Typical minoxidil beard routine starts by washing your face with warm water and towel dampening it (minoxidil works best on damp skin).
After each application, it’s recommended that you have the minoxidil on your face for at least 4-hours, as this maximizes the absorption of the drug to the follicles.
Doing this will result in “flabbergastingly impressive” minoxidil beard growth results. At least if you believe the 50,000+ men who do it.
Growing a beard with rogaine will take time (most recommended to use it for 1-2 years for full benefits) but they will eventually come, and you don’t even have to believe the anecdotal reports, as there’s now a scientific minoxidil beard growth study published in the Journal of Dermatology which supports the use of minoxidil on face.
“The exact mechanism of minoxidil in promoting hair growth is still unclear but there are many hypotheses. In conclusion, minoxidil 3% lotion is effective and safe for beard enhancement.” – Dr. Ingprasert et al.
DISCLAIMER: I am not a medical professional. Before you use minoxidil for beard growth, consult with your doctor. The information below is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. It’s purely for educational purposes.
What makes it controversial, how effective Minoxidil is for the beard, the before-after pictures, and information on safety and known side-effects will all be extensively covered in this article.
Millions of men with sluggish facial hair growth are desperately searching for that silver bullet which would finally activate their follicles, and unfortunately, large amounts of them end up as victims of the “beard growth vitamin” industry, which peddles poor-quality kitchen-sink multivitamins to men who are desperately trying to become more hirsute.
If only, would they know about minoxidil (also known as Rogaine, Regaine in the UK, or Loniten), the prescription-free hair-loss drug, that can be straight-up labeled as medication for beard and mustache growth.
Yes, that’s right. There are thousands of men who have used Rogaine for beard growth, hundreds of them documenting their journey, posting rogaine before and after pictures, month by month.
If only, the author of this New York Times article would have had the guts to try, when he so eloquently wrote:
“Back in my early 20s, I once contemplated seeking medical help to grow thicker fuzz. Seeing so many men with beards has me wondering again about a solution. Is there Rogaine for the beardless?”
Then the author just left it at that and proceeded with a load of jargon about the genetics.
Just a simple Google search with “minoxidil beard” would of have yielded him all the answers and proof, and by now he would be rocking a solid beard somewhere.
That article was written in 2012, while the earliest online records of successfully growing facial hair with Rogaine go as far back as 2003. That was 15 years ago!
Men using Rogaine for facial hair growth started years ago at a place called Jeff’s Beard Board (used to be the first forum for men discussing the possibility of applying Rogaine to their faces) and has continued on Reddit, where there is an active subreddit called r/MinoxBeards.
I’ve compiled you this massive review of the evidence behind minoxidil for facial hair growth, so you know exactly what the hype is about, and why this stuff is many times better than any of those ridiculous beard pills.
You are going to learn about how to use Rogaine for facial hair growth, how this drug works to stimulate the whiskers to grow, and how should you go about applying it to your face.
We go over the possible side effects, methods of supercharging its effects, what the stuff is about, and the mechanism of how minoxidil really works in activating the dormant beard follicles.
(You might also want to check out our new article called the minoxidil beard FAQ, which has a quick rundown of the 10 most popular questions about using minoxidil for facial hair)
Of course, I will also showcase you some of the most impressive minoxidil before after results in this article, and what is the best Rogaine/Minox routine for getting that stubble of yours growing.
- Rogaine is a scalp-hair loss drug, FDA-approved & prescription-free.
- Hundreds of anecdotal reports suggest that Rogaine can be used on facial hair.
- A clinical study from Thailand showed that minoxidil 3% lotion grew facial hair.
- Most people see the best results after 3-12 months of minoxidil use.
- Minoxidil has side effects. Always stick to the recommended dosage.
Table of Contents
- What are Rogaine and Minoxidil?
- How Minoxidil Grows the Beard
- Can Rogaine be Applied to Face for Beard Growth?
