What age does your beard stop filling in? [THE DATA]

When you are growing a beard it just seems like for ever until it becomes a beard that you are happy with. If you are in the early stages of growing a beard, fear not – there are plenty of things you can do to help your beard grow strong and thick including waiting! I often joke that some of the worst issues with a beard can be resolved simply by waiting. If, on the other hand, you are at the early stages of beard growth and puberty you may have a significant time to wait. In this article we are going to go over all of the things you need to know about beards and age. I have also done some research on online forums and gathered all of the ages at which people said their beard stopped filling in.

From my research of looking at online forum posts and gathering the age ranges of when people said their beard was fully developed the majority of people (32%) said that their beard reached its full potential between the ages of 20 to 25. However, there was also a significant number of people who saw their beard develop and fill in well into their 30s.

Growing a beard is a rite of passage for many young boys. It is something that many people want to do and can become impatient if it just looks like he is never going to grow. The development of a beard is a secondary effect of testosterone and puberty.

What the science says about beard growth

Because there is a huge range of when people actually go through puberty there is also a large range of when men can expect their beards to become fully developed. A scientific study published in 1980, looked at the normal ages of pubertal events among American males and females. The study looked at 36 males and 18 females which were examined at six-month intervals during a five year period. They found that the median age at which men developed facial hair was at the age of 15 years old. 20% of the boys investigated had facial hair at the age of 13. Whereas by the age of about 16, 95% of the men had facial hair.

Considering that this is the onset of a beard growth in males it is clear that there is plenty of opportunity in future years for your beard to become thicker and fuller.

In a more recent study published in 2010, they found that black boys developed secondary sex characteristics about seven months earlier than Caucasian boys. So this demonstrates there is a clear difference between the genetics of different nationalities which could indicate why we see a significant difference in the production of a beard between people of different races.

There is no doubt that genetics plays a huge role in determining your beard growth. If you want to know more about what determines whether or not you can actually grow a beard check out my YouTube video on my YouTube channel:

Now, let’s have a look to see what people are reporting around the Internet on when their beard stopped filling in.

How long does it take for a beard to fill in?

Even though there is a significant amount of science and data around when puberty starts. There isn’t much data on the other end of the beard growing spectrum. We are limited to forum posts and answers from anonymous users of different websites to try to get a grasp on what is a typical age at which a beard stops filling in.

I took a look at the most popular sites online where people freely share personal information. This included Reddit, capital, and Quora where people as a very similar question. I created a series of different age ranges and tallied the responses from the different websites.

Here is the result of going through all of the forums and noting down at what age people said their beard stop filling in.

Data from forum posts (Reddit, Quora, Tapatalk, etc)

Age range%
<2024
21 – 2532
26 – 3021
31 – 3511
36 – 405
40+8

You can see from the above table and graph that a significant number of people (about a quarter of the data collected) said that they had developed their beard completely before the age of 20. 32% of people who responded to these online questions said that they had fully developed their beard somewhere in between the ages of 20 and 25.

If you are a little bit older than 25 there is also some hope for you. About 21% of people said that they developed their beard between the ages of 26 and 30 with a significant tailing of the data into the later years of life.

Therefore, we can conclude from this very simple dataset that if you have not developed a full beard before the age of about 30 you are probably unlikely to continue to develop your beard. You may be in the small percentage of people that do have a continuation of filling in – but that is unlikely looking at the spread of the ages.

A lot of the respondents did say that they are still awaiting their beard to fill in past the age of 30. With many users commenting that they cannot grow a beard at all and that a number of people may have to accept the fact that they cannot ever grow a full beard.

Does your beard fill in as you age?

For many beard growers it does not matter that they cannot grow a full beard. There are plenty of other options if you are lacking some coverage on certain parts of your face. You can select a beard style which is able to be best supported by way your beard grows.

Every man is able to grow a beard – it just may not be the beard that they thought they would be able to grow. If you want to find out more about my beard journey check out my YouTube video where I discuss how my beard has changed as I have aged. This is, of course, just my experience and the data presented in the table above will give you a much better representation of the general population’s ability to grow a full beard.

In summary, I feel like many men are in agreement that as you get older your beard does in fact fill in. I know from my own personal experience that my beard was not as full or thick until I was in my early 30s.

My beard growing experience has been paralleled by what my relatives have been able to grow at certain ages. Therefore, I would consider the genetic component of beard growth one of the most important components.

Genetics of beard growth

Take a look at the members of your family which can or cannot grow a good beard. This will be one of the best indicators for you of whether or not you can grow a beard. And also be a good comparison so you can understand at what age your beard is likely to be completely filled in.

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.

