One Side of My Beard Grows Differently (Uneven, Faster, Patchy, More)

You look in the mirror and notice one side of your beard looks different than the other. Is this normal? Yes, it is! It is perfectly normal to see slight differences in your beard appearance depending on the side.

The primary reason one side of a beard can grow differently than another is genetics. We are each born with all of the hair follicles we will ever have, and each follicle grows its own unique hair. Each hair goes through three stages of hair growth and then falls out. Uneven beards can often be corrected with proper trimming and styling.

If you want to know more about beard growth patterns and learn some easy fixes, read on!

Why do beards grow differently on each side or in different areas?

Have you ever noticed slight differences between your body parts? Maybe one foot is slightly smaller than the other or one eye is droopier than the other. It’s rare to have total symmetry. 

Beards grow differently on each side or in different areas because of the dispersion of hair follicles. We can have a different number of follicles on each side of our face. Each hair follicle is independent of the others and must go through each stage of hair growth. This can result in faster or thicker growth on one side.

Keep reading to learn more about the different ways that beard hairs grow, and how to minimize the appearance of these differences.

How different parts of the beard grow

Does it seem like your sideburns are growing faster than your beard? Do you have neck hairs on one side but not the other? 

Different parts of your beard grow at different speeds. There are three hair growth stages: anagen, catagen, and telogen. Each hair shaft progresses through these stages at a different pace. Once these three stages are completed, the hair falls out and another one begins to grow. Your genes affect the angle and placement of your beard hair.

Studies show that 90% of our hair is in the anagen stage at any given time. Once again, genetics is the main driver that determines how fast each hair progresses through each stage. 

You may experience cheek hairs that stick out and chin hairs that lie straight. The wildness or tameness of your hair growth is also determined by your genetics.

Beard pattern genetics

There’s a strong possibility that you are experiencing the same beard growth patterns as your ancestors. That’s because hair growth has a strong genetic link.

A man’s genetic makeup is the primary determiner of facial hair growth. Beard growth is influenced by both the paternal and maternal sides of the family. Facial hair is a secondary sexual characteristic influenced by testosterone; levels of testosterone can also be hereditary.

We are born with two different types of hair: vellus and terminal. Terminal hairs are the pigmented hairs on our head, face, underarms, and pubic area. Our genes control the number of terminal hairs our follicles make.

Facial hair is androgenic. This means it is fueled by hormones, specifically testosterone. A multitude of things can cause testosterone levels to increase or decrease, but studies show that genetics play a large role.

Most men have testosterone levels in the normal range, but if you are suffering from clinically low levels that could have an effect on facial hair growth.

Does sleeping on one side affect beard growth?

Are you a side sleeper? If so, you’re not alone. Studies show that the majority of adults favor one side or the other while sleeping. Can your sleep position affect your beard growth?

Currently, there is no scientific evidence to show that sleeping on one side affects beard growth. However, it is possible that longer beard hairs could be pulled or broken off if trapped under an arm or pillow during sleep. 

Research shows that side sleeping is one of the healthiest sleeping positions because it promotes better spine alignment, can reduce snoring and sleep apnea, and improves gut and brain health.

Despite this, if you have a long beard, there’s a possibility that hairs might be pulled during the night due to friction. Friction can be reduced by choosing a good pillow and using a silk or satin pillowcase instead of one made of a stiff material. As a bonus, this can also help reduce facial wrinkles.

How to fix uneven beards

Now you know that uneven beard growth is normal, but what do you do if it’s noticeable and bothersome?

While you can’t change your genetic makeup, there are some grooming, styling, and other interventions that can reduce the appearance of uneven beard growth.

Let’s look at some practical fixes for those pesky beard anomalies.

Why does my beard grow in different directions (sideways)?

Does it seem like certain areas of your beard are growing in sideways? 

Hairs can grow out of follicles in different directions. Some hairs follow a vertical growth pattern, while others grow at an angle or horizontally.

