According to a study done in New York, 77% of the beardless men in the Big Apple would like to grow a beard, but they can’t.
So let me ask you this…
What do you think happens when a guy who is looking to enhance his beard growth, lays awake at night and Googles stuff on his phone?
Of course, he searches for the following stuff:
- “Do beard growth products work?“
- “Beard growth serum”
- “beard growth oil“
- “beard growth spray”
- “how to get a thicker beard“
- “how to grow a beard faster?“, etc…
Sadly, most of the stuff written online about those topics is absurdly wrong and the articles try to quickly sell you a supplement, beard oil, or growth spray with no proof or benefits whatsoever.
I mean deep down we all know that if you buy one of those “intense solution maximum beard volume” boosters from Amazon, you are going to most likely buy an expensive dropper bottle filled with olive oil.
(not that there’s anything wrong in using olive oil for beard, it just doesn’t do anything for growth).
But what if for once, we would actually focus on the facial hair growing lotions that actually have studies backing them up, thousands of users (not fake reviews but real users), and most importantly; before-after results that show real growth?
I think we can do that.
Table of Contents
- What is Beard Serum & What Does it Do?
- The Best Beard Growth Serums Review
- List of Questionable Beard Serums
What is Beard Serum & What Does it Do?
By definition, a growth serum is a beard product designed to enhance your facial hair thickness, strength, and density in any of the following ways:
- Boosting the rate of growth.
- Causing increased size of the facial hair follicles.
- Increasing the number of hairs and coverage.
- Increasing the diameter of individual beard hairs.
- Improved nutrient & hormone delivery via enhanced circulation.
Of course, any of the above are no small feats, and just a handful of beard serums actually manage to do any of those.
Sure, you can go to any big online retailer and type in the words “beard growth serum” or “beard spray” and find tens, even hundreds of products that claim to do all of the above and more, but in reality, almost all of them fail at every single step mentioned above.
To find out the real scientifically proven beard activator serums and solutions, we will have to dig deep into products that are often not even marketed for beard hair growing purposes, BUT which have the fortunate side effect of doing just that.
And that is exactly what we did with this article; we chose only the compounds that have either scientific studies backing up their effects and mechanisms of action or have enough anecdotal evidence and real before-after pictures to prove the results.
To qualify for the list, a beard growth serum has to be:
- Alcohol-based lotion or liquid that contains the growth ingredients.
- A foam-based formula that contains the active ingredients.
- A beard spray containing proteins, peptides, & other beard boosters.
What definitely isn’t a beard serum and won’t make the list:
- Beard oils, which sometimes do claim they promote growth, but never do.
- Beard supplements, which can be effective, but belong in a different category.
- Any other product that isn’t a beard spray liquid, foam, or alcohol-solution.
You would think that the above list is hard to qualify for, but we have managed to find eight beard growth products that passed and ended up in our final review. These are hands-down the best beard growth products available in 2019.
The Best Beard Growth Serums Review
When minoxidil (branded as Rogaine or Regaine) was released into the market as a hair-loss preventing drug, it revolutionized everything about hair growth stimulation.
The Upjohn company which sold the drug had shown that it was safe enough to sell without a prescription and that it was able to regrow hair on the scalp extremely effectively, stopping hair loss in 4 out of 5 men.
Their rigorous scientific trials had shown that through its potassium-channel opening mechanism, minoxidil was able to increase the circulation directly into the hair follicle.
Not only that but the vasodilating properties of minoxidil enabled it to shuttle more nutrients and hormones into the hair roots, while also increasing the size and diameter of the hair follicles and the hair shafts growing from them.
Many years later, some men in a place called Jeffs Beard Board, started a harmless little experiment of applying minoxidil directly into their faces in hopes of beard growth.
As to be expected, it did work, and few threads about these experiments sparked a fire that led to hundreds of thousands of men eventually using minoxidil on their faces, with thousands posting impressive before-after results in the Minox Beard Spot group in FaceBook and the r/MinoxBeards subreddit.
Eventually, the scientific World caught-up with the idea and a group of Thai researchers decided to test a 3% minoxidil solution specifically as a beard growing serum.
