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Cemmos's article

Instead of having to hunt for beard oils that don't contain DHT blockers, another route to take is to make your own. It's both economical and provides peace of mind that you're not hindering your progress when trying to grow your beard out. The initial cost might add up to more than a bottle of pre-made beard oil that you might find, but because we're purchasing these items in larger quantities, they will last much longer than a single bottle of oil.

 

Things You'll Need to Make Your Own Beard Oil

  • Carrier oil
  • Essential oil
  • Glass amber bottle
  • Steel funnel

Carrier Oil

The carrier oil will be the main ingredient of the beard oil. You could technically just buy some carrier and call it a day; this alone would provide enough benefits of keeping your hair and skin healthy without going overboard with your purchases. But if you want some scents and benefits of using essential oils, you'll want at least one of those too. Grab a carrier such as jojoba, and make sure it's cold-pressed for the best quality. Jojoba most resembles our natural sebum, doesn't contain a composition that inhibits DHT (like coconut oil), and is very light and easy to spread. It's not a thick oil, unlike castor.

 

Essential Oil

As an example, peppermint essential oil was tested against minoxidil and was shown to be an effective way of growing hair. Keep in mind that there are a lot of essential oils that are plant-derived anti-androgens — you don't want to be putting these on your face, as we talk about in the article "Why We Shouldn't Use Scalp-Related Products to Grow Our Beards."

In short, the mechanism of growth shouldn't be via 5-alpha reductase inhibition, as we need DHT to grow facial hair.

In conclusion, our experimental data suggest that 3% PEO facilitates hair growth by promoting the conservation of vascularization of hair dermal papilla, which may contribute to the induction of early anagen stage. In addition, PEO effectively stimulated hair growth in an animal model via several mechanisms and thus could be used as a therapeutic or preventive alternative medicine for hair loss in humans.

- "Peppermint Oil Promotes Hair Growth without Toxic Signs"

 

Amber Bottles

The glass amber bottles run for cheap and are great because they block out more UV rays than the blue bottles do. Most oils that you buy will likely come in amber-colored bottles. A 10-pack of half oz (15ml) bottles with glass droppers run for less than 7 bucks, which will allow you to make a different combination of oils if you're going that route.

15ml of beard oil should also last quite a while: my beard at the time of this writing is roughly 4 inches off my face, with no trimmings to keep it short or neat. 7-10 drops of oil does the trick for both the skin and beard hair. To put things in perspective, there are 300 drops in 15ml.

The steel funnel is the most optional out of all of the things you'll need, but it will definitely make mixing your oils easier. It's self-explanatory.

 

Mixing the Oils Together

Now that you've gathered everything you need, all you really need to do now is get the essential(s) mixed into the carrier(s). Using the included dropper that came with your carrier oil, fill your amber bottle almost to the neck, but leave some space as you'll want to take into account putting the dropper back into it and the additional ingredients you're adding. If you have the 15ml bottles as we'll be using as an example, great. If you have the 30ml bottles (that's 1 ounce), then all you need to do is double the numbers to achieve the same thing.


15ml = 0.5oz | 15ml = 300 drops


Note that 300 drops is an estimate, as it also depends on the oil you're using, as the viscosity varies. This guideline is fine to use for most oils, however, and the general rule in aromatherapy is that 1ml contains 20 drops.

 

Diluting the Essential into the Carrier

After you've gotten your carrier into your bottle, you'll need to start adding drops of essential into it. This is where the steel funnel comes in handy, particularly if you've purchased an essential that uses its cap as the dropper (more common) rather than one that comes with a glass, detachable dropper.

Generally, you'll want to stay around 2-3% dilutions, which would mean:


6 drops essential to 15ml carrier = 2%
9 drops essential to 15ml carrier = 3%


If you have only one essential, such as peppermint, put 9 drops in; close the cap; shake it up! It's that easy. If you're adding more essentials to make your own scent, add just a single drop at a time until you feel that the scent is where you want it.

I'd recommend not going over about 5% (15 drops to 15ml carrier) of essential oils in the total makeup of your beard oil. Remember that essential oils are potent, so it takes very little to have an effect on your skin (positive or negative). Essential oils can actually be toxic in high doses, such as if you put the undiluted oil directly onto your skin in large amounts. So avoid doing that.

 

Quick Application without Mixing

If you don't have amber bottles or a way to mix your oils, you can also do a quick application. Simply put your carrier oil into your palm, then a single drop of your essential; rub your hands together, then apply to your beard. This is higher than a 5% solution, of course. Take note of how your skin reacts, highly diluted or not. If you're wary of reacting to essential oils, do a spot test first by applying your diluted solution to the underside of your arm and check it 24 hours later. Keep in mind that we can have skin reactions to essential oils, but we cannot have allergies to them.

 

Additional Tips & Reminders

  1. Store your essential oils in a cool place, like your refrigerator, to keep the lifespan of them prolonged. Many oils last years, particularly if they're stored in a cool place and are sealed with the cap.
  2. Don't go overboard with adding essential oils into your carrier oil. Try to stick to a 2-3% solution, and if you want to later, go higher after you've been using the oils for some time. This gives your body a chance to adjust to using these oils.
  3. Do a spot test to check for adverse skin reactions. It's nothing to be scared about, but safety comes first.
  4. Keep carriers and essentials out of direct sunlight, even with amber bottles. The sun heats up and cools down the oils, causing oxidation.

Have you mixed an oil that you'd like to share with Beard Profile members? Let us know over on the beard boards; many people are interested in different beard oil combinations.

You may also be interested to learn more about beard oils, balms, and butters. In that link, we go over every facet one needs to know about these products, as well as some great example ingredients of how to mix/make your own!

 

Products Linked in This Article

For quicker reference back to the products we've listed in this article, you can find them easily below to mix your own beard oils.

Dihydrotestosterone, or DHT, is an androgen hormone derived from testosterone. Years ago, and even to some extent still today, DHT was inappropriately considered a bad hormone that merely caused things such as male pattern baldness and prostate cancer. According to a study, prostate cancer may not even be caused by DHT. While it may be one cause of baldness in men prone to it, the hormone itself is responsible for a number of health benefits in men.

One of these responsibilities includes developing secondary sex characteristics like facial hair and the male reproductive system. This is especially important during puberty. For adults, DHT is the primary androgen for our beard growth and our prostate's wellness. In fact, using DHT blockers like finasteride has been shown to lower libido in men that are trying to combat baldness. The trade-off is, essentially, loss of manhood for head hair.

 

DHT Promotes Body and Facial Hair Growth

Like we've discussed in the article "Why We Shouldn't Use Scalp-Related Products to Grow Our Beards," androgenic hair requires dihydrotestosterone. Without DHT and by inhibiting the enzyme (5AR) that converts it from testosterone, we are not helping facial hair growth at all. This seems to be highly misunderstood by many people, including those that sell beard oils that contain anti-androgens. DHT, locally, for balding men is bad only in the sense that it's part of the reason that causes them to bald. It is, otherwise, still very good for everything else.

A higher level of serum DHT does not not correlate with balding.

  . . . Yet the absolute serum androgen concentrations in men with a disposition to balding is lower than in men with no reduction of scalp hair. The widespread assumption that androgen levels are in general elevated in bald-trait men must therefore be rejected. In accordance with this finding, men with a disposition to balding are morphologically (with regard to anthropometric measures) no more masculine than those with good scalp hair growth . . .

Technically, it's the free testosterone in your system along with the local 5-alpha reductase enzyme at your scalp that causes hair to thin, not necessarily the amount of DHT you have.

