How Long Does It Take to Grow a Full Beard at Different Ages?

Growing a full beard is a rite of passage – a solemn task all men should accomplish once. It's no mean feat. From facial fuzz to the final, impressive appearance can take months of meticulous care and maintenance. Otherwise, you are a little more beast than man – think castaway on steroids.

 As with all journeys into manhood, growing a full beard isn't open to boys. We all know facial hair begins to develop in puberty, but does its growth rate continue to change into adulthood?

Learn more about what factors influence beard growth, what age you can start growing a full beard, and a few full beard styling tips that can further enhance your growth.

Stages of beard growth

When you stop shaving, your hair just keeps growing, right? That's all there is to it? Yes and no. While growing a beard is nothing more than stopping shaving, you will notice five key stages of growth. If we're to understand how age affects full beard growth, first, we need to appreciate the normal growth pattern for most men.

  • Stage 1. This stage lasts approximately 7 days and turns the initial stubble into small hairs. You can evaluate your beard growth time depending on the level of growth you see by the end of the first week.
  • Stage 2. Turning these bristly hairs into longer growth takes around 2 weeks. During this time, you can see any patchiness within your growth.
  • Stage 3. Following a further 2 weeks, you should have significant beard growth. By this point, little to no beard growth typically means a full beard isn't a possibility. Consider the other styles of beard that may be viable.
  • Stage 4. After two months of beard growth, it could be time to start trimming. However, if you're going for something even more extraordinary, you'll want to save the trimming till you've got enough hair to achieve the shape you want.
  • Stage 5. Two months onwards, beard growth slows. It's less about seeing further growth than maintaining what you've got.

Expect your beard to take, in total, 2 to 4 months to grow. Facial hairs grow between 0.3 to 0.5 millimeters (mm) every 24 hours – or around one-third to half an inch per month.

How does age affect beard growth?

Beginnings of beard growth

Facial hair is one of the markers of men – all boys experience some growth by the end of puberty. When it occurs and how much it grows depends wholly on genetics (and a little bit of diet and exercise). In some boys, facial hair can begin to grow by the age of 12 – among these extraordinary bearded boys, a full beard can be possible by 16 years old.

For the rest of us mere mortals, 16 years is the average age when beard growth begins. Never fear, however; beard growth can begin as late as 20 years old – and when beard growth begins is never a sure determinant of the final quantity of growth.

That's not the whole story, though. Despite a full beard being possible between the ages of 18 to 20, your beard hair follicles are still continuing to mature. Maximum beard thickness and growth actually occur sometime between the ages of 25 to 30 years old.

Here's a breakdown of when beard growth stopped by age:

Age % Beard Growth Stopped
16 to 18 years old 2%
18 to 20 years old 19%
21 to 25 years old 29%
26 to 30 years old 24%
31 to 35 years old 14%
36 to 40 years old 6%
40 to 60 years old 6%

The slowdown

Nothing lasts forever – the peak years of beard growth are likely to be in your 30s and 40s. Once you turn 50, however, the slowdown begins. While your beard will still continue to grow into old age – we'd have no illustrious wizard's beards otherwise – it won't be as quick as in your younger days. Again, this depends on your genetics.

Key beard growth factors

Almost everything in your life affects your beard growth – ethnicity, genetics, hormones, diet, and, of course, age. For teenagers frustrated at their lack of facial fuzz, I could quote Gandalf: "Don't be hasty." But, that's unlikely to solve your woes.

Here are some tips to promote beard growth:

  • Vitamins and minerals. Take a leaf out of Popeye's book – a spinach leaf, that is. That's right; vitamins and minerals are critical for hair growth. Ensuring you're maxing out your body's requirements for vitamins A, C, E, and B1 will speed up your beard growth. As if there's a better reason to eat a healthy diet!
  • Massage your face. Hair follicles need plenty of nutrients and oxygen from a reliable blood supply. By massaging your face, you promote blood circulation, which in turn increases hair growth. You can also use special beard oils – see our selection – as part of your massage.
  • Keep clean. Healthy, hydrated skin will always result in faster beard growth. Using a mild cleansing gel is best, alongside a splash of warm water.
  • Beard fillers. Something of a cheat option: beard fillers use a dye to thicken your facial hair temporarily. Just don't expect any genuine long-term results.

Perhaps, most of all, we should all relax – stress is a major impediment to beards. Like all aspects of our body, our facial hair grows best when we get 7 to 8 hours of sleep, eat well, and calm down. Oh, and there's also an element of genetic jackpot involved.

To beard or not to beard

Your beard rushes for no man – it takes its sweet time. (But then, aren't the best things in life worth waiting for.) You expect a full beard within 2 to 4 months of growth. For adolescents and young adults, that could take slightly longer – with weaker growth and thickness prevalent until age 30, on average. And, for older adults, fifty and up, expect beard growth to be more in the four months than two.

Speak to your doctor or a dermatologist if you're concerned about your lack of beard growth.


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