I don’t know about you, but I’m sick and tired of reading those low-quality articles about beard growth supplements.
The smart marketers behind them are notorious for pushing poorly formulated “quick-fixes” to men desperately looking to grow more facial hair.
They will use buzzwords like “#1 best facial hair supplement, formulated for growth”, and then claim that there aren’t any other compounds that would work other than their under-dosed “beard vitamins”.
Well, let me tell you something.
Even though no single supplement can ever make you go from beardless to bearded, there are still dozens of proven supplements and vitamins that can increase beard growth rate naturally – and clear research to show it – but the people talking about beard health and growth, in general, are utterly clueless about the natural ways to make a beard grow faster.
The people saying bogus like: “There are no known scientifically-proven beard growth supplements.” Don’t often even understand how and what hormones trigger facial hair growth.
In fact, they often think that its the same stuff that works for scalp-hair, which couldn’t be further from the truth as the facial hair is androgenic-hair, and the scalp-hair can actually shed in response to androgenic hormones.
In a hurry? Here’s a quick explainer video about this article:
Table of Contents
- How Do Beard Growth Supplements Work
- 10 Best Beard Supplements
- What About Beard Supplements Like Vitabeard and Beardilizer?
How Do Beard Growth Supplements Work
Male beard growth is stimulated in the follicles by testosterone, which primes the follicles1.
Linear growth of the beard is excited by an even more powerful male hormone, DHT1.
These are the androgens, and facial hair is purely androgenic-hair. If your androgens are low, beard growth is usually poor as well2.
Not only do you need high testosterone & DHT, but you also need sensitive enough androgen receptors so that the androgenic hormones can bind into it, enter DNA, and trigger beard growth.
Testosterone + DHT → Androgen Receptors in your face = Growth of facial hair.
Now, this is what truly determines a real beard growth activator from fakes like Beardilizer or Vitabeard, I mean really, one of the most popular “beard boosters”, Beard Grow XL, actually contains ingredients that block DHT (no joke).
For any compound to really act as a beard growth enhancer it has to either increase DHT, increase testosterone, activate androgen receptors, or provide vital co-factors (mostly vitamins and minerals) to fuel the hormonal processes.
These are the exact steps that can make you grow a thicker beard naturally.
As said; there are a handful of scientifically proven facial hair growth supplements that can increase testosterone and DHT levels naturally.
And since the increased level of these hormones is directly correlated with increased beard growth rate3, you could go ahead and label these as “facial hair growth accelerating supplements.”
This is what the “best beard pills” need to do:
- Boost testosterone production.
- Increase DHT production.
- Boost androgen receptor density & sensitivity.
- Provide enzymatic co-factors (micronutrients) for the above.
- Improve the overall health and circulation of the facial hair follicle.
No time for a full review? Here’s a quick beard supplement comparison table. ↓
10 Best Beard Supplements
Mucuna Pruriens (velvet bean) is an Indian herbal supplement, used mostly by the pharmaceutical industry to relieve Parkinson’s Disease.
There are also some interesting hormonal benefits that come with Mucuna Pruriens supplementation.
Some that might as well make it one of the most potent of the beard products aimed for growth, even though you will never see anyone selling it as a dedicated “beard growth product” because those guys have no idea what they’re doing.
You see, the herb contains high amounts of a compound called L-Dopa (levodopa), which converts quickly into the neurotransmitter; dopamine, in the body.
This increased supply of dopamine has been proven in many studies to stimulate testosterone production.
In a rodent study, mucuna dose-dependently increased testosterone levels4, same happened with birds (yes, birds5), and lastly in two human studies which both showed close to 40% increases in blood testosterone levels6,7.
As you know from the above ramblings, testosterone (and its metabolite; DHT) are the very hormones that cause and stimulate beard growth.
So what does that make mucuna then, if it can increase t by ~40%?
A potent scientifically proven beard growth booster of course.
And I’m not even done yet.
Two further studies have found out that the L-Dopa in Mucuna Pruriens acts as an androgen receptor co-activator protein8, enhancing the ability of the human receptors to uptake male hormones, T and DHT9.
Mucuna Pruriens is a potent testosterone booster and androgen receptor activator, thus one of the best of natural supplements to stimulate facial hair growth.
Micronutrient optimization is a no-brainer, and I’d like to present the idea that a quality multivitamin supplement, might be the best beard supplement there is.
Your hair follicles use micronutrients as co-factors and building blocks to produce facial hair. In fact, your body uses micronutrients for almost everything, in a way or another.