 

DHT is an Aromatase Inhibitor and Promotes a Better State-of-Mind

DHT is converted from testosterone via 5-alpha reductase and is at least three times more potent than testosterone itself. What's great about DHT is that it cannot be converted into estrogen like testosterone can; it quite literally blocks the conversion of testosterone into estradiol, which is why DHT is known as an aromatase inhibitor.

We rely on hormones (test, estrogen, DHT) to feel healthy, happy and stress-free. DHT has a neural effect that lasts longer in our brains compared to testosterone because of its vastly superior potency to it as an agonist to the androgen receptor.

Take libido as one example. Men with healthier sexual appetites are, in general, happier and less stressed than those with low libido. DHT = libido.

 

Moving forward...

 

Being Fat Lowers Testosterone and DHT

DHT has little anabolic effect on skeletal muscle compared to testosterone, so it's not necessarily going to be your muscle builder (which, in turn, the extra muscle would burn more fat). However,

. . . statistical analysis indicated that DHT, but not T, was independently negatively associated with different measures of fat mass and insulin resistance . . .

 - http://press.endocrine.org/doi/full/10.1210/jc.2007-0252

Fat, particularly that around the midsection, has been shown to increase aromatase enzyme activity, which converts testosterone into estrogen. Being more lean leads to higher testosterone levels, as well as higher DHT, as less testosterone is being converted into estrogen. This aromatase enzyme is found in fat cells.

Because leptin is also associated with fat, the more fat you have means higher levels of leptin and lower levels of testosterone. In short, leptin controls our satiety and tells us when enough is enough when it comes to food. Being fatter means having less control over eating reasonably.

 

5AR Inhibitors; What We Should Avoid

DHT blockers should be avoided when possible. While it's common to say "DHT blocker," the actual mechanism of blocking DHT is through the reduction of 5AR, the enzyme that converts DHT from T.

There are topical and oral products that inhibit 5AR, as well as foods. Here is a short list of some of the most common DHT blockers. This is not an exhaustive list.

Essential Oils:

  • Rosemary
  • Lavendar
  • Tea Tree
  • Pumpkin Seed
  • Saw Palmetto
  • Emu

Pharmaceuticals:

  • Dutasteride
  • Finasteride
  • Alfatradiol

Foods/Vitamins:

  • Zinc
  • Saw Palmetto
  • Soy
  • Rice bran

Increase DHT by Eating Good Fats and Organic Foods

There are some great foods that increase 5-alpha reductase activity. Things that increase testosterone are also good to keep in mind. Polyunsaturated fatty acids are a no-no; go for saturated and monounsaturated fatty acids.

When possible, eat organically. In studies, agricultural pesticides have demonstrated anti-androgenic effects, with a reduction in 5AR activity.

Coffee (and the caffeine that goes with it) is a great addition to one's active lifestyle, as it can work as a fat burner while also increasing performance and endurance in the gym. Remember, the less fat you have, the easier it is to raise your testosterone levels. The more output you can work into your intense exercise routines, the more your T levels raise. The majority of your caffeine benefits will come from your exercise, so if you're a sedentary person, consider getting up off that chair; caffeine also raises cortisol levels, which you want to avoid, so don't drink a bunch of coffee and laze about thinking it's only beneficial.

For some carbs, think about picking up some whole grain sorghum or sorghum flour which can increase 5AR by over 50%. With the grain, you can pop it like popcorn and with the flour, you can add a tablespoon or two to your post-workout shake to make things easy. Or for you chefs out there, bake some bread with it!

 

Stay healthy, active and stress-free.

Now that you know why DHT is so important, and a little bit about how to avoid inhibiting it and continue promoting it, let's spread the word: DHT is good. Get the body you want and grow the beard you aim for.

Make the most of the plethora of knowledge we're blessed with today. And beard onward.

 

Products Linked in This Article

For quicker reference back to the products we've listed in this article, you can find them easily below.

This article isn't here to call out specific brands or beard-related companies. Skincare oils can be great for moisturizing your face to prevent beardruff, as well as help keep the facial hair itself soft, tameable, and healthy. With that said, be aware that there are many oils on the market that claim to help with beard growth, but contain ingredients that do the exact opposite: they may even hinder your beard's progress.

As we discussed in another article here on this site, scalp-related hair growth products should be avoided. What an abundant amount of beard companies and individuals selling beard oils and balms do is use knowledge in relation to hair loss and, in turn, attempt to pass it off as beard knowledge.

Many Beard Profile members and readers already know that hair loss remedies (scalp) and androgenic hair growth (beard) are two different things altogether. This is something that these companies either don't know or intentionally ignore due to the vast amounts of information one might find searching online — usually found on reliable websites that relate to head hair.

When even a meticulous consumer searches for the ingredients contained in these beard oils, they'll come across a plethora of what looks like outstanding hair growth information; testimonials from those that don't profit from providing feedback, research that shows how well certain oils like rosemary help with thinning hair, and dozens of sources that further strengthen the idea that these oils are helpful.

At this point it's when the consumer decides that the product and the ingredients contained within is a good purchase for their beard.

On the other end of the spectrum, the people selling these products see essential oils are also in similar rival products, and the cycle continues to solidify that anti-androgens are good for beards... when in actuality, DHT blockers are not good at all. They are detrimental, particularly for those guys that have patchy beards that are looking to increase their beard's overall density through follicle activation.

 

Also read: Understanding the Importance of DHT for Health and Beard Growth

 

Remember, just because someone may not seem be as affected by the anti-androgenic effects of essential oils, this does not correlate that these oils are not harmful to others' beards.

Harmful to your beard.

When buying products from sites like Amazon, for example, be very cautious of all of the positive reviews. Many times, a company will send a free product to a reviewer in exchange for a review. While the reviewer is not obligated to leave a positive one, you can bet that most people will, else they do not receive more free products from this and other companies.

Gaming of review systems on websites is a big thing and it is especially notable in beard-related products.

With that said, not all beard products are hindering your beard's progress. There are a lot out there, albeit a little harder to find, that do not contain the negative aspects we want to avoid and will help keep your beard nice and healthy. If an oil claims to provide better growth, however, you should be wary as there isn't much out there that directly influences follicles to develop hair.

That's more left to your body's health, with possible benefits through supplementation of workout aids and vitamins (if you're deficient in them).

 

Also read: How We Can Increase Testosterone and DHT

 

Even in the case of using minoxidil to grow your beard, not everybody sees the results they desire. And that's the absolute best method out there when trying to develop more facial hair that we know of.

If you're skeptical about beard oils and would rather stir up a concoction of your own, we've got you. Check out the "How to Make Beard Oil" article to mix up some of your own without having to worry about what's in the bottle. It'll save you some money in the long run too.

With all of the companies out there trying to take advantage of a growing market, it's easy to find yourself using products you don't necessarily even need.

It's everywhere, and everyone's using the stuff. Stay vigilant, do your research, and beard on.

A lot of the time when doing research online (i.e., Googling), the most common results for growing hair will be for the scalp. Even when searching with the beard keyword, many people that post articles will post techniques that work for the scalp, working with the false assumption that "hair is hair". We should not always use the same methods of growing hair on our faces as we do our scalps.

In fact, be extra cautious about using certain products on your face that are meant for your scalp; even if it's branded with the word beard, many times these are simply marketed as such but still use the same general ingredients as scalp products. Maybe less harsh as to not cause disturbance on a sensitive face, but look at the ingredients before grabbing these beard-growing oils and products.

 

Avoid: Essential Oils with DHT Blockers

On the beard forum, we have a topic that lists some of the ingredients that have 5-alpha reductase inhibitors. Some of the most popular ones can be found in many beard oils, of which many claim to help with beard growth.