While the sideways growth may look strange initially, these unruly hairs usually straighten out as they grow longer. 

How to fix a beard that grows in different directions

While it’s not possible to reprogram our hair follicles, it is possible to use some tricks to minimize the appearance of wild hair growth.

To fix a beard that grows in different directions you can let the beard grow longer, keep the beard very short, train the beard by brushing, or style the beard by using a styling product.

Let’s get into these tips in more detail:

  • Let the beard grow longer – If you don’t mind a short awkward phase, you can let the beard grow longer. The longer the hair, the more it straightens out.
  • Keep the beard very short – If you want a quick fix, you can trim your beard to a shorter length. The heavy stubble look is popular, and this option cuts the hair before it’s able to start growing sideways.
  • Train the beard by brushing – This fix takes commitment and consistency, but it is possible to train the hair to grow in a downward manner. Using a brush or comb, move the hair in the direction you want it to go. You can use this method in combination with the next option for both a quick fix and a permanent one.
  • Style the beard by using product – Beard balm and beard butter can provide a styling fix to minimize directionally-challenged hairs. Coat the strands and style them the way you want them. Use a brush or comb to distribute the product throughout the beard.

Some of these are quick fixes while others can take a while. Pick the one that matches your patience level best.

Why is one side of my beard longer than the other?

If you feel like one side of your beard is growing longer than the other, you’re right. Facial hair grows at different rates. 

Beard growth is rarely symmetrical, due to the rate of hair growth. If one side of your beard is longer than another, this is a signal that the hair follicles are at different growth stages.

Since this is a common phenomenon, you don’t really have to do anything about it. However, if you feel like it’s extremely noticeable, you do have some options.

How to fix a beard that grows longer on one side

Other people probably won’t even notice a few uneven hairs, but if you choose to intervene there are a couple of fixes.

To fix a beard that grows longer on one side you can:

  • Trim the longer side – This is the quick fix option. Grab you beard trimmer or beard scissors and trim the offending long hairs to match the shorter side.
  • Wait for the shorter side to grow – If patience is one of your virtues, then this would be a great option. There is a chance that the longer side will grow at a pace where the shorter side will never catch up. If that’s the case, then you can always break out the trimmers.

Why is one side of my beard thinner or thicker?

If one side of your bead is growing in thicker or thinner than the other, it’s most likely due to genetics. 

Experiencing thicker or thinner beard growth on one side can be due to genetics and the denseness of hair follicle arrangement.

You may have more hair follicles clustered on one side than the other.  If so, that side of your beard will grow denser hair making it look thicker. 

How to fix a beard that is thicker or thinner on one side

Your dad or grandfather may have experienced this same problem since it’s hereditary. You can always ask them for tips. 

To fix a beard that is thicker or thinner on one side you can thin out the thicker volume, trim the beard to a short stubble, or use a beard brush to add volume to the thin side.

To even out the thickness of your beard:

  • Thin out the thicker side – Since it’s quicker to cut hair than grow it, you may choose to thin out the thicker side to match the thinner one. A word of caution- sometimes it’s difficult to achieve this on your own. You may want to visit your barber.
  • Trim the entire beard to a short stubble – If volume uneveness is a big problem, you can ditch the full beard look and choose a short stubble instead. The blunt ends of new hairs growing in will have an illusion of thickness.
  • Use a beard brush to add volume – This option might not work in every case, but boar and badger beard brushes are great for adding volume if used consistently. A comb will not achieve the same effect.

Why is one side of my beard patchy?

Some men are destined to have bald spots on their faces due to genetics. In this case, maybe a bearded look isn’t the greatest idea. For other men, exercising and consuming a healthy diet can increase blood flow to the follicles eventually filling in the gaps.

A beard can be patchy due to genetics or lack of blood flow. Blood vessels feed hair follicles. If the blood flow to some follicles is cut off, the hair won’t grow.

Let’s look at a few options to address a patchy beard. If these don’t work, visit your doctor to rule out any underlying issues.

