Do Beards Stop Growing (Understanding the Life Cycle of Facial Hair)

If you already have quite a long beard, but would prefer it to be longer, then you may be wondering if there is much room left for it to grow. Is there a limit to how long your beard can get?

Beards never stop growing, but the hairs do eventually reach a terminal length – the length at which beard hairs will naturally fall out and begin to be replaced. Your beard’s terminal length is determined by genetics, but you can take vitamins or eat foods that encourage beard growth or use peppermint essential oil to increase the terminal length.

Keep reading to learn about the full life cycle of your beard and what you can do the encourage it to grow as long as possible.

Why is your beard not growing anymore?

You may have noticed that although your beard is long, it doesn’t seem to be getting any longer. Don’t worry, that is completely natural and a sign that your beard may have reached its terminal length. 

Beards do not stop growing, but they do reach a maximum (also called terminal) length. It is possible your beard has reached the telogen phase, where your beard has reached its final length and will begin shedding to create new hairs. 

Everyone has a different maximum length that their beard can grow. Once this length is reached, hairs will begin to shed as hair follicles begin to push out new hairs.

Why does your beard stop growing at a certain length?

In the beginning, it was probably easy to track how quickly your beard was growing since it began to obscure more and more of your face and even neck. At some point though, it became more difficult to tell – is it possible your beard has stopped growing altogether?

Your beard hair will eventually reach a length at which the hairs start to fall out be replaced by new ones, meaning that your beard will only ever be so long. This length varies by person and is determined by genetic factors.

Keep reading to learn more about the phases of beard growth and how to tell if you’ve reached your beard’s terminal length.

The three phases of beard hair growth

All the hair on your body goes through a life cycle that is mostly controlled by genetics. Some other factors include good nutrition, taking vitamins, reducing stress, and proper hair care.

The three phases of hair growth are:

  • Catagen
  • Telogen
  • Anagen

Keep reading to learn more about these phases and the life cycle of your beard.

Anagen Phase

The longest phase of hair growth is the anagen phase. Depending on your genetics, this phase can last anywhere from three to seven years or more. 

During the anagen phase, hair follicles continue to grow hairs until the terminal length is reached, or they are cut down. 

Think about this phase as the one that starts after you trim your beard. Unless you have been growing your beard for numerous years, it is likely that your beard is still in the anagen phase and has more room to grow. 

Catagen phase

After the anagen phase has ended, the catagen phase starts. It is estimated that this phase lasts about 10 days or possibly a few more. 

During the catagen phase, hair growth will slow down as hair follicles shrink. Eventually, the hair growth will stop but will remain in place until the next phase.

This phase of beard growth is best thought of as a transitional period. The hair isn’t ready to fall out yet, but it’s now reaching the end of its growth. 

Telogen phase

As your beard hairs reach the end of their growth it enters the Telogen phase. This phase usually lasts about three months.

During the telogen phase, older hairs that have reached the end of their growth are beginning to ‘shed’ or fall out. New hairs are also being prepared to be pushed out from hair follicles.

This phase can be thought of as the shedding phase where old hair reaches the end of its growth, and your hair follicles are ready to push out new hairs. You may notice that some hairs start to fall out during this phase. Over the next two to five months, new hairs will begin growing. 

Terminal length

The terminal length of your beard is how long it can grow until it stops and begins shedding hair.

This is part of the telogen phase. 

New anagen phase

If your hair eventually reaches its terminal length and then you cut it, the hair will then be in the anagen phase once again.

This is the longest phase where the hair will begin to grow until the terminal length is reached again. 

How to increase beard hair terminal length

Although it is impossible to know how long your beard will grow before it reaches its terminal length, it is still possible to increase that terminal length.

The average beard grows a half-inch per month and the anagen growth phase can last anywhere from three to over seven years depending upon hormone levels and genetics. Once your beard reaches its terminal length, you can expect it to be around 12” to 36” in length. 

