There really isn’t a magic solution that could grow you a beard when you really can’t grow a beard.
Except, that there is one, and that’s Minoxidil also known by the brand name Rogaine (Regaine in the UK) and many of its generic variants like Kirkland, Equate, Tugain, etc.
Minoxidil can stimulate and speed up beard growth and make your existing facial hair thicker. It’s almost on par with the effects of a beard transplant but costs hundreds of times less (which is actively making the transplant industry freak out and try to fearmonger men into not using it at all).
I know how insane it sounds – and how hard it is to believe the first time you hear about it – but tens of thousands of men have completed the Minoxidil beard journey, and grew some pretty impressive beards from very weak or patchy starting points.
“I’m intrigued, yet skeptical, please tell me more?”
Okay, so Minoxidil is the active ingredient in Rogaine, the World’s #1 Dermatologist recommended OTC (that’s prescription-free) hair-loss drug.
Million’s of men have used it successfully to curb hair loss, and it has been extensively studied for its safety and efficacy. The data clearly shows that it can re-grow hair by activating dormant follicles via boosted circulation and other mechanisms.
As you can expect, some men eventually started to wonder if they could apply Rogaine to the face and grow facial hair as a result.
The idea was ridiculed at first, and discussions about Minoxidil for beard growth were basically non-existent online just a few years ago.
However, now in 2020, it has been clearly established that Minoxidil does work for beard growth.
There are Facebook groups with more than fifty thousands members using the hair-loss drug on their beards, Reddit subcategories with almost ten thousand guys doing the same, and even a scientific study which concluded that Minoxidil is safe and effective for beard enhancement.
After the use of Rogaine for beard growth skyrocketed in popularity, the narrative of the nay-sayers switched from “it doesn’t work” into claiming that “the results aren’t permanent”.
Yet, thousands of guys have completed the Minox beard journey, grown beards with it, then stopped using the hair-loss drug and years later their beards are still in place – as explained in our Minoxidil beard FAQ post.
“So can you use Minoxidil on your face to grow a beard?”
Yes, you can literally go into Amazon and buy some Kirkland 5% Minoxidil (known as the cheapest, yet effective brand) and start applying it to your beard area twice per day 1ml per application. In 3-12 months you should be able to grow a full beard.
For the longer answer, you will have to take some time and read our full article below, which explains…
- Exactly how Minoxidil grows the beard.
- Lists all the known side effects of beard Minoxidil.
- Explains to you why the results are permanent.
- Shows you some impressive before-after pictures.
- Teaches you how to apply Minoxidil to the beard.
- And explains the details about the Minoxidil beard study.
Ready to learn everything there is to know about how to use Rogaine to stimulate beard growth? Good, then continue reading below.
How Does Minoxidil Grow Facial Hair
Even after tens of years of research, the real reason why Minoxidil is so effective at growing hair is still not 100% clear.
What is known are these facts:
- Minoxidil activates potassium channels in the beard area and boosts facial hair follicles circulation
- It also increases prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) levels, which is known to help hair growth through multiple mechanisms.
- The use of Minoxidil converts more dormant hair follicles into the active anagen growth phase.
- Once the follicles are shifted to the anagen phase, Minox keeps them there for a longer duration than normal.
- Regular use of Minoxidil results in angiogenesis, which is a fancy term for new blood vessel generation.
For years, the only evidence that suggested you could use Rogaine for the face to grow a beard was that there were dozens of successful studies where it had been used on the scalp-hair.
That all changed a few years ago when a group of researchers from Thailand decided to test a 3% Minoxidil solution against a placebo liquid in the beards of 48 test subjects.
After the 16-week study period, the researchers looked at each participant’s 3cm test areas to see whether there was any new beard growth that took place.
The results showed that Minoxidil absolutely skyrocketed the growth of new facial hairs, leaving no question as for whether it would or wouldn’t be effective.
And this was with a 3% solution, while the Minoxidil that most guys use for beard growth purposes is even stronger; such as the typical 5% Kirkland like this one from Amazon.
“The exact mechanism of Minoxidil in promoting hair growth is still unclear but there are many hypotheses. In conclusion, Minoxidil 3% lotion is effective and safe for beard enhancement.” – Dr. Ingprasert et al.
Minoxidil Beard Before Afters
The popularity of applying Rogaine to the face has skyrocketed in the last few years, so much so that there are at least 50,000+ men doing it already, and likely much more than that.
