27 and still can't grow a beard
July 22, 2010 11:59 AM   Subscribe

Will I ever be able to grow a proper beard?

I expect that at the age of 27 puberty has run its course, but I can't grow a proper beard (mustache, sideburns and chin don't join up). I'm of Irish ethnicity and my dad and uncles are normal, so I'm just curious if this changes later for some people or if what I've got now is all I'll ever have.

(I got no chest hair either - not that I particularly want any.)
posted by anonymous to Health & Fitness (22 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
For some people beard growth doesn't come until well into adulthood. On the other hand, some men can never grow a full beard.

My suggestion is to be patient. I've grown out my facial hair four times now and this is the first time I'm actually pleased with the results. If you grow it out for 2 or 3 months, eventually even patchy areas aren't that noticeable. This worked for a friend of mine as well.
posted by squawk at 12:10 PM on July 22, 2010

I am 29, and I can grow a mean moustache(Yay Movember!). But... that's about it. I think part of it is that my moustache hair is all black, and my chin hair (what little there is of it) is black, brown, red, and blond, so unless I let it grow for a loooong time, it doesn't look like much. But nothing really connects, either. And I don't think it ever will.

(I'm 100% Swedish, FWIW)
posted by Grither at 12:10 PM on July 22, 2010

I had a hairy chest at 17, but my beard didn't really fill in until I was in my late 20's.

I'm 41 now and think sometimes it's STILL changing... especially the part that is migrating off my head, down my back and towards my ass.

(ok, that parts just a joke... but the point is that puberty is not the end. However, genetics is like a box of chocolates.)
posted by matty at 12:10 PM on July 22, 2010 [1 favorite]

From personal experience I know that the first beard that I grew, when I was in my twenties, came in very sparse. I did notice that after I had shaved it off and grew it again a few years later, that it did come in thicker. My ancestors came from the UK and I'm a redhead for what it's worth...
posted by Hanuman1960 at 12:11 PM on July 22, 2010

I'm 35. At 28, my beard had spotty patches in the cheeks, and my upper lip was a reverse Hitler. I'm pretty sure now, if my wife would let me, those things would not be a problem. I've been able to grow decent sideburns since I was 14 though.

(also, I never had back hair, but in the past year, I've developed a patch directly opposite the funny little patch of chest hair in the center of my chest.)

It takes time, but it'll slowly fill in, I'd bet.
posted by notsnot at 12:13 PM on July 22, 2010

I was the same way at 27, and I'm still mostly the same way at 39. I have no sideburns at all so all I can do is grow a goatee with mustache type thing with little straggly whiskers here and there on my cheeks. But, that didn't start getting aggressively thick until I was in my early thirties, so might still see some changes ahead of you.

Still, it's nice to know that I can finally do the evil genius/ Western villain Van Dyke if I want.
posted by quin at 12:17 PM on July 22, 2010

Yes, you will be able to, in fact you are right now, you're just expecting too much.

I had a beard off and on through my twenties and thirties (and ever since I became a semi-bum/recluse in my late forties), and for most of that time I had your situation. It isn't really that there is no hair there, but that it grows much, much more slowly than it does elsewhere.

A lot of people will just shave their cheek bones, and leave the hair on their jaw. It is a look, and you could try that. The other way to do it, is to give the beard enough time to get long enough to cover the gaps. (there is a reason so many beards begin on two or three week camping trips.) I have done it both ways, and like the patient, just wait way best, because if I have a beard (and do the trimming that takes) I don't want to have to use a razor often too.

Just relax, early beards don't look like established ones, but in six months or a year, you will look great.

(Also, chest hair means nothing, if your leg hair ever gets thin get thee to a endocrinologist and a cardiologist though.)
posted by Some1 at 12:19 PM on July 22, 2010

If it makes you feel any better, I think I got your beard when I turned 40. You're welcome to have it back, this constant tweezing is getting old.
posted by SecretAgentSockpuppet at 12:27 PM on July 22, 2010

I'm going through something similar. I'm 27 and the men in my family are beardy and Semitic. I, however, am still waiting for the beardiness to kick in. It grows fast, but there's a patch on each cheak that doesn't fill in the way I want.
posted by Jon-o at 12:29 PM on July 22, 2010

I'm 47 yr. old Scots-Irish/Irish-French Canadian mix and my beard never filled in enough to grow a really proper beard but after seeing how crappy a lot of celebrities' beards are, I recently grew mine out and though it's patchy, it would have been acceptable it it wasn't so orange. I don't think it's filled in very much over the last 10 years. My relatives who have thicker beards also went bald young, so I'm not complaining.
posted by bonobothegreat at 12:36 PM on July 22, 2010

My beard has perfect coverage and has pretty much always been since my teens. My older brother's beard is spotty. We are both in our 40s.
posted by rhizome at 12:37 PM on July 22, 2010

bonobothegreat - Wow, I'm 26 and my beard looks pretty much like that.

