Your facial hair on the chin grows in strong, same goes for the upper lip, but when you try to go for the full beard, your cheeks end up resembling a baseball team; you know, nine on each side.
Well, you’re not alone. Millions of guys are desperate to find out the real patchy beard solutions, and who can blame you.
Most men just want to know how to fill in sparse facial hair, and it’s annoying when you almost have what it takes to rock a full beard, but then fall short just a little bit because of sparse cheeks or beard bald spots.
I know how it feels because I used to have thin facial hair myself, but luckily, I found multiple natural remedies for my sparse cheeks and was eventually able to grow it out thick and full.
Here are my own patchy beard before and after results:
In this article, you are going to learn the 12 proven ways to fix a sparse & thin beard naturally.
We are going to figure out exactly what you can do to fill in your beard and finally grow that thick mane that you always wanted.
It will take some time, but not too long, the difference between the photos from left to right above is just 14 months, and I wasn’t even doing all the ten steps on this list (it would have been much faster progress if I had).
So, buckle up and let’s learn how to grow a full beard without patches. ↓
Most Common Causes of Beard Patchiness
Like said, this is a pervasive problem, and especially on the area of the cheeks.
There are few scientific reasons as to why peach fuzz beard and thin facial hair happens.
The most common of the sparse facial hair causes is that the cheek area has significantly weaker blood flow than the area of the upper lip and chin.
Meaning that over time fewer nutrients and beard growing hormones (testosterone and DHT) make it to the cheek area, resulting in beard patches and thinner facial hair on the cheeks.
Another explanation is that your overall levels of androgens (testosterone and DHT) might be on the lower end.
Meaning that the supply isn’t enough to trigger facial hair growth in the full beard area.
Common characteristics of men with the lower amount of male hormones are indeed a thin beard, growth only on chin and mustache area, or no facial hair at all.
I credit the biggest gains in my beard growth rate and thickness to the fact that I have been optimizing my androgens naturally for a few years now. Simply put, you can’t really grow a beard without testosterone and DHT, and you are going to grow one faster when your levels are higher.
My good friend Christopher Walker (a Duke Neuroscience grad.) researched and mapped down the complete A-Z roadmap for increasing natural production of androgens, and I recommend you to go through his best-selling TestShock Program to learn exactly how you can do it too, naturally and as fast as possible.
Another great resource for how to utilize nutrition as a testosterone boosting tool is this currently free book called The Man Diet by Chad Howse.
Aside from androgenic hormones, your patchy beard can also be the result of inactive & dormant androgen receptors (which we look much more closer below).
Mainly based on your genetics and some other factors which you might be able to influence, the receptor sites in your facial hair follicles that “receive” the hormonal growth signals might not be active enough to trigger beard growth. I suspect the androgen receptors to be one of the leading reasons why some men can’t grow beards.
(Sidenote: Did you know that the human androgen receptors – or lack of their sensitivity in this case – is the reason why Asian men struggle with beard growth).
This video explains it quite well:
Will my sparse beard ever fill in then?
You may have heard people saying that “it’s all in the genetics” and there’s nothing that can be done to fix a sparse beard naturally. However, there are plenty of research-backed beard growth tips out there, more so even than the twelve mentioned here.
12 Methods to Grow Thicker Beard with Fewer Patches
And now, we can finally get to the meat & potatoes of this artricle, exposing you the 12 secrets of boosting beard thickness naturally.
1. Minoxidil Makes your Beard Thicker
If you’re looking for that one answer for what to use fill in a spotty beard, and refuse to do anything else, then pay close attention here.
Minoxidil (brand name Rogaine), is hands down the number one patchy beard solution.
It’s the popular scalp-hair loss drug that’s available without a prescription, and hundreds of clinical trials have confirmed that the active ingredient when applied to the scalp, grows more hair1.
Minoxidil works by opening potassium channels, which causes hyperpolarization of the beard follicle cells, which rushes in nutrient and hormone-rich blood through significantly improved local circulation.
Aside from this, minoxidil also boosts the size of the hair follicle shaft, increases the diameter of the actual hair root, and encourages the follicles to shift from the resting phase to the active growth phase.
So if minoxidil does all this, can it be used on face to to grow thicker beard?
The answer is yes.
It has been confirmed by hundreds of anecdotal before and after pics from various beard forums; Minoxidil does grow the beard. In fact, I would say that minoxidil is the best way to fill in sparse facial hair.
There’s also a Thai study where 3% topical minoxidil solution was able to “significantly increase” new hair growth on face2.
