beard myths busted feature image

There are many untrue myths about beards that need a major round of busting.

And today, we are going to do exactly that.

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So get ready and follow me down the rabbit hole as we prepare to uncover the facts behind the 22 most deep-rooted facial hair myths there are.

Let’s go. ↓

Myth #1. Beards are Dirty and Full of Bacteria

dirty beard

I’m sure you have seen the big news headlines over the past few years that said things like…

Men’s beards as dirty as toilet seats!“.

or…

Disgusting… Men’s beards are dirtier than dog fur“.

Is that true though? Well, not really.

They’re partial facts taken out of context.

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You see, there was recently an actual study that showed that male health care workers who are clean-shaven versus those that have a beard, have just as much bacteria in their faces.

Yup, that’s right.

“If you shaved your beard because of the clickbait articles told you it was a dirty hive of bacteria, you didn’t accomplish anything, because your face now has just the same amount of bacteria as it did with a beard.”

What the trials and tests were in those beforementioned articles about beards being as dirty as dogs or toilet seats, were actually just news crews going around and swabbing public toilets, then swabbing random men’s beards, and then finding that there are similar types of bacteria in both…

Well, the thing is that those bacteria were some of the most commonly found bacteria everywhere.

In your jeans, your tea kettle, your cooking utensils, phone, etc.

Just because you have them in your beard also, doesn’t mean that your facial hair would be a dirty booger trap. It just means that the same bacteria that is basically everywhere, is also in your beard.

Bottom line: There’s the same amount of bacteria in a clean-shaven and bearded face, so really, beards are not dirty.

Myth #2. Most Women Hate Beards

woman looking at his mans beard

It’s funny when you ask women about beards, they usually say something like “ew, big beards are so unkempt and disgusting, I hate beards…”

But then when an actor who normally doesn’t have a beard, decides to grow one, then those same women go absolutely insane posting things like “I think I just got pregnant just by looking at this picture” on Twitter.

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“Well, it turns out that on average, women do like facial hair more than a clean-shaven face.”

This is obvious if you look at the data from our post where we explain the results from 7 studies related to beards and attractiveness.

In almost all of the trials, it was shown that women do consider men with light-stubble, heavy stubble, and full beard to be more attractive in general than clean-shaven faces.

Bottom line: There may be some women that just can’t stand facial hair, but on average, most of them actually prefer beards over clean-shaven faces.

Myth #3. Beard Oils are Special and Hard to Make

beard oil vs diy beard oil substitute

There are over 1,000 different beard oils sold online these days, and the industry is quite literally booming.

The average 1 oz. dropper bottle of beard oil costs about $25, and if you look at the descriptions and how everything claims “premium”, you could easily think that the beard oil ingredients would be expensive, hard to source, and difficult to formulate into a bottle yourself.

Well, that’s simply not true.

Almost all brands use basic carrier oils like jojoba oil, castor oil, almond oil, etc. and then they just add few drops of essential oils for scent, things like peppermint oil, patchouli, and so forth.

There’s nothing easier than buying those oils yourself, buying a few dropper bottles, and then just mixing your own DIY beard oil.

“And the best part is that it’s actually much cheaper too. Typically, up to 10x cheaper.”

Here’s a graph I put together after analyzing some of the beard oil prices:

cost of diy vs premade beard oils

Bottom line: There’s nothing special about beard oils. Most brands are extremely expensive and you’re basically paying just for the brand, not for the contents. Because if you would pay for what’s inside, a bottle of beard oil would be about $5 on average.

Myth #4. You Need to Wash Your Beard Daily

man washing his beard with a garden hose

Fact is that your beard is androgenic-hair and your scalp-hair is not.

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The hormone stimulated hair on your face needs natural sebum oil, otherwise, it will dry out very quickly and you will run into issues like beard dandruff, beard itch, and split-ends.

Your scalp-hair is not that reliant on the natural oils, and there’s no issue in washing it daily…

But if you wash your beard on a daily basis – and especially if you use the strong oil-stripping generic shampoos on it – you can be sure to run into problems.

