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How Long Does It Take to Grow a Beard and Can You Speed It Up?
Dr Ahmad Moussa (FRCS)
Medically reviewed by
Dr Ahmad Moussa (FRCS)
Updated on May 21, 2024

Many men who have decided to give facial hair a try wonder how long it takes to grow a beard. However, this is a question that is difficult to answer in general terms. It largely depends on each person’s expectation of what their facial hair should be. 

On average, your facial hair grows by 0.3 – 0.5 mm/day (with some genetic, ethnic and age differences) [1] While a long, luxurious beard can take months or even years in the making, a short, trendy style may only require a few days. 

Sadly, the fact that shaving your facial hair makes it grow thicker or faster is nothing but a hair loss myth. While it is understandable to want to achieve the beard of your dreams as soon as possible, there is currently no evidence that you can significantly speed up this process. However, the good news is that you can grow a fuller, healthier beard with the right medications, therapies and lifestyle changes. 

Keep reading this article to find out all you need to know about:

  • What are the main factors that influence beard growth
  • How long it may take to grow a beard of various lengths
  • How to stimulate your beard growth for better results
  • What to do if you can’t grow an adequate beard 
Table of Contents

What determines how fast and full your beard grows?

Several factors can influence how fast, dense and thick you can expect your facial hair to grow. Here are some of the most important:

Your genes 

Just like you have inherited your hair and eye colour genetically, you have also inherited a predisposition towards growing a denser or patchier beard, which may grow slightly faster or slightly slower than average. However, don’t be alarmed – just like if your dad is bald, you won’t necessarily go bald as well, if they have a sparser or slower-growing beard, it doesn’t mean that you have certainly inherited this trait from them. 

Your hormone levels

You may know that an excess of male hormones such as testosterone and dihydrotestosterone (DHT) can cause hair loss. That is because they can trigger a type of alopecia called male pattern baldness (androgenetic alopecia). However, when it comes to your beard, they have the opposite effect – they stimulate facial hair growth and make it denser and thicker [2][3]. Your androgen levels and your beard follicle sensitivity to these hormones play an important role in growing full facial hair at a normal rate.   

Age

Most men only reach their full beard growth potential after the age of 25 [4] so before that time, your beard may be growing slower and sparser than it will later on. So if you are a young man, do not despair if your facial hair is not yet all that you would like it to be. Incidentally, this is also why the best age for a beard transplant is after 25, to give you time to grow into your full beard potential. After age 50, your beard growth may start to decline once more as your androgen hormone levels begin to decrease naturally. 

Ethnicity

Research shows that due to genetic and hormonal differences, men of certain ethnicities can grow fuller beards faster than others. For example, Caucasians and North Africans have more facial hair in the growing phase at all times than other African and Chinese men [5].

How long do I need to wait to grow a beard?

Depending on what kind of beard you hope to grow, here is a ballpark estimation of the amount of time needed to pass to achieve it. However, please know that every man is different, and even the same person can grow facial hair at a different pace during different stages of his life.

BEARD GROWTH STAGES

A 5 o’clock shadow (barely visible)

Depending on how dark and visible your facial hair is, it can take between half a day and 24 hours. Normally, all it takes to get here is to forego shaving for a day or so and let nature run its course.

Man with 5 o’clock shadow

The stubble stage (3-5 mm)

It normally takes between one and two weeks for your stubble to become clearly visible and develop a rugged look. This is not the time to worry about its density, as your beard is likely to come in fuller as it keeps growing.

Man with stubble

Short beard (1-1.5 cm)

It can take up to a month to grow even short facial hair, and by this time, you may get some idea about how full you may expect it to be. However, don’t give up if it seems sparse, further growth may still fix the bald spots in your beard.

 

Man with a short beard

Medium beard (3-5 cm)

If your beard growth rate keeps up, you should be able to develop some impressive facial hair by the third month. At this point, it would be a good idea to see a professional barber who can help you trim it into the desired shape. If it is still patchy or shedding excessively, it would also be time to see a trichologist who can determine the causes of your beard hair loss.

Man with a medium beard

Long beard (over 7 cm)

Growing a long beard can take 4-6 months of dedicated facial hair care. You are probably already used to the beard grooming routine by now and have your favourite brush, balm and beard oils. If you have reached this point and are happy with the result, you no longer have to wonder about being able to grow a beard.

Man with a long beard

Supersized beard (over 15 cm)

A supersized beard is not for everyone – it takes good genes, special care and dedication, and you can invest years in its development. Beard care, regular trimming and good styling practices are especially important for this super-length, to keep it healthy and prevent it from becoming dry and brittle.

Man with a supersized beard

How can I stimulate my beard growth?