- Rogaine for Beard Growth: Before-After Proof
- What Brand of Minoxidil is Best for Beard
- Minoxidil Beard Side Effects
- How to Apply Minoxidil on Face
- What Sort of Results Should I Expect?
- How to Supercharge the Results
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Infographic Version of this Post
What are Rogaine and Minoxidil?
In 1950, The Upjohn company (currently known as Pfizer) started experimenting with oral potassium channel openers to treat ulcers.
After years of studies, they noticed that the potassium channel opener they formulated did not cure ulcers, but instead acted as a potent vasodilator.
Their compound lowered blood pressure, improved circulation, and enlargened blood vessels.
Upjohn then picked the most promising of the 200+ formulations, named it Minoxidil, and eventually received permission from FDA, to further experiment with the compound to treat people with high blood pressure.
After this, Dr. Charles A. Chidsey from the University of Colorado was ordered to run human trials on Minoxidil to see how effective it was at reducing blood pressure, much to his surprise, he noticed that minoxidil had a “side effect” of rapidly increasing hair growth all-around the body.
Puzzled by this, he contacted his fellow researchers and asked if it would be possible to turn this drug into a topical liquid and test as a medication for hair loss or male-pattern baldness.
After years of further experiments, the Upjohn company had proven without a shade of doubt that topical their formulation could be used to regrow hair in men. With their new-found proof, Upjohn started producing the drug in a topical solution branded as Rogaine.
Rogaine was later made prescription-free by the FDA since Upjohn had amassed so much safety data from their years of trials with the compound. This gave many men easy access to the drug.
Other brands of minoxidil exist too, such as the Kirkland 5% solution which works just as well, it’s just not as popular as Rogaine, which was the first and original to appear on the market.
How Minoxidil Grows the Beard
To the date, it hasn’t been known for sure what is the actual mechanism of action behind the effectiveness of minoxidil.
The only things proven are that it’s a potassium channel opener which can stimulate blood circulation in the hair follicles and that it can increase the prostaglandin E2, which can stimulate the facial hair follicles.
(Note: castor oil is great for beard growth as well, as it increases PGE2 naturally and that is likely the reason it has been linked to hair thickening effects).
With the improved circulation, minoxidil is able to shuttle more androgenic hormones and nutrients into the root of the facial hair.
Since the androgenic hormones; testosterone and DHT fuel beard growth and the transformation from thin unnoticeable vellus hairs into thick terminal hairs, using Rogaine to supply more male hormones to the roots of the facial hair follicles, is likely one of the reasons it’s so effective for facial hair growth.
Through a process called hyperpolarization of the cell membrane, minoxidil also causes increased hair follicle size, larger hair shaft diameter, and encourages the facial hair to move from resting phase to the active anagen beard growth stage.
This enhanced shifting from the resting phase to the growth phase is also behind what is called “the minoxidil shedding phase”, where the old thin hairs drop out of the skin “tubes” to be replaced by a new, stronger hair shaft.
To understand the minoxidil shedding phase; look at the image below, you are not “losing” the hairs, the follicles simply shift into new – stronger and thicker – anagen phase. ↓
“Medical literature describes it [minoxidil] as shortening the follicular telogen (or resting) phase to stimulate hair growth,” – Dr. Eric Meininger, Associate Professor of Clinical Pediatrics at Indiana University.
What makes Rogaine different from many other hair-loss products is that minoxidil is not hormonal.
Finasteride and other DHT-blocking scalp hair-loss medications can reduce beard growth by blocking dihydrotestosterone (the master hormone behind facial – but NOT scalp – hair growth).
Minoxidil (Rogaine), on the other hand, works topically by stimulating circulation and has no suppressive effects on hormones such as testosterone or DHT.
Can Rogaine be Applied to Face for Beard Growth?
“Can I really use Rogaine on my face” is the big question.
Can you just walk into a local store or buy some Minox online, apply it to the facial area, and over-time grow a beard in spots that it wasn’t growing before?