Let’s say you will start using minoxidil, here’s a simple guide:
- Get yourself either Rogaine 5% or Kirkland 5% minoxidil.
- Apply 1-2ml twice per day to facial hair area. Leave for 4-hours.
- Do this for 6-12 months, and you WILL gain much more facial hair.
For more information about possible side-effects, more proof, and more detailed information about the actual mechanism of how minoxidil works, please read our ultimate guide to minoxidil for facial hair.
2. Nutrition Optimization for Naturally Thicker Beard
No, I’m not here to give you the usual BS you see in articles like this.
You know, the “drink more water, eat more protein and salad” unhelpful type of info.
Fact is that you can significantly increase testosterone levels and DHT levels to force thicker beard growth, by manipulating your daily nutrition habits.
How? Let me break it down:
2.1 Dietary Fats
Try eating more saturated and monounsaturated fatty acids (meat, coconut oil, dairy, olive oil, butter) and less polyunsaturated fatty-acids (vegetable oils, fast food & frying oils, canola, corn oil, sunflower seed oil, and processed margarine).
There is a gigantic pile of scientific proof that shows very clearly how men who switch from vegetable fats to animal fats, see massive increases in their testosterone and DHT levels, aka the beard stimulating male sex hormones.
How much fat did you ask? Research suggests that 20-35% of daily calories is optimal for androgenic hormone production.
It’s all the rage right now to go to “war against carbohydrates” which is pretty bonkers, considering how vital glucose and fructose (to what all carbs eventually break down to) is for the optimal functions of the cells and neurons.
Again, there’s a mounting pile of clinical data which suggests that the more carbs you eat, the higher your testosterone and DHT levels will go (read more about this in our beard foods guide).
The effect is even stronger on active people, who seem to benefit even more from high carb consumption and suffer even more from low-carb diets.
Here’s a nicely explained review of the scientific evidence, and to pick a vital study out from there that directly relates to beard growth and fixing thin facial hair, we can see that Anderson et al. found how higher-carb, lower-protein diets compared to higher-protein, lower-carb diets resulted in significantly higher DHT (the hormone that promotes linear beard-growth3), and testosterone (the hormone that controls beard growth rate and primes facial hair follicles).
We at Beard Resource follow and recommend every man interested in boosting their beard growth rate to get roughly 50-70% of their daily calories from carbohydrates; potatoes, fruit, pressed fruit juice, and dark berries.
As you might already guess from the above subheading, protein is possibly the least important macronutrient for beard growth optimization.
This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t eat it at all! Since chronic protein-malnutrition has been shown to wreck your hormonal health4, and the keratin and collagen that builds the hair shaft and roots, depend on protein.
However, you might want to keep your protein intake at moderate amounts, just enough to fuel your muscles and hair roots, but not too much that it would interfere with optimal hormone production.
Recommended reading: 12 Foods that Boost Beard Growth.
The optimal for fixing sparse facial hair seems to land somewhere between 15-25% of daily calories. If you practice heavy-weightlifting, you might want to bump this up to 30%, but by all means, that should be the max if you’re not looking to worsen the sparse facial hair problem.
3. Fix your Mineral and Vitamin Intake
To fill in your bald beard spots and finally make that beard grow thicker naturally, you want to optimize your micronutrient intake.
Above, you learned about the importance of macronutrients (protein, carb, fat), and to finalize your knowledge of beard nutrition; it’s essential that you understand the critical role that micronutrients (beard vitamins and minerals) play in the big picture of beard follicle health.
In a perfect World, you would get all the beard boosting fat-soluble vitamins; A, E, D, and K2 from the foods you eat.
However, with the modern food processing and factory farming, the levels of these vitamins in our food sources have dropped dramatically.
Also in a perfect World, you would get plenty of the water-soluble vitamins like C and the whole B-complex, but since traditional foods like liver are almost completely forgotten, and people eat less whole fruits than ever, most people end up deficient in these critical vitamins as well.
Lastly, if all things would be optimal, your body would be filled with DHT and testosterone boosting beard hugging minerals like zinc, magnesium, boron, selenium, and iodine.
However, power-farming and depletion of the soils mineral content, has caused massive reductions in the availability of these important minerals from the foods sitting in our grocery store shelves.
↓ My go-to micronutrient stack ↓
4. Derma Roller to Promote Thickness
I’ve talked about the benefits of micro-needling the beard a couple of times earlier on this website.
The idea is simple, and recently there have even been scientific studies conducted on the subject.
