3 Beard Growing Myths Debunked

Teaser: Does shaving frequently make facial hair grow thicker? Is it safe for job seekers to arrive at interviews with a full beard, goatee, or mustache? Here are three common beard growing myths you may be guilty of believing.

Let’s begin with a sober truth that men suffering from beard envy find particularly hard to swallow: Not everyone is capable of growing facial hair—humanity’s age-old symbol of virility, ruggedness, and strength (clearly evident in the image below).

One’s ability to grow a beard is dictated by the body’s reaction to testosterone. As the New York Times reports, males typically boast similar levels of testosterone, but thick beards result from increased sensitivity to testosterone. In short, man’s capacity to grow a beard partly hinges on genetics.

Unfortunately, many men—even those with a full-fledged itch to become the next Grizzly Adams, Abraham Lincoln, or James Harden—give up prematurely on their beard-growing goals using genetics as the scapegoat, which brings us to the first of our three beard growing myths.

Myth No. 1: “Some just don’t have the genes to grow a beard.”
As discussed, this may well be the case; however, the amount of time it takes men to grow facial hair greatly varies. A beard of considerable length, thickness, and prestige can take anywhere from three months to one year to fully develop—perhaps even longer. Patience and a willingness to endure are top qualities of your average bearded man. Further, although the pattern of one’s facial hair is typically set by the late teens or early 20s, beards may improve and mature well into middle age, with some men reporting peak growth in their 30s and 40s. So, before quickly placing blame on mom and dad for your hairless woes, give it some time—the results may surprise you.

Myth No. 2: “Shaving makes a beard grow thicker.”
I first fell victim to this myth when I was 16, standing in front of the bathroom mirror shaving away the peach-fuzz above my upper lip in hopes of growing a glorious, nay iconic, high-school mustache. To my surprise, it grew back a little thicker! I had cracked the code! Yet overtime, I’ve come to realize that said growth was sadly the result of coincidence—It was simply my time to develop adult facial hair. According to Scientific American, shaving does not cause hair to grow back mightier than before. This myth is perpetuated because the act of cutting can make hair appear thicker—for a short time. As the magazine explains, human hair, including beard hair, is like a pencil with a tapered end. Cutting off the tapered end creates shorter, blunter hair, which can appear thicker or darker. Of course, the hair eventually becomes tapered once again. And, more importantly, shaving your facial hair is counterproductive to achieving a full beard. So, cut it on the shaving.

Myth No. 3: “Everyone should get rid of their beard before an interview.”
When asked whether one should shave before an interview, a common response is, “It depends on the job and the company.” But, to all those brave and bearded job seekers out there, I am here to confidently say, “Do not shave away your beard!” As mentioned above, growing a beard can take time, patience, and much effort. And a beard becomes part of your identity—an identity that prospective employers should value and respect. Furthermore, beards are becoming increasingly commonplace in the business world, thus perceptions are rapidly changing. Of course, there are some professions that may warrant a clean shave—an aspiring firefighter or open-heart surgeon come to mind—but we should be thinking twice before pursuing positions within organizations that make hiring decisions based on facial hair. To be clear, it is critical to look your best, so you should certainly trim your beard before an interview, dress appropriately, and exhibit true beard-man confidence.

Some of the things that we think are common knowledge are little more than myths. Countless individuals have fallen prey to the three presented here—myths that can truly hinder your beard growing-goals. So, perhaps it’s time we finally put these myths to bed? Of course, the list presented here is not exhaustive, so please feel free to share any additional beard growing myths you’ve encountered along the way in the comments below.