Your body also uses these same vitamins and minerals in the production of testosterone, which eventually reduces by the enzyme 5-a reductase to DHT.
So really, a multivitamin is a good beard growth-promoting supplement. It doesn’t magically add hair to your face, but it’s a great way to make sure that your micronutrient levels are topped up, and your body has all it needs to grow facial hair.
Here are some interesting facts about known facial hair vitamins:
- Low-dose vitamin D supplementation (83 μg or 3,332 IU) for one year led to ~25% higher testosterone levels in men making it a potent facial hair supplement10.
- Vitamin E supplementation has led to some pretty significant increases in testosterone in a study examining male rats and humans, so why not call it a beard growth accelerator11?
- Calcium, zinc, selenium, magnesium, and boron have all been found to stimulate testosterone & DHT secretion when supplemented, all these minerals could be labeled as beard enhancers12–16.
What kind of multivitamin to choose?
An easy (uneducated) pick would be a beard vitamin such as the Beardilizer or Vitabeard, merely because these are sold as “vitamins for beard growth”.
In reality, those are just expensive low-quality multivitamins with nothing special to offer when compared to ordinary grocery store multivitamins
(except that they have the “beard” in the title and they’re 3x more expensive).
For the same price as those two, you can get the highest quality multivitamin supplement on the market. And that’s why Beard Resource recommends Thorne Research 2 per Day Multi instead of over-priced low-quality multis (Beardilizer or Vitabeard).
Sorghum (Sorghum Bicolor) is an ancient gluten-free grain mostly grown in Africa. Not much research exists about its effects, but one interesting study showed that sorghum extract was able to increase the levels of an enzyme 5-a reductase by 54%17.
Why is this great for beard growth?
Well, 5-a reductase is the enzyme that converts testosterone (beard-growing hormone) into DHT (a more potent beard boosting hormone).
DHT is the king androgen, and it stimulates your facial growth extremely effectively.
The downfall is that it’s tough to find sorghum extract as a supplement. Best bang for your buck is to get Life Extension’s Tri-Sugar Shield supplement which contains 300mg’s of sorghum bran extract.
You can also incorporate sorghum flour into your diet. I mentioned it in my article about the best beard growth foods.
If you’ve ever lifted weights, the chances are that you already know what creatine is.
It’s – after protein powders – the most popular supplement for promoting lean mass and strength gains, and there is an impressive library of evidence supporting its use.
A lesser-known benefit of creatine is as a beard growth supplement, as there’s clear evidence of how it increases testosterone levels18, as well as DHT levels19.
Creatine is dirt-cheap, and a tub of creatine monohydrate goes well as a facial hair supplement even if you wouldn’t lift weights.
Carnitine is often used for cognitive boost, as a bodybuilding supplement, and now as a beard pill too.
It works a bit different from many other supplements on this list.
Instead of increasing testosterone or DHT levels (the beard-growing hormones) it increases the density and activity of the human androgen receptors.
Androgen receptors are the exact receptor sites of the body where these great beard-growing male hormones bind to.
For example, when DHT and T bind to the receptor sites in the facial hair area, beard growth occurs3.
In studies using human muscle biopsies, L-Carnitine L-Tartrate supplementation increases the density and activity of androgen receptors (AR), in tissue both for sedentary20 and exercising subjects21.
Imagine that the receptors on your face are locks, which when opened by T or DHT, trigger beard growth. In this scenario, creatine would increase the amount of these potential locks and also make them attract more keys.
If you’re pretty sure that your hormone levels might be on the higher end, but still thinking: “Why can’t I grow a beard?”
Then the issue is likely in dormant androgen receptors. And that’s exactly the area where carnitine can help you.
For Asian men’s beard growth especially, carnitine can be extremely effective for beard growth, as the Eastern Asian population tends to have less sensitive androgen receptors than Caucasian and African males do.
And it’s not only about the androgen receptors, as L-Carnitine L-Tartrate also stimulates hair growth by enhancing the delivery of fatty acids to the mitochondria of hair follicle cells, which promotes growth rate and thickness as shown in a study by Foizik et al.
For a similar type of carnitine as used in the studies, get L-Carnitine L-Tartrate powder and use 2-4 grams per day. You could also make a beard growth serum / spray by mixing carnitine with alcohol, and use it topically.
Yes, you can use nicotine as a supplement, preferably in the form of gum, instead of tobacco.
Why? In what World would this benefit beard growth?
Well, research has shown that nicotine and its breakdown product; continine, both inhibit the breakdown and metabolization of DHT22.
