a great beard…or, at least, the potential to grow a great beard.
The issue is that the inheritance of genes can get pretty complicated. For example, your brother may be able to grow a beard and you can’t! That’s because your brother, like you, inherits 50% of their genetic makeup from their father and 50% from their mother BUT they could be different genes!
We even get a very small amount of genes from even more distant relatives. You share about 0.78% of your DNA with your great-great-great-great-great grandfather (aka 5th great-grandfather). So, even though it is very unlikely that your beard growing potential comes from your great-great-great-great-great grandfather – it is a possibility.
That is why sometimes why siblings may have a very different appearance despite having the same mother and father.
2. Do you have ‘good’ hair density?
Some people may be able to grow a beard – it may just be patchy or lack hair density in the right places.
In my experience, the chin and mustache areas are the thickest parts of the beard – the cheeks are the least populated parts of my beard. If you are struggling with those parts of your beard – check out my other post – How to grow a beard on your cheeks. Some of the tips in there may help you.
Determining your hair density on different parts of your face may be the best way to determine if you can grow a decent beard.
A 2011 study found that you can reliably determine the density of a beard by using a simple photographic method. Take a look at the image from the University of Pennsylvania for examples of the hair density that they found.
But don’t worry! There are plenty of bead styles that do not require a think density on your cheeks. Work with what you have and be super confident in your choice. That is always the best way to grow your beard! It makes you more attractive too!
3. Are you hairy elsewhere?
Another great way to know if can grow a good beard is if you are hairy elsewhere on your body.
The same hormones that are responsible for beard growth also control the amount of body hair that you can grow.
An expert told the Huffington Post that beard hair is essentially pubic hair…it’s just on your face! The follicles of beard hair are composed in a very similar way to the hair on a man’s groin and armpits. That means that the thickness of the hair and the quality of the hair are very similar.
Hairy men, probably, can grow a beard better than those without any body hair. I know of many friends who can grow a beard and also have a hairy chest, back, legs and arms. While I know a few where the opposite is true.
By looking at your body hair you may get an indication of the extent to which you can grow a beard.
4. Are you the right age to grow a beard?
The last important question is: Are you even at the right age to be able to grow a great beard? check out my video:
The ability to grow a beard occurs after puberty. It is one of the last characteristics that appear after puberty.
These are the steps that typically occur after the onset of puberty and the age that it happens.
When does a beard grow?
Facial hair in males does not always appear in a specific order during puberty and varies among some individuals but may follow this process:
During the later stages of puberty, the first facial hair to appear tends to grow at the corners of the upper lip (age 11–15). That is where a lot of people first notice the onset of their beard growth.
Soon after noticing it on the side of the lip it then spreads to form a moustache over the entire upper lip (age 16–17).
This is followed by the appearance of hair on the upper part of the cheeks and the area under the lower lip (age 16–18).
It eventually spreads to the sides and lower border of the chin and the rest of the lower face to form a full beard (age 17–21).
Although this order is commonly seen, it can vary widely, with some facial hair starting from the chin and up towards the sideburns.
As with most human biological processes, this specific order may vary among some individuals depending on one’s genetic heritage or environment.
A few people from forums agree. Saying that they didn’t really reach their beard-growing potential until their late twenties or early thirties.
I couldn’t grow anything until I was about 25, which was very similar to my father. I’m 28 now going on month 9 of growing my second yeard, and this one is twice as thick as my first one at age 26-27.Reddit
What to do if you can’t grow a beard
While it can be tempting to think there’s a magic pill that can help you grow a beard. The reality is that there are a lot of people willing to separate you from your money with fancy products that simply just don’t work.
I would hate for you to hold on to false hope
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.
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.
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.
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!