The answer is a resounding; yes.
The active ingredient of the “hair-loss drug” doesn’t care whether you apply it to your scalp, chest, arms, facial hair or even eyebrows.
In fact, there was a study done by the same researchers that did the Minoxidil beard growth trial, which found that not only does it work for scalp-hair and beard, but Minoxidil also grows chest hair quite effectively2.
Regardless of where you put it, minoxidil will slowly stimulate the growth of new facial hair or body hair on any area of the skin where there are follicles.
And we do have hair follicles all-around our face (before you were even born, you had follicle structure for full beard), for some men they are just not active and don’t produce that thick terminal hair.
Minoxidil – by causing significantly higher amounts of hormones and nutrients to be delivered to the follicles – stimulates these previously non-existent hair deposits to become alive again and in the process, helps to activate some dormant androgen receptors.
(Sidenote: Have you ever asked yourself why Asian men struggle to grow facial hair? It has to do with their genetics. The Eastern Asian population – along with native Americans – have a higher number of androgen receptor copies, causing less-sensitivity towards hormones overall).
“So seriously, can I use minox or rogaine on my beard?”
Yes. Although it’s sold to be used for scalp-hair loss, thousands of men have gone and tested it on their facial hair area, with auspicious results, posting stellar minoxidil beard progress pictures (more proof about those below).
There’s even a clinical study from Thailand, which proved that 3% liquid solution of the drug was able to significantly increase new beard growth when applied to face1, so the evidence is not all anecdotal.
Rogaine for Beard Growth: Before-After Proof
At this point, you’re probably still skeptical about this and questioning whether there is any proof that minoxidil/rogaine can be used on the face.
Which is good, being a healthy skeptic saves you from much trouble in life.
However; there are hundreds of before/after pictures from all around the World where men have gone and tested if Rogaine, Kirkland, or other brands of Minox could cause facial hair growth.
I have looked around on several forums and websites, and in nearly all cases, people report that minoxidil after use of 3-12 months has resulted in significant growth of new facial hair, as well as thickening of the existing hairs.
There’s a high chance that you can grow a full-beard with minoxidil even to almost entirely hairless face.
Below is one of the most impressive minoxidil beard results to date:
I’d like to give a shout out to Adam Siddals for being one of the pioneers in using minoxidil for beard growth, and serving as a spokesperson for the cause in some big online news sites such as Men’s Health, LADbible, Daily Mail, and The Sun.
What Brand of Minoxidil is Best for Beard
Rogaine is almost twice as expensive due to being the “original brand”. Regardless, they both have 5% of the active drug in the same propylene glycol carrier agent. Kirkland brand is cheaper and works identically.
To help you choose, we made this minoxidil beard comparison table. ↓
The recommended dosage of minoxidil is 1-2ml twice per day to the area where you want to increase hair growth. For beard-growing purposes use 2ml in the morning and 2ml in the evening.
After applying minoxidil, it’s recommended that you do not wash your face for the following 4-hours to let the solution absorb and work its magic in the hair follicles.
It’s down to your preference. Foam is often better for guys who have really sensitive skin and/or get reactions from the carrier agent (propylene glycol) but with that being said, most men attest to the topical liquid solution being slightly more effective.
However, be extra careful that the solution you buy doesn’t have any DHT-blockers or other “hair growth boosters” in there. Although lowering DHT may help on scalp hair, it will reverse the hair growth on your beard area, as the facial hair is hormonal hair and needs testosterone and DHT to grow.
For example, there’s a product called “Hair Restoration Laboratories Ultra”, which looks like 5% minoxidil, but in reality is also chock-full of DHT blockers like azelaic acid and saw palmetto! You want more dihydrotestosterone for the beard, not less.
Minoxidil Beard Side Effects
Minoxidil was first used as a drug for lowering blood pressure. Because of this – it can when absorbed through the skin – cause some symptoms related to lower blood pressure.
