Why does my beard grow so slow?

There is no doubt that growing a beard is a painfully slow process for many. Beard hair grows at a rate of about 0.38 mm per day. That is something that you cannot see and for many it feels like they are watching paint dry. One of the biggest factors of the perception of a slow-growing beard is actually the decreasing rate of change. When you first start growing a beard, it takes a short amount of time to double the current length so the change is very noticeable. As you continue to grow your beard at a constant rate the relative change in length decreases. This can make it a very frustrating process as your beard gets longer the slower it seems to grow. Here is A complete answer to Why does my beard grow so slow?

Slow growing hair can be due to your diet, the levels of your stress in your life, the amount of vitamins and minerals that you consume, and it may be that it is just your perception of the rate of growth.

Here, we are going to cover all of the different reasons why your beard is growing so slowly and tackle the common myths of speeding up your beard growth.

Why does my beard grow so slow – what slows down facial hair growth?

Facial hair can be slowed down for a variety of reasons. The body has a unique way of responding to different inputs and one of those responses could be that your hair is producing less facial hair. It could be a response to stress, a poor diet, and an unhealthy lifestyle (like not exercising) and it can also be due to more medical-type issues such as an imbalance of hormones or change in testosterone levels.

These are the typical reasons why your facial hair could be slowing down:

  • poor diet – it takes a load of calories to create hair from your body. So if you want to increase the amount of hair growth your body needs the energy to be able to do so in a productive way. Testosterone is the key hormone behind increasing the speed of your beard and so a calorie restricted diet will reduce the amount of testosterone your body produces.
  • Vitamins and minerals – if your diet has a restricted amount of vitamins it is inevitable that your body will not be operating at its best. This will mean that your beard will also slow down.
  • Hormone levels – facial hair is androgenic hair (this means the growth is stimulated by hormones). If there is a change in your hormone level, specifically testosterone, this could slow down your beard growth. This could happen because of things like ageing, weight gain, lack of sleep, inactivity, and poor nutrition.

All of these reasons, and more, could be the reason why your beard is growing slowly. Let’s take a look at all of the different reasons why your beard is growing slowly – and importantly what you can do about it.

Why is my beard growing slowly?

Here, I’m going to go over all of the important reasons of why your beard is growing slowly. These have been accumulated from the Internet and have been supported by science.


If you want to know more about beard growth and age check out my other article – does beard growth increase with age? – Click here.

There is no doubt that age has an impact on beard growth. We know this because as boys enter puberty testicles begin to produce the hormone testosterone. This is the hormone that is responsible for growing a beard and other secondary puberty affects. Just as testosterone increases around the early teenage years it can also decrease as men get older. Testosterone levels may decline by about 1 to 2% per year after the age of 30.

This doesn’t necessarily seem like a lot but, after about 10 years of a small drop a man could find that his testosterone levels are reduced by about 20%.

A study in 2001 looked into the ageing effects on free testosterone levels in healthy men. They measured the testosterone and sex hormone binding agents in 890 men. After compensating for date effects they observed a significant decrease in testosterone levels. The testosterone levels decreased by about 20% in men over 60, 30% over 70 and 50% over 80 years of age.

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.

Therefore, if you are noticing a difference in your beard growth after you have passed a specific age it could be that your testosterone levels are different. If you believe that they are significantly different and you want to check on them go to see a trusted medical professional to make sure that you are in the normal range for your age group.

You’re not eating enough to support beard growth

Growing a beard takes a load of energy. And therefore if you are not eating enough you could potentially not be giving your body the best opportunity to grow an awesome beard.

A study in 2003 investigated the testosterone concentration and androgen receptor protein levels in the testes of rats that were submitted to a protein and energy restricted diet during 30 days. They found that the energy restricted group showed a significant decrease in the testosterone concentration – it was about 36%. It was one of the first papers to demonstrate that undernutrition can affect reproduction and hormone productions.

A study that is published in the Journal of clinical endocrinology and metabolism looked at the androgenic hormones of a five day military endurance training course on two separate occasions. These physical activities corresponded to a daily energy consumption of about 40,000 kJ. However, for this study, the participants only had an intake of 2000 kJ. The study participants also only slept for 1 to 3 hours in the five day military training course. They found that both the adrenal and hormones produced by the testicles would decrease during prolonged extreme physical exertion and lack of sleep. They found that the free testosterone levels in the participants decreased by 60 to 80% throughout the course of the five days.

This study shows us that if you are sleep deprived and you are on a calorie-restricted diet it could be that you are reducing the amount of testosterone that is produced in your body.

