Here’s the cold hard truth…
…your beard is going to reach its maximum length at some point.
Unfortunately for a lot of you reading, you might already be at this point – where your beard just gave up and decided to stop growing…
…but it doesn’t have to be this way.
While we won’t dive down the deep and bizarre world of beard extensions…yes that’s a thing…and no, that isn’t what we are going to recommend for you…
In this guide we are going to give you a rundown on a few reasons why your beard stopped growing, which includes a deeper understanding of the following:
- Beard growth phases – this section is optional (but recommended) to give you a better understanding on how your facial hair grows
- A brief overview of terminal beard and how it differs to a beard that stopped growing
- Scientifically backed reasons on why your beard may have called it quits
- Discussing what is a regular beard growth rate
- If supplements are necessary (or able) to kick-start your beard growth again
Let’s get dive in:
Beard Growth Phases
From a fresh shave to a full on yeard (that’s beardsman slang for beard for a year), your beard will go through several different growth phases.
Scientists have categorized these growth phases into the following buckets:
Here’s a brief overview on each and why they are important to beard growth:
The anagen phase is also known as the growth phase of the hair. While your facial hair is in this phase, it is widely estimated that the growth rate will be about 1cm in each month. Of the three phases, the anagen phase is the longest in duration. In addition, most hairs on your body are always in this phase.
The anagen phase can last anywhere between three to five years (source).
Between the anagen and telogen phases you will find the catagen phase. This transitionary phase is relatively short and is when the facial hair growth begins to stop and moves to a resting phase.
Scientist estimate that most facial hair will remain in the catagen phase for about two or three weeks.
The last phase of beard growth will be the telogen phase, also known as the resting phase. It’s during this time that a follicle will remain for approximately one to four months. As the end of the telogen phase draws near, the root of the hair follicle will begin to soften and eventually break away to make room for a new hair follicle to appear. This is a natural shedding process of the body that cannot be stopped.
Terminal Beard vs. A Beard That Stopped Growing
As you learned above, the beard goes through three unique stages of growth.
But what is really important to know is that each one of these periods will vary in length and will be helpful in knowing whether or not your beard simply stopped growing or if you reached terminal beard.
Here’s how both categories differ:
Terminal beard is when your beard has gone through the anagen phase and is now in a transitionary catagen phase.
As we touched on earlier, the anagen phase for men can vary anywhere between three to five years.
Therefore, if you have allowed your beard to grow for this long and haven’t done much in the way of trimming or cutting to the beard, then yes, you have reached terminal beard and there is nothing you can really do to make your beard grow any longer.
It’s due to this limitation on growth stage time that you often never see men with beards that extend past their belly as the facial hair is constantly shedding to make way for new beard follicles to appear.
A Beard That Stopped Growing
While this may seem obvious to some, we want to draw the key difference between a terminal beard and one that simply stopped growing.
Limited Grooming & Trimming: While its fine (and expected) to trim or maintain your beard as it grows in, if you find that your growth seems stunted after waiting patiently for a few months, then you have a beard that simply stopped growing in and in fact, likely never hit terminal beard.
Giving It Time: Ask yourself, if you have given your beard enough time to grow before worrying about solutions. Look at pictures you were in a few months ago compared to today – if there is pronounced growth in your facial hair, then you simply need to be a bit more patient and let your beard grow in.
Over there, men are always documenting their beard growth journey. Men have found this helpful to see how long a beard will be when grown for several months. Again, this is just to give you an idea and not a direct comparison of what you should expect.
Now if you aren’t seeing any beard growth progress over the past several months and think that your beard has prematurely stopped growing, then it could be due to any one of the following factors:
Reasons Why Your Beard Stopped Growing
In order to figure out why your beard may have stopped growing, its important to look at a few obvious and not so obvious factors that could be causing the issues, let’s first start with lifestyle:
Poor Lifestyle Leads to Poor Beard Growth
While lifestyle habits like diet, stress, and exercise are all important to living a fuller and happier life, they can also cause issues with hair growth.
Here we will take a brief look at each of the major lifestyle activities that can cause a beard to stop growing:
One of the most prominent lifestyle choices that can inhibit the anagen (growth) phase of your beard will be the types of food that you eat.
As this article by Harvard Medical School states, not much can prevent the transition of a beard into the catagen and telogen phases. However, “some cases may be caused by a poor diet”. They go on to further state that a diet lacking substantial amounts of protein, iron, and other key nutrients are likely the culprit.
Therefore, if you aren’t getting enough of these key nutrients into your diet (notably protein or iron), then you will want to make some changes to what you are eating.
Some common foods that are high in protein and iron include the following: beans, nuts, whole grains, eggs, etc.
It has been found that stress and hair loss are related (source).
While we would love to tell you to just chill out – anyone that has been through the ringer and made it to the other side to a more peaceful and stress-free life can attest that it’s not as easy as that.
Everyone’s stress is unique to their own situation.