However, these symptoms are often exaggerated by companies selling beard vitamins and other beard growth supplements to steer people away from rogaine and into using their oils and whatnot.
In reality, when you use recommended dosages of minoxidil 1-2 times a day to such small area as the chin and cheeks, the change of getting any noticeable side-effects (except that your mustache, goatee, and sideburns may grow faster) is meager.
NOTE: Minoxidil is uniquely toxic to some pets, especially to cats, who can die from it if they ingest or come in contact with just minute amounts of the drug. There are many reports of people who used Rogaine and then had their cat die soon after.
So if you’re a pet owner, always wash your hands properly after applying the liquid, never apply it in the same room with animals, and most importantly; wash your face properly before going to sleep, as your cat might be licking your pillow without you noticing.
ALSO NOTE: Over the years of experimenting and learning about minoxidil for facial hair use, I’ve seen few mentions of it possibly causing sexual side effects to some users. Since it has been extensively studied that minoxidil has no effect on testosterone, DHT, estrogen or any major hormones, I always thought these effects had to be because of something else and just attributed to minoxidil use.
However, recently a commenter on this article shared his story on how he had negative effects from minoxidil and that the possible reason might be androgen receptor downregulation which is possible with minoxidil use according to a study he also shared.
This is alarming, albeit very rare, and a further reason to use reasonable amounts and not exceed the recommended dosage. Using carnitine, mucuna pruriens, and forskolin to upregulate the androgen receptors would also make even more sense after seeing the study.
Harmless side effects that can occur on higher dosages include:
- Swelling of ankles
However, discontinue use and tell your doctor if you get any of these:
- Chest pain or palpitations
Generally speaking, minoxidil is one of the more safer drugs, which is why even the FDA has ruled it to be prescription-free, and available from any market or online.
How to Apply Minoxidil on Face
Time needed: 10 minutes.
Here’s how to apply minoxidil on the beard.
- Wash your face and exfoliate it if you can.
This helps the pores retain more of the active ingredients and reduces the number of dead skin cells blocking the hair follicles. If you have some growth already, brushing the beard is a good way to exfoliate the skin underneath (here’s our guide to the best bears brushes). If your face dries easily, I suggest you use dexpanthenol moisturizer after the face washing.
- Suck in 1-2ml of minoxidil to the dropper cap.
In most cases, there is a line indicating the correct amount (in mine it’s roughly at the middle of the dropper). Then slowly drip the solution all over your facial hair area, and either apply with your fingers or the dropper to spread it across the facial hair area in a circular motion.
- Let minoxidil absorb to the beard follicles.
Much debate rages online about how long you should keep minoxidil on your face. I’d say leave the Rogaine to the face for at least 4-hours. According to Ferry et al. this is the average time it takes to absorb 75% or more to the hair follicle3.
What Sort of Results Should I Expect?
Most people don’t see any significant changes in the first month or two. And most of the results showing before the three-month mark tend to be only increased amount of thin vellus hairs on your beard area.
Somewhere during 3-6 months in people report relatively significant changes, and they keep saying these to still occur even after a year of continuous use.
Even after a year of use, people tend to report new hairs popping up on the upper cheeks, chin, and upper lip from using Rogaine.
What if I quit using Rogaine or Kirkland, does minoxidil beard fall off?
No. There have been many people who grew full Minox beards, then stopped using the liquid, shaved, and still grew facial hair just as well.
It appears that the beard growth caused by minoxidil is indeed permanent for the majority of the guys, provided that they use it long enough to convert their thin vellus hairs into thick androgenic terminal hairs before quitting.
Once you’ve activated the hair follicles to grow terminal hair, that will not magically stop even if you’d stop using the minoxidil solution.
The speed of the hair growth might slightly slow down, and the rate of NEW hair on the face might slowly seize, but the fact is that you will not lose the hairs gained from Rogaine.