How testosterone changes as you age

Beard hair starts to grow thick and dark when there is the presence of testosterone and DHT in your body. Beard hair is stimulated by these hormones which are produced after the onset of puberty.

There are many things that you can do to boost the amount of testosterone that your body is producing. But, one of the best things you can do is work hard in improving your overall health which allows your metabolism to work efficiently and therefore produce more testosterone.

Testosterone increases in the body after puberty and then after the age of 30 there is a 1 to 2% decrease per year of testosterone levels. Even though there is a slight reduction of testosterone after compounding reductions year after year testosterone can be down as much as 20% by the age of 40.

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 colour but it is your genetics that really plays a huge part in determining your beard growth.

At what age does your beard stop getting thicker?

The data in the above table indicates to us that after the age of 30 your beard is unlikely to develop significantly more or get any thicker. This would support the data that was collected from forums shown in the first table in this article.

The human mail has two types of hair covering their body. Firstly, there is an ultrafine, un-pigmented short hair which is known as the vellus hair. The other sort of hair is thick, long, and pigmented and they are known as terminal hairs. It is the testosterone that is produced which determine which type of hair is produced.

That is because your testosterone levels and the receptors at the base of the hair are what dictate how thick the beard gets. There is also a massive genetic component to the thickness of the beard hairs as the thickness of the hair shaft is determined by the size of the hair papilla.

If you want to know more about why beard hairs are so thick you can check out my other article – why are beard hairs so thick – the answers from science – click here.

Do beards get darker with age?

Your beard colour is determined by the pigmented molecules which are produced in the hair follicle as the hair is made.

When you first start developing a beard the hair will continue to get thicker as it changes from the light vellus hairs which are all over the human body to terminal hairs – the hairs that we are familiar with when we think of a beard. Once all of the hairs which are affected by testosterone have thickened up the hair will not get any darker.

There is no evidence to suggest that beards get darker with age beyond what happens at puberty. Although they can change colour due to the malfunctioning and age of pigment creating cells in the hair root. It is quite normal for hair change colour as you age with the most likely option being that your hair will become lighter and grey from your mid 30s onwards.

If you are concerned about whether or not Ray beards are attractive – check out my other article where I looked at all of the results from online polls and forums to give you a definitive answer to this question – click here.

Will a patchy beard fill in?

If you are under the age of 25 and your beard is patchy, do not worry! There is plenty of time for your beard to develop and connect.

It is a common issue that has no one answer suitable for everyone. Not everyone is able to grow a full evenly spread beard. In fact, it is quite uncommon to have the perfect coverage of beard hairs. If you speak to any bearded person they will tell you all of the issues that they have had to overcome in order to grow their current beard.

A patchy beard is likely to fill in if you are under the age of 30. If you have reached the age of 30 and your beard still has patches there isn’t too much you can do stop however, there are some men which savour their beards develop well into their 40s. This seems to be an outlier however.

If you want to know more about growing out and dealing with your patchy beard check out my YouTube video where I discussed the six insider tips for patchy beard success:

Here are some of the things you can do if your beard has not filled in and you are concerned about it:

  • wait for six months – sometimes we are our worst enemies and we are constantly obsessed with trimming up and shaping our beards. If you find that you are developing patchy areas wait. In this six months you will get to and understand whether or not you are able to cover up the patches with hair either side of the patch or if your head just needed a little bit of time to grow.
  • Choose a beard style that suits you – you should choose a beard style that suits your growth patterns. Remember to grow your beard and not someone else’s. There are great beard styles which lack the cheek area, moustache, sides, or cleverly use fades to cover-up problem areas.
  • Keep it shorter in the troubled areas – if you have symmetrical trouble areas (for example on your cheeks) you can cleverly use fades and short clippers to hide these issues behind a style.
  • Use medication as a last resort – some people like to use products like minoxidil to develop their beard growth. Even though some people have had a significant improvement of the beard growth in certain areas of their face this comes with potential side-effects.

Following the above advice will make sure that you are able to grow a beard that you are proud of – remember, that this may not be the beard that you thought you would be able to grow. Part of this beard growing journey is to grow a beard by assessing the strong and weak points and choosing a beard style that matches that growth pattern.

Try not to be swept in by scam beard growing products to cover patches. They almost always do not work in the way that they say they will.

Summary

Your beard should continually fill in until about the age of 25. Some people also have said that their beard continues to fill in past the age of 30 but, according to our research, this is unlikely.

If you find that you have a patchy beard there are plenty of things that you can do to make sure that your beard grows in an intentional looking way which, ultimately, will be the thing that makes it look better than a long beard that is struggling to achieve a good density.

Happy beard growing!

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!