The results of their 16-week trial were nothing short of impressive, as minoxidil was able to skyrocket the number of new beard hairs in a small 3cm test area compared to the placebo group.
Minoxidil is not just an average beard growth spray; it can literally grow a beard to a face that has just a few lonely beard hairs in the beginning. This means that minoxidil absolutely destroys all the other “beard growth products” that you can find online.
But why Kirkland 5% Minoxidil, isn’t Rogaine the original brand?
The answer is simple; both Kirkland 5% and Rogaine 5% solutions have the exact same active ingredient (minoxidil) and the same carrier liquids (propylene glycol & alcohol). Kirkland is just much cheaper, and thus, a better choice if it’s available in your country.
How much to use, when, how, and all that is covered in our bigger minoxidil article which I linked above. To give you a condensed version: follow the dosage guide on the package, apply 1-2 times per day, and let the solution absorb in your face for ~4-hours before washing it off.
Rest assured, I will continue this list with the second best beard activator spray available, which is the Rogaine 5% liquid solution.
Everything I said above for Kirkland minoxidil, also applies to Rogaine, except the price. Since rogaine was the original brand and the first one to enter the market, it goes for a bit more $$$.
Why would anyone choose rogaine as their go-to beard enhancing serum then?
Well, in most cases it comes down to accessibility. Kirkland is mostly sold in the US and through the major American online retailers. Rogaine, however, can be found in pharmacies – prescription free – pretty much globally.
For example, if you live in Europe, it will be much easier to get your hands on a box of Rogaine than it would be to order Kirkland minoxidil online and pay a lot for the overseas shipping + customs.
Regardless, the active ingredient and the carrier agents are the exact same stuff, so the difference between Kirkland’s minoxidil and Rogaine’s minoxidil comes down to nothing more than package design, accessibility, and a price tag.
To understand why the castor oil + alcohol beard thickening serum recipe is so powerful, you have to first understand a bit about the prostaglandins (PG).
They are naturally occurring hormone-like eicosanoid fatty acids that can be found in nearly all of the tissues of humans and animals.
There are many different prostaglandins, and depending on the tissue they are located in, they can have a wide range of enzymatic and biological activities. When it comes to the purpose of this beard growth serum, we need to focus on only two of them.
- Prostaglandin E2 (PGE2), which activates the anagen (growth) phase of the hair follicle, and increases circulation locally in the tissues (vasodilation).
- Prostaglandin D2 (PGD2), which inactivates hair growth at the follicle by stimulating the telogen (rest) phase of the hair, and reducing circulation locally.
It has been shown that when any skin tissue has high amounts of PGE2 and low amounts of PGD2, the conditions are optimal for hair growth to occur, and more hairs remain in the active anagen phase.
While on the flipside, skin tissue that has low amounts of PGE2 and high amounts of PGD2, usually sees hair-loss, and miniaturization of the follicle.
PGE2 = Hair growth ↑ PGD2 = Hair growth ↓
And this is where castor oil steps into the picture.
The alcohol is in this beard thickening serum just as a carrier liquid, as the castor oil alone is not permeable enough to reach the beard hair follicles, but if you mix it with alcohol, it will.
So what our goal with this beard serum is, is to naturally promote PGE2 while suppressing PGD2, to provide optimal growth conditions for the follicle.
In a way, we are mimicking one of the mechanisms of the proven beard growth enhancer; minoxidil, which is also known to activate the prostaglandin E2 (PGE2).
The thickening serum recipe is as follows…
- Take 1oz. glass bottle (dropper bottle or regular). I ran out of dropper bottles when making this batch, but that would probably be the best option.
- Get some pure castor oil, I use the NOW brand. For this specific use, it’s better to use pure castor instead of black Jamaican castor oil (fewer impurities).
- Then get a carrier liquid. Luckily I had some 95% proof spirit my friend brought me from Poland. Anything 40% and above should work, like vodka.
- Fill the dropper bottle with about 70% castor oil and 30% alcohol/carrier liquid. The less proof your carrier alcohol has, the more you need to use.
- Put the cap back on tightly. Shake the mixture vigorously for a minute so that it mixes. You should now have a beard serum that has a similar texture to minoxidil.