Here’s a video from an inspiring Youtuber and the forefather of minoxidil beards – Basik Ali Coe – who covered his full journey with minoxidil. I highly suggest you subscribe to his channel.
(and no, this is not me although we share the same first name).
How to Supercharge the Results
Not many people know this, but you can easily supercharge the results you get from Minoxidil.
Of course, diet is essential, and you may want to take a look at this article of facial hair promoting foods to add some DHT and T boosting foods to your arsenal.
Then there are the fundamental lifestyle factors such as; sleeping enough, limiting stress, eating enough calories, not hammering down alcohol, staying at low body fat, and lifting heavy weights.
Not to mention the three magic bullets that pair perfectly with minoxidil:
- Dexpanthenol cream which dissolves sebum and creates a super hydrant absorbent surface to the facial hair area. Use it 10 minutes before applying minoxidil, and again after 4+ hours when you wash it away.
- Dermaroller which can be used occasionally on the face to cause small punctures, which the body then rushes to repair with fresh nutrient and hormone-rich blood, as well as increased collagen protein and keratin delivery to the follicles.
- High-quality Multivitamin the single best supplement for your beard is a multivitamin. Forget the poor-quality “beard supplements” like Vitabeard or Beardilizer which are nothing more than 2$ worth poor quality supplements with a massive price tag. Instead, get the Thorne Research 2-per day multi that is chock-full of well-absorbing nutrients for a fraction of the price.
Add these tricks to your minoxidil beard routine, and I can guarantee that you will be growing massive amounts of new beard hairs in no time (well, in 6-12 months more likely).
Frequently Asked Questions
Most users report that there are only light “vellus hairs” that can be seen in the first 1-3 months, which then gradually start turning darker and thicker terminal hairs. After 6-12 months of continuous use, most Rogaine beard brothers report significant results, often complete full faces of hair.
You can, and it might make the application much more comfortable and less messy. However, you don’t have to necessarily. There are people who both shaved and did not, and both camps claiming good effects.
No. The rate of new growth slowly seizes, and the hair shaft diameter is reduced slightly, but almost all of the new facial hair gained from minoxidil will stay on your face for years after discontinuing use.
It seems that once the hair follicle and androgen receptors of the face are properly activated, the hormonal feedback loop keeps the beard gains alive even without the influx of more minoxidil.
In other words, the minoxidil facial hair growth is likely permanent (which is why you should be careful to only use it on spots you really want the hair to grow on!)
1ml once per day is enough, but 1-2ml twice per day is better and will likely get you faster results.
Some users report putting on minoxidil even three or up to four times per day, but since the drug was initially created to be a vasodilator, I would highly advise that you don’t play around with it and stick to 1-2 times per day.
According to one scientific trial, 75% or more of the minoxidil will be absorbed into the hair follicle within 4-hours, this seems to be generally recommended as the optimal time.
A lot of men who are desperate to make their patchy beards thicker, seem to gravitate towards the Tugain brand 10% minoxidil, which is twice as strong as the normal Rogaine or Kirkland brands.
Is this smart? Not in my opinion. The 5% solution should be enough to stimulate facial hair growth, and by doubling the amount of active ingredient, you are also doubling down on the possible chances of getting the above-mentioned minoxidil side effects.
Infographic Version of this Post
Conclusion Using Minoxidil to Grow a Beard
Minoxidil is perhaps the most effective beard product to boost the growth of new facial hair whiskers.
If you have a patchy beard, it’s one of your best methods of fixing that. And if you can’t grow a beard at all, Rogaine, Tugain, Kirkland (whatever you choose to use) is – after beard transplants – the most effective method.
Minoxidil has been clinically proven to work on the scalp, and anecdotal evidence from years of people using it on forums has confirmed that it also works on the face and is relatively safe to use for beard growth purposes.
The best type of minoxidil to use is Kirkland (or Rogaine but it’s the same stuff, only more expensive), for better absorption and prevention of dry skin, it’s recommended to use dexpanthenol cream before applying the solution.