Beards have been a sign of virility, masculinity, and strength. A good beard is no easy feat. Besides all of the grooming and care that they require (if you want it to look less caveman and more rock star), some men struggle with bare spots, the amount of time it takes for significant beard growth and some can’t seem to grow them at all. For as long as men have struggled with growing hair, be it on their head or on their face, there have been seemingly miraculous snake-oil scams like most beard growth creams out there. Minoxidil is one such formula and though it isn’t a cream it actually is effective for hair growth. In fact, in recent years, it’s been found that what Minodoxil can do for the hair on your head, it can do for the beard on your face.
WHY CAN”T SOME MEN GROW BEARDS
The ability to grow a beard is mostly a case of genetics as it is associated with testosterone. Beards are produced by dihydrotestosterone, which comes from testosterone (the hormone responsible for stimulating male development and sexual characteristics). The ability to grow a beard or lack thereof is associated with the way a man’s body reacts to testosterone. It’s not the quantity of testosterone that matters here – it’s solely the responsiveness or sensitivity of a man’s body to testosterone that dictates whether or not he will be able to grow a thick beard or one at all. So, if you struggle with growing a luscious beard, you can blame mom and dad for your genetics.
WHAT IS MINODOXIL
Minoxidil was an accidental discovery. When an oral treatment for extremely high blood pressure caused excessive hair growth for female patients, the hair growth benefits of Minoxidil was discovered and the rest is hair line history! Minoxidil was developed into a topical formula by drug manufactures so that hair could grow without the arterial dilation caused by the oral drug. You may know what Minoxidil is without even knowing it – it’s the active ingredient in the very popular, very effective Rogaine.
HOW DOES MINODOXIL WORK?
Scientists and researchers aren’t 100% sure exactly how Minoxidil works. The general consensus is that Minoxidil widens your hair follicles, allowing a thicker strand of hair to develop. It also prolongs the anagen stage of hair growth. Hair grows in three phases: anagen, catagen and telogen and in this cycle new hair follicles replace the existing ones. By prolonging the anagen phase of hair growth, the phase in which your hair actually grows, Minoxidil gives your hair time to develop; by contrast, a shorter anagen phase is associated with hair loss. While Minoxidil offers serious benefits for your facial hair, it does take time and dedication to reap all those benefits.
It’s important to note that while Minoxidil thickens hair and allows hair to grow more consistently, it only has that effect on existing hair follicles. So, in areas without any hair follicles, it has no effect or benefits.
THE DIFFERENT FORMS OF MINODOXIL
5% VS 2%
There are two different strengths of Minoxidil on the market: 2% and 5%. Originally, Minoxidil was approved by the FDA for treating hair loss only in the 2% formula, in a water-based solution. Later, the 5% concentration was developed, in an alcohol and propylene glycol solution. For obvious reasons, the 5% solution of Minoxidil is more effective for maintaining existing hair as well as re-growing lost hair. With that said, with greater effectiveness comes greater risk for side effects such as irritation. Both the 2% and 5% formulas should be applied twice daily for an indefinite period of time in order to maximize positive results. If use is discontinued, the effects of the Minoxidil on your facial hair will be lost in four to sixth months.
LIQUID VS FOAM
Minoxidil comes in two forms: liquid and foam. The liquid solution was the first on the market and the foam was developed after. The liquid is generally less expensive than the foam version but it takes much longer to dry and can be a bit messier to use. The foam is the most popular form of Minoxidil. Some users experienced faster results with the foam solution than the liquid, and it also dries in half the amount of time. It tends to be slightly more expensive than the liquid, but it’s result-driven and probably worth the extra couple of dollars.
Rogaine 5% Foam ($15.65)
The active ingredient in Rogaine is Minoxidil. Through Minoxidil, Rogaine affects the stimulation of blood circulation which positively affects hair cells and their regeneration. Rogaine can not only strengthen existing hair, making it thicker, but it can also help to grow new hair. The 5% formula offers the quickest and best results while the foam solution is cleaner ad easier to use.
If you’re looking for a more cost effective option that is still known to work, Kirklands Minodixil Foam at $9 per bottle is more easy on the wallet.
HOW TO USE MINODIXIL FOR YOUR BEARD?
Using Rogaine on your beard is a bit different than using it on your scalp. Here’s a step-by-step guide for using Rogaine to help your beard grow thicker and more consistently:
- Rinse your beard and pat it dry. If it’s a wash day, that’s fine too. (It’s recommended that you don’t wash your beard every day. Your beard only needs a deep wash 2-4 times per week).
- Rinse your fingers under cold water (the foam will dissolve if your hands are warm).
- Dispense a cap-sized amount of foam onto your fingers and use your other hand to apply it to your beard. Repeat until you’ve used all of the foam.
- Rub the foam deeply into your beard and leave it in for four hours. After four hours is finished, you can either leave it in or wash it off.
- Do this twice per day, leaving 8 to 12 hours between applications if you can.
- If you experience any excessive dryness, add a moisturizer into your regular grooming routine, drink plenty of water and apply a lotion or quality beard oil to help with itchiness or beardruff.
WHAT ARE SOME THINGS YOU SHOULD USE TO HELP GROW A HEALTHIER BEARD?
- Look into taking a biotin supplement, which is linked to promoting healthy hair follicles and, in turn, the growth of a luscious beard. If you’re interested in learning more about Biotin beard benefits make sure to explore our guide.
- Vitamin B encourages blood circulation and supports cell regeneration. Deficiency in this vitamin has been linked to hair loss, so be sure to take your Vitamin B or find a topical product that has this vitamin in its formula.
- Start using a good beard growth cream, with ingredients like Castor and Coconut Oils that not work to minimize hair breakage but also promote growth in general. As a bonus, they also moisturize your skin and beard, leaving it healthier, softer and well-nourished. To discover more about the best beard oils, as well as effective Beard Butter read our in-depth articles.
Just as men who struggle with baldness, men who struggle with growing a thick and full beard are looking for solutions. There are a lot of products on the market that make miracle promises that they can’t possibly live up to. Don’t bother looking for pills and solutions that cost an arm and a leg and won’t do anything for the growth of your beard. Millions of men have had positive results using Minoxidil on their head, and now that we know it can also be used to treat the hair on your face, it’s definitely worth a shot.