Does shaving make facial hair grow faster?

It’s an urban legend that many of us have heard – shaving your beard or moustache will result in it growing back faster and coarser. Generations of baby-faced teenage boys have clung to this idea, hoping for it to be true and desperate for there to be some scrap of hope for their enduringly fluffy peach-fuzz. We hate to be the bearer of bad news, but it’s not true. Not even slightly.

Why this myth is just that – a myth

If you examine this idea with any sort of critical thinking, it quickly becomes apparent why this idea is bunk. Every hair on your face, and every hair on your body for that matter, grows from a follicle – a small organ that exists beneath the skin. And when you shave, you’re cutting the hair at or above skin level, which is (relatively speaking) quite far from the hair’s source. The follicle remains unaffected underneath the skins and your facial hair grows out just the same as it did before.

However science aside, the main reasoning behind this myth seems to be the way that hair looks and feels after it’s cut or trimmed. After shaving, the stubble left behind generally appears darker, both because it’s now directly contrasted against your skin and because it hasn’t had time to be lightened by the sun or other exposure.

Stubble also appears to be thicker than the hair you shaved off, but that’s only because hair naturally tapers towards the end, and is therefore thicker at the root than it is at the tip. Hair also feels coarser as it grows out, but that’s simply due to the fact that hair feels stiffer and coarser when it’s shorter, and eventually softens up as it grows out.

Can you do anything to encourage facial hair growth?

For those hoping for thicker and coarser facial hair, you’ll probably be disheartened to know that there isn’t some magical one-step way to get yourself a big ol’ lumberjack-style beard and/or moustache. It’s an unfortunate truth that some people just don’t have the genetics required to grow anything other than chin fuzz, no matter how hard they try.

However, for the younger readers of this article, it’s also important to remember that your facial hair won’t stop developing and filling in until your early 20s, or even later.

All of that aside, here are a few things you can do to give your facial follicles some help.

  • First and foremost, keep your skin clean and healthy. Use a facial cleanser at least once a day to ensure that your skin is clean, and exfoliate a few times a week to remove any dead skin cells. You’ll have a harder time getting facial hair to grow if your skin is dirty, or if you haven’t exfoliated in a while.
  • If you’re a smoker, quit. There’s no way you don’t know about the various health benefits of quitting smoking, but what you might not know is that smoking can hinder hair growth in a number of ways, including the constriction of blood cells and rendering your body unable to absorb nutrients required for hair growth.
  • Certain vitamins such as vitamins A, B, C and E have been shown to help with the growth of hair, so you could consider either eating more foods that contain these vitamins, or taking vitamin supplements. Vitamin B especially should be a big part of your diet if it isn’t already; popping a Vitamin B complex every morning will go a long way towards improving your overall health, but vitamins B1, B6, and B12 particularly will assist with the growth of hair.
  • Make sure you’re eating well and drinking enough water. Your body will have a hard time functioning properly without the right fuel and hydration, and hair growth will be rather low on your body’s list of priorities if it’s struggling to function at a base level.

At the end of the day, you should remember that whether or not you can grow a full beard or moustache isn’t incredibly important in the grand scheme of things. It’s unlikely that any of your friends and family are bothered by the lack of hair on your face, so why is it such a big deal? Just give it time, and even if time doesn’t give you better facial hair, don’t worry about it; it’s just hair.

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