For men and women both, facial symmetry is extremely desirable. There are whole studies done on the geometric perfection of celebrities like Denzel Washington and Halle Berry. So, when you’re growing a beard, you absolutely want it to be symmetrical. Why is it, then, that one side of a beard so often grows faster than the other?
The human body is imprecise in many ways. Blood flow is not uniform throughout your entire face, so some hair follicles receive nutrients more quickly and consistently than others. Additionally, some hairs grow at different angles. As such, having a beard grow uniformly on both sides is rare.
So that you get a clear idea of the biological processes that direct the speed of beard growth, let’s break down these factors. This should also give you a clear idea of how to address an uneven beard.
Blood Flow and Hair Growth
The human body is a marvel in many ways. There are so many complex, intricate processes going on concurrently within you. These processes keep you alive, provide you with energy, determine how you look, and give you the power of higher reasoning. So, perhaps you can forgive your body for being a little imprecise in the beard-growth department.
See, hair growth – whether on your scalp, body, or face – depends on certain nutrients making it to the hair follicles. The root of each hair is wrapped in tiny blood vessels, which feed it with nutrients that promote strong growth.
However, not all follicles have the same concentration of blood flow. Consequently, while the hair on one area of your face may be receiving steady, robust nutrients, the other side might be getting shorter shrift. The result is that a section with better flow grows faster, fuller, and more evenly.
The Follicle Direction Factor
Blood vessels are not the only determining factor for how quickly beards grow. Another significant contributor is follicle direction.
Anyone who has suffered from an ingrown hair knows that follicles come in at all different directions. Some grow straight outward, while others exit growing up or down the surface of your skin. Depending on the trajectory of the follicles, a given section of your beard may grow at a different rate.
It’s worth noting that this issue is not just relegated to beards. You’ll notice it with eyebrows and body hair as well.
The Sleep Position Quandary
A common question among men whose facial hair grows unevenly is whether it is caused by sleeping on their sides.
The answer is that sleep position can affect the speed of beard growth but not necessarily in the way many guys think. Lying with one half of your beard pressed against a pillow will not reroute, compress, or disengage your follicles. It might, however, compress blood vessels on one side of your face and marginally inhibit blood flow.
To be clear, you won’t totally stymie beard growth by sleeping on your side. If that were the case, you’d see a lot more half-bearded guys on the street!
Age and Beard Growth
One factor that can affect the evenness of beard growth is age. The older you get, the less blood flow your hair receives. With this change, most men’s hair growth slows across the board.
As such, whatever disparity already exists between the two sides of your face will only be exacerbated with age. Again, if you’re rocking a beard in your adulthood, don’t worry about half of it disappearing one day. Just be ready to address more pronounced unevenness.
A Common Issue
A crooked beard can be annoying and embarrassing, no doubt about it. For dedicated beardsmen, it can make you feel less confident in your appearance.
While discomfort with uneven facial hair is understandable, it also reflects self-consciousness more than objective reality. Most men’s beards grow unevenly. The guys you see with perfectly symmetrical facial hair almost certainly accomplished it through maintenance and deliberate beard-shaping. It’s unlikely that their hair naturally grew out perfectly.
So, just remember: we are all facing the same crooked-beard quandary.
Evening Things Up
Here’s the good news for those of you with cock-eyed beard growth. You’re probably already doing the most important thing to address it.
If one side of your beard is growing faster than the other, you should be letting both sides grow out and then evening things up. After a few weeks, this corrective trimming will become part of your normal facial hair maintenance.
What’s more, the uneven growth rate will be less apparent the longer your beard gets. After three or four months of solid growth, you might find you don’t need to do any evening out, just a normal touch-up at the margins with some scissors.
The Value of Good Styling
Hand in glove with trimming your beard is treating it with products.
Consider this: you don’t wake up from bed with a perfectly coiffed head of hair. No matter how good your genetics may be, you need to shampoo and condition. You might add moisturizing cream to promote fullness, and you almost certainly use some form of styling product. You do this even when you need a haircut because you’re trying to make the mane on your head look attractive.
Well, it’s the same with the mane on your face. Even if your beard is a little uneven, you can condition it, brush it with beard oil, and sculpt it with wax or styling cream. After that attention, it will look (and feel and smell) fantastic on both sides of your face!
Speeding Up the Process
If you’re in the process of growing out a crooked beard, you probably want to do whatever’s necessary to get things moving. At no time is the disparate growth of the two sides of your face more apparent than when the beard is coming in.
Lucky for you, there are several steps you can take to move things along, perhaps even speeding up the slower hair growth on one side. These steps include:
- Eating foods that promote beard growth like fatty fish, berries, brazil nuts, kale, and spinach.
- Taking vitamin supplements, including B5 and D, plus Biotin, Inositol, and Niacin.
- Stimulating testosterone production with exercise.
- Applying minoxidil creams and to the side of your face with slower beard growth.
Not all of these products will work for everyone. However, they have been shown to promote beard health and improve more rapid growth.
The Bottom Line
As they say, genes are not destiny. Most people have facial hair that grows at different rates on different sides of their faces. This means that almost every beardsman has to even out their mane regularly.