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Big, full beards are all the rage these days. How else could a site dedicated to them, like ours, be so popular?
But while beards may be trendy at the moment, they’re by no means a fad. Bros have been rocking facial hair for most of human history – and gnarly beards have nearly always been connected with masculinity, even across vastly different cultures.
So, it’s understandable that men who struggle to grow one are looking for answers. And that brings us to today’s topic: Asian beards.
Many Asian men seem to have trouble growing full beards. Not all, of course. But it’s still a relatively common complaint, especially among Asians living in America or Europe.
Fortunately, there are a variety of strategies that can make their beard-growing dreams a reality, from all-natural means to those that are a little more involved.
And we’re going to tell you exactly what they are. We’ll even give you tips on how to style your newly filled out facial hair.
But first, let’s look at some of the reasons why some men grow beards easier than others.
Why is it harder for Asian men to grow beards?
There’s a well-established correlation between testosterone, dihydrotestosterone (DHT), and facial hair growth. So, often that’s the first explanation that comes up when talking about Asian men and beards: it must be a lack of testosterone.
But that’s not actually the case.
For starters, while some studies have shown slightly higher average testosterone levels in Caucasians than Asians, the difference isn’t large enough to account for the difference in body hair.
And in fact, there have been other comparisons that showed equal testosterone levels between groups of East Asians and Euroamericans – and yet the latter group still had noticeably more body hair.
“Okay, then it must be DHT, right?”
Not really. Many Asian men actually have higher DHT levels than their white, black, or Latino counterparts.
So, what’s the deal here? Why do so many men from China, Japan, Thailand, Indonesia, the Philippines, etc. struggle to grow beards?
It seems to come down to androgen receptors. These receptors are what actually use the DHT to stimulate growth in the hair follicle.
However, if a follicle doesn’t have enough receptors – or the receptors aren’t sensitive enough, which can actually be caused by having too many receptors – then it doesn’t really matter how much DHT you have. Because you simply don’t have the receptor function to utilize it.
You can think of it kind of like a car. If you have two cars, one that’s very fuel-efficient and one that’s very inefficient, the first car may be able to drive two, three, or even five times further on the same amount of gasoline.
And while receptor distribution has an environmental aspect, it’s mostly tied to genetics. This is why you can have two men with similar testosterone and DHT levels but completely different levels of facial and body hair.
In general, people groups that are historically from colder areas, like Northern Europe, are predisposed to grow more body hair than those from warmer areas, like Southeast Asia, as seen in this map by the American Journal of Physical Anthropology:
But of course, even within these groups, you have variance. Just look at the difference between southern and northern Japan, for instance.
So, with all that in mind, does that mean Asian facial hair dreams are dashed forever? Not at all! Keep reading for our tips on both maximizing and surpassing your genetic potential for beard growth.
6 Powerful lifestyle changes to improve natural beard growth in Asian men
Now, even if your beard prospects seem hopeless, there are a few ways that you can surpass your genetic potential and pull off a full face of hair.
But first, we want to lay out the basics. Because not only will making these lifestyle adjustments help maximize what you’ve got, they’ll also improve the results you get from other methods. Plus, they’re good for your overall health.
They’ll increase testosterone, increase androgen receptor count and/or sensitivity, and make sure your body has all the tools (and nutrients) it needs to grow the longest, bushiest beard possible.
Eat a healthier diet
You may have rolled your eyes when mom told you to eat your veggies as a kid. But as it turns out, ma was just trying to help you maximize your beard gains.
Because not only is a nutritious, balanced diet good for your overall health, many of the key vitamins found in vegetables promote healthier skin and longer, fuller hair. These include vitamins A, B (B6 and B12), C, E, biotin, and beta A carotene.
But make sure to get your protein, too. It’s full of keratin, which is extremely important for hair health.
Oh, and fats. Omega-3 fatty acids, which are found in fish and certain nuts, are great for your skin and overall health. Meanwhile, saturated (think red meat, milk, cheese, and butter) and monounsaturated (olive oil, avocados, nuts) fats have been shown to increase testosterone.