That’s why most beard grooming experts recommend that you wash your beard only with dedicated beard shampoos (which are very mild) and that you wash your beard only a couple times per week, even just once could be enough.

Bottom line: It’s simply unnecessary to wash your beard daily. Most experts agree that a three-day beard is the healthiest beard and that you should never wash your beard more than 1-3 times per week.

Myth #5. Every Man Can Grow a Beard if He Wants to

before after beard

Simply, not true.

Depending on your genetics, your levels of male hormones, your cheek circulation, and how responsive your body is towards the male hormones, determine whether you can or cannot grow a beard.

There are millions upon millions of beardless men that would love to grow a beard more than anything, but it just does not grow on them.

“Is there anything you can do to stimulate the growth then?”

I’m glad you asked since there are many methods you could try to stimulate the facial hair follicles (and no, I’m not talking about the scammy beard growth serums and growth oils).

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You can learn more about that in our massive guide titled cleverly: “How to grow a beard when you can’t grow a beard“.

Bottom line: Not every man can grow a beard, even if they wanted to. You need the right amount of hormones, active hormone receptors, good cheek circulation, and some genetic help to sprout facial hair.

Myth #6. Shaving Makes Your Beard Grow in Faster

shaving beard

Perhaps the most deep-rooted beard myth of them all is that you could grow your beard faster, thicker, and darker by just shaving it more often and against the grain.

That’s not how it works though.

Shaving does not change the behavior of your facial hair follicles in any way, it does very little to stimulate circulation, and it doesn’t change the levels of the beard-growing hormones.

“Therefore, it does not help you grow a beard any faster, that is simply an old wives tale.”

This beard myth most likely originated when mothers didn’t want to see their young boys trying to grow a beard, and they would invent a lie to tell them that if they just shave daily, then it would come in faster.

Bottom line: While there are multiple methods on growing a beard faster (proven ones), shaving is just not one of them.

Myth #7. Beards are Coarse and Scratchy

man with bushy beard

This myth that your beard would be coarse and scratchy is quite a new one, and it’s probably caused by the aggressive marketing of the beard oil industry.

You know, they say things like “men must use beard oil, otherwise, their facial hair will be like barbed wire”.

“Well, in reality, if you’ve ever grown a beard then you know that it’s not coarse or scratchy at all.”

Sure, beards tend to be curlier and thicker than the hair on top of your head, but they’re nothing close to barbed-wire or rough to touch, more like soft wool.

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What is coarse and scratchy is the face of a man who keeps on shaving and has a constant 5o’ clock shadow.

Bottom line: The myth that beards would be like barbed-wire is just marketing talk by the beard oil industry that tries to sell you the oils.

Myth #8. Beard Oil Makes Your Beard Thicker

big beard and beard oil bottle

I’m sure you have seen many beard oil product listings claim that it would “provide optimal growth conditions for your beard and make the existing hairs thicker naturally”.

Well, that’s not true.

Beard oil moisturizes the beard and helps replenish some of the natural oils you lose while showering or washing the face.

What it does not do is make your beard thicker, as it does not change your genetics, your hormone levels, your circulation, or anything else that could actually help in boosting the thickness of your beard.

Bottom line: Treat beard oil as what it really is; a moisturizer for your beard. Not as a growth-promoting agent, which is clearly is not.

Myth #9. Head Hair and Facial Hair are the Same Things

man burning a cigar with a four month beard

Not true.

Your beard growth is stimulated by the hormones; testosterone and DHT. It’s androgenic-hair, much like your body hair is.

This is why you typically can’t see any beard growth before reaching puberty (when the hormones kick in.)

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Head hair, on the other hand, can actually be lost if too much of the androgenic hormones are present and you have the genetic discrepancy for it.

“Many people are confused about this and they actually think your beard and hair are the same stuff.”

And some brands even formulate their beard growth supplements in a way that they include the hormone suppressing ingredients that would help hair growth, but actually, end up hurting beard growth!

Bottom line: Facial hair is much like your body hair and the growth is stimulated by hormones. Scalp hair is not stimulated by hormones, and completely different from the beard.

