Beard growth can be tricky. The early stages are fast and furious, with some guys moving from light stubble to full beard in a matter of days. The fast progress conditions you to expect this all the time. But one morning, while you’re applying your beard products, you’ll notice that your beard hasn’t changed much in days, or even weeks. You’ll wonder, “Did my beard stop growing?” The answer? Yes and no.
Your Beard Growth Life Cycle
Like the rest of the hair on your body, your beard hair goes through a life cycle and each strand has a predetermined terminal length. Terminal length is the maximum length a strand reaches before it falls out and starts over. So, if you notice that your beard has “stopped growing”, it’s likely that you’re reaching terminal length in the most visible areas of your facial hair.
Beyond terminal length, it’s important to understand your beard’s phases of growth.
- The Anagen Phase: During this phase, your hair follicles anchor into your skin and grow. This is the longest phase of the life cycle and can last up to six years. When you first start growing your beard, this is the phase you’re witnessing, sometimes at lightning speed.
- The Catagen Phase: Growth halts during this phase, and the hair follicles actually shrink. This typically takes two to three weeks.
- The Telogen Phase: This is when your terminal length is reached. Your hair falls out and new hair grows in its place over the next couple months.
Your terminal length is embedded in your DNA. So, when your telogen phase kicks in, there isn’t much you can do to change it. You might also notice that different areas of your beard experience different phases at different times. For example, your moustache might move through the entire life cycle significantly faster than the hair along your neckline. But despite these factors that you can’t control, there are some things you can do to max out your terminal length.
How to Keep Growing Your Beard
Your lifestyle and grooming habits can either help or hamper your beard’s potential.
Use Beard Products
Keep your beard products fully stocked. A dime-sized dab of beard oil every morning can help promote healthy growth. And lathering up with beard shampoo once or twice a week can remove the dirt that clogs pores and leads to beard damage.
Reduce Stress Levels
If you’re working too much and sleeping too little, rising cortisol levels can wreak havoc on your body. Sleeping and beard growth go hand in hand. Your body does most of its repair work at night. If you’re skipping out on shuteye, you’re missing your best opportunity for full beard growth.
Take Care of Yourself
There are plenty of reasons to eat healthy foods and work out regularly—six pack abs and pain-free living are among them. But in this context, exercise and balanced nutrition help fuel your beard growth. Protein and vitamins (A, B, C, E) are crucial for pushing your terminal length to its limits. Exercise helps manage your hormones, which also play a role in beard growth.
Trim Your Beard
Clearly, if you cut off too much of your beard too often, you’ll find yourself stuck at the same growth stage. But if you trim your beard, say once a week, you can get rid of any split ends or beard damage that may be blocking new growth.