You have a thick beard growing on you, and you’re wondering if it’s just going to grow out forever if you just never shave or trim it?
The answer is that your beard truly never stops growing, but there is still a set length after which each isolated facial hair strand will fall out and be replaced by a new one.
This phenomenon is commonly known as the moment that your facial hair reaches its terminal length and the end of its life-cycle.
But what exactly is beard terminal length, and why does your beard stop growing after a certain amount of time?
Let’s examine. ↓
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Why Your Beard Stopped Growing
If you have ever grown out a long beard, you may have noticed that at a certain length, the growth just seems to stop and your beard just stays there.
This is usually the moment where your facial hair has reached its maximum length or the “terminal length”.
“This does not mean that your facial hairs would have completely stopped growing and dividing from the roots, however.”
What is really happening is that the growing facial hairs that have been getting longer and longer, month after month, have cycled off from the anagen growth phase.
Now, those hairs are shifting into the catagen transition phase (where nothing happens), and then into the telogen resting phase (where the root detaches from the skin and circulation), and eventually, the beard hair will just fall off.
What happens then is that the follicle starts over and shifts into the anagen growth phase once again. New beard hair starts growing and dividing from the root just to be shed of later when it too transitions through the natural resting and shedding phases.
Bottom line: Your beard growth really never stops, but after a certain length, the facial hair follicles will reset themselves as the old hair sheds and new hair starts growing from the same follicle again. This is a completely natural phenomenon, but it may seem like your beard stops growing completely when it happens.
What is the Maximum Terminal Length of Beard Then?
It’s impossible to say how long your beard will grow before it reaches its terminal length because every beard is different and every man has different genetics, hormone levels, and other growth factors.
This means that an average man can expect his beard to reach anywhere from 12″ (30.4cm) to 36″ (91.4cm) before reaching terminal length.
That number, however, is just a rough estimate. World’s longest recorded beard was a whopping 18.6 ft (5.66m) long and belonged to a man by the name of Hans Nilson Langseth.
That’s more than 5 times what our math and the natural facial hair follicle phase timeline would suggest happening, but as I said, the 12-36″ number is just a rough estimate for the average beardsman.
Also, note that not all hairs on your face have the same terminal length. Mustaches typically don’t grow nearly as long as your chin and cheek hairs do, and the small soul patch under your lower lip also has quite a short terminal length compared to the rest of the beard.
Bottom line: On average, each beard hair grows half-an-inch per month, and the active growth cycle of the follicle lasts anywhere from two to six years. Therefore the average terminal length of a man’s beard can be anywhere from 12 to 36-inches.
Can I Extend My Beards Life-Cycle?
By now you must be wondering if it’s possible to extend your beards terminal length and force it to grow longer than your genetics intended.
Theoretically, that is possible, since the length is determined by the time your follicles stay in the anagen growth phase, and there is a handful of things that have been scientifically proven to extend the anagen growth phase of hair follicles.
These things include:
- Peppermint essential oil.
- Minoxidil (Rogaine).
- L-Carnitine L-Tartrate (little-known beard supplement)
- A beard boosting diet with a slight caloric surplus.
- Not being deficient in any key beard vitamins.
Bottom line: You can theoretically grow your beard longer and extend its terminal length (life-cycle) by increasing the natural duration of the anagen growth phase. As long as the hairs stay in the anagen phase, they will continue to divide and grow longer.
It’s a big beard myth that your beard would stop growing at some point.
What really happens is that your beard follicles will start reaching their terminal length and the end of their life-cycle as the anagen phase comes to an end.
This natural phenomenon will cause the existing hair to shed, which then starts to grow again from scratch, just to be shed again years later.
At any given time, some of your beard hairs are in anagen phase, others are in the catagen transition phase, and some have already detached from the follicle and are preparing to shed in the catagen resting phase.
This may make it look like your beard just suddenly stopped growing, but that is not the case. You just reached terminal beard length and some of your follicles are “resetting” themselves.