Dihydrotestosterone (DHT), is needed when growing androgenic hair, which is body hair: excluding the hair on our scalp, but including beards. 5-alpha reductase (5AR) is the enzyme that converts testosterone into DHT, and blocking this enzyme from doing its job is only ever helpful when it comes to those that are balding from something such as male pattern baldness. If you're prone to genetic baldness, the last thing you want is more DHT as it can accelerate the rate of balding. But here's the thing: those predisposed to balding will lose their head hair even at normal levels of DHT.

To learn more about DHT, see Understanding the Importance of DHT for Health and Beard Growth.

 

List of Essential Oils with DHT Blockers

This list will need to be updated as we discover more about each essential oil. For the sake of keeping the article straightforward, the sources can be found in the forum topic linked above.

  • Emu Oil
  • Lavender Oil
  • Pumpkin Seed Oil
  • Rosemary Oil
  • Saw Palmetto Oil
  • Tea Tree Oil

Some of the oils listed are plant-derived antiandrogens. Androgens are considered the male hormone (also found somewhat in females; just as estrogen, the female hormone, is found in males). A beard requires male hormones, as it's a secondary sex characteristic — which is a reason as to why most females cannot grow beards without some type of steroid use.

While estrogen levels are significantly lower in males compared to females, estrogens nevertheless also have important physiological roles in males - Wikipedia

- Source: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11403894

 

Where 5AR Inhibitors (DHT Blockers) are Found?

5AR inhibitors are typically found in hair and skincare products. Usually, but not exclusively, in products that are meant to help head hair growth or baldness prevention, and also more typically in women's products than in men's.

 

Minoxidil

Some brands of minoxidil, a popular medication now used topically to regrow hair and prevent further hair loss, contain DHT blockers. Because there are no brands of minoxidil being sold that are targeted toward beard growth (in the United States), and because it's not FDA approved for anywhere except for the vertex (circular area) of the head, DHT blockers can be very common in certain mixtures as it's sold for head hair; not beards. If you're one of the guys on the minoxidil journey for a beard, that's something to keep in mind when purchasing your minox. These brands will normally state DHT blockers on the labels, however, as it tends to be a point of pride.

Note: minoxidil not being FDA approved for anywhere other than the vertex is simply due to scientific studies not being conducted elsewhere on the body with it. Not being FDA approved does not mean that minoxidil will be ineffective for other places around the body or for receding hair lines. It simply cannot be marketed that way in the United States.

 

Lotions, Soaps, & Shampoos

As mentioned above, 5AR inhibitors might be found in hair and skin products, usually as part of the fragrance in the form of essential oils. The essential oils listed a few paragraphs up is not an exhaustive list, but it does have some of the most popular oils in it. Check the ingredient labels on your products, and check them before purchasing to save a little money.

Sometimes a label might list the ingredients and then add a catch-all such as "and essential oils for smell." If you come across this, email the company and ask if they have specific DHT-inhibiting oils in their product. Usually, "fragrance" or "flavor" will be found on the label, which will either be chemicals, essential oils, or a mixture of these two things. Because certain mixtures can fall under being a trade secret, companies can "hide" what the fragrance is, but email them anyway and ask that same question.

“Essential Oils” and “Aromatherapy” 

There is no regulatory definition for “essential oils,” although people commonly use the term to refer to certain oils extracted from plants. The law treats Ingredients from plants the same as those from any other source. 

For example, “essential oils” are commonly used in so-called “aromatherapy” products. If an “aromatherapy” product is intended to treat or prevent disease, or to affect the structure or function of the body, it’s a drug. To learn more, see “Aromatherapy.”

Similarly, a massage oil intended to lubricate the skin is a cosmetic. But if claims are made that a massage oil relieves aches or relaxes muscles, apart from the action of the massage itself, it’s a drug, or possibly both a cosmetic and a drug.

Source: http://www.fda.gov/Cosmetics/ProductsIngredients/Ingredients/ucm388821.htm#essential

Bear in mind that a lot of soaps are fine to use, particularly natural soaps; the skin's barrier is fairly resilient and it's unlikely that a soap will penetrate for the short amount of time that it's on the skin. Adding to that, when essential oils are used merely for scent at lower percentages, it's even more unlikely that it will hinder your beard. I would say that most soaps are fine to use, but if you're in doubt, simply opt for one without the ingredients that inhibit DHT production.

Shampoos and lotions tend to have more penetrating ingredients in them as opposed to soap, but this is not a hard and fast rule. Each and every product is different, so knowing your labels and ingredients is the best option you have to avoid unwanted antiandrogens and chemicals.

 

What Other "Scalp-Related" Things Should I Avoid?

Other than products, at the top of my head I'd say nothing. Techniques like improving blood circulation via massaging, cleaning your face of flakes and dirt and so on will all help to improve beard growth. It mostly comes down to products that are meant for the head and repurposed for the beard where people run into trouble.

Keep in mind that when you use products sparingly, things should be fine. It's usually when people go overboard when things start getting harmful (folks tend to do that when reaching for beard perfection). The same thing can be said about absolutely anything, including water. So basically, know what you're using and don't overdo it and things will be a-okay overall.

At the end of the day, consult your doctor if you're worried about anything and take all advice you find online with a grain of salt.

Microneedling, what we also normally call derma rolling (DR, or rolling), is a method of taking hundreds of tiny needles and rolling them on your face to stimulate collagen production. In this article, I'll be getting into the method of using the the derma roller solely for the beard area.

 

How Does a Derma Roller Stimulate Beard Growth?

Using these tiny needles to prick your dermis, the layer just under the epidermis, your body sees this as damage and begins the healing process. During this healing process, collagen is produced.

Collagen is a structural protein that makes up a quarter of the protein in our bodies.

As with keratin, the protein that our hair is made out of, collagen is also what makes our skin supple and elastic. It helps maintain younger looking, stronger skin. Just as consuming protein in our diets, all of these proteins are important for the overall health of our hair, both for our heads and our beards.

 

How Else Derma Rolling Can Help

Let's face it, our female counterparts tend to know about body care much better than men do. Talking about the average guy here, of course.

For years now, microneedling has been a big thing to help reduce wrinkles, acne scars and stretch marks on the body. Angelina Jolie is one famous woman that's known to use a derma roller to keep her face so pristine. I mean, look at that face!

 

Benefits of Microneedling:

  • Reduces/removes wrinkles
  • Lightens, or even removes, scar tissue
  • Helps prevent premature aging (IE, you don't have wrinkles yet, it will keep them away for longer)
  • Gets rid of hyperpigmentation as it removes layers of skin (from peeling skin, not the immediate rolling)
  • Improves how Rosacea looks, depending on the type you have. Different variants of rosacea should not be rolled over, please see a dermatologist before rolling over rosacea.
  • Helps prevent hair loss when used in conjunction with a topical such as minoxidil.

 

Wait, Why Don't Women Grow Beards When They Roll?

This is a bit of a silly question, but it's been asked several times. It all comes down to hormones. Women simply don't have the same male hormones that we do, so even though they produce collagen as well, they're not going to be sprouting a bunch of beard hair. Keep in mind that women do have vellus hair on their faces, as do children.

 

Also read: Understanding the Importance of DHT for Health and Beard Growth

 

So Rolling Without Minoxidil Will Still Help?

Now here's where things get less clear. Since genetics play a huge role in whether someone grows a beard or not (yes, even for those that need to bring it out with minox), it will certainly be dependent on whether or not you can grow a beard in the first place.