Now, if something works or not for beard growth, can be very easily confirmed with a simple before-after picture.
But in the case of Minoxidil, there are thousands of unaltered before-afters, showing exactly how effective it really is at stimulating beard growth and even making completely beardless men turn into fully bearded gents.
Side Effects and Safety
After rigorous testing and multiple trials; Minoxidil has been considered safe enough for the FDA to make it available over the counter as a form of self-medication.
This does not mean that it would be completely side effect free, and even though using it for the beard is considered “off-label use” the Minoxidil beard side effects are practically the same ones as can be seen when the drug is applied to the scalp.
The side effects below are taken directly from the Rogaine packages instructional leaflet, with few exceptions that are compiled from known case studies and online reports.
Common side effects
The common side effects occur (according to McNeill corporation) in 1 out of every 10 users on average.
- Skin dryness – especially with liquid Minoxidil, skin dryness is a very common side effect. This is caused most likely by the combination of the alcohol and propylene glycol which act as carrier agents. They are necessary for absorption, but also dry out the skin. Luckily it’s really easy to combat this with moisturizer or beard oil.
- Body hair growth – not an issue for most, but since some of the Minoxidil does make it into the systemic circulation, it’s likely that you will see increased body hair growth.
- Hair and beard shedding – it may sound ass-backward that a hair-loss drug could result in more hairs falling off, but it does commonly happen and it’s not a bad thing at all. The reason for the “Minoxidil shedding phase” is simple; as the drug transitions more and more of your hairs into the active anagen growth phase, more and more of the hairs in the telogen resting phase will shed to make room for a new hair fiber growing from the same tunnel.
Less Common Side Effects
The less common side effects occur in 1/100 users on average (according to the manufacturer’s safety studies).
- Fatigue – rarely, some users report a slight feeling of fatigue, especially when starting the use of Minoxidil. This usually doesn’t persist, but if it does, it’s best to quit using it and talk to a doctor.
- Heart palpitations – Minoxidil was originally formulated to be an oral blood pressure medication, and since its a vasodilator (enlargens blood vessels) you can occasionally notice small changes in your heart rate. Use of nicotine products, stimulants, caffeine, etc can make these more common.
- Dizziness – due to changes in your blood flow, blood pressure, and heart rate that can come with Minoxidil use (again, it’s a vasodilator) you may occasionally get a sense of light-headedness.
- Acne – the skin drying ingredients alcohol and propylene glycol can increase the likelihood of acne and pimples in people prone to getting them.
- Water retention – some people report that Minoxidil causes “bloated looking face”, this can be caused by the water retention which has to do with its potassium-channel altering effects. Stick to the recommended amounts and don’t abuse the dosage and you should never see this side effect.
Serious Side Effects
The serious side effects are very rare and occur in 1/1000 users on average, according to the leaflet provided by the original Rogaine manufacturer.
NOTE: If you experience any of these side effects when using Minoxidil to grow a beard, discontinue the use immediately and consult a medical expert.
- Allergy symptoms – it’s very rare but possible to have an allergic reaction to Minoxidil. Symptoms of this include rapid weight gain, nausea, vomiting, rashes, and the swelling of different body parts like the hands, ankles, and your lips.
- Worsened eye-sight – since Minoxidil may increase your blood pressure, it can also impact the blood flow and pressure within the eyes and result in things like temporary optic neuropathy as seen in this case study. The discontinuation of Minoxidil completely resolved the issue, so if you ever experience any vision changes, stop using it and don’t take any risks.
- Severe chest pain / irregular heart rate – if you have long-term pre-existing cardiovascular issues, then the use of Minoxidil, which is a vasodilator, may either help or worsen your condition. If you experience chest pain and irregular heart rate, stop using Minoxidil immediately and seek the help of a medical professional.
“You said minoxidil was safe, this sounds very dangerous to me?”
Well, it’s safe enough to warrant OTC status by the FDA, but at the same time, like any drug, it has possible side effects.
It’s crucial to understand that out of tens of thousands of men using Minoxidil for beard growth, an extremely small percentage actually runs into side effects that make them stop the usage.
As long as you don’t use too much of it or apply too often, your risk of side effects – other than the dry skin under the beard – is very small.
But they’re still possible, and understanding them is extremely important, so you know what to do if you encounter them.