Meaning that there will be more DHT available in the bloodstream to stimulate facial hair growth.
Update 2/4/2020: after some experiments with potential nicotine sources, I’ve personally found weak nicotine patches to be the least harmful way of getting the benefits of nicotine without most of the negatives.
NOTE: I do not recommend anyone to smoke, but there’s nothing wrong in taking nicotine supplements, as the main adverse effects of tobacco are caused by heavy metals and chemicals, not by the nicotine.
Ashwagandha is a herb commonly used in Indian herbal medicine; Ayurveda.
It’s an adaptogen, a herb that promotes bodily homeostasis by balancing stress hormones and increasing testosterone production.
Ashwagandha’s hormone boosting effect has been seen in multiple human and animal studies.
The most impressive result comes from a non-sponsored peer-reviewed human study with young men23, where ashwagandha supplementation was able to raise the average testosterone levels from 630 ng/dL to 726 ng/dL.
As said many times before, in this article, testosterone grows facial hair; therefore you could call ashwagandha a potential beard growth supplement as well.
NOTE: The highest quality ashwagandha used in most of the studies is KSM-66 water-extract, that’s also what we at Beard Resource recommend.
8. Safed Musli
Safed Musli (Chlorophytum Borivilianum) is another herb from the Indian Ayurveda.
There aren’t many human studies available on the herb, but the animal studies conducted so far have shown that Safed Musli supplementation leads to androgenic effects.
As you might know, androgens are DHT and T, and androgenic effects are mostly considered as beard and body hair growth, increased testicular size, higher sperm counts, and better libido…
That’s what has been seen with Safed Musli.
It was nearly as potent as synthetic testosterone injections in causing androgenic effects.
For that reason, there’s some evidence that it may be a potent supplement for beard growth.
Butea Superba (Red Kwao Krua) is a herb from Thailand, mostly used as an aphrodisiac.
Although it’s libido-boosting benefits in humans haven’t been well proven, its possible effect at increasing androgenic effects and raising DHT has been shown in a few studies
(this would result in better linear beard growth too).
In these two rodent studies, Butea Superba was able to promote androgenic effects24,25.
One weird case-study shows how a man took Butea Superba, which raised his DHT levels 158% above the medical reference ranges26.
Discontinuation of the herb lowered the levels back to normal. So if you’re looking for that crazy DHT boost to promote beard growth, Butea might work.
Glycine is an amino acid, the purest protein of the human body to be exact.
Evidence on animals suggests that glycine can increase 5-a reductase enzyme and thus the conversion from testosterone to DHT27.
Making glycine a supplement that should promote linear facial hair growth.
There are other benefits to glycine too, such as couple well-done human studies which show clearly how glycine (as an inhibitory neurotransmitter) promotes sleep quality28 and reduces the time it takes to fall asleep29.
(the last point indirectly leads to higher testosterone production too).
The best and cheapest way to get high-quality glycine is to dissolve 10-20 grams of gelatin or collagen hydrolysate to warm water and drink before bedtime.
What About Beard Supplements Like Vitabeard and Beardilizer?
If you type “beard growth supplement” to any big online retailer or even Google, chances are that you will first be served either Vitabeard, Beardilizer, Iron Beard, Beard Grow XL, or Beard Czar as the first options.
You will also see that these products tend to have 4-5 star ratings with hundreds of reviews, and most of them are positive like “it worked” or “my husband loved it”.
So, what’s my issue with these Vitabeard and Beardilizer reviews then? Seems like good stuff, right?
Well, here’s what grinds my gears about them…
- They’re mostly fake reviews.
- They promise you insane growth results.
- The ingredient list is bad, they’re under-dosed multivitamins at best.
- Nobody in history has ever grown a beard with a supplement.
- By slapping the word “beard” into their bottles they charge insane amounts.
- Beard Czar is just a relabeled women’s hair growth supplement.
I could go on, but my point is that if you buy a “beard vitamin” you are buying a poor-quality multivitamin for 3-4x the price it would be if it didn’t say “beard” in the bottle.
There’s NOTHING special in them that would result in enhanced beard growth over something like this basic high-quality multivitamin which doesn’t explicitly say “beard”.
DHT and testosterone are proven to increase beard growth rate, and there are many supplements proven to raise those two hormones.
Therefore what are those supplements?
Beard growth supplements.
They don’t magically turn you into a lumberjack, but over long time, when used in conjunction with other beard stimulating stuff (such as the beard roller and using minoxidil for beard growth), you WILL see better beard density and linear facial hair growth.