Surely you have been told the age-old “you can’t grow a beard faster, it’s all in the genetics” thing.
And according to my stats, this is unlikely to be the first article you read about this subject.
But let me just tell you this:
The beard secrets I’m about to share with you below are proven to work by scientific studies and personal testing of more than 70,000+ guys.
This is not one of the basic “use our beard oil, drink more water” type of nonsense lists you can find on the internet, which we all know do nothing to activate your dormant facial hair follicles.
I know it sounds absolutely too good to be true, but the below tricks will teach you exactly how to grow a beard even if you can’t grow a beard.
NOTE: This post is part of our larger series of “how-to articles” in promoting beard growth from every possible angle, here are the other posts:
- How to grow beard faster
- How to fix a patchy beard
- How to grow more beard on cheeks
- How to get a thicker & fuller beard
- How to fill a thin patchy mustache
Ready to start?
Then let’s get to it:
Why Can’t I Grow a Beard?
It’s absolutely true that your baseline beard growth rate and beards growing potential are rooted in your genetics.
Some men can wait a month or two and have impressive beards by doing nothing, while others can wait the same amount of time just to see few measly hairs popping up under their chins.
Does this mean that there’s nothing you can do to grow a beard when you can’t really grow a beard?
No, it doesn’t, it just means that you need to work extra hard to make up for your lack of genetic potential if you ever want to have a beard at all.
Testosterone and DHT (Beard Hormones)
These two are the main male hormones, aka. androgens. They regulate and stimulate your beard growth in harmony.
In most cases, higher testosterone and DHT results in faster, thicker, better beard growth and on the flip-side, lower levels of both result in none to weak beard growth.
These hormones can be increased naturally, which is one of the key things you need to focus on if you aim to grow a beard to a formerly beardless face…
And just to see how insanely effective androgens are for facial hair growth stimulation, you only need to take a loot at female-to-male trans people and see how androgen treatment results in some impressive beard gains, even when they’re not biological males, to begin with.
Androgen Receptors (Sensitivity to Beard Hormones)
The hormones can’t grow any beard if they can’t enter the hair follicle cells and DNA first – and to do so they need to bind with something called the human androgen receptor (AR).
Androgen receptors partly explain why Asian men often struggle growing their beards.
The Eastern Asian and Native American genes have a higher amount of androgen receptor copies, which results in weaker sensitivity of the receptors overall, and weaker binding of androgens from the blood.
Be Asian or not, part of activating dormant beard follicles has to do with enhancing the androgen receptor sensitivity, and we will be teaching you ways to do so in this article.
Blood circulation to the facial hair area – especially to the cheeks – is massively important for beard growth.
After all, you need to be able to shuttle all the hormones and the nutrients into the facial hair follicles to make them sprout hair.
As you can expect, we will be sharing multiple effective ways to enhance facial hair area circulation in this post, which will inevitably and eventually result in improved new beard growth and help you add hairs even to completely beardless face.
How to Grow a Beard When You Can’t
1. Apply 3% Peppermint Oil Solution to the Beard Area
Peppermint essential oil (PEO) is incredibly potent and volatile by its own, so much so that it takes more than 250 pounds of peppermint leaves to produce just 1 pound of the oil.
It’s well known for its circulation enhancing effects, but that is not the primary reason you will be applying it to your face.
Instead, the reason is that it can stimulate new growth of facial hair, by increasing the levels of the growth hormone IGF-1 in the hair follicles.
This effect was shown in a study where the researchers took four groups of mice and shaved the hairs off from all of them. After this they started applying four different solutions to their skin, for four weeks, to see whether any of them would stimulate new growth…
The substances tested included:
- Jojoba oil.
- Saline solution.
- Minoxidil 3% (effective hair growth medication).
- And a 3% solution of peppermint essential oil.
The results showed that jojoba oil and saline did not do much of anything to stimulate new growth – and minoxidil, as to be expected, did grow new hairs…
But then there was a big surprise:
Peppermint essential oil actually outperformed minoxidil and resulted in massive amounts of new, darker, thicker growth compared to the hair loss drug and the other tested substances.
“Our experimental data suggest that 3% PEO facilitates hair growth by promoting the conservation of vascularization of hair dermal papilla, which may contribute to the induction of early anagen stage. In addition, PEO effectively stimulated hair growth in an animal model via several mechanisms.” – Dr. Young
All-in-all, the researchers found that PEO outperformed every substance in the number of active hair follicles, hair diameter increase, level of IGF-1 in the follicles, protein content in the hair fibers, and the depth of the follicles.
But these are mice. How could this mean anything for human beard growth?
Well, mice are used in studies like this because they share so much similarity to humans in terms of the reproductive and digestive systems, and oftentimes results seen in animal studies do translate over to humans.
