There is a benchmark that only a few great beards will reach in their lifetime, and it's known as the “peak beard.” This isn’t a media buzzword declaring the end of beards as nigh. Don't worry a single whisker about that, bearded brothers. Your beards are completely safe, and we'll work tirelessly to make sure that's always the case! So what is "peak beard," you ask? There are a couple of definitions for the phrase, depending on where you look. The first meaning is similar to “terminal beard” or “max length.” Men who reach this length have apparently grown out their hair as long as it will go. This wizardly behavior is a commitment that should be rewarded and revered. Few men have the patience and mental fortitude to push on to "peak beard." If you happen to be one of them, consider yourself among the elite! The second definition of "peak beard" is a little looser. In a purely personal sense, "peak beard" is the maximum length you feel comfortable growing your beard to. This could be barely half an inch off of your face, or a bundle that reaches down to your stomach. In this use of "peak beard," no one can decide the endgame but you. The only way to find out where your "peak beard" lies is to keep growing. When you hit the point of discomfort, you'll know!
The science of terminal length
As you might know, there is a process behind hair length. Everything in your body undergoes a sort of systematic growth. The growth of your hair, be it on your face or other parts of the body, consists of three different phases. Let's take a closer look at what each phase means.
The first phase is called the Anagen phase, which is when stem cells responsible for churning out your hair are firing on all cylinders. The average lifespan for a normal head of hair in this phase is around three to five years. When you're talking specifically about beards, the Anagen phase typically lasts for about two years. If you're looking to really see what your beard can do when it's cranking, this is the phase for major results.
The second phase is known as the Catagen phase, which is a short transition period taking place at the end of the Anagen phase. During this time, your beard takes a bit of a rest for a few weeks, signalling the end of active hair growth. Hair follicles will shrink, which is caused by hair being cut off from its blood supply, as well as the cells that produce new hair.
This is the end of the line for the beard phases. The Telogen phase is basically the resting phase of the hair follicle. As you might have guessed, this is the phase that brings about hair death. To put a nicer way, consider the Telogen phase the time when your hairs are washed up in the rain for Beard Valhalla. All hairs in your beard will eventually reach this point, so be prepared for some shedding of fallen follicles. Following that lesson, there's still a couple more points to note about the science of "peak beard." First off, remember that all portions of your beard will grow at completely different rates. You're not going to have a beard that grows 100% in sync, which accounts for why some areas fluff out faster. Second, much of your beard growth is tied to your genetic makeup. These factors, along with the three growth phases, are what results in the first definition of "peak beard."
Reaching your self-imposed peak
When your beard hits its scientific "peak beard," there's not too much you can do. It might not be as long as you'd like it to be, but don't be hard on yourself. There's nothing wrong with having a shorter kept beard! Many men out there are happy with, and even aim for a shorter length. We say you should get out there and wear it loud and proud! Having a beard of any length, shape, or style is bad-ass, and is well worth celebrating. On the flip-side, growing a beard to its maximum length takes a ton of dedication and commitment. Sure, plenty of us think we'd like to have a beard as long as Gandalf the Grey, but is it actually practical? You may think you want to hit the floor with your "peak beard," but preferences change over time. Walking around looking like a real-life wizard certainly has some perks, but so does a beard that doesn't drag on the street. The second definition of "peak beard" shouldn't be a hard and fast rule. Don't stick yourself in a box before you've had anytime to explore the outside! Try running with a short beard to see if that's the personal peak for you. Go full-on mountain man to learn not only what your peak beard is, but your limits of comfort as well. It's fun to experiment and see how everything looks, as well as feels. The two versions of “peak beard” represent nature’s limits, and the personal limitations of a man. All you have to do is keep growing to see how both play out. We wish you good luck on your adventure, and can't wait to see you summit the peak!