There are men who can sprout a full face of lengthy beard hairs in what seems like just a month or two.
And then there’s you, whose beard grows so slow that you’re beginning to wonder if it will ever even be able to cross your Adam’s apple.
This begs the question…
“Why does my beard grow so slow?”
The answer is that there are many answers (yes, I know, boring)…
But learning why exactly some beards grow in fast and others grow in slow, might help you in both understanding your facial hair better and perhaps even accelerating the growth rate as well.
So follow me down and let’s figure out what makes your beard grow so slow. ↓
Slow Beard Growth or Just Impatience?
While facial hair typically grows a bit faster than head hair, the average growth rate is still just 0.5″ per month.
Many men who are growing their beards at that rate – or even faster – still believe that they suffer from a slow growing beard.
When in reality, they suffer from impatience.
So before you think your beard growth rate is slow, please actually do make sure that it’s growing slower than the average of half-an-inch per month.
Possible Causes of a Slow Growing Beard
1. You are Not Eating Enough to Support Beard Growth
Facial hair growth is an energy-expensive process.
In other words; it takes a boat-load of calories (energy) to sprout hair from your face – and especially if you want this hair to grow fast, – not slow.
Furthermore, the hormones that regulate your facial hair growth can tank if you are eating a “fitness-bunny diet” of very low calories and starving yourself.
There’s a 7-year long study that monitored men who ate low-calorie diets (calorie-restriction) and compared them to men who ate normally (with maintenance calories or slight surplus).
The results showed that the men who ate less also had significantly lower levels of testosterone than the men who simply ate like men.
Since testosterone is the key hormone behind the speed of your beard growth, it’s not hard to put one-and-one together to see that eating too little could slow down your facial hair growth rate.
2. You are Not Getting the Necessary Vitamins & Minerals
Most actions of the human body require vitamins and minerals as enzymatic co-factors.
Beard growth – and the production of the hormones behind your ability to grow a beard – are some of those things.
If your diet lacks the fat-soluble vitamins A, E, D, and K2, it’s only a matter of time before your beard begins to grow slower.
Same goes for the B-complex vitamins (and especially biotin, which is important for facial hair growth).
Not to mention zinc, boron, magnesium, calcium, selenium, and a bunch of others which your body uses to maintain the natural production of beard-growing hormones.
Bottom line: Luckily it’s not hard at all to make sure you get the necessary micronutrients, so that your beard doesn’t grow slowly because of a simple deficiency – just consume a balanced diet filled with beard foods and maybe take a multivitamin supplement to cover your bases (doesn’t have to be a “beard growth vitamin“, just regular multi is fine).
3. Changes in Hormone Levels May Slow Down Beard Growth
Facial hair is androgenic-hair, and the growth is stimulated and regulated by the two key male hormones; testosterone (T) and dihydrotestosterone (DHT).
Specifically, T primes the follicles and DHT is responsible for linear growth (source).
“If your beard growth has suddenly stalled or is growing super slow, then one of the more likely causes is that your levels of either T, DHT, or both could have tanked.”
There is a myriad of reasons why that could happen, including some of the most basic things like aging, weight gain, lack of sleep, poor nutrition, inactivity, vitamin and mineral deficiencies, etc.
Luckily, I have already written a post before which looks at the specific details on how testosterone and DHT help with beard growth and how you can make sure your levels stay high naturally.
4. You May Have Reached your Beards Terminal Length
If you have been growing out a long beard, at some point it might seem like the growth rate slows down, or stops completely.
This is caused by your beard reaching its terminal length.
How that happens is simple…
At any given time of the day, the majority of your beard hairs are growing in the anagen growth phase (which lasts for 2-6 years on average)…
When the anagen phase ends, the hair transitions into the catagen resting phase, and then into the telogen phase where it finally sheds.
“Then the follicle basically just “resets” and starts again from a new anagen phase, and a new beard hair starts dividing and growing from it.”