And Voila, you now have a batch of your own DIY beard follicle activator serum, which is cheap and proven effective by research.
Stemoxydine is a patented hair-loss preventing solution by L’oreal, which could also function as a beard thickening serum at the same time.
It’s sold as:
- Kérastase Densifique Hair Treatment.
- Vichy Dergos Neogenic Hair Serum.
- Redken Cerafill Retaliate Stemoxydine Treatment.
There were quite big headlines about it and the small trial of 101-subjects they ran a few years ago.
The evidence showed that Stemodyxine was able to trigger hypoxia-like signaling in the hair follicles, which stimulates them through stem-cell activation.
According to L’oreal, Stemoxydine resulted in an average gain of 4% in hair density on the scalp, and by all means, the same mechanism should work for facial hair as well.
I have personally gone through two bottles of the Redken Cerafill couple years ago to see if the hype had any merit, and I can honestly say that yes I felt a slight improvement in my beard density after about a month of daily use.
The issue I had with Stemoxydine is the price. It’s ridiculously expensive compared to minoxidil, and the results are by far not as impressive.
L’oreal markets Stemoxydine serum as “side-effect free minoxidil alternative” and while it doesn’t include the same side-effects, it’s also just not nearly as effective for hair or beard growth enhancement, and I would choose minoxidil as my go-to beard growing serum over Stemoxydine any day of the week.
All-in-all, Stemoxydine is backed-up by a clinical study and it likely helps increase beard density. If you have a lot of money to play around with, you might want to pair this serum with minoxidil for even greater effects, but honestly, just minoxidil is fine.
Carnitine is an amino acid that has some interesting benefits which might as well make it the perfect beard activator serum ingredient.
The way it works is through enhancing the transportation of fatty acids into the mitochondria for fuel, and as unexpected as it may seem, this does some great things for that patchy facial hair of yours.
Carnitine activates the androgen receptors and enhances their sensitivity. This is amazing news since the androgen receptors are the sites that bind male hormones (androgens) from the blood and allow the hormones to enter the cells.
Guess what happens in your facial hair area when the androgen receptors in the skin bind increased amounts of testosterone and DHT? The answer is; enhanced beard growth.
The androgen receptor stimulating effects of carnitine have been proven in these two studies by Kramer et al. which found that 2g of L-Carnitine L-Tartrate (LCLT) per day orally was an effective dosage for AR activation in both sedentary and exercising subjects.
The second great thing about carnitine is that a study by Foizik et al. saw that carnitine can boost hair density and growth rate by transporting short-chain fatty acids to the hair follicle cells for fuel.
So, carnitine activates the hormonal receptors that trigger beard growth in the face and helps shuttle more energy for the hair-matrix. How do you make it into a beard spray though?
There are few ways to do this, and perhaps the most popular way is the one coined by the guys over at Minoxidil Beard Spot on FaceBook, where they simply add about 1 gram of LCLT into a full bottle of minoxidil. Here’s a video of Adam Siddals (one of the admins) showing this in practice.
Another option is to make it into a separate beard spray. For this, simply get a spray-nozzled bottle of 60-100ml and fill it with alcohol and mix in roughly 1 gram of pure L-carnitine L-tartrate powder.
While you use carnitine as a topical spray, you can also take the 2g/day dosage orally as deemed effective by Kramer et al. This way you will get the best of both Worlds (and no, that’s not taking too much don’t worry).
6. Tugain 10% Minoxidil
The Tugain 10% Minoxidil can be used as a beard spray or as beard serum, whichever you choose as it comes with both a spray nozzle and a dropper cap.
By now you have to already know how insanely effective minoxidil is at promoting beard growth, and if you read the #1. subheading of this article, you saw that I put Kirkland 5% minoxidil up there as the best beard growth enhancing serum.
Minoxidil just is the best solution for beard growth, there’s nothing quite like it and it has been proven by science and thousands of before-after pictures. This Tugain serum has 10% of minoxidil in it, so of course, it will also work to make your beard strong and thick.
So why wouldn’t Tugain 10% be up there in the first place then? Isn’t it twice as effective as the 5% minoxidil?
Well, not exactly. Although it contains twice as much of the active ingredient, most people still report absolutely amazing results with the 5% solution.