So how it works is you get yourself a product called Derma Roller which is a wheel with tiny needles you often see women use in spa commercials.
You then use the Derma roller on your facial hair area 2-4 times per week to puncture tiny wounds into the skin.
Derma roller doesn’t hurt or cause any scars, but it’s enough to trick the body into sending hormone and nutrient-rich blood to the area to repair the damage.
During micro-needling your follicles will get a boosted influx of keratin and collagen proteins, which can possibly thicken the facial hair.
The trick is to combine Derma rolling with already optimized diet and minoxidil use. It’s like a triple whammy to make your beard thicker over time. There’s also a study about this, although it was conducted on scalp-hair5.
“Microneedling works by stimulation of stem cells and inducing activation of growth factors.” – INT J TRICHOLOGY. 2013
5. Activate your Androgen Receptors
Let’s say that you’ve fixed your diet & micronutrient intake to stimulate natural testosterone and DHT production.
You’ve also started micro needling + using minoxidil to promote blood flow and stimulate the facial hair follicles for growth.
What more can you do to guarantee that you will get rid of your spotty beard and facial hair bald spots, turning it into a thicker mane naturally?
The answer is; natural activation of the facial androgen receptor sites.
What even is an androgen receptor though?
Well, it’s a crucial gate-keeper in determining how fast human beard growth occurs, or whether it occurs at all.
Before the androgenic beard growing hormones like testosterone and dihydrotestosterone can have any impact on your body, they need to go from the bloodstream into the DNA of the cell.
To achieve this, your muscle tissues, skin cells, hair follicles, and so forth are all filled with something called; androgen receptors.
As the name implies, they are there to receive the hormone into the cell. If the hormones are the key, the androgen receptors are the lock.
Even if you have many keys, but the locks don’t work, you will open no doors, which in this case translates to having no actual effects on the body.
“How to increase the sensitivity and density of the androgen receptors in the facial hair area?”
- Explosive resistance training: Studies have shown us that trained men have significantly higher amounts of active androgen receptors in their tissues6 and that different types of resistance exercises lead to different amounts of androgen receptor activation7. What seems to be the most effective, are short bouts of intense lifting activating multiple muscles at the same time, such as deadlift, squat, chin-ups, overhead press, and dips.
- Mucuna Pruriens: This is a relatively unknown herbal extract that contains the precursor (L-Dopa) of the hormone; dopamine. It has been shown to increase testosterone levels and reduce the stress hormone cortisol, but more importantly, L-Dopa acts as a co-activator protein for the androgen receptors8.
- Forskolin: This is another herbal extract that isn’t too well known for its hormonal effects. However, there’s some evidence suggesting that not only may it increase testosterone production through cAMP activation, it can also activate androgen receptors through an enzyme called protein-kinase-A (PKA)9.
- Carnitine: L-carnitine is an amino acid commonly found in meats and muscle tissue. Interestingly enough, supplementation with carnitine tartrate has been found in two studies to increase the number of active androgen receptors at rest10 and even more in exercising subjects11. The researchers went even as far as studying actual muscle biopsies to prove this effect.
6. Sleep your Beard Thicker
Sleep is essential to everything in life. Skimp on it, and you are going to see the effects soon.
How does this apply in filling bald beard spots though?
Easy; testosterone. The master hormone behind facial hair growth.
In a Chinese study, 531 test subjects were sleep restricted by one hour; their testosterone levels dipped by 15% on average12.
A smaller study with older men saw that the man sleeping for ~8 hours per night had almost the double of the testosterone of men who slept closer to ~4 hours per night13.
When young students were sleeping for only five hours per night in a study by Leproult et al. there was a significant drop in their 24-hour testosterone profile14, take a look at the image below to see the difference.
7. Minimize Estrogen Exposure & Levels
Estrogen is often labeled as the female hormone.
- Estrone (E1).
- Estradiol (E2).
- Estriol (E3).
Despite the fact that it’s clearly indicated as a hormone of women and feminine effects & traits, men still have it too.
Most of it is made from testosterone when an enzyme called aromatase converts it.
Some get into our bodies through the food source, from tap-water, plastics, and xenoestrogenic chemicals.
Essential to patchy beard correction is eliminating exposure to estrogenic compounds and Lowering aromatase.
How do you do that?
- Lower bodyfat as it increases aromatase enzyme15.
- Limit the use of plastics containing estrogenic parabens & phthalates16.
- Don’t overeat on estrogenic foods; soy, licorice, alfalfa, and flaxseeds.
- Eat antiestrogenic foods; citrus fruit, mushrooms, oysters, dark berries.