While there are countless books, guides, and industries created on lowering stress, our best recommendation here is to simply try to get better at managing it.
Whether its lifestyle changes like mediation or developing regular and consistent sleep habits, take an honest look at your day and see what tweaks you can make.
Even taking a short breaks are claimed to have massive benefits.
Building off the previous section of stress, exercise is an important aspect to hair growth as it was observed in this recent study published on the NIH website.
While the direct reason why exercise and hair growth remains unsolved, many scientists hypothesize that it is due to the increase of blood flow throughout the body that helps with hair growth.
This was further supported in an article published in ScienceDaily which states that blood vessel growth resulted in thicker and faster hair growth within mice.
Therefore, if you are serious about getting your beard to start growing again, regular cardio or weightlifting may help in your beard growth journey.
Many men make the mistake that when their beard starts growing, they give their skin care routine a break. However, quite the opposite needs to happen when growing a beard – we would argue that you need to do much more when it comes to your skin care game.
This includes regular exfoliation and washing of the face in order to lift any dead skin cells that may be clogging up the pores or inhibiting beard growth.
Now it’s easy to talk about lifestyle changes as some of the leading reasons why a beard may have stopped growing. However, there are a few more obvious and physical reasons that could be resulting in lackluster beard growth – which includes playing with your beard, overly dry beard, and over combing.
Here’s why each of the following may be the physical reasons why your beard stopped growing:
Playing With Your Beard
As your beard grows in, it can be tempting to always want to run your hand through your facial hair.
Whether you are pondering a deep thought or you just simply like the feeling – you need to try and kick the habit.
When playing with your beard, you may be accidentally pulling on the follicle root a bit too much which can result in breakage.
This is naturally a bigger problem for men who have much finer or thinner beards.
In addition to facial hair girth, if you are playing with your beard during the dry winter months, the chances for breakage become even higher.
A dry beard will become much more brittle and easier to break. This is even more pronounced if you straighten your beard with a flat iron or use a hairdryer regularly.
To combat a dry and brittle beard that breaks easily, we recommend fortifying and hydrating the beard follicles with a beard conditioning agent like beard oil or beard balm. Full of natural moisturizers, these beard care products play a key role in protecting your beard from breakage.
Building off the previous section of proper grooming habits for your beard, over combing can cause breakage of your facial hair which will appear as though your beard has stopped growing.
In order to prevent your beard hairs from breaking due to excessive combing, we would recommend that you use a quality beard comb that won’t snag or tear your beard hairs. Secondly, you will also want to limit combing of the beard to no more than twice daily.
Beard Growth Rate
According to research, it is estimated that a beard grows in at a rate of about 1.25 cm per month (or about 6 inches annually). Of course, as we touched on throughout this article, factors such as grooming and lifestyle may have a moderate impact on the overall growth rate.
Supplementing Natural Beard Growth
Now if you aren’t happy that your beard stopped growing and you have tried to incorporate some of the changes to both lifestyle and grooming habits, it may be worth looking at beard growth products.
Available in many different forms including pills, oils, elixirs and more – this growing product category is finding many fans who are looking for thick, full, and quick beard growth.
While the claims may by dubious for some brands – we review a variety of beard growth products in this guide – here’s just a brief overview of the common solutions you may want to consider:
Beard Pills / Multivitamins
Beard pills are essentially multivitamins that have been reformulated for beard growth. Typically containing very high concentrations of vitamins and minerals that have been historically linked to beard growth, beard pills or multivitamins are the most popular solution for men looking to kick start their beard if it stopped growing
Given that these come in pill or capsule form, the release of the vitamins and minerals will work for your entire beard and not just patches – making for more uniform beard growth.
Furthermore, beard growth pills or vitamins offer ancillary benefits often ranging from more voluminous hair on the top of your head to better looking fingernails – as these are all simple proteins on your body that are structurally similar.
Now a word of note: beard pills don’t work for everyone. If you have a well-balanced diet and are getting all the essential vitamins and minerals every day, you likely won’t see major changes.
Beard Growth Oils / Minoxidil
Now if your beard has stopped growing in certain patches of your face, then beard growth oils or medications are a better alternative than beard pills.
Able to be applied directly to the skin, beard growth oils and minoxidil offer better spot treatment than pills.
Like beard pills, this won’t necessarily work for everyone. If you simply don’t have hair in a area of your skin, regular application of a solution won’t suddenly make hair appear.
A Note For Mustaches, Cheeks, And Neck
Every area of your facial hair grows in at different rates.
Therefore, your mustache hair may only grow to a few inches in total, whereas the hair on your cheeks or neck can grow to several inches (or even feet) in length.
It’s important to know these limitations as they are common for just about all men and you may have reached terminal beard in certain areas of your face.
As you head onward with your beard journey, we hope that the information contained in this article proved helpful in kickstarting future beard growth.
As you learned in this guide, lifestyle changes and proper grooming habits will make the most immediate changes to the rate of which your beard grows in.