How to address a thin or patchy beard
Fellas, do you know the easiest solution to giving yourself a more defined jawline? Hide it with facial hair! While fillers and other dermatological solutions can have a massive impact on giving your face more shape and definition, growing out your beard is considerably less expensive. But it’s not always as easy as it sounds.
While there are countless articles and treatments providing advice and solutions for thinning hair on top of the head, thin or patchy facial hair can be almost as much of a confidence killer.
Here are a few products, tips, and techniques for keeping your facial hair looking good — whether it’s because that’s how your significant other likes you, because it suits your facial shape, or simply because you live in Brooklyn, Portland, or somewhere else where a beard is seemingly part of the uniform.
1. Wait for your beard to live up to its full potential
OK, so this sounds very straightforward but hear me out. I tried to grow a beard for a few weeks (as one does in the winter) and was disappointed in how erratically it was coming in. How could that be when my dad is Arab and had a gorgeous, full mustache my whole life? Turns out that for facial hair to come in at its fullest, you need to grow it out for at least three months. The easiest solution to full and healthy facial hair is one that solves many problems: patience.
Just remember to take care of your beard while it grows (this is true no matter how long you let it grow). That means washing regularly and also exfoliating the skin underneath the beard. Also, consider combing your beard regularly and using beard oil.
2. Brush it out and balm it up
If you don’t have the patience to grow out your beard, or the look isn’t for you, you can work a lot of magic by “styling” your shorter facial hair. Invest in a sturdy but gentle beard brush. This will not only comb your facial hair into place to provide maximum coverage, but it will distribute the hairs’ natural oils. After you’ve brushed your beard out, apply a beard balm to style the hairs into place. Speaking of balms and creams — if your issue is less patchiness and more that your beard is two-toned or peppering with greys, consider a different balm or beard dye. If you have dark hair, beard dye can be an especially effective technique for creating fullness.
3. Try supplements and serums
There is no shortage of supplements that purport to help with the growth of facial hair, and with experimentation, you may find one that’s right for you. Like with many things, a healthy diet has been shown to help with healthy hair growth. Through food intake and vitamins, ensure you are getting enough vitamin B and C, iron, omega-three, and zinc. Also, consider biotin (vitamin B7). While the research is limited and mixed, some studies show it can improve the thickness of facial hair and many people swear by it. There are also many DTC brands that sell supplements and serums dedicated to facial hair health, just do your research. Just avoid products made for the hair on your head without checking with a physician or specialist first. Minoxidil, for example, is likely too harsh to come into contact with the skin on your face and should not be used for beard growth (even if it’s working great on your head).
If all else fails, give up!
Beards aren’t for everyone, and it could be that you’re not able to grow full facial hair (especially if you’re unwilling to grow it out). If this is the case, consider visiting a barber to neatly shape what facial hair you have. Consider a mustache or a goatee. If your facial hair is patchy and leading to problem skin like ingrown hairs, it may be prudent to consider laser hair removal on your face.
Laser hair removal is a popular option for men who are always shaving the same place, like on the upper cheek or the neck. It also is popular with men who are constantly getting ingrown hairs. And bonus: with laser hair removal, if you’re ever too busy or lazy to shave or days at a time, well… you’ll still look great!
Interested to learn more about laser hair removal? Check out LaserAway, the nation's leading provider of aesthetic dermatological services, where all treatments are performed by registered nurses, nurse practitioners, or physician associates.
Khalid El Khatib is a Brooklyn-based writer and marketer who tweets too much.