Beard Growth Stages

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Whether you are planning to grow facial hair to a specific length, or perhaps you are just curious about the growth rate of facial hair, below is a helpful guide to answer your questions.

What are the growth stages of facial hair?

Facial hair is androgenic hair (body hair) and begins to grow during puberty.  Facial hair experiences three growth phases.  Here is a summary of each stage:

  • The anagen phase: is the growth phase of the facial hair.  While your facial hair is in the anagen phase, the estimated growth rate is approximately 1cm each month. The anagen phase is the longest of the three phases and lasts between two and seven years.  Scientists estimate that 85 and 90% of hair are in this phase at any given time (source).
  • The catagen phase: is the transition phase of facial hair.  The catagen phase only lasts between two or three weeks.
  • The telogen phase: is the resting phase.  Hair follicles remain in the telogen phase for one to four months. At the end of the telogen phase, the hair will break away and make room for new hair growth.

What is the rate of growth for facial hair?

Facial hair grows at an average rate of 0.3 mm to 0.5 mm per day (source). Furthermore, white beard hair grows at an average rate of 1.12 mm per day versus 0.47 mm per day for pigmented beard hair (source).

Several other factors can impact beard hair growth rate.

How long will it take to grow a beard?

Considering the above averages, one could expect the following beard growth timeline:

TimeLow Growth Rate (0.3 mm / day)High Growth Rate (0.5 mm / day)White Hair (1.12 mm / day)
Week 12.1 mm3.5 mm7.84 mm
Week 24.2 mm7 mm15.68 mm
Week 36.3 mm10.5 mm23.52 mm
Week 48.4 mm14 mm31.36 mm
Week 510.5 mm17.5 mm39.2 mm
Week 612.6 mm21 mm47.04 mm
Week 714.7 mm24.5 mm54.88 mm
Week 816.8 mm28 mm62.72 mm
Week 918.9 mm31.5 mm70.56 mm
Week 1021 mm35 mm78.4 mm

At what age will you begin growing a beard?

Young men begin to grow facial hair during puberty. The typical age for first facial hair to show will be between 13 and 16 years old. However, full beard growth will come later and varies greatly. Some men can grow a full beard at 18, whereas others won’t experience full beard growth until their mid-20s.

Ethnicity, genetics, and hormones may give clues to expected facial hair coverage.

What is a terminal beard?

A beard will eventually stop growing; this is known as a terminal beard. The maximum length that a beard can grow will vary depending on how long the anagen phase is for the individual.  Men with a short anagen phase of only two years may only grow a 2″ long beard.  Whereas men with a long anagen phase of seven years could grow a 7″ long beard.  

Factors that may inhibit beard growth

Here are factors that can impact facial hair growth rate:

  1. Age. Older men with white beard hair will experience high growth rates.  Some men may experience a greater facial hair growth rate in their late 20s.  Beard and mustache growth may accelerate long after puberty has finished.  
  2. Ethnicity.  Researchers have found that men from certain ethnic groups grow facial hair at varying rates. One study found that Japanese and caucasian men have different facial hair growth rates (source). 
  3. Time of Year.  In a study of 14 caucasian men in the United Kingdom, researchers found that beard growth accelerated in spring and summer (March to July), then slowed down significantly in January and February (source).
  4. Diet. What you eat can impact facial hair growth.  A well-rounded diet that contains key vitamins and minerals will help to support a healthy growing beard.
  5. Breakage. Regular stroking, itching, or pulling on facial hair may lead to accidental breakage.  Breakage or patchiness may be isolated to certain areas.
  6. Healthy Lifestyle.  Regular exercise, sleep, and low stress will allow your body to function to its full potential.  Not adhering to the recommended guidelines may impact beard growth.

Does all your facial hair grow at the same rate?

Cheeks, chin, neck, sideburns, and mustache tend to grow at different rates.  To get a uniform and kempt appearance, facial hair should be regularly trimmed to manage stray hairs and split ends.

Can you accelerate the growth of facial hair?

There are many beard growth products available to men.  Many beard supplements do not have scientifically proven formulas.  The supplement market is widely unregulated.  Additionally, most beard supplements available in capsule form are multi-vitamins with large concentrations of vitamin B7 (biotin).

Biotin is vital for both hair and nail growth.

Men who have a healthy diet get enough Biotin from their meals.  Consuming beard supplements will likely not have a significant impact on beard growth.  

Will shaving make your facial hair grow faster?

No, shaving your beard will not accelerate your facial hair growth.  

Does minoxidil accelerate your beard growth?

Minoxidil, the active ingredient in the hair loss product Rogaine, is clinically proven to regrow hair.  Minoxidil increases protein production in hair follicles and lengthens the anagen phase.  Minoxidil is used for spot treatment for hair on your head that may be sparse, not facial hair.  

Some men who have applied minoxidil to their face have reported positive results: testimonial 1 and testimonial 2.  However, scientific studies of minoxidil and facial hair are limited.  We only found one in our research.

Speak with your family physician before applying minoxidil as side effects can be severe and include fast or irregular heartbeat, chest pain, dizziness, and more.

How to maintain facial hair as it grows

The skin underneath your beard requires regular conditioning.  Consider the following:

  • Beard conditioner or moisturizer.  When growing a beard, regular application of a moisturizer or conditioning agent is essential.  This will help prevent dry skin, beard itch, or beard dandruff from occurring. Common beard conditioners include beard oil, beard balm, and beard butter.
  • Regular cleansing.  A beard must be cleansed regularly.  Cleansing will remove oil build-up on the skin beneath the beard.  Consider an organic beard shampoo.
  • Regular exfoliation.  By exfoliating two or three times a week, you will remove dead skin cells and unclog pores.  Regular exfoliation keeps the skin in a healthy condition.  You should always exfoliate, no matter the length of facial hair.
  • Styling tool. A beard comb or beard brush helps to distribute a conditioning agent while also styling facial hair.  Animal fiber beard brushes excel at product distribution.
About Shawn Burns

Shawn Burns is the founder and senior editor of Tools of Men. He started this site with the goal of teaching men proper grooming habits and sensible style. Shawn's expertise includes in-depth product reviews and how-to articles. Shawn was recently featured in the Wall Street Journal for his expertise.

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