Not only are the number of kilojoules very important for your beard growth but you have to make sure that you are getting a good balance and a complete variety of vitamins and minerals. Let’s look at that now.

You are not getting the necessary vitamins and minerals

Like any other part of your body facial hair needs a variety of nutrients and minerals to grow in a healthy fashion. There are actually a load of different nutritional deficiencies that can have a massive impact on your hair growth and cause hair loss too.

Here are the five vitamins that are important for hair growth in the human body:

  • vitamin A – vitamin A is required by your hair to stay moisturise and grow efficiently. You can find this mineral in sweet potatoes, carrots and leafy green foods such as kale and spinach.
  • Vitamin B – vitamin B helps carry oxygen’s and nutrients to the roots of the hair. The roots of the hair is the only anchor point the hair has to your face and therefore keeping this healthy is a priority for you. B vitamins can be found in whole grains, meat, and seafood.
  • Vitamin C – vitamin C is used by the body to make collagen and can help hair from ageing prematurely. This is a very important aspect of beard growing and you can find vitamin C in citrus and strawberries.
  • Vitamin D – vitamin D’s role in hair growth is not fully understood but a lack of it can result in hair loss. So get out into the sun in a safe manner – with lots of suncream – to increase the amount of vitamin D in your body. If you work in an office environment make sure that you are particularly conscious of getting enough vitamin D throughout your day.
  • Vitamin E – vitamin E helps fight the oxidative stress in your body. Protecting your body from free radicals is an important way to ensure that your hair does not age prematurely. Normal environmental conditions and your daily life can produce free radicals and so eating a good amount of almonds, avocados and sunflower seeds are a good way to protect your hair.

At this point it can seem like you have to be very conscious about eating a load of different meals.

However, if you are not on a calorie restricted or restricted diet you don’t have to worry too much about not getting the appropriate vitamins.

If you feel like you should take a supplement please remember that these do not increase the amount of beard growth that many people expect them to create. The best source for you to get everything you need is from your diet and if you feel like you are struggling to consume enough of the above vitamins speak to a nutritionist to look at your options.

Your beard care routine is too aggressive

There are many ways that you can damage your beard hair throughout your care routine.

Here is a YouTube link to my morning beard routine:

A daily or weekly beard routine contains many aspects and tools that could actually damage your hair. The first thing you need to realise is that wet hair can be damaged very easily by combs or over the aggressive towel drying.

A wet beard is a beard that is easy to damage.

A typical beard routine can include these things which can damage the hair in a variety of ways:

  • shampooing and conditioning – when you first get into the shower and shampoo and condition your beard you will be running your fingers through uncombed hair. This may be an easy way to snag and pull out hairs as you are distributing and massaging the shampoo and conditioner.
  • Towel drying – tell drying is easily one of the most aggressive things you can do to your wet hair. It is already relatively fragile because it has absorbed the moisture from the shower and tell drying, if too aggressive, can easily snap and break hairs.
  • Hair drying – if you over dry your hair it is really easy to heats the hair to the point that it becomes dry and brittle. Use caution when maintaining your beard with a hairdryer and if in doubt use a lower heat setting.
  • Combing and brushing – harsh plastic or metallic combs can easily break beard hairs. It can be very tempting to rate through your beard in an aggressive fashion especially if you are in a rush in the morning. But choosing a comb with a natural bristle is the easiest way to make sure that you don’t harm your beard hair.
  • Straightening your beard – if you are using beard straighteners just like hair drying it can be a way to dry out your beard hair.
  • Application of products – using a product like beard oil, beard wax, or beard balm requires you to distribute the product evenly throughout your hair. Whether you are doing it with your fingers or your current it can be a way to break a beard hairs.

If you think that you are experiencing significant hair forward to rate your beard routine and maintenance schedule try to reduce the amount of harsh rubbing and brushing you do with your beard maintenance.

You might have reached your terminal length

Terminal length is the length your hair would reach without cutting or breaking. Technically, there’s no defined terminal length – hair doesn’t stop when it reaches a certain length. It only stops growing when it reaches the end of its growth cycle and then falls out.

For more information about the growth cycles of beards – check out my blog post

The average growth phase it between two and six years although this is heavily influenced by your genetics, race and hair type. If your growing phase is on the shorter end (two years) you can grow a maximum of 12 inches. However, the average person can expect to grow anywhere between 12 and 36 inches before their hair stops growing and falls out.

Although some people will have a genetic advantage, there’s a natural limit on the length that you can achieve with your beard. There are ways that you can increase the length of your beard by increasing the amount it grows in the anagen phase.

How can I speed up beard growth?

