Does Shaving Make Your Beard Thicker?

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Does Shaving Make Your Beard Thicker?

Have you considered texting a friend who sports a luxuriously full and manly beard and asking, “Does shaving make your beard thicker?” Before you send that text, consider this. If shaving made hair thicker, wouldn’t most balding men simply shave their heads frequently to get their hair to grow back in thicker? The simple truth is that shaving doesn’t make a beard — or any hair — thicker. A study completed in 1928 is backed up by recent articles from Scientific American and the Mayo Clinic. They all agree that shaving isn’t the answer to a thick, manly beard that makes women swoon.

Why Do People Think Shaving Will Make a Beard Thicker?

One possibility for the misunderstanding is that beard hair is thickest where it sprouts from the skin. As it gets longer, a beard gets thinner.  Also, beard hairs are shaved at a slight angle, making that thickest part of the hair shaft seem even broader. A second reason may be rooted in wishful thinking; simply shaving more frequently would be a relatively easy way to turn a beard from frail to fantastic.

What Actually Does Affect a Beard’s Thickness?

Heredity Is Key.

Genetics is the single biggest factor in determining whether you have a 5 o’clock shadow by noon or whether you go without shaving for a week before anyone notices. That’s not to say that you and your brothers will all have the same propensity—or lack thereof—for growing epic beards since both of your parents’ genetics are part of the equation. In fact, some studies suggest that your mom’s genetics may play the larger role.

Many of us know families in which one son is balding noticeably but sports a killer beard, while his brother has a full head of hair but has yet to grow a beard that is anything above mediocre. Genetics is critical, but not particularly predictable.

Time Is Crucial.

Growing a great beard takes time! If you are like most young men, you won’t hit prime beard-growing age until your mid-twenties. Your efforts to grow a beard before then may not be stellar. Don’t worry. Give yourself and your beard time.

Even men who rock great beards need several weeks to get a beard well established. That’s partly because not all beard hair grows at the same pace. Some areas that will eventually fill in are sparse at first. Some spots may never really fill in well, but over time your beard hairs around that area will cover the patch. Again, time is critical!

Watch this video if you are discouraged about your scruffy beard. Notice how often the Beard Baron mentions (1) the importance of heredity and (2) the need to relax and give your beard time to grow.

What Can You Do to Encourage Your Beard to Thicker?

Since you obviously cannot change your genetics or speed up time, how can you encourage your beard to grow thicker? Many sources link beard thickness and testosterone levels in your body.  Not everyone sees testosterone levels as the absolute key, but almost everyone admits there is some correlation between the two. Regardless of your view on the importance of testosterone for beard thickness, you’ll find that these steps will encourage your beard to grow thicker. Read on:

  • Exercise regularly:  The most obvious benefit of an exercise regimen is that it helps you lose any excess weight you may be carrying. Shedding the pounds helps you look and feel better. It also means you put less stress on your heart and improve the function of your circulatory system. Concentrating your exercise on weight lifting or other resistance training will further increase blood circulation, ensuring that nutrients in your bloodstream are delivered to your hair follicles.
  • Eat well: A diet rich in protein, vitamins, minerals, and essential fatty acids is a beard-grower’s friend. Great protein sources include nuts, dairy products like yogurt and cheese, and meats, especially lean meats. Iron, copper, zinc, vitamin D, vitamin E, and several B vitamins are also critical to thicker beard growth. Fresh fruits and vegetables are excellent sources. Essential fatty acids are—obviously—essential to a body’s growth and actually stimulate hair growth. Essential acids are abundant in walnuts and flax seed as well as in fatty fish like salmon.  

Adding a daily multivitamin may help you get sufficient vitamins and minerals. Remember these tips as you choose a multivitamin. Enough is better than too much, especially with fat-soluble vitamins like D and E that can build up in your liver if you consume too much of them. Vitamin D has sunlight as its main natural source, so you may need to limit your consumption of Vitamin D if you spend lots of time in the sun. Some men say that biotin—vitamin B7—has helped improved their beard growth. Some multivitamins contain biotin. Others don’t. Read the label before you purchase. Here’s a multivitamin with biotin that gets high ratings.

  • Get Sufficient Rest: The exact number of hours required will vary from man to man, but generally the recommended range is from 7-10 hours each night. Being well rested helps your overall health and also lessens your stress, which can actually cause hair loss.
  • Take Care of Your Face: Use a good cleanser daily to get rid of dead skin cells. Moisturize your skin, too; beards have a tendency to dry the skin under them. A good beard oil like this one from Honest Amish will reduce flaking and itching. You will feel better, and your beard will look healthier.

As much as I would like to guarantee you that shaving will make your beard thicker, I can’t. Shaving will simply slow down the progress of your beard. Your genetics determine the potential you have to grow an epic beard. Time is your ally in growing a luxurious beard; even patchy beards can develop fullness and character if you are patient. You can encourage a thicker beard by following the steps above, as simple as that may seem.

Feel free to leave your comments or questions below.

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Mr. Wood has been growing a beard since he could first sprout facial hair. He lives with his wife, two boys and a mentally unstable dog. He loves to be outdoors and thinks that the best stories start with "Here, hold my beer..."