In this case, the researchers suggest that the growth of new hair is a result of increased IGF-1 levels at the hair follicles, which shifts more hairs from the telogen resting phase into the anagen growth phase.
In other words, it wakes up dormant follicles.
And guess what IGF-1 does to human hair follicles? It signals them to transition from the resting phase to the growth phase.
So, peppermint essential oil possibly activates dormant beard follicles, but how do I use it?
Answer: Firstly, make sure to never apply 100% pure PEO on your skin. It’s potent stuff and will burn, you must dilute it down by dissolving it to carrier oil.
The easiest way to do this and to follow the 3% dilution rate as seen in the study above, like this:
- get a 1 oz dropper bottle.
- fill it up with jojoba oil.
- Get pure peppermint essential oil.
- Then just drip 18 drops of PEO into the dropper bottle.
- Close the cap, give it a firm shake and you’re done.
Now you have some PEO at 3% dilution, just as in the study above. Apply that 1-2 times per day into your beard area and you should be able to awaken some of the dormant beard hairs over time.
2. Use Minoxidil on the Face Twice Per Day
I have used minoxidil to fill up my patchy cheeks a few years ago – it worked extremely well and the results were indeed permanent (I haven’t used minoxidil for a long time, and no hair has been lost).
So I know myself that minoxidil does work for beard growth, and I’m part of a group in FaceBook where more than 70,000+ men are using it to grow facial hair.
Some of them grow impressive full beards from basically nothing, and I firmly believe that you must use minoxidil for a while if you ever want to grow a beard when you can’t grow facial hair normally.
So how does minoxidil work anyway?
Well, it’s not fully known. The over-the-counter hair-loss drug has been proven in dozens of studies to activate dormant hair follicles in the scalp by enhancing circulation and nutrient delivery to the hair roots, and through angiogenesis (growth of new blood vessels).
And the data is not only limited to scalp-hair, as one scientific trial from Thailand tested if a 3% solution of minoxidil would increase the amount of new beard growth during a 16-week time period.
The results showed that it did. In fact, it absolutely skyrocketed facial hair growth in the minoxidil group when compared to a placebo group.
Is minoxidil the perfect magic-pill for new facial hair growth?
By all means no. Even though it’s prescription-free, it still has some possible side effects such as skin dryness under the facial hair, increased heart rate, dizziness, and so on (full list of side effects here).
And that’s why I always recommend to start it slowly and use just 1ml once per day on the beard area. Once you’re comfortable and familiar with it, you may move up to using 1-2ml twice per day.
NOTE: We have posted a full guide to minoxidil for beards before which can be found here.
But if you’re lazy and just want the raw details on how to use it…
Then this is what to do:
- Get a bottle of minoxidil.
- On a towel-damp face, apply 1-2ml of the solution.
- Let it absorb for 4-hours before washing your face.
- Keep consistent and do this for 3-12 months.
It may seem like a long time to use minoxidil for so long, but the thing is that you can’t grow a beard from scratch in days, or weeks, that would just be too good to be true.
Minoxidil will work, you just need to give it time. Most will have their dream beard in a year or so, but you will have to patiently wait for the magic to happen.
Your face will be filled with small light vellus beard hairs first, and then eventually these will shed and be replaced with thick terminal “proper” beard hairs as the follicle finally fully attaches to the sebaceous gland.
3. Microneedle the Facial Hair Area Once Per Week
The third big beard growth secret is using a derma roller on the beard, and it’s often done in conjunction with the minoxidil and the peppermint oil.
The idea is quite simple.
You take this product called the Derma Roller, which consists of hundreds of tiny “micro” needles, and then roll it around your beard area.
The needles will puncture small holes into the skin, which prompts the body into repairing the damage by ramping up circulation and collagen production.
Typically, the 0.25mm needle-size rollers are used for circulation enhancement, but it takes 0.5 to 0.75mm needles to actually reach the epidermis and directly stimulate the facial hair follicles.
As a rule of thumb, the 0.25mm can be used daily, the 0.5mm one twice per week, and the 0.75mm roller just once per week.
NOTE: If you use minoxidil alongside the Derma Roller, then you should make sure to always wait for 24-hours after the micro-needling session before applying minoxidil again (this is to prevent systemic absorption and reduce the chance of side effects).
I’ve tested all of the common Derma Roller sizes and personally think a 0.75mm roller is the best overall choice.
But does a derma roller actually help you grow a beard when you can’t grow a beard?
The answer is most likely a yes.
Anecdotally, thousands of guys say that they have seen new beard hairs popping up after using a Derma Roller on their face, and there is also a study which tested micro-needling for scalp-hair regrowth.
In the study, the researchers had a group of men using minoxidil alone, and then another group using minoxidil + Derma Roller.
