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Love them or hate them, research shows that we nearly universally agree on one thing — beards are the ultimate expression of masculinity. Whether you want a beard or a stash or not, it's quite natural to become worried when your facial hair just won't grow, perhaps even to the point where shaving is nearly pointless. 

What causes a lack of facial hair growth, and what can you do if you want to have a beard or mustache but it just doesn't seem to happen for you?

Normal Pubertal Facial Hair Development

Pubertal development comes in five stages, starting with prepubescence and ending with full adulthood. If you're currently going through puberty or have a son who is, you may be surprised to learn that facial hair growth tends to come only after the earlier signs of puberty, like testicular and penile growth, the appearance of body odor, a physical growth spurt, and even the cracking of the voice. In fact, it's not unusual for boys not to start growing facial hair until the fifth and final stage of puberty, at about age 17! Others, however, start growing fuzz much earlier, and that's OK too. It will be sparse at first, and grow coarser later on... with any luck, that is. 

When You Can't Grow A Beard

The pattern and amount of your facial hair growth depends on genetics in large part, so though your immediate male relatives' facial hair doesn't necessarily reflect what kind of facial hair you are or will be able to grow, a family album just may give you a clue. Facial hair growth is further regulated by the hormone testosterone (which is responsible for follicle priming) and the chemical dihydrotestosterone (responsible for linear growth). 

You can't change your genetics, but there are still some things you can do to promote beard growth, and some good tips are:

  • Have patience! Beard growth seems to happen overnight for some guys, but others simply need more time. You may hate this "in between" stage (though research shows many women find heavy stubble even more attractive than a full beard), but you're gonna have to get through it to reach your goal.
  • Try beard oil. Specialized products designed especially for the purpose of nurturing your (future) beard are on the market, but you can also just go for castor oil, which incidentally helps many women regrow their eyebrows. 
  • Eat a balanced, nutritious, diet. It might or might not help your facial hair come in faster, but it will definitely make it look healthier, and that's important. 
  • To help your facial hair look its best, get it groomed professionally sometimes. 

And if you're one of those guys who just can't grow a beard? It happens, and though you can certainly get your testosterone levels checked, they're likely to be just fine — and genetics are far more likely to be the culprit. The ultimate answer is, cliche as it may be, to accept your body for what it is. Knowing a lack of facial hair growth actually also means you're less likely to go bald may help with that.

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