Your (Fast) Ticket To A Thicker Beard
The beard is that prominent symbol of masculinity, maturity and wisdom a man wears right on his face, making sure to make a strong first impression on every person whose path he crosses. Wise, elderly spiritual leaders usually wear this symbolism of manhood. Kings, emperors and all other refined members of royalty seem to always be covered in a beard. Movies as well as life experience leads us to equate a well-kept beard with a man of culture, wisdom, power, maturity, and virility. Your facial hair is that sign you carry which announces loudly and clearly “here comes man.” There is no mistake about it, it’s all in your high levels of androgens.
Aside from its physiological implications regarding masculinity, a beard also creates psychological suggestions about the type of man who can maintain a nice, neat beard. The message it sends is that such a man likewise can care for a family. So with all the talking your bristles will do for you before you even open your mouth, let’s see how you can grow the best possible beard in the first place.
A MONTH GONE BY
Chances are, you are reading this far because you have not grown out your facial hair yet. You probably want to find out how to speed up the process while getting the best results. Most men don’t grow beards because they fear that they are lacking the potential for a full, dense fur of bristles. They might be self-conscious about any sparse areas that will appear less than ideal. My advice is to set aside all doubts and concerns and just let nature run its course for at least four weeks. Once a month has gone by, you may very well be surprised to discover that your facial hair has grown into a respectable beard with barely an empty patch in sight.
Congratulations to you for your commitment to growing more than just a few days’ stubble. Your one month’s commitment signifies that you are as mature as your beard purports you to be. Now that you have passed the test of patience and been rewarded with an impressive beard, you get to become a bit more actively involved in this exciting process. Now that your facial hair has attained good coverage and thickness, you can decide if you would like to chisel it into a certain shape or let it continue growing without your interference. If you opt to keep letting nature take its course unchecked, you are well on your way toward developing a yeard- one year’s worth of beard growth. Otherwise, you can decide to alter your facial hair shape to create a signature style. In this case, it is wise to seek out quality tools, including beard trimmer and shaver, or a professional barber.
After a month of growth, you will also be required to become involved in maintaining a refined look. Stray long whiskers, dry bristles, and flaky skin will not help you look like the mature, respectable man you are. Beard oil is your best weapon to fight those first signs of a disheveled, dehydrated beard. After you wash and dry your face, apply a dime-sized amount of the oil to your facial hair. Massage it in with your fingers from root to tip until it is evenly spread out. The oil will coat your skin and hair, keeping all moisture in place rather than letting it evaporate into the air.
In the case that a month has come and gone and your beard is still full of empty patches, rest assured that you can make your particular look intentional and distinguished. How many actors, particularly Asian ones, sport a sparse yet intriguing-looking mustache and beard. Just look up Johnny Depp’s bearded photos and you will get an idea of the type of shapes you can come up with that look like you deliberately left certain areas shaven. Whatever beard you do grow, do not for a second fall for the myth that cutting your bristles will make them grow back more quickly. Instead, read full speed ahead for my tips on how to make your facial hair truly grow to its maximum potential.
THE FAST WAY TO A THICKER BEARD
All hairs of all individuals grow at about the same rate at an average of 1/2 inch per month. That adds up to around 6 inches of growth annually. You may be convinced that some of your friends have hair that grows at double-speed, but that is most probably a visual illusion created by darker or thicker bristles that appear more prominent.
There are three characteristics that make hair appear longer than it is:
1. The darker the hair, the longer it appears. Think about it: persons with blond eyelashes
sometimes look like they don’t have any lashes at all because their light hairs seemingly fade
2. The second factor is hair strand thickness. Once again, the more visible something is, the
more likely that you will be aware of its entire length.
3. The density of the facial hair as a whole also adds to the appearance of a faster-growing
beard. Picture a full beard next to a sparse beard. Automatically your mind will assume that the
former is growing faster, even if both men’s whiskers measure the same length.
Testosterone is a hormone found in the male gender in large quantities and responsible for a lot of the secondary sex characteristics. It is one of the factors that determines men’s facial hair growth. Dihydrotestosterone (DHT) is a hormone derived from testosterone. Together, they are partially responsible for the development and growth of your beard, among other characteristics.
There is the assumption that testosterone plays a factor in priming the hair’s root, or follicle, while DHT is responsible for the lengthening of the hair strand. From this information, we can assume that if we raise our levels of these two steroids, we subsequently might grow a thicker beard and faster. So let us take a look at the conditions required to increase our hormone production.
What isn’t exercise good for, right? Well, as cliche as it might sound, exercise is good for boosting your testosterone levels. The reasons for this are three-fold:
- Less body fat and a higher percentage of lean body mass cause your body to manufacture more testosterone.
- Short bouts of intense exercise promote testosterone production as well.
- The more muscle fibers you use during a workout, the larger amounts of testosterone are created.