Their scalp hairs were photographed before and after the 12-week study period, and the results showed very clearly that the group who utilized the Derma Roller, had more, thicker, and longer hairs in their scalp as a result.
Now the big deal here is that this study was conducted on scalp-hair, not facial hair, so the results are to be taken with some caution…
But how likely is it to see similar effects take place in the beard area? I think very likely.
4. Consume Foods that Nourish Beard Follicles
Simply put, if you feed the facial hair follicles the correct nutrients, they will have a better chance to sprout hair.
This is why it’s imperative that you eat enough, eat in a balanced manner from all the main macronutrient groups (protein, carb, fat), and that you are not deficient in any of the key beard vitamins and minerals.
You can get caught up into all this stuff and start spinning your wheels, so instead of doing that I will give you some examples of dietary staples that will guarantee better beard growth on a beardless face.
Here’s the list:
- Eat enough – Prolonged calorie deficits are notorious of lowering testosterone levels, and your beard grows in response to testosterone. If you want more beard, don’t eat like a fitness-bunny.
- Take a high-quality multivitamin – I don’t recommend those flashy “beard growth vitamins“, just take a good basic multivitamin to prevent deficiencies.
- Don’t omit food groups – Carbs, fat, protein are all needed for the production of body & beard hair, as well as the beard hormone production. So stop following trends, just eat them all.
- Add sorghum and alfalfa sprouts to your diet – Sorghum increases an enzyme that produces DHT, and men who eat alfalfa sprouts have higher DHT levels.
- Coffee might help with beard growth – At least the key compound (caffeine) appears to increase testosterone levels in many studies, it’s also rich in antioxidants.
On top of sorghum and alfalfa sprouts, there are some other beard growth-promoting foods which I have previously listed here.
5. Carnitine Fuels the Facial Hair Growth
Beard growth products often do not work. They might be popular, and definitely a good business idea, but all of those beard growth oils and beard growth serums on the market simply do not do what they promise.
This includes most of the beard growth supplements as well, even though there is a handful of compounds that could enhance your facial hair growth.
Out of all the possible supplements you could use to try and stimulate new facial hair growth on a beardless face, the most promising and our top recommendation would be the L-carnitine L-tartrate (LCLT) powder.
There are two big mechanisms on how it can help your beard follicles in sprouting new, thicker beard hairs.
The first mechanism is the activation of androgen receptors, which has been noted in two separate studies by Kraemer et al. (ref, ref.)
In his trials, the subjects used 2g of LCLT daily and noticed significant improvements in their androgen receptor sensitivity (needless to say, this is amazing news for any beardless man).
The second mechanism was seen in a study by Froizik et al. in where he found that carnitine can enhance hair growth by helping the body to shuttle fatty-acids directly into the hair follicle cells for direct energy usage, which helps more hairs transition into the anagen growth phase.
There are a few different ways to use LCLT to stimulate new beard growth on areas where there wasn’t hair before…
First is obviously to just take about 2g of the powder orally, but the second one is more clever and it’s just to dump about 1 gram of LCLT powder into a full bottle of minoxidil (so that the carnitine is absorbed with the carrier liquids directly into the follicles).
How to do the second method is perfectly detailed here in this YouTube video.
Stick with the Routine
I know there are probably a ton of new beard secrets you learned above, and you might want to bookmark this page to come back into the guide later on.
Let’s say that you would like to incorporate the main things from this article and use those all together in growing a beard when one can’t normally be grown – how would you do it?
- Religiously use the minoxidil 1-2 times per day until your beard hairs turn thick and terminal.
- Minoxidil dries out the skin, so when you moisturize, use the jojoba oil + peppermint essential oil blend.
- Once per week, use the 0.5-0.75mm Derma Roller on your beard area. Don’t apply minoxidil for 24-hours after.
- Take 2g/carnitine per day orally, and if you want to supercharge the effects, mix some into the minoxidil too.
- Take a multivitamin and overall keep your nutrition in check. Don’t eat too little, and don’t omit food groups.
With all of the above tips, the ballpark average time it will take to go from completely beardless to fully bearded should be around 6-12 months, and for anyone with Eastern Asian genetics, perhaps a little longer.
This may seem like a long time, but you can get comfort and motivation from the fact that there are over 70,000+ men doing most of those things along with you in the Minoxidil Beard Spot FB group, and also from the fact that most of the methods above are supported by scientific research.
It seems almost too good to be true that you could beat your genetics and grow a beard when you naturally can’t grow one.
But as faith would have it, it is indeed possible.
And no, it doesn’t involve things like shaving, beard growth oils, or sprays, and definitely not any stuff mentioned in similar articles like this where the authors just go around saying “oh, just use our beard oil and drink more water for good beard growth breeding grounds”.
You and I both know, that if your beard does not come in naturally, then beard oil won’t make it come in either. You need something far more powerful, and those things are the five mentioned above.