To increase your terminal beard length, you will need to extend the anagen growth phase of the hair follicles. These methods have been scientifically proven to work:

  • Take vitamins for beard growth
  • Apply peppermint essential oil
  • Eat foods that help beard growth

Take vitamins for beard growth

Taking certain vitamins for beard growth has been shown to help grow a healthier, and possibly longer beard.

Vitamins that can improve your beard growth include

  • Vitamin B3
  • Vitamin B7
  • Vitamin K
  • Vitamin E
  • Vitamin D
  • Vitamin C

Most of these nutrients are provided in the food we eat, but some people may not get enough of them. 

If you’re looking for a supplement that is filled with all these vitamins and more to not only possibly help with your beard growth, but your hair growth as well, then check out the Thorne Research basic nutrients supplement

Apply peppermint essential oil

Peppermint oil is scientifically proven to help with beard growth, and using a couple of drops is enough. 

Peppermint oil is one of the most well-known and popular essential oils for beard growth. You will find this essential oil in most beard oils on the market.

If you decide to use peppermint essential oil, make sure to only use a very small amount to see how your skin reacts to it. Try diluting it with water or neutral carrier oil and gently rubbing it onto your beard a few days a week. 

Eating foods that help beard growth

There are some foods that are great for beard growth. It’s important to keep in mind that facial hair growth is mostly regulated by your hormones, primary testosterone and DHT. Eating foods that increase levels of these hormones can help your beard grow faster and longer. 

These foods are known to help improve beard growth:

  • Eggs
  • Oranges
  • Potatoes
  • Olive oil
  • Beef 
  • Cruciferous vegetables

All of these foods are high in vitamins that have been shown to encourage hair growth.

How to increase beard hair growth rate

If you have noticed your beard is growing quite slowly, and you want to get a richer and fuller beard more quickly, then do not fret as there are methods and solutions you can try to accomplish this. Your beard should grow on average about half an inch per month

If you want to increase your beard growth rate to its maximum potential, here are some things you can try:

  • Eat nutrient-dense foods 
  • Try a beard growth supplement
  • Improve your beard’s blood circulation 
  • Avoid things that hinder beard growth

Eat nutrient-dense foods

To help improve the quality of your beard, eating foods that are rich in nutrients and help increase hormone levels of testosterone and DHT is imperative.

Foods that promote beard growth include:

  • Beef
  • Brazil nuts
  • Coffee
  • Cruciferous vegetables
  • Eggs
  • Fish
  • Kale
  • Macadamia nuts
  • Olive oil
  • Orange juice
  • Potatoes
  • Raisins

Try a beard growth supplement

Taking a beard growth supplement is a great way to help get the nutrients you need to increase your beard growth rate in your system.

A supplement such as this Thorne Research one is full of vitamins that help beard growth. 

Improve your beard’s blood circulation 

Your blood flow helps hormones and nutrients flow into your hair follicles which makes your hair sprout stronger and faster.

The cheeks and primarily the upper cheek area usually have a weaker blood flow, and that is why it can be one of the patchiest areas on the face for beards. Here are some things you can do to help increase the blood circulation in your beard area:

  • Face massage – Start a daily face massage that lasts around five minutes and focus on the cheek areas. You can use this massage as a time to rub in some diluted peppermint oil. 
  • Exfoliate your beard – Cleaning off any dead skin cells and other dirt can help to unclog pores and increase blood circulation. An easy DIY face scrub should be enough for exfoliation. 

Avoid things that hinder beard growth

The last and possibly the most important thing you can do to help increase beard growth is to avoid doing things that can hinder or slow down beard growth. 

Here are some things that you should avoid to increase your beard growth to its maximum potential:

  • Stress – Stress in general and more specifically, chronic stress, raises cortisol levels which can suppress beard growth hormones
  • Overwashing your beard – This is a common mistake made by those with beards. You should only wash your beard one to three times per week to allow natural moisture to sit on your hair follicles. 
  • Certain essential oils – Essential oils such as tea tree oil, eucalyptus, and lavender can interfere with DHT and testosterone levels