While there is little evidence that you can directly speed up your beard growth rate, there are some things you can do to help promote facial hair growth. This mainly happens through ensuring that your beard follicles are getting sufficient oxygen, minerals and vitamins for hair growth. But also by preventing disruptions to your facial hair growth cycle that could slow beard growth down. Here are some of the most effective options for fixing a patchy beard and improving its thickness and density:

Man applying topical Minoxidil to his beard

Medications

The most effective treatment you can try to stimulate your beard growth is Minoxidil. This works by dilating the small blood vessels in your face so your beard follicles get a better nutrient supply [6]. It can effectively improve a naturally sparse beard and treat different types of alopecia, such as alopecia barbae or traction alopecia of the beard. 

If you have common scalp problems such as scalp psoriasis or seborrheic dermatitis, you should know that they could also flare up in your beard area, causing facial hair loss. If this happens, you may need steroid creams or, respectively, antifungal medication to treat it. Nizoral shampoo can help reduce symptoms of both these conditions if you use the specific anti-psoriasis variety.  

However, it is best to avoid popular hair loss treatments such as Dutasteride or Finasteride which can hinder rather than help beard growth. While they are effective in reducing hair shedding produced by male pattern baldness, they do so by reducing your blood DHT levels. And DHT stimulates facial hair production. 

Man using a beard roller on his cheek

Therapies

More evidence is generally needed to show whether therapies that effectively stimulate your scalp hair follicles for growth also work on your beard. However, given their mechanisms of action, there is a good chance that beard rollers work for beard growth just as derma rollers are effective for your hair, especially when used alongside topical Minoxidil

Low-level laser therapy (such as red light therapy for hair growth) and PRP hair treatments may also help stimulate your beard follicles and support and promote their growth, but specific studies need to be conducted to determine the extent of their efficacy. 

Middle aged man meditating outdoors

Lifestyle changes

Since certain vitamin deficiencies can cause hair loss from your scalp and beard alike, it is important to maintain a well-balanced diet. Getting enough nutrients such as vitamin D, vitamin E, vitamin C, iron, zinc or selenium can keep your facial hair growing strong. Moreover, drinking enough water and cutting back on dehydrating drinks such as coffee or alcohol can keep your skin hydrated and avoid dry, brittle hair on your head and your chin. 

If you enjoy the occasional cigarette, you may be aware that smoking can cause hair loss. This goes for your beard as well, as nicotine is a vasoconstrictor, reducing blood flow to your facial hair follicles. Smoking also produces inflammation and oxidative stress, which are detrimental to beard growth. 

Getting plenty of rest, exercise and lowering your stress levels can also play a positive role in growing a healthier beard sooner. That is because stress and anxiety can cause hair loss by disrupting your hair growth cycle and inducing telogen effluvium (a condition that leads to diffuse hair thinning). This can also affect your facial hair. 

Finally, taking good care of your growing beard, and keeping it clean, brushed and moisturised can be crucial to its proper growth. As can protecting it from cosmetic products which contain harsh chemicals (e.g. bleach or dye which can cause hair loss), from too vigorous brushing and from excessive heat styling that can damage your hair and beard. 

Man with a sparse, patchy beard

What can you do if you cannot grow a full beard?

First of all, most men can grow some facial hair. So, when talking about not being able to grow a beard, people usually refer to only managing to produce a sparse or patchy one. In some cases, this can be treated. However, some men cannot produce a satisfactory beard despite having tried everything to stimulate its growth.

This can be frustrating and take a toll on your self-confidence since your beard says a lot about you. Even though it does not adequately reflect your testosterone levels [7] or overall masculinity, sparse facial hair can affect your self-image and how you are perceived [8].

The good news is that even if you’ve exhausted all non-surgical treatment options, you may still be a good candidate for a beard transplant. This may seem like an extreme solution at first, but the recent rise in the popularity of beard transplant surgery shows that more and more men are going this route to get their desired facial hair. That is because it is a simple, fast and painless procedure with a very high success rate.

Beard transplants look natural so it is unlikely anyone can tell you’ve had one. And if you opt for one of the best hair transplant clinics in the UK to get your restoration surgery, you can rest at ease that beard transplants gone wrong are almost unheard of. 

Just like a hair transplant is permanent, you can enjoy the results of your beard restoration surgery forever. So if you think you can benefit from this procedure, book a consultation now with one of our world-class surgeons and find out if you are a good candidate for it. 

How Long Does It Take to Grow a Beard and Can You Speed It Up?, Wimpole Clinic

Dr Ahmad Moussa (FRCS)
Medically reviewed by Dr Ahmad Moussa (FRCS)Updated on May 21, 2024
The Wimpole Clinic offers FUE Hair, Beard & Eyebrow Transplants & Trichology.
Talk to a specialist ☎ 020 7935 1861.

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