In short, a diet that includes a good balance of protein, vitamins, and dietary fat can do wonders for your beard growth.
Start an exercise routine
A good exercise routine will contribute to beard growth in a variety of ways, giving a boost to your overall hair and skin quality. But it’s also been scientifically proven to increase testosterone levels.
Which exercises have the best effect on test? That would be resistance (weight) training, especially the big compound lifts, like squats, dead lifts, and presses. That’s bench and military press, to be exact. And high-intensity, short-duration cardio can help too. Think sprint intervals.
Don’t have weights? Pushups and pullups should be your go to.
Take care of your skin and beard
Whether you’re stuck in the peach fuzz phase or you’ve already got a full lumberjack beard, it’s important to take care of both your facial hair and the skin underneath.
Because not only will it make the hair itself look better, it’ll give it the best possible environment to grow – and thus help it grow even faster and fuller.
So, what do we recommend? At a minimum, we’d suggest a good beard oil, for moisturizing and maintaining both your skin and facial hair.
For maximum results, you should use an exfoliating face scrub and a good beard shampoo as well.
Finally, not only will a beard brush keep your budding beard looking extra spiffy, it’ll aid growth by lifting dead skin skills from your face and beard, along with spreading that growth-giving sebum through your hair.
Now, guys who are currently baby faced may be thinking, “What? That’s a lot of stuff!” But as any beardsman knows, if you want a good looking mane, you’ve gotta mane-tain it.
Get it, mane-tain? Like maintain? No? Okay, moving on.
Get enough sleep
Your body does all kinds of crazy stuff while you’re sleeping, from regenerating your skin to, that’s right, growing your hair.
Plus, sleep has a big impact on your testosterone levels. In fact, studies have show a whopping 10 to 15% decrease in testosterone in young men after just a week of sleep restrictions.
That means, if you want to keep your beard game strong – and avoid getting eye bags that are darker than your facial hair – you should shoot for at least 7 to 8 hours of rest per night.
Your hormones are also affected by when you go to sleep and wake up, so try to maintain as “normal” a sleep schedule as possible. That means waking up at or not long after sunrise.
This probably isn’t the first time you’ve been told about the benefits of proper hydration.
But did you know drinking water could help you grow a beard? That’s right. Because it’s so critical to the health of your skin and hair.
Just like the rest of your body, your hair needs plenty of H2O, so keeping hydrated is a good way to keep your beard healthy and growing. The recommended daily intake of water varies based on the individual, but getting the proper amount is essential to making sure you’re growing the strongest and healthiest beard possible.
If you can’t remember whether or not you had enough to drink that day, look no further than your facial hair. Dehydration can cause dull, brittle, and dry skin and hair, which definitely won’t help if you’re trying to grow out your whiskers.
Drinking plenty of water will also help keep your skin moisturized and soft underneath that new beard, reducing itchiness and irritation. A simple tip is to carry around a reusable water bottle with you; I’ve found this easy trick makes me much more likely to drink more water throughout the day.
Hydrated hair is full, smooth, and luscious. Dehydrated hair is dry, brittle, and thin.
The difference is obvious. So, drink up, bros.
Avoid excess stress
No one likes to feel stressed out.
And not only does it feel bad, it’s bad for your health too. In excess, that is. A small amount of stress is natural, even beneficial.
But when you take it to more extreme levels, as so many of us do today, it becomes a problem. And the hormone that is responsible for many of those stressful emotions you experience, cortisol, can hurt your testosterone levels too.
Fortunately, many of the tips we highlighted above, like exercising and getting enough sleep, will help manage your stress levels.
Other things to consider include not drinking too much coffee/caffeine, setting aside time for relaxation, and not excessively worrying about the things in your life.
Keep calm and grow a beard.
How to grow a thicker beard as an Asian man
If you’ve tried everything above – or you’re simply dead set on growing a glorious man mane as quickly as possible – we’ve got some even more effective strategies for you to use.