If you have a baby face with no beard, it's possible it can help due to the extra collagen being produced, but the general consensus is that a topical should be used along with it for maximum benefit. You know those two bald spot gaps that many bearded men have under their lips, on either side of the soul patch? Some men have filled them up by utilizing a derma roller in conjunction with minoxidil.

Another thing to note would be the cell proliferation and increased blood flow caused as a result of derma rolling. These things coupled may help the follicles in the skin kickstart growth as the cells regenerate and reproduce. To use an analogy: what was once a field of dirt starts to become soil — filled with nutrients, minerals, and life. Thus allowing things to grow fuller and healthier than before.

Other men have noticed an increase in beard hair without minox as well. Guys see an increase in beard hair not using minox and opting to use something like Jamaican Black Castor Oil or Peppermint Essential Oil for Beard Growth. Bear in mind, these are anecdotal reports and these types of oils may not actually produce results. At least, not the results you're likely hoping for.

 

How Do I Use a Derma Roller For My Beard?

First, you'll need to know which size to get. We generally recommend getting the 0.5mm derma roller. If you can grab one that's titanium over stainless steel, then that'll be the best quality you can get. They're generally less than about 20 bucks and should last you 4-6 months of regular usage.

The 0.5mm is the first DR size to start producing collagen, the smaller sizes are meant for better absorption of a topical like beard oils. If you're using minoxidil in conjunction with the 0.5mm, please wait at least 24 hours before applying minoxidil. Many people wrongly assume that the DR is meant to be used to absorb minox better, but it's not.

Minoxidil should be absorbed at its own rate on top of your skin and should not go systemic, causing additional side effects because of it hitting your bloodstream faster. And you'll get unwanted more body hair this way as well. Minoxidil also inhibits the production of collagen, so essentially it's the opposite of what you want to be doing right after rolling.

 

Onto Using the Derma Roller

When your DR first arrives, it should already be disinfected. But if you're worried about that, I would do it myself before the first use anyway. Remember, these are needles and they need to be kept clean from bacteria and debris before being put into your skin. Something like Isopropyl Alcohol, commonly used in healthcare, is great. Simply put a small amount into clean a cup or glass and put the DR into it (just the head, no need to soak the entire thing). What I do, personally, is splash some alcohol onto the head and then go about my business in the bathroom until it fully evaporates after a few minutes.

The above image shows how you should use the derma roller. Roll ten times, up and down, ten times left and right, and ten times diagonally. You only need to apply slight pressure when rolling (put your index finger in the spot where there's a groove near the head of the roller). I wouldn't be able to say exactly how much pressure I apply personally, but I would guess around 1-2 lbs of pressure (less than 1kg).

When changing directions, lift the roller off of your skin and then put it back down. You don't want to twist or turn the roller, which would slightly tear the skin. You'll want to puncture the skin.

 

How Often Should I Roll?

With the 0.5mm roller, you can roll 1-2 times per week, with the lesser amount being preferable in the beginning so that your body gets used to it. A good schedule might be once every 3 days, so that would be two times per week. Remember, more isn't always better, so allow your body to recover and heal itself from the previous roll. You don't want to roll too often that it overly damages your skin — this can have the opposite effect of what the DR is meant to be used for. If in doubt, simply roll once every 1-2 weeks instead.

Keep in mind that men heal faster than women, and generally when reading about the derma roller, you'll come across advice that's suitable for everyone; meaning 1-2 rolls per month, as that will be on the safer side of things. Be safe and roll correctly. It's also good to roll less in the beginning and work your way up (if you so choose), as your body gets used to the healing process.

 

Do I Have To Shave Before Rolling?

It's a good idea to have a short or shaved beard, as you might tug on hair while you're rolling with a longer beard. You also need to make sure the needles hit the dermis, and hair might block that from happening. For men that don't want to shave, we roll the upper cheeks where things are a bit lighter, and if we have 'em, the bald spots under our lips.

 

Apply Oil After Microneedling

After you've rolled your beard area, it's a good idea to moisturize with a face cream or beard oil. You can do this directly after rolling, but make sure that what you're using is meant for the face. This is why we tend to recommend using natural oils instead of lotions.

You don't have to apply anything, however. Just roll and relax, if that's your preference.

 

Are There Side Effects to Derma Rolling?

Only slightly red skin, when using the 0.5mm size. Higher DR sizes may require some numbing cream and bleeding may happen. You shouldn't bleed using the 0.5, but redness is normal. It should persist for just a few hours or a day, depending on how sensitive your skin is. Other than that, there are only upsides to rolling!

Derma rolling isn't new, but it's certainly gaining some momentum. Want to discuss this topic further? Check out the forum topic, How Derma Rolling (microneedling) might help you grow a fuller beard.

 

Video Example of Derma Rolling

Here's a great example of how to derma roll safely and correctly.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wCoa8ePxHPw?t=1m10s


Products Linked in This Article

For quicker reference back to the products we've listed in this article, you can find them easily below.

 

What is Biotin?

Biotin is a water-soluble vitamin, also known as vitamin H or vitamin B7. It's sold in many stores along with all of the other vitamins and supplements.

It's marketed for skin, hair and nails because it's said to improve our keratin infrastructure — and keratin is a protein which makes up those three things.

Biotin is naturally-occurring and our bodies produce more than required for cell growth.

 

What will it do for my Beard?

Honestly, probably not much. From everything we've seen, men that take biotin don't notice any additional benefits to the beard. Some mention lessened shedding of beard hair, but there's not enough evidence to really support it.

Biotin itself is healthy to take, so there's nothing wrong with doing so. It may even provide additional health benefits to those that have deficiencies.

Most people do notice the benefits to their nails, which happens after about three months.

Remember, most methods of trying to improve your hair and beard will take months to see visible results, aside from the method of using minoxidil for your beard, which varies among each individual.

Anecdotally, men have said that after taking biotin for a few weeks they notice lessened hair shedding. This implies that it may help with creating a stronger bond between the follicle and the hair. Since there's no clinical trials, we only have the word of those that have tried the vitamin — and the claims from companies, that sell it, make.

Biotin can also indirectly cause acne, so be aware of that. As it may compete with B5, lowering this vitamin by consuming biotin leads to breakouts in many individuals. For many, this clears up after a while, but is not the case for everyone.

 

The verdict: At best, I believe biotin works well for those with deficiencies in it, but is likely not going to be helpful for a healthy individual. Don't take biotin in the hopes of improving your beard, but only to improve your overall health.

 

Also read: How to Make Your Beard Grow Faster

 

Other Vitamins to Consider

While biotin may help some men, there are other vitamins out there that the human population tends to be deficient in. Not having an adequate intake of micronutrients can lead to more problems than just less facial hair. Consider supplementing vitamin d3, b12, and k2 for your beard and body's health.

Learn more about these three vitamins by clicking on that link. I would consider these, in supplement form, to be far more important to one's dietary intake than supplementing biotin, as they are quite hard to come by via food.

 

Products Linked in This Article

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I'm putting this one in the health category, although food grade Diatomaceous earth is great for beards and we'll touch on that in this article. Overall, DE deserves its own article because of all of the great health benefits it provides when consumed on a daily basis.

One thing to clear up: the difference between Diatomaceous earth and Beard Powder is zilch. Beard Powder is actually a marketed version of DE targeted directly toward bearded men. Keep in mind that Beard Powder is marketed in such a way that misinformation crops up from time to time — such as hair being made of silica (it's not).

You can get the stuff for much cheaper if you pick it up locally or order it from Amazon.

 

What is Diatomaceous Earth?