Myth #10. Bearded Men Must Use Beard Care Products

beard brush comb and scissors

There are at least 20 different categories of beard care products.

I know, because I have ranked the best ones in each category here.

But it’s a myth that if you grow a beard, you would need a bunch of products like beard oil, beard balm, beard waxes, etc.

Sure it can be helpful to get good beard oil, maybe a beard brush, and a beard comb, but the fact is that you do not need a bunch of beard care products to grow a nice healthy looking beard.

Bottom line: Think about how long men have grown beards. From ever since the dawn of times, right? The beard care products industry is just a couple of years old.

Myth #11. Only a Barber Can Shape your Beard Well

man at barbershop

When you try to shape your beard for the first time, chances are that you are going to make some mistakes.

Because of this, many men get scared and think they must always shape up their beards at a barbershop.

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Well, in reality, you can get similar results at home if you practice it and use proper tools like a good beard shaper, a beard trimmer, and beard trimming scissors.

Bottom line: I have nothing against barbers, just that it’s expensive to get your beard lined up there constantly, and in most cases unnecessary. And it’s definitely a beard myth that you can’t shape a beard at home.

Myth #12. Minoxidil Doesn’t Work on your Face

minoxidil for beard

Minoxidil (Rogaine) is the most used over-the-counter hair-loss drug in the world.

Naturally, many men have thought this:

“Hmm, could this thing also work on my beard?”

And when they ask about that online, many places respond with:

“No, it’s designed for your hair, don’t put it on your beard. Even if it would grow hair, it will just fall off once you stop.”

“That’s a myth though. Minoxidil does work on the beard hairs, and through the same circulation enhancing mechanism as it does on your head hairs.”

And the results appear to be permanent as well.

There are more than 50,000+ men who have used Minoxidil on their beards for years at the Minox Beard Spot FaceBook group, and many of them have gone through the journey, grown full beards, then stopped and been off the stuff for a year or two, and all the facial hair grown is still there.

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There’s also a study where a group of Thai researchers tested Minoxidil on men’s beards, and after a 16-week study period, they reported that it was “safe and effective for beard enhancement“.

Currently, the people that push this beard myth the most are the hair and beard transplant centers.

Could it be that they’re just scared because they lose business to men who instead of getting a beard transplant, now instead use Minoxidil to grow beards?

Bottom line: Yes, Minoxidil works on facial hair, it’s anecdotally proven by thousands of men and also by a scientific study, and the results appear to be permanent as well.

Myth #13. Beard Growth Products Work

man pouring beard growth oil

Hundreds of millions of men want to grow beards, but can’t grow beards.

And many of them actively seek products that could help. Beard pills, beard vitamins, beard growth creams, oils, etc.

“And the smart marketers know this, which is why they manufacture all kinds of sprays and serums and push them out to the market.”

The unfortunate thing is that these almost never work, and it’s apparent if you just take a quick look at their ingredient lists.

Typically, they’re just dropper bottles or spray bottles filled with the same ingredients that can be found in normal beard oils (and we all know that beard oil itself does not grow you a better beard).

Bottom line: Beard growth products do not work. The whole industry relies on millions of beardless men who desperately seek a solution that would put hair on their faces, and they are willing to try anything as the next “magic pill”.

Myth #14. You Should Always Trim your Beards Neckline

untrimmed beard neckline

This is partly a myth, but partly correct.

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On shorter beards and basically anything below 10-inches or so of growth, you should definitely trim your neckline and make it look nice and sharp.

But not every beardsman should be trimming their necks.

Especially not the ones who want to grow a long beard, as the majority of the volume that makes up a big beard, actually comes from those long neck hairs.

Yes, it looks unkempt when you’re growing your beard out and not trimming the neckline, BUT if you do trim it too high up, and then when your beard actually gets long, you will find that there’s a gap between the beard and the neck.

This makes a long beard look much weaker than what it would be if you simply let the neck grow out naturally.

