Beards are like babies – when small and annoying, you long for the day you can sit in a bar and share a beer with one. However, if you have been cursed with a patchy beard, the juvenile stage can be painfully extended, and your want for maturity intensified. Patchy beard has been known to cause men to walk around clean-shaven and pretend ‘they don’t care’ about not having a beard, or worse, to eat sketchy formulas sold to them by the internet in ignorant hope they will stimulate its growth. Though, as with babies, you don’t get to choose genetics, and when the universe deals you patchy beard you must relax, be patient and affect love.
What causes patchy beard? Beard hair is different from head hair or eyelashes in that it relies on testosterone for its growth. Testosterone is the rabid monkey hormone that forced you through voice-cracks, awkward boners, pimples and introspection to become the man you are today – and it also feeds your beard.
So let’s order a testostoshake and get this show started – not that easy. When testosterone is sent by the brain to your face to inform the follicles of the need for beard, testosterone evolves into dihydrotestosterone which, as with any evolution, makes it bigger, faster and stronger. However dihyrotestosterone is useless on its own and needs the enzyme 5-alpha-reductase to stimulate beard growth. Unfortunately the only 5-alpha-reductase product on the market is an inhibitor, and in this topsy turvy world, while a bunch of alpha will produce a big healthy beard it also causes male pattern baldness. The fact that we have to choose between head hair or an awesome beard basically disproves God.
So what do you do? Well there are treatments which you can acquire that we don’t recommend. Minoxidal is the most popular on the black beard market. Originally a medicine for high blood pressure, Minoxidal was found to make hair grow from your head, and naturally people started taking it for their beards. Though unless you want hair sprouting from your chest, eyebrows, stomach and back, and are beguiled by full moons, you should stay away from this particular potion.
Sorry, beard seekers, but the cold, patchy truth is that genetics are immutable, and your beard’s abilities were dictated at birth. So the key here is to work with what you’ve got; underchin growth, and you are the wily Viking. Sideburns and chin hair: a 90’s Detective. If all you have is a mo then rock a mo. Like a hairy snow flake your beard is special and unique and thus should be treated with love and delicacy.
It’s easy to say ‘if I don’t have a full beard, I don’t want anything at all’, though the reality is that most revered beardsmen overcame patchy beard at some point. They threw away their razors and risked looking like a hobo for a few months, giving their beards a chance to grow thick and strong. The only difference between them and you is that they had the patience, confidence and determination, which formed all the nomadic hair tribes together who now colonize their face with bearded dominion – so don’t shave!