As you may have guessed by now, for short we like to call it DE. DE, is a ground up fossil of diatoms (particularly their cell walls, which crumble to powder). Diatoms are over 30 million years old. As it's siliceous, DE is made up of 85%+ silica. Silica helps with collagen production, which keeps our skin looking young and healthy, while also being the foundation of hair follicles. Think beards too.

Food grade Diatomaceous earth is used for consumption in humans and pets, and provides a number of health benefits if taken over time.

 

What are the Health Benefits of DE?

Glad I asked! Ahem.

With DE being so extensively explored, a number of health benefits have been found, but here are a few that I like the most.

  1. Diatomaceous earth is a natural source of silica, which is vital to major parts of our bodies, including bones, tendons, and cartilage.
  2. DE exfoliates your insides as it's a mild abrasive. It kills harmful organisms in our bodies and helps with the digestive tract.
  3. DE Promotes healthy hair, as it contains not only silica, but other minerals such as calcium and iron.

 

Does Beard Powder Actually Help with Beard Growth?

This one is hard to give a definitive answer to. It's being marketed as such, that much I can say. At the end of the day, I would not take DE in the hopes of improving your beard, but simply your overall health, similar to ingesting biotin to improve your beard. For instance, if you were to solely take DE and observe your beard's results, I believe it would be a negligible difference.

 

How to use Food Grade Diatomaceous Earth

It's really, really simple. Take a teaspoon of the stuff and add it to any beverage of your choice. Water, juice, a protein shake; as long as you're able to mix it occasionally, as DE doesn't dissolve. I put it in my morning coffee and keep a spoon in it to stir.

Diatomaceous earth doesn't have a taste, but it has a chalky texture.

For the first week, take just a teaspoon a day. After that, feel free to add a second serving; one for the morning, one at night. You can also work your way up to two tablespoons per day, depending on your tolerance. We're talking about bowel tolerance.

Drink plenty of water as you always should, and there it is!

 

 

 

The Truth Behind Beard Powder (Is it a Scam?)

An informative yet funny video showcasing why beard powder isn't all it's cracked up to be. The claim made by certain people as to how much diatomaceous earth helps vellus hair transition to terminal (among other highly suspect claims) is essentially quashed.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rfC1B6AMDr0

 

Products Linked in This Article

For quicker reference back to the products we've listed in this article, you can find them easily below.

While growing out your beard — particularly if you're one of the guys on the Minoxidil Journey — you may ask the question "what beard oil should I use?"

Beard oils are specific products marketed toward us bearded gentlemen that contain a number of common ingredients; from carrier oils such as coconut, argan and jojoba, to essential oils like rosemary, sandalwood and cedarwood. Beard oils are made up of a mixture of these carrier and essential oils, and sometimes more. (Note that some of these ingredients are DHT blockers, which is bad for our beards).

Castor oil is one of these carrier oils, the cold-pressed version of Jamaican Black Castor Oil.

 

Here's where JBCO comes in

Oh yeah, that's what Jamaican Black Castor Oil is regularly abbreviated as. Known to help treat a number of ailments including Alopecia areata (a type of hair loss), JBCO is a castor oil that's handmade in Jamaica by roasting the seeds of the castor oil plant. Being high in triglycerides, the fatty acids in found castor oil are also what make up most of the body fat in humans. Good to put on your skin? Definitely.

Most of the benefits, however, are anecdotal and there aren't really any clinical trials I can point you to. But with thousands of people seeing growth on their eyelashes, eyebrows and elsewhere, it's hard not to recommend castor as a potential beard asset. If anything, it's at least a very good moisturizer.

 

How JBCO is made

Unlike pressing the castor beans without heat when making yellow castor oil, in Jamaica they roast the bean first, which is what gives it its ashy smell. This results in a less pure product with ash content, raising its pH levels. These higher pH levels are what's said to give JBCO an edge over cold-pressed castor oil, with more ash content being better. Scientifically, this hasn't been proven. Also, the bean is actually a seed.

JBCO will have a thick consistency, fairly similar to honey. It should be dark in color, though it can also look fairly golden-brown if there's not a lot of ash in it. There is an extra dark version of the oil as well.

 

How to use Jamaican Black Castor Oil

It's hard to use this stuff wrong, but it's good to give a basic guideline on how it can be done.

  1. Wash or rinse face prior to use
  2. Pat dry with a towel or cloth — leaving your beard damp is best when applying just about any product, and be gentle with using towels on your beard. Again, pat it dry, don't scrub or wipe your beard hair.
  3. Pour some of the JBCO into the palm of your hand. A size of about a US quarter dollar should be sufficient for your entire beard area (skin and hair of the beard area).
  4. Using your other hand, dip your fingers into the oil and then start applying to the beard area, in a downward stroking motion. Use gentle pressure, but not too much. You'll want the oil to be on your skin as a priority, not the beard itself.
  5. Get everything: sideburns, 'stache, chin, under-lip area, neck and so on.
  6. With what's left over in your hands, rub them together and then spread downward across the beard hair to seal in extra moisture. If you're using it on a bare face, you don't need to do this, simply wash the oil from your hands.
  7. Leave in anywhere from 40 minutes to two hours.

You can leave it in overnight or throughout the whole day, but if you're using this oil generously, remember that products can clog your pores. This is why we recommend washing after some time, but it's not always necessary. Use less oil if you'd like to leave it in for longer. Since many oils like JBCO are comedogenic (clog pores), you'll want to be careful not to have that happen. The rating for JBCO is very low, however, and is much less likely to cause clogged pores compared to the oils with higher ratings.

There are also specific beard oils that you can use that have JBCO as a primary ingredient, should you want something that smells nicer and if you definitely want to leave it in and not smell like an ashy, roasted seed.

 

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Ah, your beard's best friends. If you're not using oils in your beard, you should definitely consider it. I'm not going to preach that oils are essential (pun intended) to growing a beard, but some of the best beards you've seen likely had the guy oiling and regularly maintaining it. Scraggly beards can look cool on the right person, but a well-groomed beard is always sexy.

 

What are carrier and essential oils?

Carrier oils will be oils such as

  • Argan
  • Coconut
  • Jojoba
  • Grape seed
  • Castor

Essential oils will be

The list for both go on much longer, these are just a few examples and some of the most common.

Carrier oils will contain fatty acids known as triglycerides, which are great for skin and hair care in general, while also helping carry essential oils onto your skin. Essential oils have a wide range of benefits, with the ones listed above being common in many hair-growth recipes.

 

Benefit of Using Oils in your Beard

Not to try and get into botany on a beard article, but think of your face as dirt. The follicle which forms the hair is beneath your skin. This is the seed. Seeds need nourishment to grow, and we can thank rain for that. But hey, we don't always wait for rain to come to water our garden, do we?

The rain is oil. Our bodies produce a natural sebum, which is oil, but every person is different as to how much or little they produce. You also have to take into account washing your face, taking showers, and even sleeping on pillowcases that aren't satin or silk all take part in stripping your natural oils. So to make up for the lack of oil (because the beard hair itself needs some of that goodness too), we turn to using these cold-pressed products.

Whether it's a specific product made and labeled for beards, or a home concoction of your own carrier and essential oils, this is what a beard needs to thrive and be at its best. Dry, brittle hair will make the overall beard grow at a slower rate as the unhealthy, damaged hair falls out and new hair replaces it.

If you experience itchiness during beard growth, part of the reason is because your face isn't being properly conditioned. Even stubble needs moisture, along with the skin on your face. Those with shaved faces also tend not to use oils and will want to wait until the beard starts coming in. Don't wait, just put that ish on your face.