- Vitamin E increases testosterone and is a direct estrogen receptor antagonist17.
- Switch to natural personal care items to reduce xenoestrogen burden.
8. Exfoliate, Stimulate & Massage Follicles
The best way to activate dormant facial hair follicles is the minoxidil mentioned in the beginning.
You can, however, assist the process by a couple of other tricks.
First is by getting an exfoliating scrub and using it a couple of times per week.
Proper scrubbing removes dead skin cells and other blockages from the beard follicles, while also enhancing circulation in the area.
Next would be brushing; a quality beard brush is a great way to stimulate the facial hair area and keep the thin and sparse facial hair you have in tidy condition.
Lastly; your face is full of muscles – muscles with androgen receptors – which you can stimulate with fresh blood by regularly massaging the area.
The above points are entirely anecdotal – no studies whatsoever – but all three were crucial factors in my own beard growth routine (which is reasonably well explained here in this article about ways to stimulate beard growth naturally).
9. Drink Some Coffee
Coffee is something you wouldn’t expect could ever be making your beard thicker.
It just might though – slowly.
There are many reasons to why I think coffee is a beard thickening agent.
Coffee is ridiculously dense in antioxidants. Studies suggest that coffee provides more antioxidant polyphenols through diet than any other food group.
Moving on; coffee and caffeine increase testosterone levels, dose-dependently in most cases.
Coffee may promote thyroid hormone secretion18, which is a crucial hormone in regulating many growth factors of the human body, including hair, nail, and beard growth.
Coffee slows down the breakdown of cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP), which is a secondary messenger molecule between cells and hormones.
In rats, chronic caffeine ingestion increases “androgenic stimuli,” testosterone by 68% and DHT by 57%19.
Have I mentioned already about a hundred times that these are the key beard growth & stimulation hormones?
The only drawback of coffee is that it can also increase the stress hormone cortisol, which in excess is no Bueno.
However, you can quickly reduce the cortisol spiking effects of coffee by adding in sugar, cream, and a tiny pinch of salt.
10. Nicotine Preserves DHT Levels
DHT is roughly 10x more androgenic in its effects than testosterone.
Androgenic effects (from the Greek word “Andro”, meaning man) include things like: deep voice, masculine features, and the growth of body & facial hair.
It’s likely that DHT has a far stronger effect in stimulating facial hair growth than testosterone alone.
After all, DHT is the most androgenic hormone, and beard is androgenic hair.
(Although one can never forget that without T there’s no DHT, as the latter is a metabolite of the former).
Which brings us to nicotine.
It has been shown in a cell-culture study, that nicotine and a metabolite of it called contine, can suppress the enzymes that break DHT down into 3a-diol20, which is a weaker hormone that doesn’t do much in terms of facial hair growth.
Higher nicotine exposure might explain why tobacco smokers tend to have higher DHT levels than non-smoking men21.
Do whatever you want with this information.
I’m not suggesting you to start smoking tobacco to fix a patchy beard if you never smoked before, but perhaps some pre-workout nicotine gum could help make your beard thicker.
Nicotine gum boosts workout performance and doesn’t come with the harmful effects of tobacco chemicals and carcinogenic smoke.
I’ve tested hundreds of supplements over the years as part of my work in another site. When it comes to making a beard thicker, carnitine seems to be doing something special.
The reason I started experimenting with this carnitine powder was that of these two studies:
- This one where carnitine supplementation was able to increase the density and sensitivity of androgen receptors in exercising subjects10.
- And this one where carnitine supplementation was able to increase AR sensitivity even in sedentary subjects11.
If you’re familiar with this website, you may already know how important androgen receptors are for facial hair growth; they are the “locks” that open the effects of androgenic hormones, which I like to see as “keys”.
Anyway, back to carnitine.
Every time I would use it, I would wake up the next morning and look at my stubble and notice that it always seemed thicker and darker. I thought back then that I was just imagining things, but then I took a long break from taking it, started over again later, and once again noticed the same thing.
(this was back when I hadn’t grown a full-beard yet).
I’m not sure if it’s purely because of the enhanced sensitivity of the facial hair receptors that causes this, or carnitine having some direct testosterone & DHT increasing effects, but I definitely like the beard thickening results it gives.
If you want to give carnitine a shot, the studies above used 2g/day of L-Carnitine L-Tartrate. There’s also some naturally occurring carnitines in meat, but you’d have to eat a lot daily to get the 2 grams.
12. Castor Oil
Castor oil is different from many other beard oils and balms. It contains high amounts of a special type of fatty acid called ricinoleic-acid.
