Whether you’re anxious to fill in a patchy beard, are growing a beard for the first time, or you’re wondering how to grow a beard fast—i.e. barefaced to lumberjack at record speeds—you need to know one thing: There’s no miracle drug. Sure, a supplement or two can accelerate the process—and we’ll get into that—but growing a beard quickly boils down primarily to the lifestyle you lead. Guys who are healthier across the board will have an easier time growing a beard quickly, and theirs will also be stronger and softer, too. If you want in on this trifecta of benefits, then follow these five tips for a better, faster, stronger mane.
1. Maintain a good skincare regimen
Your hair grows healthier and faster if the skin it’s growing out of is kept clean and nourished. You need to wash away excess oil, dirt, and grime from the pores by cleansing twice daily—once in the morning, once at night. Twice a week, follow this with a gentle exfoliating scrub, to buff away any dead skin cells that clog pores and cause breakouts. Then, chase it all with a nourishing moisturizer or oil to hydrate and condition the skin (and the hair plus its follicle!). All of this should improve your complexion, but will also set the pace for healthier, prompter hair growth.
2. Supplement with B vitamins
There are a few B vitamins that can help your hair grow faster. The most widely used is biotin (vitamin B7). A small daily supplement will give you the biggest kick of any tips on this list. Ask your dermatologist for the best dosage for you, though Dr. James Collyer of Modern dermatology in Seattle suggests 2.5-5mg daily. But don’t ignore the other tips here—especially #3—if you start relying on biotin for hair growth. Drink plenty of water when supplementing with biotin, to prevent dry skin and breakouts. Biotin strengthens the proteins in your hair, skin, and nails (called keratins), and helps each grow stronger and quicker. You’ll probably first notice it in your nails. Other B vitamins to ask your doctor about are thiamin (B1), riboflavin (B2), niacin (B3). These are called “B-Complex vitamins” that also strengthen the same proteins in hair, skin, and nails.
3. Stay hydrated
Your entire body operates sharply and efficiently when it is well hydrated—all the way down to the cellular level. And that’s where the hair suffers, too: The cells don’t regenerate as quickly, nor do they adequately receive vitamins and nutrients since the body is unable to properly distribute these nurturing agents when it is dehydrated. So, in addition to a slower beard, a dehydrated person will also have a coarser, drier beard, too. Drink up! Collyer cites the Institute of Health when he recommends 64-80 oz. of water daily for adult men.
4. Get your sleep
Sleep is also essential for a properly nourished body—all the way down to the hairs on your chin. Collyer says that 7-8 hours nightly is imperative. Cellular turnover accelerates while we sleep, meaning that most of the growing and healing your body does happen overnight. You’re not giving your healthier, stronger cells a fighting chance if you deprive them of rest and recharge. Similarly, the body’s blood flow slows when it is poorly rested, and this lack of circulation means that fewer nutrients and vitamins reach their destination. (Similar to being dehydrated.) Since the hair doesn’t get as many nutrients, it doesn’t grow as fast or as strong. In fact, this can also lead to hair loss atop your head in addition to a compromised beard. (Side note: Why not magnify the benefits to your skin with a night cream?)
5. Have a healthy, balanced diet
In addition to vitamin B supplements, you can promote hair growth with a diet anchored in proteins, vegetables, whole grains, cheese, and yogurt. This will ensure that you get all the right nutrients for sturdy, efficient hair growth. You’ll want to focus on foods rich in vitamins A, B, C, and E in addition to proteins. Here’s a shortlist for your next grocery run: eggs, almonds, whole grains, cheese, yogurt, salmon, chicken, leafy greens, carrots, legumes, avocadoes, onions, sweet potatoes, and tomatoes. Round out that roster with other nutrient-dense foods, and you should be sending all the right vitamins and proteins into your blood stream for maximum hair growth and strength.