How to fix a beard that is patchy on one side

A patchy beard can be embarrassing and frustrating. Thankfully, there are some viable options to fix the issue.

To fix a beard that is patchy on one side you can:

  • Let the beard grow – Especially if you are a new beard wearer, letting the beard hair grow may fill in the spots over time. Since hair grows at different rates, those follicles might not have started the process yet.
  • Train hair to cover the patches – Using a beard brush, you can train surrounding hairs to grow in the optimum direction to camouflage any patches.
  • Try microneedling – Microneedling is performed with a dermaroller and micro needles. The roller goes over the skin piercing it with the needles. Studies show that this method increases collagen and keratin production. It also stimulates blood flow causing hair to grow.
  • Hair growth medications – As a last resort, you can discuss hair growth medications such as Monoxidil or Rogaine. While not approved for facial use, some patients have seen success. These drugs can have side effects though.

Why does one side of my beard grow faster or slower?

Does it seem like one side of your beard is growing either faster or slower than the other? It’s not your imagination!

Beard hairs do not all grow at the same pace. Each hair follicle produces a hair shaft that goes through the growth cycle on its own unique timeline influenced by your genes.

On average, facial hair grows ¼ – ½ inch per month. Some follicles grow hair faster and some grow hair slower. 

How to fix a beard that grows faster or slower on one side

We can’t flip a switch to speed up or slow down our hair growth, but we can make sure that our body is in prime condition. A healthy body produces healthy hair.

To fix a beard that grows faster on one side, trim the faster growth to match the slower side. To fix a beard that grows slowly, you can try exercising and eating a healthy diet rich in vitamins, both of which are key to blood flow efficiency.

Let’s look at these tips in more detail:

  • Trim the faster growth – If one side is growing noticeably faster than the other, a trim can even out your beard. This is a fast, easy fix.
  • Exercise – Since hair growth is fueled by blood flow, moving your body on a regular basis can keep your vessels in good working order. 
  • Eat a healthy diet – Certain vitamin and mineral deficiencies can have a negative effect on hair growth. Make sure to eat foods rich in biotin, iron, zinc, and vitamins A, C, and D. Protein is also necessary for keratin production.

Why is one side of my beard curly?

Have you ever wondered why some hair is curly while other hairs are straight? Different follicle shapes determine hair characteristics.

Facial hair follicles can come in a variety of shapes. One side of a beard can be curlier than the other due to the shape of the follicles on that side. Oval follicles produce curly hair, while round follicles produce straight hair.

The genes passed down from our parents largely determine our follicle shapes, but hormones, chemotherapy drugs, and some chemical hair treatments can change the shape in some people. 

Fun Fact: During pregnancy, a woman’s hormones go haywire often resulting in a change in follicle shape. That’s the reason some women experience a shift from straight to curly hair. The same thing can happen after chemotherapy treatments.

How to fix a beard that is curly on one side

Curls aren’t necessarily a bad thing. Curly beards can look good as long as they are maintained properly. As the curly hairs grow longer, they will often straighten out on their own.

To fix a beard that is curly on one side, keep it moisturized, comb or brush it regularly, and keep it trimmed. If you don’t want any curl to remain, you can also use a beard straightener.

Let’s go into a little more detail:

  • Keep your beard moisturized – Sometimes hair looks curly because it’s dry and brittle. Make sure to condition your beard with products specifically made for facial hair. Beard conditioners, balms, oils, and butters can lock moisture in.
  • Comb or brush your beard regularly – If your beard hair is a tangled mess, it’s going to draw unwanted attention. Use a wide beard comb or brush to keep your beard tresses tangle and snag free.
  • Keep your beard trimmed – Curly hairs need regular maintenance. Trimming the hairs shorter can prevent split ends and reduce the curly appearance.
  • Use a beard straightener – If your curly hairs aren’t growing out enough for your taste, you can always use a beard straightener. Use the lowest temperature possible to avoid burning your hair.