How to Use Minoxidil to Grow a Beard
So, Minoxidil and Rogaine can help you grow a beard, but how exactly do you apply Minoxidil to the face, and in which parts specifically?
And how long should it be there? How often do you need to use it? And how much should you use per application?
All of these questions will be covered below.
First, let’s look at how to put it in your face though…
How to Apply Minoxidil to the Face in 5 Easy Steps
Step #1 – Wash your face
The first step to applying Minoxidil is to simply wash your face. You may use just water or a gentle facewash for this.
Step #2 – Dampen the face with a towel
It has been shown in one study that Minoxidil works best on a towel-damp face. To be clear, your face should not be dripping with water, but it should not be completely dry either.
Step #3 – Apply Minoxidil where you want the beard to grow
Suck in 1ml of Minoxidil with the dropper and start dripping it all over the area where you’d like to see facial hair grow in. If you use the spray nozzle, it takes around 6-8 pumps for 1ml. Foam users should apply about half a cap.
Step #4 – Gently rub the Minoxidil all over your beard area
Once you have dripper or sprayed the 1ml of Minoxidil around your face, gently rub it into your desired facial hair area with either the dropper or with two fingers. You don’t have to use much pressure at all, just make sure there’s a thin layer on the areas of the skin you want more facial hair on.
Step #5 – Wash your hands carefully with soap
You probably don’t want hair growing on your fingers, so make sure to properly wash your hands with soap after applying Minoxidil to the beard.
How Many Times Per Day Should I Use it?
The most common recommendation is to apply Minoxidil to your beard twice per day, preferably in the morning and evening and not too close together. This is the official recommendation that is same for scalp-hair use as well.
Best results would come from applying it every 12 hours or so, but this may be unrealistic given that you need to sleep, work, and do a bunch of other stuff that might not allow you to be applying Minoxidil on your face.
That’s why I recommend you use it twice per day, whenever it will be most convenient for you to do so.
You can also use once per day, and this will bring results, but the results will come in slower than with twice per day application.
How Much Minoxidil Should I Use on the Beard?
The official recommended amount is 2ml per day divided into two doses, so 1ml per application.
Most Minoxidil bottles come with a dropper cap, and these should have a line indicating the 1ml mark. If you use the spray nozzle, the 1ml will be around 6-8 pumps, and for foam, the recommendation is to use roughly half of the cap.
How Long Does Minoxidil Need to Be on the Face?
In a Rogaine absorption study on the scalp area, it took four hours for 75% of the active ingredient to get into the hair follicles. Since the skin under your beard is much thinner, it’s likely that the recommended 4-hours would result in close to 100% being absorbed.
After applying Minoxidil to the beard, wait for around four hours before washing it off or applying moisturizer/beard oil.
How Long Does Minoxidil Beard Take?
Every man responds differently to Minoxidil and we all have different starting points. It’s simply impossible to say accurately how long will it take to grow a beard with Minoxidil.
However, given that tens of thousands of men have already gone through the journey and grown beards with the stuff, we can give a rough ball-park estimate…
In most cases, it will take anywhere between six months to two years of consistent Minoxidil applications to grow a full beard with Minoxidil.
Obviously, if you have some beard growth already and your overall beard hormone levels are on the higher side, then your results will come in faster.
If you have no facial hair at all and your hormones are on the lower side, then it will likely take longer for you to see the results.
Men with Eastern Asian or Native American genes also tend to see slower results, and this has to do with their sensitivity to the androgen receptors.
Is the Minoxidil Beard Really Permanent?
All of them do agree that Minoxidil works, but they also had beard transplant center workers to say that “the beard will fall off once you quit using Minoxidil” in each of the articles.
The funny thing is that there have been thousands of men who have grown full beards with Minoxidil, then stopped using it for more than a year, and came back reporting that the beard is still there.
So if Minoxidil beard is indeed permanent, then why do all these news say it will fall off once you stop?
Well, that’s probably because they ask the question from people associated with hair and beard transplant centers. Of course, they want to ward people off from using it, because each beard grown with Minoxidil is another lost client for them.
There have been so many people who have gone through the journey and stopped using Minox, and if they would all be losing their beards, you can be damn sure they would be talking about that.
Yet, all we see are guys who used it to grow beards, waited long enough for the hairs to turn thick and terminal, then stopped using, and their beards stuck around.
