Terminal beard?! OMG, is my beard DYING?! (Cue dramatic music)
Dude, nix the panic. While “terminal beard” may sound horrifying, rest assured it’s absolutely no sweat.
No, your beard is not dying. The word “terminal” is referring to the maximum length that an individual strand of your beard hair will grow out until it has to renew itself and start over.
Yep, that’s all. Nothing to lose sleep over. Your beard is safe as a church and in no danger whatsoever.
Some people call it peak beard, although that term seems to have become interchangeable with the max length a guy is comfy growing his beard to.
Let’s explore what terminal beard is really about and, in the process, remove all the fear about it...
Fact: Your beard, as a whole, never stops growing and changing.
Fact: Once an individual hair reaches the maximum length that it will grow (it’s terminal length) the follicle sheds that strand, resets itself, and a new hair begins growing out of that same follicle.
So, terminal beard is not about death, it’s really about hairs being re-born.
It’s a 100% natural process that has nothing to do with age, hormones or beard thickness.
If you’re growing a long beard, there’s a possibility that you might feel like your beard stops growing for a while. Like it’s stalled out. Nope. It’s just adjusting and going through its natural cycle to ensure each strand is the best and healthiest it can be.
Ever noticed that everyone sheds hairs on their pillow, on their clothes, or on a brush? Even women? We all do. We humans shed hundreds of hairs a day without developing bare patches. That’s because our hairs and follicles - on our bodies, faces and heads - go through different cycles and phases at different times.
Terminal beard just means that some individual whiskers have reached their longest, so they’re “shed”, and then begin growing again. Those whiskers do this at different times because they’re all in different phases of growth.
The hair follicle embedded in your skin is in great shape and the hair grows perfectly. This phase lasts two to five years, depending on your genetic programming.
The hair stops growing and for two or three weeks the follicle shrinks.
The follicle shrinks to the point that the hair is released and falls out. The follicle goes quiet for a few weeks to reset itself and then the anagen phase begins again as a new hair sprouts.
Because the anagen growth phase lasts somewhere between two and five years, every bro has a different terminal length. It comes down to your DNA blueprints.
On average, neck whiskers will reach terminal beard length somewhere between one foot and three feet long. But that’s just average. Some guys grow mega-long beard hairs over many years. Everybody’s different.
Mustache hairs reach terminal length much shorter, around two or three inches.
“What about chin and cheek whiskers?” you ask… these max out somewhere between the terminal length of your mustache hairs and your neck hairs.
In short, no. It’s set in your DNA.
But you can help prevent your terminal beard length from shortening by taking care of yourself. In other words, you can give your anagen growth phase the best chance to reach its max. Do this by eating well, finding ways to destress, exercising regularly and ensuring you have a quality beard care kit and routine. At a minimum, grooming should include proper shampooing, using an A-1 beard oil, and brushing with a wild boar hair bristle beard brush.
The better you look after yourself, the longer your anagen phase can last where hairs divide and grow properly.
Terminal beard is really only an issue for bros who grow their whiskers as long as possible. If you’re a beardster who trims, this issue won’t come up or isn’t really noticeable.
Whatever you do, grow your beard your way and be proud. Whether you’re aiming to sport a long Gandalf beard or you plan on keeping a closely sculpted mane, remember that a beard is always badass, regardless of length.
When it comes to any and all beard questions, trust us at The Rugged Bros. If you haven’t already, sign up for our newsletter below. We’re beardmeisters ourselves, so use our experience and expertise. We’ve done the hard yards and succeeded, so that you can be the sexiest beast on the block.