#AskSloan: Boosting Facial Hair Growth

November 26, 2013

Tips to grow a healthy beard

Dear Sloan,

I've had a beard for as long as I can remember. I'm at just about 6 months with no trimming of any kind. Quite frankly, I don't even remember what my chin looks like. What I have a problem in is, the area just below my bottom lip, the 'Chin & Soul Patch' area if you will, is pretty scarce of hair. How can I get the vellus hairs to become terminal? Because there are plenty of follicles there, just not developed yet.
Would you say that the beard balm would help boost the process of growing the beard hair? And if so, what would you recommend, the Classic Beard Balm, or the Vegan Beard Balm?

Ah Santino,

I'd like to take a moment to thank you for letting that thing run wild and free for SIX MONTHS. Six months, ladies and gentlemen, Six Months! That's almost as good as returning to the wild and swinging by vine through the treetops a la Tarzan. I love it when men let nature take its course!

(Incidentally, has it occurred to anyone else how bizarre it was that Tarzan didn't even have stubble?)


Santino, my friend, in this case, too, you must let nature take its course.

I dealt with the same issue when my beard was young. I had lush fullness albeit in strap form from sideburn to sideburn. I had a reasonably full mustache. However it wasn't until my late twenties that they finally saw occasion to join forces and form the Pangaea of facial hair that would go on to get me this job. As I have mentioned before, patience is key when growing a beard.

But let's talk about vellus and terminal hair. I'm glad you brought these up. These are two of the three types of human hair (the third is lanugo and only grows on fetuses, sometimes remaining unshed up to 3 or 4 months after birth...gross!).

Terminal Hair (body hair) is the course, pigmented, deeply rooted hair that grows on our heads, faces, abdomens, arms, etc.

Vellus hair is the soft, translucent peach fuzz that grows everywhere else. We've all seen (and some of us have been) those adolescent boys with soft fuzzstaches they wear with pride, right? That's vellus hair. It is a key player in the body's thermoregulation and helps with sweat evaporation.

The age-old question is whether these vellus hairs can be transformed into terminal hairs as a means of ending baldness or growing beards. From the image above, it would seem that the vellus is simply the baby version of the terminal. In reality, vellus hairs, unlike their pigmented counterparts, are not connected to sebaceous glands, and are structured and rooted in completely different ways.

Some vellus hairs can mature into terminal hairs, but this transformation usually happens on its own, often during puberty or in the years following.

These changes have been attributed to testosterone production in the body. That is, after all, the hormone that kicks puberty into overdrive. So to coax out the production of man-hair, I recommend activities that will increase testosterone production:

  • weight lifting/strength training
  • increased sexual activity (literally puts hair on your chest)
  • diet rich in beef, lamb and other animal protein
  • diet high in zinc (oysters, anyone?)
  • eat healthy fats
  • consume brain chain amino acids (from dairy and whey)

Sounds pretty fun right? For the most part, anyway. Do NOT use products like minoxidil on the face (I have read some real horror stories, even though hair growth sometimes did result). 

One of the things I love about my beard is that it is in constant flux. It is a thing that still surprises me sometimes (wait a minute...I have hair all over my face!?). So, Santino, appreciate your beard for what it IS, what it means to you, and remember those poor fellows who can't even grow one at all.

I'm now in my early thirties and Pangaea is in full swing. I look more like Tarzan than Tarzan. One day, you will too. Patience, my friend, is a virtue.

And as for our Classic Beard Balm, I recommend it wholeheartedly. We have long established that a moisture-rich environment is the most welcoming launching pad for baby hair. The difference between the Vegan Beard Balm and the Classic Beard Balm is beeswax versus candelilla wax. Both balms are formulated to cling to the beard providing protection and all-day moisture.

Keep us posted on the progress of your budding beardlet!

Happy Bearding...


~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 

Do YOU have something to #AskSloan? Contact him via twitter @GawkyHeartthrob or send an email to info@brooklyngrooming.com.
And don't forget to tweet us @BKgrooming!. 

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