Bottom line: “Always trim your beard’s neckline” is not necessarily the right thing to do. It may work well on shorter beards, but if you grow a long one, you need that volume and fullness that comes from the unpopular “neckbeard”.

Myth #15. Blow-Drying and Beard Straightener Use is Safe

blow drying a beard

Men who have curly beards, usually like to straighten them.

So they use things like a blow-dryer or heated beard brushes and other beard straighteners.

A big beard myth is that there’s nothing that could go wrong when doing so.

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“When in reality; thermal heat is the #1 enemy of your facial hair.”

Using too high heat, from too close, and for too long, will not only dry out your beard skin, but it will also boil up the water trapped inside the cortex of your beard hairs.

This, in turn, expands the hair unnaturally and causes what is best described as “beard heat damage”.

Here’s what one study had to say about the damage caused by heat tools on hair:

In dry hair, thermal treatments cause chemical damage and some structural damage. However, in wet hair, thermal treatments cause the same chemical damage, but considerably more structural damage, which causes significant changes in the physical properties of the hair. It is likely that the rapid evaporation of water from the hair is the main causal factor. Dr. Christian

Does this mean that you should never straighten your beard with any heated tools?

No. It doesn’t there are safe ways to utilize these tools and we have written about them in our bigger guides to beard blow-dryers and beard straighteners.

Bottom line: Beard heat damage is real and you can very quickly mess up your facial hair with improper use of a blow-dryer or beard straightener.

Myth #16. Growing a Long Beard Takes Years

man with beard and sunglasses

Typically the cut-off point between what can be called just a normal beard and what is a big bushy long beard is around 8-10 inches.

Considering that facial hair grows about 0.5 inches per month on average, it really doesn’t take that long to grow a big beard.

In just 12 months, your beard (or yeard) would have already grown a whopping six-inches or more, and that’s already a beard that starts reaching your upper chest.

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Bottom line: In reality, growing a long beard doesn’t take years, it takes just a little over a year or so. If your growth is faster than average, it may be less than a year to reach the coveted eight-inch beard length.

Myth #17. Beard Oils Have No Side Effects

beard oil allergic reaction

Beard oils are normally 100% natural, just basic carrier oils and some essential oils like peppermint oil, patchouli, tea tree oil, and typical stuff like that.

And something that’s all-natural, can’t have any side effects, right?

Wrong.

Even though something is natural, doesn’t mean it can’t have side effects, and beard oils are a perfect example of this.

I recently wrote a big post about all the different beard oil side effects, and it amounted for a quite bit of text…

You could get an allergic reaction from any natural oil used, especially from the volatile essential oils that are ultra-condensed versions of natural plants.

Some oils like tea tree, eucalyptus oil, and lavender have been identified as endocrine disruptors, and there’s clear research showing that just small amounts used topically can significantly alter your hormones.

Then there’s also the fact that many essential oils used in beard oils are “photosensitive”, what that means is that they make your skin absorb more UV rays from the sun than you’d naturally absorb, making the effect of sun damage much harsher on your skin.

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Bottom line: Beard oils are most of the time completely fine and harmless, BUT that doesn’t mean they would be completely side effect free at all.

Myth #18. Asian Men Can’t Grow Beards

bearded asian man

This one is partly true, but partly a myth.

Asian men can grow beards, but many of them struggle at growing a full beard.

Why?

It has to do with their androgen receptors in the face, which are known to be less sensitive towards the beard-growing hormones as would be with Caucasian or African men.

I have written a big guide here on how Asian men can overcome this obstacle and grow better beards by the way. So if that’s you, go check it out.

Bottom line: Asian men can grow beards, but many of them do struggle due to unresponsive androgen receptors. So this beard myth is partly true, partly false.

Myth #19. You Need to Shave for a Job Interview

office beard

Many prepping guides for job interviews have a section where it’s blatantly said that “men should shave before a job interview to look clean and sharp”.

Or something along the lines of that…

While that might apply for some office jobs, in 2019, it’s really not that common to actually have to be clean-shaven for a job.