The answer is within its ability to modulate the prostaglandins, increasing PGE2 (which is linked to increased hair growth, follicle stimulation, and vasodilation) and decreasing PGD2 (which is linked to suppressed hair growth and hair follicle miniaturization).
In other words, castor oil is a prostaglandin modulating natural beard thickener. However, due to its consistency, it’s really hard to get any of the active ingredients into the hair follicle to have these great effects, it just isn’t permeable enough.
To make it more permeable, you can dissolve it in alcohol or some other carrier agent, I have a guide on how to do this on this “beard serum” article.
Castor oil is also really thick oil compared to many other oils, so using it as a beard oil will give you an instant beard thickening effect since it sticks to the facial hair and adds some mass to it.
Most other oils don’t have this effect, they are simply too thin and liquidy to make your beard appear thicker.
Try castor oil out and you’ll see for yourself that is if you have SOME beard growth, to begin with.
Bonus: DIY Beard Growth Oil for Patchy Beard
If you have some beard growth, chances are that you also use beard oil.
Well, instead of just buying normal beard oil that has no growth-stimulating components (usually they have high-PUFA oils that do the opposite)…
…You could also make your own growth oil at home and save hundreds over the years.
This is what I’ve done for quite some time now.
I feel like I can make the best oils myself, and have come to despise the “beard growth” oils sold on big online retailers for their deceptive claims and $20-40 dropper bottles of olive oil, which claim 6x faster growth rates.
Before we get into the beard growth oil recipe, I want to say that the actual “growth stimulating” effect of the oil is marginal. This is no minoxidil, but as a daily beard oil, it can help a little to stimulate growth + it nourishes exceptionally well while providing a masculine scent.
So, here’s the recipe for the DIY beard patch growth oil:
- First get an empty 1 oz. dropper bottle (or use any empty old beard oil bottle).
- 1/2 oz. Jojoba oil, it’s closest to the natural oils produced by the skin and has no known hormone-suppressing effects.
- 1/2 oz. Argan oil, which was found in one study to increase testosterone (orally consumed) on Moroccan men22.
- 4 drops blue spruce essential oil (this has a very masculine scent, and better, Dr. John Berardi ran some scientific experiments to find out that it increases testosterone).
- 4 drops balsam fir oil (similarly to blue spruce, Dr. Berardi found that balsam fir resulted in elevated testosterone levels).
- 1/2 teaspoon of pure guarana powder (contains caffeine, which is known androgen receptor activator, may raise DHT (at least in rats19), and increases cAMP, all good for patchy beard).
Initially, everything on that list will seem quite expensive, but considering how long it last, you will be saving a ton of money compared to buying ready-made beard oils + you are in control what goes into yours.
You could also add in a little bit of castor oil (which might promote growth through prostaglandin E2 increase) and couple drops of vitamin D3 liquid (vitamin D plays a role in hair follicle maturation from thin vellus hair into thick terminal hair23).
Best Styles for Thin Facial Hair
Until your beard fills in, you may want to know what are the best styles for patchy facial hair to make beard appear fuller and thicker.
If you want to maintain a more fuller style and have some hair on the cheeks too, try trimming the hair to be the same length all-around the facial hair area and make defined lines. To help with your beard trimming, I suggest you get a hold of a beard shaper template.
Lastly, use a brush to tame the hair downwards, and something like castor oil to make your beard appear thicker.
One option is also to just roll with it, let the beard grow at its own phase despite the bald spots, much like Keanu Reeves does. This style might look odd at first, but it’s also rugged and perfectly acceptable.
The bottom line is that there are many beard styles to choose from, and depending the sizes and placements of your beard patches and bald spots; different styles will suit different people.
You can also just try to grow out the patchy beard to eventually fill it, depending on the degree of patchiness, it may be really effective.
Here’s a “one-year growing out patchy beard timelapse” by Drew’s Obsessions on YouTube, he documented his project really well, so make sure to subscribe to him and check out his other beard videos too:
Conclusion on How to Fix Patchy Beard and Make it Thicker Naturally
Well, I hope this article helped you learn the methods to finally fix those beard bald spots and turn it into a thick mane of mythical proportions.
Again, it all comes down to fixing your androgenic hormones; we are after gaining more androgenic hair here.
after the androgens (T & DHT) circulate in proper amounts around the bloodstream, you merely need to activate the receptors to sprout out more facial hair.
The ten methods below, they all help + here are 14 more ways to increase testosterone and DHT.