 

How to use Oil in your Beard

Like applying Jamaican Black Castor Oil, it's not too difficult to apply oil. Simply put some into the palm of your hand using whatever method the bottle has. If you have an oil that comes with a dropper, use about 2-4 drops for a bare face. Add drops as the beard gets bigger: around 4-5 drops for full stubble, 5-6 drops for a full but short beard, and increase as needed.

First, wash or rinse your face. I personally recommend only washing your beard about 3 times per week. So go ahead and rinse it or, ya know, hop out of the shower if you've done your thing in there instead. While it's wet, pat dry your beard to the point where it's just slightly damp. I say pat because you shouldn't be scrubbing or rubbing it with your towel — you'll damage the hair. That goes for your head hair too. Now that the beard is damp, put the oil into your palm and rub your hands together. Start swiping and gently rubbing them through the beard and skin. Use a nice acetate comb to style and neaten your beard. Be gentle while the beard is damp, combing and brushing can also cause damage while hair is wet. The oil you just used helps coat and protect the hair from that, however, so it's okay if it's just slightly damp.

Once the beard is fully dry, that's when I go over it with a boar's hair bristle brush. Try not to brush more than a couple of times per day. Comb as often as you'd like, so long as you're not tugging or pulling at hair. Always use oil before brushing or combing, it really helps with spreading the oils through your hair and skin.

 

Can Oils Clog Pores?

They can indeed. Depending on the comedogenic rating of the oil, you might experience clogged pores if you don't use a modest amount. For example, coconut oil has a comedogenic rating of 4, whereas JBCO is 1. The lower, the better. But that doesn't necessarily mean higher ratings are worse oils, rather, they should be used more sparingly.

 

Aren't Essential Oils DHT Blockers?

Some oils are indeed DHT blockers — lavender and rosemary being fairly potent ones. If the oil is added only for scent, it likely won't inhibit 5AR to the extent that we fear. If it's diluted in large amounts or if it's a product for use on balding scalps, stay away from it. DHT blockers, while good for those that are balding on their heads, is bad for beards.

 

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This is probably the most asked question in the world of beards: "How can I make my beard thicker?" For one, don't shave. You'd be attempting a fool's errand. You really need to let it grow to see your full potential. The average time it takes for that to happen is roughly three months. No, not three weeks — three months.

 

Growing a Beard is Psychological

It really is. You'll have people telling you to shave, to trim, and that a beard is "not for everyone." Every man deserves to rock a beard, in any style he likes, without having people harp on him to get rid of it.

Beards need to become the norm, not the exception.
- Anonymous

I believe I read somewhere that most men give up on their beards after two weeks of growing. What?! Sorry to get hysterical, but two weeks isn't enough to grow a full beard. It's still in the stubble stages, and for a lot of guys that stage isn't strong at all. It looks weak. Only the truly blessed will have a full face of stubble by week two.

So, please, don't base your results off of the dude you work with that grows an insanely full beard. Don't base your results on the guy that had struggled to grow his patchy beard (which you never saw) into something respectable over several months. Don't give it two weeks, don't give it four; give it at least three months of growth before you decide whether a beard is for you or not.

The younger you are, the slower your beard is likely to grow, as opposed to older men. This is yet another reason not to compare.

Even then, three months is truly just the start of the journey. Beards become greater with each passing week, with men that have patches on their cheeks filling out over time.

Many guys attempt to carve their neck and cheek lines, some mess this up. That's okay, don't shave. Hair always grows back, corrections can be made by simply waiting. Now, that doesn't account for a complete accident where half your cheek got shaved off; we're just talking little mistakes here, such as the cheek line being too low, or the neck line being too high. But more on that later.

 

Methods of Thickening your Beard

Beard Health Begins on the Inside

I get it, everyone knows by now. Being a healthy person unsurprisingly leads to better skin, hair, and state of mind. So let's knock that out of the way first. Simply take care of yourself, go to the gym and lift weights, and eat halfway decent. If you're already doing these things, great!

If you're not getting all of the vitamins that you need each day through food (that meal from Taco Bell sure won't fill that requirement), consider taking a multivitamin to fill that nutritional gap.

Get plenty of sleep every night and, while it may be hard to do, keep your stress in check. Take a breath.

Jamaican Black Castor Oil

This oil is some good stuff, and generally put a step above other carrier oils because of its uses in help treating hair loss and restoring edges of hair. We have a guide on how to use JBCO for beards.

Minoxidil for the Beard

Another viable option would be to use minoxidil to grow your beard, should you have patches or even if you're entirely beardless at this point. Many men opt to use this, as it's the quickest and most noticeable route to take that we've seen so far.

Microneedling

Also known as derma rolling, microneedling is the act of rolling tiny needs into your skin, which causes your body to start the healing process. During this healing process, we produce collagen, which is what keeps us looking young. Many people use this to help remove fine lines, stretch marks on the body, and to help regrow hair from hair loss.

The same concept is used for the beard area, where men roll .5mm microneedles along the beard area. This then stimulates new growth that men had never seen previously.

Learn how to stimulate beard growth using a derma roller by clicking on that link.

 

Making your Beard Appear Fuller

Carve a Cheek and Neck Line to have the Illusion of a Fuller Beard

Cheek and Neck Line

This is actually more important than a lot of guys realize. The outline of your beard is essential to the way your beard looks as a whole, even allowing it to look fuller with the correct outline. This goes for a short beard as well as big beards.

Keep your beard looking intentional and you'll get fewer comments to shave or trim it.

 

Carving the Neck Line

The neck line should be carved about two finger widths above your adam's apple, with your middle finger resting on the center of the apple.

 

Carving the Cheek Lines

The cheek line actually, a lot of the time, will look better to keep natural. But if your growth isn't very strong on the cheeks, this can still help make the beard appear fuller, as you would be shaving off the scraggly, lonely strays above the thicker line of growth. If your cheek lines naturally grow high and dense, you might also consider carving them to have a neater appearance.

Note: the cheek line in this picture is the result of trying to correct it, as it was lower during a previous cheek line cut. To correct it, I didn't shave the beard — I waited a few weeks and then went to the barber and told him I wanted my line to grow higher, hence why it looks a little light here. The beard could actually look even more full if I were to carve the cheek to connect to the bottom of the mustache.

When in doubt, visit a barber — if he has a beard, even better. Make sure you're clear with how you want your beard styled. That will automatically let them know you want it a certain way and they won't freestyle it.

Want to see how I do the cheek and neck lines in video format? Watch the video below.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eBrEN-Q-smM

 

Maintaining your Beard for Maximum Growth Potential

Daily maintenance shouldn't take long at all. Not only does maintenance keep your beard looking great, it also helps throw out the stigma that beards are unsanitary and for lazy men that don't want to shave. Beards take much more time and care than shaving does, as you need to care for a second set of hair (or one set if you're going with the bald-headed look. Savage).

Some of the things that should be done with beard grooming:

  • Washing (2-4x p/week)
  • Combing (1-2x p/day, more if wanted)
  • Brushing (1-2x p/day at most, or a few times per week)
  • Oiling (1x per day, or as many times as needed)
  • Cutting split ends with small scissors
  • Massaging your skin

Don't wash your beard too often with shampoos and soaps. In fact, we recommend not using a traditional shampoo in your beard, because they're meant to be used on your scalp. Facial skin and the scalp are entirely different beasts, so use a face soap or all-natural type of shampoo. Consider picking up Dr. Bronner's Castile Soap, which can be used for full body and beard.

While you don't want to comb or brush hair while it's wet, it's fine to comb while the beard is damp (pat dry with a towel). Using an oil in your beard prior to combing should help protect the hair while the comb helps spread the oil around. Wait until the beard is dry before brushing, to prevent breakage.