When your beard is really long and a lot of hairs are nearing the end of their anagen phases, it may seem as if your beard growth stops or slows down.
Bottom line: So basically each of your isolated facial hairs has a potential life-span of two to six years, and as the old hair sheds, the cycle repeats itself as a new beard hair begins to grow.
5. Your Beard Care Routine is too Aggressive
There are many ways you can damage your beard and suppress its natural growth rate, and most guys do these things without knowing any better.
Curly bearded men may use a blow-dryer on their beards, but if they do this with too high heat, on a 100% wet beard, and from too close, then there will be massive amounts of structural damage to the follicles and the beard fibers as the water absorbed within will boil up and expand in the cortex.
Men using beard straighteners can also severely damage their beards and harm the growth potential if they use the heated brusher, mini flat irons, etc. too often, with too high heat, and without proper use of heat shield sprays.
NOTE: We recently published a guide on how to straighten a beard, go check it out.
You may also have heard of beard relaxers and how cool they are in chemically straightening even the waviest beards.
Yet, not many men know that the beard relaxing creams work by breaking the keratin-bonds within your facial hair fibers, causing intense structural damage.
“The three things above are the worst offenders for sure, but there are also other things that can make your beard care routine too aggressive and your beard’s growth rate sluggish…”
- Combing your beard too often.
- Using too much beard products and blocking the pores.
- Picking the beard or brushing it multiple times per day.
- Washing the beard too often which strips off all the natural oils.
Bottom line: Thinking that beards are manly, coarse, and all that stuff – might give you the impression that you can just beat yours up and moisturize it with motor oil, but in reality, facial hair is quite sensitive and it’s really easy to suppress its growth just by maintaining it in a wrong way.
6. You Think Shaving More Often Would Actually Help
By far the most prevalent beard myth of them all is that shaving your beard more often or against the grain would somehow magically stimulate beard growth.
Well, I hate to break it to you but this is not true.
It may make it look like your beard is getting thicker – because you’re cutting off the fine tips and left with a thicker coarser stub – but in reality, your beard does not grow any faster or thicker, the tips just look rougher.
Bottom line: Believing in myths like these is not directly going to make your beard grow slower, but it may make it seem like you would be “doing everything and nothing works”. When in reality you’re just doing the wrong things and believing the wrong claims and old wives tales.
7. Your Beard Might Just Naturally be a Slow Grower
Here’s the deal:
There are hundreds of millions – even billions – of men who can’t grow beards at all.
So if your beard is actually growing (albeit slowly), you should be happy that you are in such a fortunate position to be able to grow one in the first place.
Beards are amazing, loved by women, and can make a man look way better than what he really is – so not being able to grow one, would suck.
And hey, you don’t have to force your beard to grow in faster. Your genetics may have given you a naturally slow facial hair growth rate, and that’s perfectly fine, all it means is that you need to be a tad bit more patient than someone with a faster growth rate.
Bottom line: Growing a beard is a marathon, not a sprint, and at least your beard is growing. So who cares if your growth rate is naturally a bit sluggish?
Can I Speed Up the Growth in Any Way?
I’m glad you asked.
Yes, there are many ways that can help you grow your beard faster, that link leads to a post where I talk about them specifically.
To quickly give you a few examples of things that are proven to help stimulate a slow-growing beard…
- Minoxidil or Rogaine (a hair-loss drug that works for beards).
- L-Carnitine L-Tartrate (a type of beard supplement).
- Peppermint Essential Oil (which I explain more about here).
- Derma Roller (microneedle device that can enhance beard circulation).
The average beard growth rate is just half-an-inch per month.
If your facial hair grows significantly slower than that, then it might be because of poor nutrition habits, vitamin deficiencies, low hormone levels, too aggressive beard care routine, naturally slow growth rate (genetics), or just that your beard has reached its terminal length.
Whatever the case might be, any of the above things can easily be corrected so that your facial hair starts to grow faster again.