1. Minoxidil / Nanoxidil
Most of us have heard of Rogaine, whether from seeing it on a TV commercial – or on your uncle’s bathroom counter.
And for good reason: the stuff works. It’s, simply put, one of the most effective hair loss treatments you can buy.
But most guys don’t realize that you can also use Rogaine – or its main ingredient, Minoxidil – to grow new hair where you didn’t have hair before, from your face to your back.
Though we’re not sure why anyone would want to grow more hair on their back. But you do you, wolfman.
Anyways, when you combine the high popularity of beards with the high number of men who can’t grow one, it’s no surprise that tons of bros have tried it on their face. And guess what? They actually got results.
Yes, there are even positive testimonials about minoxidil for beards on Asian men.
And this led some companies to release similar products specifically for facial hair, like DS Laboratories’ Spectral.BRD serum. It uses Nanoxidil, which is a more effective version of Minoxidil with less side effects.
But either Minoxidil or Nanoxidil should be able to fill out even the thinnest, patchiest beard when applied regularly. Especially if you combine them with the next method.
2. Derma roller / Microneedling
What if we told you that you could turn your smooth jawline into a full beard… and all you have to do is poke your skin with dozens of long, tiny needles?
Yes, we’re serious. But don’t worry: it doesn’t actually hurt.
It’s called microneedling, and it’s an effective method for both general skin health AND beard growth.
After the needles puncture your skin, your body responds by springing into action to heal the area, stimulating blood flow and even stem-cell growth factors. Your skin will regenerate better than ever, and it can even heal scars and other skin damage.
More importantly for our purposes, microneedling has been shown to drastically increase the number of visible hairs in just weeks.
And the whole process couldn’t be easier. By using a derma roller, sometimes called a “beard roller”, like the StimuROLLER from DS Laboratories, you can microneedle your face in just minutes – and you only have to do it a few times a week to see results.
Can Asians grow beards? With the combination n of a derma roller and Minoxidil/Nanoxidil, they definitely can. Though you can still see good beard gains using just one or the other.
3. Biotin & supplementation
Hopefully, your diet is already rich with vitamins and minerals, like zinc, copper, magnesium, iron, and vitamin E, all of which have been linked to hair health.
But for maximum beard gains, you can also consider supplementation. For instance, biotin, also known as vitamin H (though it’s technically part of the B vitamins… go figure).
Too little biotin can lead to thinning hair. But getting plenty of biotin can actually strengthen hair and help it grow.
Now, biotin is already found in foods like eggs, bananas, and nuts, but it can be worth supplementing, especially if you’re not already getting enough from your diet. The recommended dosage for improving hair health is 2.5 mg.
Another supplement to consider is vitamin D. Our main source of vitamin D is sunlight – and unfortunately, many of us don’t get enough of it because of our modern lifestyles.
Finally, there’s herbal supplements, like Mucuna Pruriens. Also known as the velvet bean, this ancient remedy contains high concentrations of L-Dopa.
So, what’s the big deal about L-Dopa? We’re glad you asked.
Not only has it been shown to increase fertility and sperm quality, as well as boost testosterone, L-Dopa seems to have a positive effect on androgen receptor activity and density.
And as we pointed out before, lack of androgen receptor activity is one of the main causes of lack of facial hair growth in Asian men.
If you want to make your beard supplementing routine easy, you can use something like Revita hair growth tablets, which contain both biotin and vitamin D, as well as other key vitamins and minerals, like zinc and magnesium.
4. Beard transplant
So, you’ve tried everything possible to grow a fuller beard, from healthier habits to minoxidil and microneedling. But your jawline is still just as smooth – or patchy – as ever.
Or maybe you’re simply impatient and want the quickest shortcut to Asian beard growth.
Well, then, there is a secret weapon: beard transplants.
It works by literally taking hair from another part of your body, usually the back of your head, and grafting it onto your face. Why the back of the head? Because the hair there tends to be most similar to facial hair.