Some of the best ways of increasing your beard growth speed is to actually look after your body in general. This probably isn’t the sexiest thing nor is it as easy as taking a pill or supplement. But by looking after your body you will be looking after your beard too. So let’s take a look at the best ways that you can speed up the growth of a beard naturally.

Eat the right foods

You are what you eat has never been so true. If you want a full rundown on the seven foods that increase beard growth check out my YouTube video which will run you through everything that is important about eating well to support beard growth.

here are the best foods that you should consider eating to support your beard growth:

  • eggs – eggs contain a lot of protein and biotin. Biotin is a molecule which is commonly recommended for brittle hair. It is an essential part of producing keratin which is a protein that will make your beard hair full and strong.
  • Berries, citrus and other fruits – vitamin C is a strong antioxidant and can be found in berries, oranges, kiwifruit’s, lemons, and many more fruits. Vitamin C helps protect the hair follicles against damage from free radicals in the body.
  • Spinach and kale – spinach and kale also contains vitamin C but also has vitamin A which helps the glands on the face produce sebum. Sebum is the natural oil that is produced by your face to keep your hair well conditioned.
  • Fatty fish – some types of fish contain a huge amount of omega three fatty acids and that has been shown to promote hair growth. They also contain a huge amount of protein.
  • Avocados – avocados are a wonderful source of healthy fats. They contain vitamin E and vitamin A which both combat oxidative stress in the body. One study resulted in people with hair loss seeing a 34.5% more growth after taking vitamin E for eight months.
  • Nuts and seeds – nuts and seeds are one of the best little packets of beard growing power. They contain a massive density of beard growing molecules and almonds are some of the best you can eat for your beard closely followed by sunflower, chia and flaxseeds. They are super easy to mix into most of your meals.
  • Meat – red meat is a fantastic source of protein for your beard. It also contains iron and other vitamins that will help make your bed stronger and thicker.

Eating the right foods is one of the easiest ways to make sure your beard remains full thick and strong and doesn’t slow in growth.

Eliminate alcohol

Everyone now knows that smoking and alcohol are bad for your health. But did you know that they can significantly impact your testosterone levels which also means your beard growing capacity.

In general, excessive alcohol consumption decreases testosterone. Excessive alcohol consumption and alcohol abuse are associated with decreased testosterone levels. Some specific ways that alcohol affects testosterone levels include:

Alcohol damages the cells in the testicles which produce testosterone.

Drinking alcohol results in the release of certain pleasure chemicals. While these feel awesome and can produce pleasant and relaxing feelings, they can also interfere with testosterone synthesis.

Alcohol can increase a stress hormone, called cortisol, which is known to decrease testosterone synthesis.

Alcohol may increase the conversion of testosterone to estrogen in the body.

Taking good care of yourself is a very important part of how to grow a beard naturally at home. Should you want to supplement an already healthy lifestyle with natural vitamins Here’s what you could consider using.

Look after your health

No one likes to be told they need to do more exercise and sleep for a full eight hours a night. But that is exactly what your beard needs to grow as thick and healthy as possible. There are a number of really awesome ways that you can stay healthy and as fit as possible here are a couple of little tricks that you can use:

  • eat the fruit and don’t drink juice – Juicing fruits causes them to you lose a lot of nutrition. Eating the fruit also comes with the benefit of consuming a lot of fibre and potassium too. It will also restrict and reduce the amount of sugar that you are consuming.
  • Never skip breakfast – having breakfast in the morning jumpstart your metabolism and studies have shown that adults who have a healthy breakfast do better at work and life in general.
  • Drink plenty of water – drinking water can do so many awesome things for your health. Firstly staying hydrated allows the free flow of nutrients and minerals to all the important parts of your face including the hair route.
  • Do micro exercises – if you need to take a break from the computer screen or walk don’t just get up to the coffee machine take a good break and walk for about 30 minutes. You can do this as often as you want.
  • Sleep well – there are so many great effects of a good nights sleep that not only will your beard look great but you will feel great too. A good night sleep helps keep you better focused, improves your mood, and helps you learn new things. Aim to get between 7 to 9 hours a night and do not build up a huge sleep debt.

Looking after your health is a simple and effective way of making sure your beard is growing at a good rate and you are not lacking any important components for beard growth.


There we have it, you now understand why your beard is growing slower and what you can do about it. Ultimately, it comes down to the fact that your body can create an awesome beard if you give it the right fuel and keep your body healthy.

If you’re a fit person and you still are having significant beard growing problems remember that you should reach out to your health professional as it may indicate a more serious issue with your hormone levels. However, go through all of these steps in this article and I’m in no doubt that your beard will be in a much better shape than before.

Happy beard growing my beautiful friends!

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!