The only cases where someone reports that they lost some of the hairs are the people who used it for just a month or two and didn’t wait for their non-pigmented vellus hairs to turn into terminal beard hairs.
Which Minoxidil is Best for Beard Growth?
Minoxidil is, like said many times by now, a hair loss drug. The original brand is called Rogaine (or Regaine in the UK) but there are also multiple generic brands like Kirkland, Equate, Tugain, Foligain, Mintop, etc.
Which of these is the best choice for beard growth, and should you be using Minoxidil liquid or the foam? Let’s examine. ↓
Rogaine, Kirkland, Foligain, Equate, or Tugain?
Not a day goes by that I won’t get an email or comment asking me about which specific Minoxidil brand is the most effective for beard growth…
And the answer is that it does not matter which brand you use because almost all of them use the same active ingredient (Minoxidil) in same amounts (usually 5%) and dissolved into the same carrier agents (alcohol, propylene glycol, or the aerosol foam).
“You should use the brand of minoxidil that is easiest to get and the cheapest choice for you in your current location.”
For the guys living in the US, Kirkland is almost always the best choice (here’s almost a year’s supply for less than 200 bucks).
If you live in the UK, you probably need to get the original brand (Regaine) which is the same stuff, but just much more expensive.
Anywhere else in Europe, it’s likely that the only thing you can find is Rogaine, which again, is the exact same stuff, just more expensive.
NOTE: The only thing you need to look for is that the Minoxidil you buy does not have any extra ingredients in it like azelaic acid or saw palmetto. Those might work on the scalp, but not on the androgenic-hair of the face.
Liquid Minoxidil vs. Foam Minoxidil for Beard
Anecdotally many say that the liquid Minoxidil would be more effective for beard growth, but according to the available research, they should both be just as effective.
Liquid Minoxidil is cheaper and it’s also easier to measure in the dropper. Whether it’s really more effective is up for debate.
Foam Minoxidil, on the other hand, absorbs up to 5x faster and does not dry the skin as much since it does not have the propylene glycol in it.
I recommend you start out with liquid and see how you respond to it. If your skin gets unbearably dry or you can’t bother to wait for the 4-hours absorption time, then switching to foam might be a good idea.
Where to Buy Minoxidil for Beard Use
Minoxidil is the Dermatologist most recommended over-the-counter hair loss drug. It’s massively popular because of that, which means that there’s no shortage of it.
A quick summary of different options:
You can find Rogaine in practically every drug store on this planet, and on most big online retailers like eBay or Amazon, you can find Rogaine, Kirkland, Equate, etc.
Most generic brands are also available in stores like Walmart and Target, even in some gas stations.
If you want the stronger stuff like Mintop 12,5% Minoxidil or Tugain 10% Minoxidil, you will probably have to try to find them from India.
(do keep in mind that these might not be legal to import to your country).
There’s also a seller that ships the rarer brands of Minoxidil in the US and from their UK warehouse (minoxbeard.com).
I wouldn’t recommend the Tugains and other strong stuff, most people get amazing results with little to no side effects with the basic cheap Kirkland 5%, so why risk it?
My go-to recommendation is this Kirkland 5% from Amazon, which is the lowest price I’ve seen in a while.
How to Make Minoxidil More Effective for Beard Growth
Are there any ways to speed up the Minoxidil beard progress? You bet there are.
But the ones below are the best method to truly supercharge the effects of Minoxidil without any major extra costs or time spent. ↓
Minoxidil + Peppermint Oil for Beard Growth
It’s inevitable that Minoxidil will dry out your beard skin, and you will need to find a good moisturizer to combat this.
One of the best ways to combine a moisturizer with some possible beard growth-promoting effects would be to make a 3% dilution of peppermint essential oil into a jojoba oil carrier.
Then just use that as a moisturizer/beard oil after the 4-hours of Minoxidil’s absorption time has gone by.
What makes PEO so good you ask?
Well, there’s a rodent study which showed that a 3% dilution of peppermint oil was more effective at growing hair than a 3% solution of Minoxidil, and it worked by increasing the hair follicle IGF-1 growth hormone levels.
It’s possible that peppermint oil could promote beard growth in humans through the same mechanism.
Minoxidil + Beard Roller, a Perfect Combo?
Microneedling the beard area with a device called the Derma Roller is another possible way to enhance the effects of beard Minoxidil.