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We have written a more detailed post about the subject of beards and job interviews here, but what it really boils down to is this…

“If you have a beard and are wondering whether you need to shave it or not for a job interview, please just call in and ask if it’s fine to have one, or just take a peek at their LinkedIn to see whether all the men in the company are clean-shaven.”

If they say they allow beard but they have to be “well-maintained”, then it typically means that you’re allowed to grow a short and clean beard style such as the “corporate beard“.

If it’s a blue-collar job, you’re more than likely to be allowed to grow a beard, because you know what? Real working men don’t care about whether you’re bearded or not, they just want you to work and do that well.

Bottom line: Beards are perfectly fine for most jobs these days, but if it’s a white-collar corporate job, then it might still be a good idea to check ahead on what kind of beard policy the company has.

Myth #20. Beards Get Hot in the Summer

ragnar beard

Let me ask you this…

Do men with long hair, or women cut their hair short before summer because it gets hot?

No, they don’t. And that’s because hair or facial hair really do not get hot in the summer.

It’s logical to think that it would but in reality, beards do not really trap in any heat during the summer, and it’s not the same thing as wearing a beanie on your jaw would be.

Bottom line: Facial hair is naturally “ventilated” and won’t trap in any heat during the summer. Much like long hair, long beards don’t need to be shaved to prevent getting hot when its warm outside.

Myth #21. Your Beard Never Stops Growing

facial hair follicle phases

Let’s assume that you would lay down the razor right now, and just let your beard grow out until the day you’re an old man.

Would my beard grow indefinitely without stopping?

The answer is no, kind of.

Every beard hair has its own “terminal length” and after that is reached, the hair typically falls out of the follicle.

At each given time, your facial hair follicles are churning through three different growth phases; the anagen, catagen, and telogen.

“When your beard actually grows, the hairs that are growing have to be on the anagen “growth” phase. And this phase typically lasts anywhere from 2 to 6 years.”

When the anagen phase ends, the follicle transitions to a telogen resting phase for a while, then into a catagen phase where the hair eventually sheds, and then the anagen phase starts over again from scratch.

So basically, your beard hairs can grow as long as they can stay in that anagen phase. Two to six years or so.

When the anagen phase ends, your beard hairs have technically reached their “terminal length” and will eventually shed and make way for a new hair fiber.

Does this mean that your long beard just falls off one day?

Nope. Each individual facial hair is at its own point of its own phase. Every day, some of them shed, every day some of them start growing again, and every day some of them are resting in a telogen phase.

Bottom line: Your beard does not grow as long as you let it grow, the length will be dictated by the time it will stay in the anagen phase. The longest beard ever grown was a whopping 18.6ft (5.66m) long.

Myth #22. Biotin Makes Your Beard Grow Faster

vitamins and minerals

While it’s true that biotin is needed for healthy keratin production and beard growth, that doesn’t automatically mean that more biotin equals faster beard growth.

In fact, biotin is a water-soluble vitamin. If you ingest more than your body needs, you will simply piss away the excess.

Biotin is only helpful for facial hair growth if it’s used to cover up a nutritional deficiency, any more than that is not going to make your beard grow faster than normal.

I get so many emails from guys asking if their 5,000mcg or 10,000mcg biotin pills will help with beard growth, and the sad fact is that you really only need just about 30mcg daily.

Bottom line: Biotin is a crucial vitamin for beard growth, but your body only needs 30mcg per day, which is easily obtainable from the diet alone. Supplementing with high-dose biotin is likely unnecessary and won’t speed up your beard growth rate at all.

Conclusion

Beard growth is a topic where many deep-rooted myths run rampant.

Things like “shaving help your beard grow faster” and “beard oil helps your existing beard grow in thicker” are commonly spat out by many uneducated beardsmen.

With this article, I hope some of these beard myths can finally be put to rest.

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Ali is a published author and a beard grooming expert from Finland. To this date, his articles have been read more than 15-million times on various sites, and he has helped thousands of men make their beards look better and grow thicker. His work has been featured and cited in Seeker, Wikihow, GQ, TED, and Buzzfeed.

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