Besides the additional hormones brought on by exercise, your beard also benefits from the extra blood circulation that provides more nutrients and oxygen to all your cells. Oh, not to mention how attractive you and your beard will look bathed in sweat while you are flexing all those muscles!
Stress should be avoided at all costs because it produces cortisol, an alleged testosterone killer. Continuously high levels of stress could very well be tampering with your levels of male hormones. Besides that, stress causes your blood vessels to tighten up, allowing for fewer nutrients and less oxygen to reach your cells, including those of your beard.
Controlling your stress levels is easier said than done. The one way to ensure that you do not stress about insignificant issues is to remember what life is all about. Sometimes it helps to pick up a spiritual book to help you put life back in perspective. My advice is to “pick your battles wisely.”
Contrary to popular belief, sleep is not a luxury. It is a necessity for so many functions to take place within your body, including producing testosterone and growing your facial hair. The recommended amount of nightly sleep is from 7 to 9 hours. It depends on the individual to a certain extent.
Eating a well-balanced diet means that you reduce the likelihood of running low on any important nutrient. Considering that a strand of hair is made up of protein chains, you can add plenty of protein to your grocery list. Eggs are an ideal option because they contain significant amounts of protein as well as many nutrients.
This is not to say that you should overeat. In fact, shedding extra pounds of fat will help increase your testosterone levels. So in order to maintain your weight or even shed a few layers of adipose tissue, you should try to limit the amount of empty calories you consume. Foods that do not provide nutritive value are basically useless. Instead, try to find nutritious foods that you actually enjoy eating.
Supplementing your diet with extra vitamins is not necessary unless you are unable to follow a healthful eating plan. If you do feel that you need a bit of extra help in the nutrition department, then forego the multi-vitamin and choose specific vitamins instead. Ideally, you would consult your physician beforehand to determine if you are low or high on any specific nutrients. Then you can ask your doctor if he agrees for you to add any of the hair growth-promoting vitamins, such as vitamin E, vitamin B (especially vitamin B7), vitamin D, copper, magnesium, selenium and zinc. Iron is also good for hair growth, but men tend to have plenty of this vitamin which should never be over-consumed. To make it easier, there are multi-vitamins manufactured specifically to promote facial hair growth, such as Vitabeard.
Your DNA is believed to be responsible for at minimum 85% of your beard growth ability. Think of it as your genes marking the maximum level you can achieve. Now, how close you get to your maximum potential is up to your lifestyle and other factors:
If you are in your pubescent years, your facial hair is just starting to kick in. Usually in the 20s, facial hair really starts to sprout all over your face and your full potential has been determined.
Beard transplants are also experiencing a boom along with the beard trend. If you are not too fond of the idea of a stranger’s bristles intermixing with your own sparse whiskers, don’t fear because these transplants move your own scalp hair (from the back neck, for example) to your facial region. This option will run your bill up to several grand. Be forewarned that the initial transplant hairs will fall off and be replaced by new strands of hair.
3. ARTIFICIAL HORMONES
Since there are so many natural ways to boost your production of testosterone, I do not recommend this artificial hormone treatment. Playing with the natural makeup of your body is not worth it just for a thicker beard.
C. FACIAL HAIR GROWTH PRODUCTS
There are some products on the market that purport to stimulate facial hair growth:
This product, otherwise known as “Rogaine,” has helped many men grow hair in different areas. First developed as an oral medication to lower blood pressure, patients soon realized that a side effect of the drug was development of new hair. Today, Minoxidil is FDA approved to use for hair growth. It is topically applied to the areas where you want to develop new hairs. Although it is proven to be effective for many individuals, please remember that this is a chemical drug which also produces side effects such as itching. If in doubt, start a thread on this topic on the Beard Board Forums.
2. OILS AND SPRAYS
There are many products, especially easily accessed via the internet, to help grow hair thicker and faster. Many of these products are nature-based, although their efficacy has not been studied or proven. Beware of fake reviews from persons receiving monetary incentives to write lies about positive results. The only way to really know if there is any truth to a product’s power is to try it out, as long as the ingredients are natural and/or safe. My personal rule is to try only those products whose manufacturer and/or seller offer a money-back guarantee for unsatisfied customers.
SUMMING IT UP
If you want a fast ticket straight to thick facial hair, keep in mind that your hormones have not changed your fine, downy vellus hair into all your facial bristles until well into your 20s. Once you have reached that age, you will know the amount of facial hair your DNA enables you to grow. If you are not satisfied with the cards your genes have dealt you, then you can take a look at alternative (and unnatural) methods to add more whiskers to your face.
Otherwise, accept that your DNA is unique to you and make the best of it. Practice healthful habits such as eating an array of vitamin and protein rich foods, sleep plenty, exercise as well as relax in order for your body to fulfill the maximum potential that has been set by your genes. In other words: “Be the best you you can be,” and that goes for your beard too.