Just because beard hair grows naturally doesn’t mean all beards are equal. If you want to know how to grow a beard that will turn heads for all the right reasons then this blog post is for you.
You will discover nine ways to thicken a patchy beard and we’ll uncover five mistakes gentlemen make when growing their beard. But first, let’s have a look at why your beard hair needs different care from your head hair.
What is the Difference Between Beard Hair and Head Hair?
Have you ever wondered why there are different products for head hair and beards?
Put your lab coat on because things are about to get sciency.
Different parts of your body have different hair. Vellus hair is the fine hair that grows all over your body (except, of course, on your lips, palms, soles, behind your ears, and in your navel).
Wherever you have a hair you have a follicle. A hair follicle anchors each hair into the skin. The hair bulb forms the base of the hair follicle.
Terminal hair grows on your head and these hair follicles are connected to oil glands. When you go through puberty, vellus hair is replaced by terminal hair in pubic areas and armpits, and men will also develop terminal hair on their chest and face (and possibly their back and feet).
This hair is called androgenic hair. Androgenic hair growth is dependent on testosterone. More testosterone equals more facial hair.
But don’t get too caught up on that fact, because the presence (or absence) of follicles overrides that fact.
Both your head hair and your beard hair grow in three stages, but the growing phase for facial hair is shorter than that of head hair.
What is the Hair Growth Cycle?
The wonderful thing about the human body is that it regenerates various parts of itself over time and your hair is no exception.
Each hair follicle has its own cycle so all your hairs are replaced from time to time. That is why there may be times where you find a follicle without a hair.
There are five phases in the hair growth cycle.
The anagen phase is the phase in which the follicle is actively growing hair. This is the phase you want most of your hair to be in to result in the thickest beard possible.
The catagen phase allows the hair to be replaced by a new strand of hair.
Thankfully only 1% of all the hair on your body is in this phase at one time.
The telogen phase is when the hair remains in the follicle but it is no longer growing. The shedding phase is when the hair falls out of the follicle. If you notice hair falling out of your scalp or beard at a natural rate you needn’t be alarmed as a new hair will grow from that follicle.
This is a natural process known as exogen.
The kenogen phase is when the follicle is empty; this happens between exogen and the anagen phase.
The growing phase for facial hair is shorter than that of head hair.
How do hair follicles affect my beard?
1. Beard Density
First and foremost, if there is no follicle there can be no hair. It doesn't matter how many supplements you take or how much magical beard ointment you apply to your face, you need to ensure there is hair to work with in order for the products to have any effect.
The number of follicles you have on your head, face, and the rest of your body is determined by genetics. This is why some people have more hair and why some men have thicker beards.
The follicle is also responsible for the shape and texture of the hair that grows from it. The thickness of the hair that grows from each follicle will also have an impact on the density of the beard.
2. Beard Shape
Your beard will only grow where you have androgenic hair follicles, so the shape of your beard is predetermined by genetics.
3. Beard Texture
Facial hair tends to be thicker and of a much more wiry texture than that on the head. The reason for this is the shape of the hair follicles.
What is the Secret: How to Grow a Beard
The secret is twofold: look after your beard from the inside and care for your beard from the outside.
You can encourage a healthy beard by eating the right food, adopting a generally healthy lifestyle, and caring for your beard with proper grooming.
Your beard needs to be cared for differently than the hair on top of your head. Your scalp is oiler than the skin on your face therefore beards need a milder shampoo for cleansing coupled with moisturising products for softening.
This is where we recommend beard oils and balms. You will also need a few grooming tools, including a good, stiff brush as opposed to the softer brush you may use on your scalp. And don’t forget the professional trim every six weeks.
9 Ways to Thicken a Patchy Beard
Once again, if there are no follicles in the place where you have an open patch of skin there is nothing you can do apart from a comb-over – you cannot create follicles with diet, medication or magical balms and ointments.
If, however, the open patches are caused through hair breakage or higher than normal hair loss, there are some things you can do to improve your beard follicle and hair health:
Eat more protein
Hair is made up of a protein called keratin. Eating protein-rich foods like dairy, eggs, meat and poultry will boost your protein levels resulting in healthier hair.
Vitamin A and Beta-carotene
Include carrots, green vegetables, and egg yolks in your diet so that you get enough of these vitamins. They help repair damaged tissues by strengthening follicles to aid in the production of healthier hair.
Vitamin C and E
These are found naturally in eggs, poultry and citrus. They help with the production of sebum which is a natural hair lubricant which results in less hair damage and a fuller beard.
You’ll get plenty of this naturally in eggs, chicken and legumes. Promotes skin and hair growth and helps prevent hair breakage and split ends.
Healthy oils and fats
These are found naturally in avocados, salmon and nuts. Prevents hair from being brittle and drying out. Remember that dry hair breaks easily.
Rest and sleep
You need between 6 and 8 hours of sleep to increase testosterone production which results in more androgenic hair.
Reduce stress levels and alcohol intake and increase exercise and water intake.
Perhaps your beard is patchy because your beard hair is breaking. Regular and proper grooming will correct this.
Some parts of your beard may grow at a slower pace than others – give your beard hair time to catch up.
If you have open patches in your facial hair due to the absence of follicles it doesn’t mean you can’t grow a beard.
There are many different beard styles; one of them is bound to line up with your
natural beard shape.
5 Mistakes Men Make When Growing Their Beard
They give up too quickly
Patience is the key to a full, healthy-looking beard.
They think patchy facial hair disqualifies them from growing a beard
This isn’t the case. Own your natural beard shape and turn it into a personal masterpiece.
Neglecting your beard care routine is the worst thing you can do to your face
A healthy lifestyle and correct and regular grooming will ensure a healthy-looking beard.
Thinking trimming means your beard won’t grow
Trimming every 6 weeks removes split ends which results in less knotting and fewer breakages.
Believing in myths like magical ointments that result in miracle beard growth
Beard growth serums and supplements are great for a healthy beard but they cannot create more hair follicles for a thicker beard.
The Final Word
According to psychologists, there are distinct advantages to having a beard. It is a symbol of confidence as bearded men appear more assertive. It is a symbol of health as bearded men appear more virile. Facial hair adds years; a fresh, baby-faced young man can age a few years in a matter of weeks.
When it comes to social status, men with beards regularly receive higher scores than clean-shaven men. The least exciting but most healthy benefit of having facial hair is that beards offer protection from the sun’s UV rays.
As far as attracting the opposite sex, the polls are divided. It appears that most women prefer a man with light stubble. But in all honesty, a real man grows a beard for himself and the admiration of his fellow man and not simply to attract women.
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