You can rinse the beard every time you shower or splash water on your face, but remember not to wash it unless you need to clean it.

Keep an eye on split ends, and snip them with a small pair of scissors any time you see them. Simply snip from the highest part of the hair, where it's undamaged by the split. Leaving splits will eventually allow them to travel up the shaft, requiring you to cut the hair even shorter than needed than if you had gotten to it beforehand.

Massaging your face is a very effective way of stimulating hair growth, one that a lot of people don't think about. It's best to massage your face as you're applying a deep beard conditioner such as JBCO, which will help enhance blood flow while providing nutrients and hydration to your face.

 

Beards Require Time and Care

Always remember: time. If your beard is filling in but patchy, time can help fix it. Don't shave, let it grow. Utilizing the techniques mentioned in this article will provide you with the best beard genetically possible. We may not all grow our dream beards, but each week we can improve our beard's potential. Consistency and dedication is key. Let's grow and beard onward.

 

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Time and again there are men asking whether shaving their facial hair will result in a thicker beard down the line. The quickest answer I can give you is, no. Shaving will not make your beard thicker.

 

Shaving will not hurt or improve your beard growth, so while I would recommend not shaving if you want to grow a beard (uh, right), it's also fine to shave if you need to. Say, for your job. If it came in once, it can come in again. That's an answer to a question that comes up from time to time, especially from those using minoxidil to grow their beards.

The hair follicle is what determines the thickness of your hair; the more follicles you have, the thicker your beard will appear to be. The thicker each individual strand of hair, the thicker your beard will appear to be. This follicle is underneath the skin, similar to a plant's root being under the ground. Shaving the hair is simply cutting it, creating a blunt edge. When the hair then starts growing back out, our perception of it being thicker is because of its edge, as well as the fact that shorter hair is stronger than longer hair, giving the appearance of thickness and the feeling of strength. The contrast between your hair and skin also differs when the hair is shorter like that.

Ever wonder why full beards look fuller after they're trimmed and lined? It's an illusion, the same way that seeing thicker hair after shaving is:

At the base of the follicle, the hair is at its thickest as it tapers off with length. When this hair is trimmed down close to the base, it's as if the hair is thicker than it was before.

On one last note,

The effect of repeated shaving on human hair growth was studied . . . No significant differences in total weight of hair produced in a measured area, or in width or rate of growth of individual hairs, could be ascribed to shaving.
- Journal of Investigative Dermatology, 1970 study

To grow the fullest beard that you can, keep what you're growing. Stop trimming (except for when it comes to split ends), and most certainly stop shaving.

It's time to grow the beard you never thought you could! This is the guide to fixing up a patchy beard or growing from bare-faced to beardsman within a year.

For years now, men have been using minoxidil (widely known as Rogaine) on their faces to help promote beard growth. Minoxidil is an anti-hypertensive vasodilator, which was originally used as a blood-pressure medication for those with high blood pressure. It was taken orally, however, and not topically. The topical solution came after the noted side effects of taking minoxidil: hair growth. Pretty much everywhere, too.

Used today to help regrow hair from those that suffer from balding in the vertex area, minoxidil stimulates the follicles and revives them. Once treatment is stopped, the hair once again dies and the individual starts balding again. What does this mean for beard hair? Nothing, really. Men that suffer a lack of facial hair, whether it's patchy or not there at all — are not balding on their faces. Minoxidil will not revive the hair on your face like it would for those that are balding on their heads. What it will do is stimulate the follicles that are there. Over time and with the right conditions, the beard grows in just as any other.

 

So why don't more people recommend minoxidil?

At the moment, a lot of it comes down to fearing the unknown. There have been no clinical trials done with using Rogaine on a man's face. This is why in the United States it's not FDA approved. Something that is not FDA approved doesn't necessarily mean it's more harmful, rather that it's been untested and isn't recommended. Most people will use this as a scare tactic to convince men not to try minoxidil on their face. Our advice? See an actual doctor and ask his opinion. Keep in mind that there are doctors that may profit from providing beard transplants, thus affecting their objectivity, so always use your own judgement in the end.

 

Update: there has been a study done in Thailand using 3% minoxidil: https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT02275832

 

The biggest perpetrators will be the ones that profit outside of minoxidil: by selling you oils, balms, or other products that promote beard growth. While these products are recommended here at Beard Profile and can indeed help with stimulating growth, they will most certainly not bring your bare face from zero to full like minoxidil will. They will help minimally. In fact, many beard oils actually hinder progress.

 

So, um, does it actually work? What are the downsides?

Yes! It most certainly does work. There are downsides to using this drug on your face; let's face it, it is a drug and we're not here to coddle anyone about it and its side effects. Some men have reported these side effects after using it topically on their face. Nobody has experienced all of them, rather this is a compilation of what you might be able to expect.

  • Headache
  • Water retention (bloated)
  • Dry/flaky skin
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Heart palpitations
  • Temporary hair shedding
  • Overeating
  • Fatigue
  • Extra hair growth (no, really?)

I've marked the most common two in bold. Temporary shedding means just that — it's temporary and should not persist for more than about 1-2 months (it can kick in around two weeks or a month after starting minoxidil, and really anytime thereafter). What's happening during shedding is that your head hair is being pushed out by new growth. During minoxidil usage, the hair follicles tend to take on the same cycle as other follicles, causing them to shed and regrow within the same time frame. Without minoxidil, the follicles are more independent, and thus the shedding is not nearly as noticeable.

 

Shedding is not balding, and the belief of that is a common misconception. The shedding should not persist long enough that it would be noticeable to anyone other than yourself. Extra hair growth is dependent on the individual, much like most of the minox journey. Common growth includes extra arm hair, leg hair, hair around the eyebrows, and tiny hairs elsewhere. This is usually only noticeable to yourself, but it is something that has caused men to drop off of minoxidil.

 

Try not to stress out too much about possible side effects. The mind is a powerful thing, so stay positive and you'll be fine. Many men mistake unrelated symptoms with a side effect of minoxidil, so keep that in mind if you feel under the weather.

 

Alright, I know the side effects. Where do I start?

First, you'll want to learn how to use the stuff. We'll get to where to buy it in a bit. It's better to learn before spending your hard earned money! It's not difficult, but requires consistency and patience. Here's a method on how to apply minoxidil.

How to apply Liquid Minoxidil

  1. Wash face thoroughly. Use a soap meant for your face or simply use plain water.
  2. Measure out 1ml* with the included dropper, to the line.
  3. Start putting small drops onto your face, only in the beard area until the applicator is empty. If your face is already very wet and you still have solution left, proceed to step 4 and then do this step again.
  4. Using two fingers or the dropper itself, rub the solution in gently with a little bit of pressure.
  5. Wash hands thoroughly with soap.

How to apply Foam Minoxidil

  1. Wash face thoroughly. Use a soap meant for your face or simply use plain water.
  2. Rinse your fingers with cold water. The foam will dissolve quickly if your hands are warm, so get them nice and cool.
  3. Tip the can upside down so that the head is facing directly toward the ground. Dispense the foam onto your fingers until it looks about the amount that can fit into half of the cap. This is equivalent to 1ml.
  4. Using your other (cold) hand, take some of the foam and start applying it to the beard area. Repeat until all of the foam is used up.
  5. Wash hands thoroughly with soap.

*You do not need to use a full 1ml. In fact, many guys get great results using 0.5ml once per day. Everybody is different, so you'll need to find the appropriate amount for yourself. Repeat this up to two times daily, keeping the applications about 8-12 hours apart.