I've decided that facial hair and me are no longer going to be friends, and have been going clean shaven. Maybe we'll make it up in the future, but yeah, anonymous, you're far from alone.

Also, my facial hair is orange too. Lousy viking genes. Sure I get nice cold tolerance and stuff, but it does nothing for my dreams of a rich, luxurious beard.
posted by SansPoint at 12:40 PM on July 22, 2010

There's no real answer other than "It might change? Or not?" My ex-Marine manly man father can't grow a beard for shit (though he has an omnipresent mustache); unshaven, he looks like a deteriorating car mat. I, on the other hand, a shrimply little cipher of a person, can grow a mighty ax-man beard worthy of tankards of ale and loose women.

As for back hair . . . oh, that'll come. Don't you worry. Right about the time your ear ridges start generating wiry antennae. Good times.
posted by Skot at 12:42 PM on July 22, 2010 [3 favorites]

As suggested by the above responses, the correct answer here is "God only knows."
posted by valkyryn at 12:43 PM on July 22, 2010

I didn't really bother with growing a beard until I was 29, and it came in pretty well. My brother is a couple of years younger, and now at 33 his beard still isn't coming in as fully as mine did at 29. So I'm not sure if you can really judge by your family.
posted by backwards guitar at 1:18 PM on July 22, 2010

When I met him, my blonde husband's chest looked waxed. He thought he could only ever grow a goatie because he never grew enough on his cheeks to make it worthwhile (right into his 30s). Now, however, at age 44, I encouraged him to try again, and he has a very full ginger beard and moustache.

Be careful what you wish for though, this increased hirsuity comes with ear hairs (inside and along the edges), nostril tentacles, and a furry back.
posted by b33j at 1:53 PM on July 22, 2010

I have definitely continued to get hairier throughout my life (now in late 40s). It was early 30s before I had enough beard for it not to be pathetic. (There were a few goatee trainer years.) When the beard did get wearable, it was a reddish brown (hair is just brown). Arm and leg hair is present, but nearly transparent. Of similar Irish / English ethnicity.
posted by aught at 1:56 PM on July 22, 2010

At 29, I can grown more of a beard than I could at 27. Give it time.
posted by mikeh at 2:06 PM on July 22, 2010

I'm pretty Irish, 25, and my facial hair does the same thing. I've still got it grown out. I like to say that I've gor a full collection of facial hair: Goatee, moustache, mutton cops, and soul patch.
posted by cmoj at 5:07 PM on July 22, 2010 [1 favorite]

Don't be afraid of growing out a patchy beard. You never know what it will look like until you let it grow out. Look at Keanu Reeves and Jonny Depp: their beards are ridiculously patchy but they still look alright. Everyone's beard is a little different.
posted by baking soda at 6:02 PM on July 22, 2010

When I first tried to grow a beard around 18-20, my mustache didn't quite link up with the rest of my beard, and things were a bit patchy. So I went clean shaven for several years. By the time I was oh, 24 or 25, I was able to grow a good beard, and I sport one to this day (I'm 33). I think I've leveled out, and it's not getting any thicker. As some others have reported, baldness and general other-hairiness have increased into my 30s.

It's weird how this stuff kicks in (or not). You should keep trying, at least periodically.
posted by bennett being thrown at 10:17 PM on July 22, 2010

My husband is in his late 40s and can't grow a beard to save his life. He gets patchy peach fuzz. He can just about make a mustache after two weeks, but that's it. The rest of his body has compensated by being extremely furry.

For contrast, I remember my dad being very proud of his three chest hairs when I was about 7 and he was about 30. About five years after that, he suddenly got werewolfy and now has a shaggy chest pelt.
posted by vickyverky at 9:39 PM on July 23, 2010

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