You need to use a roller with 0.5 to 0.75mm needle-length, as this allows you to create micro-punctures that will reach the epidermis of the skin.
Puncturing the skin will not cause pain or scar tissue, but it will be just enough to prompt the body into a healing response, which means that it will shuttle more fresh blood with hormones and nutrients directly into the beard area.
This has been studied so far only with scalp-hair, but in one study it was found that Derma Roller + Minoxidil was significantly more effective at regrowing hair than Minoxidil alone.
I recommend and personally use this 0.75mm Derma Roller from Amazon.
NOTE: When using the Derma Roller and Minoxidil in conjunction, always take a 24-hour break from Minoxidil after you have micro-needled the skin to avoid systemic absorption of the drug.
L-Carnitine L-Tartrate (LCLT) is an amino acid that is best known as a lipid transporter in the body.
There are two mechanisms that explain how it can help your beard grow faster, and make Minoxidil more effective on the facial hair.
- It makes the androgen receptors all around your body (including the face) more sensitive towards testosterone and DHT (source).
- It shuttles more fatty-acids into the mitochondria of beard follicles for direct energy use, which activates some of the dormant follicles (source).
You can buy some pure powdered LCLT from Amazon and then either take about 2g per day orally or dissolve ~1.2g into a full 60ml bottle of liquid Minoxidil for topical use (the carrier agents will help the carnitine to absorb directly into the follicles).
Commonly Asked Questions
How long do I need to use Minoxidil on my face?
Most users report that there are only light “vellus hairs” that can be seen in the first 1-3 months, which then gradually start turning darker and thicker terminal hairs. After 6-12 months of continuous use, most Rogaine beard brothers report significant results, often complete full faces of hair.
Can you shave while using Rogaine on the beard?
You can, and it might make the application much more comfortable and less messy. However, you don’t have to necessarily. There are people who both shaved and did not, and both camps claiming good effects.
Will the facial hair fall off if I stop applying Minoxidil/Rogaine?
No. The rate of new growth slowly seizes, and the hair shaft diameter is reduced slightly, but almost all of the new facial hair gained from Minoxidil will stay on your face for years after discontinuing use.
It seems that once the hair follicle and androgen receptors of the face are properly activated, the hormonal feedback loop keeps the beard gains alive even without the influx of more Minoxidil.
In other words, the Minoxidil facial hair growth is likely permanent (which is why you should be careful to only use it on spots you really want the hair to grow on!)
How often do I have to use Minoxidil on my face to grow a beard?
1ml once per day is enough, but 1ml twice per day is better and will likely get you faster results.
Some users report putting on Minoxidil even three or up to four times per day, but since the drug was initially created to be a vasodilator, I would highly advise that you don’t play around with it and stick to 1-2 times per day.
How long should you keep Minoxidil on the face?
According to one scientific trial, 75% or more of the Minoxidil will be absorbed into the hair follicle within 4-hours, this seems to be generally recommended as the optimal time.
Can I use Tugain 10% Minoxidil for the beard?
A lot of men who are desperate to make their patchy beards thicker, seem to gravitate towards the Tugain brand 10% Minoxidil, which is twice as strong as the normal Rogaine or Kirkland brands.
Is this smart? Not in my opinion. The 5% solution should be enough to stimulate facial hair growth, and by doubling the amount of active ingredient, you are also doubling down on the possible chances of getting the above-mentioned Minoxidil side effects.
Minox Beard Hall of Fame and Other Resources
I first heard about Minoxidil for beard growth about 6 years ago, and back then there was almost no information at all for its off-label beard use.
The only information you could find was incredibly inaccurate forum posts here and there.
All of those are amazing resources filled with accurate information about using Minoxidil for facial hair growth, and they have even put together the Official Minoxidil Beard FAQ.
The Minoxidil Beard Infographic
You can grow a beard with Minoxidil. It’s possible, the effects are permanent, and thousands of men have done it already before you.
There will always be nay-sayers and people who claim that Minoxidil wouldn’t work on facial hair or that it would be crazy to rub Rogaine on to your face.
But, there’s simply too much evidence, both scientific and anecdotal, which supports our cause, this stuff is simply put; a working medication to grow facial hair.
So if you want to get that beard growing and you understand the possible side effects and risks, then get yourself a bottle of 5% Kirkland from Amazon and start the journey.