Much to the disappointment of many men, there is no foolproof way to grow a thick beard. A lot depends on genetics, both in terms of actual hair thickness and other related things like face structure and follicle density. Still, there are a few things you can do to encourage more robust facial hair, including reducing scheduled shaves and trims and trying out special shampoos and thickening creams. Some men swear by skin massage, while others say that increasing vitamin intake is the key. The best bet may be experiment with a couple of different ideas to see what works best for you.
Minimize Shaves and Trims
Anyone trying to grow a long beard knows not to shave or trim as often, but not everyone looking for thickness may realize that this advice often holds true for them, too. In many cases, one of the best things you can do is simply leave your face alone, usually for at least a month. This means no shaving, trimming, or plucking. The time off can give his your beard a chance to become solidly established, and is often the best way to define your own genetic limits. You may be pleased with the results once things have gotten started, or you may want to look into some other possibilities.
One of the easiest ways to improve the fullness of facial hair is to wash it with a thickening shampoo. These are available over the counter in most places, and come in many different varieties. You don’t need to find one that has been made specifically for beards, but it is a good idea to get one designed for men. Most experts recommend using the shampoo several times a week, usually in the shower.
The majority of thickening shampoos don’t actually cause more hair to grow, but rather augment the hairs that already exist. The result is a beard that may look thicker without actually being thicker. Proteins in the shampoo bind to the hair follicles, lubricating them and opening up their surface cells. These cells fill with water and the body’s natural oils, which can cause a small amount of expansion; this can make things appear more vibrant and full, but the results are usually temporary. As a result, if you stop using the shampoo, you’ll usually stop seeing the effects.
Creams and Oils
A range of different creams and oils work in a similar way, namely, by temporarily boosting the look and feel of facial hair. Many of these are made specifically for beards, and unlike shampoos most are designed to be rubbed in but not rinsed out. You can often buy these at specialty men’s shops, pharmacies, and drug stores, and they typically range from the inexpensive to the luxury.
Gentle massage to the cheeks, chin, and neck is another option. Regular stroking and rubbing can stimulate blood flow to the face, which some hair growth specialists say can help encourage hair growth. You don’t need to use oils and creams in your massage, but many men do in order to maximize the benefits of both strategies. Your strokes should be vigorous but not harsh, and can be done as frequently as you like though most people say they get the best results when they use massage at least once a day. Making time in your morning or evening routine can be a good way to fit this therapy in.
Diet Changes and Supplements
People who eat balanced diets and get all of their essential nutrients typically have he healthiest, fullest hair, so it makes sense to do a thorough inventory of your food intake when thick beards are on your mind. Look for foods rich in iron, B vitamins, vitamin D and zinc. All of these nutrients help promote hair health, and can be found in a range of foods from lean meats to whole grains and vegetables. Limiting your intake of greasy, fatty foods can also help these nutrients get to your hair, and can prevent oil buildups around follicles that can actually hinder growth and thickness.
If you’re worried about your vitamin levels it might also make sense to look into supplementation. A men’s multivitamin should contain the essentials, but you might also look into upping your intake of certain elements if your diet is deficient or unpredictable. Some health food stores sell pre-packaged “hair growth” pills, but it’s usually pretty easy to put together your own cocktail. Most professionals start with biotin, one of the B-complex vitamins responsible for follicle health and moisture, then add zinc and iron supplements as needed.
Most people see the best results taking supplements every day, but as with any vitamin it’s important to talk with your healthcare provider before stocking up. Even though these minerals occur naturally in foods, dramatically upping your intake can have negative consequences if you aren’t careful.
Men who are having a lot of trouble getting their facial hair to grow often seek professional help. Doctors and other medical providers can sometimes prescribe hair regeneration cream and pills that can change the hair’s chemistry or force new follicles to appear where none did before. Hair implants are something else to consider, though this is a much more drastic measure that generally involves surgery and is more or less irrevocable.
Debunking the Shaving Myth
Many men believe that regularly shaving before they start growing a beard will force new hairs to grow more abundantly, but research doesn’t really support this. Most scholars have found no connection between shaving frequency and beard thickness, for better or worse. You should feel free to begin growing your beard at any time, irrespective of your past shaving habits.