Congratulations, you conquered puberty and (hopefully) no longer have to deal with persistent pimples and perpetual voice cracks. But despite the promise of being able to grow an impenetrable beard once your hormones finally finished kicking in, here you are, a fully developed man, staring wistfully at the few lonely hairs distributed across your chin.
Now, before I make any promises about being able to increase your beard growth exponentially, you should understand that having patchy, irregular facial hair is a natural occurrence that many, many people deal with. “Patchy beards are a natural variant,” dermatologist Anthony Rossi explained to me for a previous article about men who, much like you, have trouble growing a full beard. “The way people’s beards grow is more genetically dispositioned to them.”
Moreover, because the way in which your beard grows boils down to genetics, being able to go from a whole lot of nothing to an exceeding amount of something is, frankly, an unrealistic expectation. “There haven’t been any great studies showing that you can grow more of those patches,” Rossi confirmed in the same article. “The hair density in all those areas are already predetermined and under a little bit of a different cycle than the hair cycle.” Also, no, shaving doesn’t make your beard grow in thicker, sorry.
All of that said, there are a few things that you can try to help your beard grow in a little bit more — or, at least appear thicker:
Let It Grow, Let It Grow
As an animated snow queen once sang in a popular movie about being cold, “Let it grow, let it grow.” Or, something like that… my point is, much like how the hair on your head will undoubtedly go through awkward phases if you attempt to grow it out, so will your facial that. So, if you often find yourself shaving only one week into the growing process, unsatisfied with the lack of coverage that your beard seems to provide, consider giving it a few extra weeks next time. You might be surprised at how your bristles fill in when given some extra time. If you still feel the urge to shave regularly, feel free to clean up your cheek and neck lines, but let the rest grow freely.
Live a Healthy Lifestyle
Being healthy — getting enough sleep, eating plenty of vegetables and exercising regularly — helps virtually all of your bodily functions, and that includes stimulating hair growth. This is the basis behind many of the supplements that promise to help your beard grow, which are often just some combination of vitamin D and biotin (really, though, as long as you live well, you should be getting enough of that stuff without needing to buy anything extra).
Now, again, if you have hardly any facial hair to begin with, sadly, eating broccoli and hitting the gym are not all of a sudden going to make you eligible for the World Beard and Moustache Championships. That said, the healthier you are, the more likely the hairs that are already there will grow in a bit thicker.
Give It Some Color
If, like me, you have plenty of blonde facial hair that nobody can see, consider using some beard dye. You can try the ones at your local drugstore that come in boxes, which have worked surprisingly well for me (although, my friends are always shocked when I seemingly grow a mustache overnight). Or, you can stop into a hair salon and have them do the deed for you.
Use a Hair Growth Treatment (But Be Careful)
There are some medicinal products that slow head hair loss, and while some anecdotal evidence suggests that they can promote beard growth, too, the science is lacking — I could only find one small study regarding their effects on facial hair, and the findings were meh. Furthermore, they can have some gnarly side effects, including redness, hair growth in undesired areas, new hair colors and textures, a lessened libido, feelings of dizziness and even chest pain. So, maybe check in with a doctor first if you want to give one of these a shot.
Get a Transplant
Beard transplants are a real thing, but as Rossi emphasized in the article that I mentioned earlier, “It would be a lot to have a full beard.” Indeed, the procedure can cost thousands of dollars, depending on how much hair you need implanted. But hey, if you really, really want a beard, this is the only option that can provide serious results.
On the other hand, if your beard refuses to grow, at least you never need to worry about crumbs constantly sticking to your furry face.