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.
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.
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.
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%|
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.
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:
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.
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.