Being greedy with the results and jumping straight into using the Tugain 10% means that you are much more likely to encounter the possible side-effects of minoxidil, without necessarily getting that much difference in the actual facial hair growth results.
Another factor that lowered our ranking for Tugain is the fact that it’s manufactured in India and really hard/expensive to get globally. It’s also commonly seized by European customs and the consistency of the solution isn’t quite as pleasing as with Kirkland or Rogaine.
My recommendation is that you start with the popular and well-proven 5% minoxidil first if you want to enhance your growth rate. If you don’t see significant results or your results plateau after a few months, then you could consider moving up to Tugain 10%.
Copper peptides such as the GHK-Cu are commonly used after hair transplant surgeries in combination with minoxidil to make sure the new hair starts sprouting properly.
Evidence suggests that copper peptides can:
- Enhance circulation to the hair follicle.
- Enhance the proliferation of keratinocytes.
- Promote stem-cell related growth factors.
- Stimulate collagen production in the hair follicle cells.
- And reverse protein-loss damage of the pre-existing hairs.
- Cause angiogenesis; the development of new blood vessels.
Whereas minoxidil is excellent for triggering new growth and stimulating the growth rate, copper peptides can add to it by increasing the size of the and diameter of the follicle and resulting in thicker, stronger existing growth.
All the research done for the hair follicle activating effects of GHK-Cu is done on scalp-hair. However, there are many anecdotal reports online suggesting that using copper peptides as a beard thickening serum is indeed effective.
Most commonly, the people online who reported positive beard growth effects from GHK-Cu used this product called “Super Copper Peptide Serum” for 4-6 drops on the facial hair area, once per day.
As a word of warning; I have seen some people claim that Copper Peptides may lower DHT levels, which would obviously be bad for beard growth as DHT is the principal facial hair growth stimulating androgen.
It’s also fair to point out that copper peptides are often used in combination with minoxidil, which in itself is the best beard growth serum there is, so some of the great results gotten by this combination might as well be caused purely by minoxidil instead of GHK-Cu.
I’ve yet to see a study showing that GHK-Cu would lower DHT, and it seemed to really thicken my own beard when I tried it, so I doubt there’s any significant DHT suppression going on – or if there is, the beard thickening effects of copper peptide serum have to be strong enough to overpower the lowered hormone levels.
List of Questionable Beard Serums
Now that we have covered the best beard growth serums, let’s take a look at the worst ones, aka. almost every product you can find labeled as “beard growth spray” or “beard growth serum”.
Here are some of the worst offenders:
- Copenhagen Grooming Beard Activator Serum – curcumin mixed in water with some amino acids, all of which do nothing for beard growth.
- The Beard Growth Spray – one of the ingredients is Saw Palmetto, a notorious DHT-blocker, aka. suppressor of your most important beard growth hormone.
- BioTopic Beard Growth Serum – ineffective ingredients, and most of the real reviews say what we knew all along. It doesn’t work at all.
- Maxx Beard Volumizer Serum – not the worst possible ingredients, but really nothing that would be proven to stimulate growth. Also tons of fake reviews.
- Men’s Beard Growth Serum by Hoffmann MD – contains saw palmetto, which can help increase hair growth on the scalp, but does the opposite on the face.
- Beard Guyz Serum with Grotein20 – has few decent ingredients which could give your beard some texture, but also few horrible ones like soybean oil.
I’m starting to sound like a broken record here but I have to say it once again;
most of the products sold specifically as beard serums and sprays are a joke, a big fat joke. They never use scientifically proven ingredients, nor can they provide any clear before-after pictures, and they have to rely on fake reviews.
Most of the beard serums sold online are ineffective, unproven, and downright scammy.
The seven proven beard growth products examined in this article, are the only known effective ones, and as interesting as it is, none of them are actually sold directly for beard enhancement.
Instead, they are often sold as hair-loss drugs (like minoxidil) or as bodybuilding supplements (like the carnitine that we made into a beard spray).
I hope this serum review helped you out and keeps your wallet safe from the hazards of fake beard growth boosters. If you’re not sure about the dosages or anything else, just pop me a comment below and I’ll try my best to answer it.