Has My Beard Stopped Growing?
When you first set out on your journey to bearded greatness, it’s pretty easy to keep tabs on your facial hair’s growth. Starting from zero means every fraction of an inch of your new growth is obvious. Your whiskers look fuller and longer with each passing week. Even if it takes a little time to get everything evened out, you never have any question that your beard is enjoying some nice forward momentum.
Beyond those early days, though, it’s not unusual for fear to set in. When your beard has a few months (and a few inches) of growth behind it, you may find that a nagging question creeps into the back of your mind. If you’ve been there, you know the one. You take a peek at yourself in the mirror and ask the question you dread the answer to:
"Has my beard stopped growing?"
The good news is, it almost certainly hasn’t. But it can seem that way. Don't worry, though—this is a question all members of the bearded brotherhood have wrestled with. Let’s dig into the science of what's going on.
To fully understand what's happening with your beard, let’s start with some cold, hard facts. On average, beard hair grows half an inch (or 1.25 cm) per month—that’s about six inches per year. When you first start growing a beard, you can instantly spot how your hair is growing in on your previously bare cheeks and chin. As the months add up, though, it can be harder to tell where those extra half-inches are going.
While you might think otherwise, beards never stop growing. Instead, they tend to level out. This is known as your “terminal length.” To make a long story short, the terminal length of your beard is determined by your genetics. In other words, your beard knew how far it was going to grow before you even spotted the first whisker. Terminal length factors into an overall process called “beard growth phases.”
That’s the quick-and-dirty of it. Now, let’s dive deep into the science of growth phases, which will help explain why your beard does what it does.
Beard Growth Phases
Everything in your body undergoes systematic growth, and that includes your hair. In fact, where the growth of your hair is concerned, the specific process in question includes a few different phases.
- Everything begins with the Anagen phase. This is when you’ll find the stem cells responsible for churning out your hair firing on all cylinders. While the average lifespan for a normal head of hair is between three to five years, beards tend to be a little shorter-lived; they typically fall closer to the two-year range. Without a doubt, the Anagen phase is when you can expect to see the biggest and best facial hair growth your genetics have to offer.
- Once the Anagen phase has wrapped, the Catagen Phase kicks in. During this phase, your beard takes a rest for a few weeks. Hair follicles shrink, and your hair pretty much ceases to grow. Your beard has done all it can do as far as its initial growth goes and decides it's just about time to call it a day.
- The final phase is called the Telogen Phase. There's no nice way to say it: This phase is when your beard hair dies off. It'll slowly start to fall out through shedding, a process that regular washing and brushing helps accelerate. Believe it or not, every single hair in your beard follows this three-phase life cycle. At some point, you’ll have to say farewell to even the most steadfast of your whiskers.
It's worth noting at this point that different areas of your beard grow at varying rates. And, again, much of your beard’s growth is tied to your genetic makeup. This means that while these beard phases impact every single beard out there, the time spent in each phase varies from person to person. Not only that, it varies within different areas of each person’s beard!
Your Beard Hasn’t Stopped Growing
The terminal length of your beard differs according to each area of your face. For example, your mustache will usually cap out at a couple of inches. This will lead to your lips being covered, and it's very rare to see mustache hair naturally grow to be any longer than that.
If you're looking for the long-term areas of major growth, you're more likely to see that happening on your chin and upper neck. At the opposite end of the spectrum, the whiskers on your cheeks tend to be the quickest to reach their maximum length.
The reality of terminal length means some beards simply won't reach the iconic status of “mountain man” or “dwarven king”—and there's absolutely nothing wrong with that. It's all about growing the best beard your body can produce, no matter the length you want. If you're not happy with how things are playing out, more often than not, you can give your beard an extra bit of oomph with some special care and attention.
Beard Health 101
A healthy beard grows from a healthy body. You'll want to fill up on vitamins to feed your beard roots and keep things growing towards their greatest potential. A boost in the Biotin department can help in a big way as well. Biotin aids your overall hair growth, and you can get your fill from red meat, eggs, nuts, seeds, and many vegetables. If you'd rather, you can take the route of a Biotin supplement, and marry that with a general multivitamin.
Take things a step further with some Beard Growth Oil, which can help keep your whiskers strong and your face squeaky-clean. Oils help clear away all the unnatural pollutants that your face endures throughout the day and helps protect against them as well. Beard Growth Oil will also give your whiskers a glistening appearance and silky feel, a sure indication of how well-moisturized and protected you’ve managed to keep your beard.
Live and Let Live
There's no stopping these three phases of your beard’s growth, and even science can't outsmart terminal length. (At least not yet.) These are simply the facts of bearded life, and we all have to abide by them. Make peace with the beard your body has given you, and work hard to keep it at the top of its game. Vitamins, nutrients, and overall care are all it takes to put your best beard forward. After that, all there is to do is sit back and take in the magnificent mane that sprouts forth. We have no doubt it'll be a beard for the ages.