Needless to say, this is a pretty drastic step. But beard transplants actually aren’t very painful at all, and recovery time is pretty quick.
In fact, the biggest drawback to this method is the cost. A decent beard transplant will cost you anywhere from $5,000 to $15,000. Dang.
But if you simply must have a beard – or money just ain’t a thang – it’s definitely worth checking out.
6 Coolest Asian beard styles for you to try
Now that you’ve got some hair to play with, how are you gonna style it?
We’ll highlight some of the most fashionable looks using one of our favorite Asian beardsman, Japanese actor Hiroyuki Sanada (Westworld, 47 Ronin, The Wolverine, The Last Samurai).
Want to show off your ability to grow a beard… without actually growing a beard? Then the stubble look may be right for you. It says, “I could grow a beard if I wanted to”. And it’s a versatile style, which you can pull off in both a wrinkled t-shirt and a tailored suit.
Ah, the mustache. It’s classic, cool, and easy to grow and maintain… but very hard to pull off. Too thin and whispy, and it makes you look like a dorky teenager with a dead caterpillar on their face.
Too full, and you look like a police officer or an ‘80s porn star. Though Ron Swanson would beg to differ.
But if you can hit that sweet spot, it’s a look that means business.
3. Van Dyke
The Van Dyke is the middle ground between a mustache and a goatee – and somehow ends up more stylish than them both. In fact, one of the best parts of this look is its timelessness.
Keep it clean and well-shaped for a modern professional look. Let it get a little longer and more grizzled, for the samurai warrior vibe. Or curl the mustache, to impress the hipster chicks at the local dive bar.
4. Chin strap
The chin strap is a beard that runs along your jawline but is shaved clean on the cheeks, which can be worn with or without a mustache and goatee. Not only is it a solid look, but it’s also easier to grow if you’re a guy whose beard comes in short or patchy on the sides.
5. Short beard
Even guys who can grow monster beards sometimes opt for keeping them on the shorter side. And we can understand why. They’re easier to wash and brush, they don’t get in the way as much, and they look a little more professional.
Plus, they’re more attainable for men with thinner or shorter facial hair.
6. Full beard
When many men (and women) think “beard”, this is the look they’re thinking of. Not only is it grown out full and thick on the jaw and cheeks, but it’s also got extra length for that extra masculine oomph.
This is the ultimate bearded look, in our humble opinion – but it’s also the hardest to grow and maintain.
FAQ: Asian beard frequently asked questions
You’ve got questions, and we’ve got answers. Here are some quick and easy responses to some of the most frequently asked questions on Asian beards.
Why can’t Asians grow a beard?
Many Asian men struggle to grow a beard because of a lack of androgen receptor sensitivity, which is tied to genetics. Because their receptors are less sensitive, they don’t fully utilize the testosterone and DHT needed to fuel beard growth, even when test levels are normal or high.
See the “How to Grow a Beard as an Asian Man” section to learn how Asian men can still grow beards.
How long does it take to grow a beard for Asians?
This really depends on the person and their approach. For some, it could take weeks. For others, it may never happen without help.
Men who struggle to grow a beard quickly or at all can speed up the process with minoxidil, a derma roller, or a beard transplant.
Learn more in the section “How to Grow a Beard as an Asian Man”.
How to grow a beard faster for Asians?
You can speed up your natural beard growth with exercise, a balanced diet (with protein, vitamins/minerals, and healthy fats), and an overall healthy lifestyle.
But if you struggle to grow a beard naturally, you can use minoxodil, derma rollers, supplementation, and/or a beard transplant to make it happen.
We go into these methods in more detail in the “How to Grow a Beard as an Asian Man” section.
As you can see, your beard prospects aren’t nearly as hopeless as you might have thought. Because even the most baby-faced Asian guy can grow full facial hair using the methods above, whether it’s simply a lifestyle adjustment, minoxidil, and a derma roller, or a beard transplant.
Have you used any of the beard growth hacks we covered? We’d love to hear about your results in the comments.
And make sure to share this article with your other Asian bros.