It's not difficult to apply, so don't begin to worry that you're "doing it wrong." You're really not. As long as it gets onto your skin and you rub it in a little and leave for 4 hours, you're good to go. After four hours, you can rinse or wash your face and apply some face lotion if needed. Some people choose not to rinse the minoxidil off until the next application, and that's fine. You can even apply it at night, let it dry up a bit, then get some sleep.

As dryness is a side effect that everyone eventually gets, you'll want to ready yourself a hydration routine. Make sure you drink more water than you normally do and grab a face lotion or oil. Some people may experience better skin for the first couple of weeks of using minoxidil, but just about everyone succumbs to the dryness at some point.

Now that you know what to expect and how to use minoxidil, you'll need to remember patience. This is huge when it comes to guys being skeptical about the progress of their minox journey.

Everybody is different and will see different progress, regardless of lifestyle or routine.

I can't stress that enough. Out of the hundreds of guys I've seen on the minox journey, each one is unique in how fast or slow the beard comes in; even two brothers can have drastically different results -- but they all have one thing in common: the beard does come in eventually. You might start to see tiny vellus hair within the first two weeks, or you might see it happen after two months. Stay patient, stay persistent, and it will come!

 

 

How long will I have to use minoxidil?

The process is anywhere from 6 months to two years. The faster you see results, the sooner you can expect to stop using minoxidil. Your personal journey is going to dictate when you should stop using minoxidil, and that's generally when you're happy with the growth of your beard.

Once your beard is where you want it, that's when you can stop using it. It will not fall out over time, but you may experience some minor shedding for a short period. Many choose to "wean" themselves off by applying sporadically for the last few weeks of their journey (in other words, using less each day or week in comparison to the normal daily amount used).

The safest bet is to continue using minox until the beard hair has gone terminal. Once it's coarse and thick, that's when you should start slowly coming off it. If you have a beard goal that's quite large, try to get to your beard goal first, then start the weaning process.

 

 

Where should I buy minox? Which brands are reputable?

The most commonly used brand is Kirkland Signature because of its price of about 25 USD for a 6-month supply. That's double the amount of product for half the cost, literally, compared to its competitors like Rogaine, Regaine in Europe, CVS Pharmacy, and so on. It's made in Israel (previously Canada). In the United States and Canada, you can pick up Kirkland from your local Costco, or online.

Other alternatives from around the world include brands such as Mintop, Alopexy, Tru Gain, Foligain P5, and more. As long as the solution is 5% minoxidil, it will do the job. You don't need to purchase the same brand as the next guy to see results. With that in mind, always purchase from reputable websites and sellers on eBay. Our recommendation is to use Amazon as it's generally the cheapest and a trusted source. If you buy something using the links around this article, it'll even support the site without any cost to you. If the articles on the site help you whatsoever, it's a great way to give back! I'll only ever link things that either I or Beard Profile members truly recommend and have tried ourselves.

Note: stay away from minoxidil with DHT blockers. This will usually be advertised, so it's easy enough to spot. As we discuss in a forum topic, inhibiting 5-alpha reductase is not good for androgenic hair.

 

Also read: Understanding the Importance of DHT for Health and Beard Growth

 

Sweet. That seems easy enough. Anything else I should know?

That's pretty much it! If you have any questions about the process or want to know how to stimulate growth in other ways (whether in conjunction with minox or without it altogether), we have a plethora of beard articles and the entire site is essentially one huge, bearded community of awesome guys. We have specific topics about minoxidil on the forum, a private group for encouragement and progression, and a lot more.

We also have a Minoxidil Beard FAQ on the forum that goes over some of the things in this article, as well as other common questions. If you have a question that hasn't been answered by reading this article (and the below portion), check that FAQ as it has a few extra things in it.

 

Commonly Asked Questions

We couldn't have a real guide without having the most frequently asked questions about growing a beard using minoxidil! Some of these questions will have been covered in the article above, but this may be easier to reference back to in the future.

  • How many times per day should I apply minoxidil and how often?
    We generally recommend no more than 2ml per day, but consider using less for the first week or two, such as 1ml per day. Each application of minoxidil should be 1ml or less, with the second application being at least 8-12 hours from the first.
     
  • Will the beard fall out if I stop using minoxidil?
    Nope! So long as you use it long enough that the hair goes terminal (mature), it will stick around. People that have stopped using minoxidil have mentioned minor shedding, but with growth even stronger after letting time do its thing.
     
  • Where should I apply minoxidil?
    All over the "beard" area where you want hair to grow from. That means the neck (just above the Adam's apple), under the chin, your sideburns, cheeks, mustache, and soul patch area. Some choose to apply just to their weaker spots, for those with patches, and that's fine as well.
     
  • How long should I leave minoxidil on my face?
    For about 4 hours is what's recommended. After that, feel free to rinse or wash your face and apply a moisturizer.
     
  • What kind of moisturizer should I use?
    Anything meant to be used on your face will be fine. My personal favorite is Nivea Soft, which has both jojoba and Vitamin E oils, which are fantastic for hair and skin. As the beard grows larger, consider picking up some beard balm or oil to help tame it and get additional hydration for your face.
     
  • When do results starts showing up?
    Seeing as how every person is different, it may be the first two weeks when you notice new vellus hair coming in, or it may be after the first two or three months. Remain patient and keep applying.
     
  • Should I trim or shave while using Minoxidil?
    Either is perfectly fine and keeping your hair trimmed helps the minoxidil absorb into your skin better (rather than the hair). With that said, you don't need to trim or shave at all if you don't want to. It will not help or hinder the process to have a beard while on minoxidil. Most men opt to trim at the lowest setting until they feel the beard is full enough to start growing out.
     
  • The hair on my head seems to be falling out. What gives?
    That's shedding and it's perfectly normal while using minoxidil. New hair growth is pushing out the old, giving the appearance that you're "losing" hair. Remain calm, you're likely not. This should only persist for a few weeks at the most, and the hair that falls out won't be noticeable from looking at your head.
     
  • My face is naturally oily. Will minoxidil still dry out my skin?
    Eventually! Some guys actually get clear, healthy skin for the first few weeks of using minox. But eventually, everyone succumbs to the dryness.
     
  • Does minoxidil cause acne?
    Not particularly. Some guys break out for the first couple of weeks (a pimple or three), but a lot of men mention clearer skin as a result. Which makes sense, since pimples rarely form on dry skin. Since minoxidil uses alcohol as its carrier, it's sure to dry out those pimples.
     
  • I'm X years old. Should I even try minoxidil?
    Some men have mentioned a correlation to younger adults having better results, but that's purely based off of observation. There are men in their 40s and 50s seeing facial hair gains, as well as those in their 20s. I would not recommend anyone younger than about 21 try this stuff. If you're still developing, take into account that your beard will get fuller with age. Don't take the risk at such a young age, but ultimately the decision is in your hands.

 

Without minoxidil, I wouldn't have the beard I have today. The first picture, marked "Pre", is the product of two months of beard growth — I could only grow the mustache and chin hair, with a small soul patch that didn't connect to the goatee. The rest of the pictures, marked with weeks, are the amount of weeks I had been on minoxidil, not how many weeks the beard had been growing. All of the minoxidil pictures are from May 25, 2015 until January, 2016. Minoxidil works; thousands of us are today proof of that.


Bonus Video!

The article above is now over a year old (but of course, is timeless and still relevant today). Here's an update of my own progress if you'd like to see more pictures other than the ones just above.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=abwHu7P_OA8

 

Products Linked in This Article

For quicker reference back to the products we've listed in this article, you can find them easily below.

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