It can feel so unfair how some men can grow facial hair so effortlessly while others spend hundreds of dollars on different products, and they still can’t grow a full beard. Like during the COVID-19 quarantine period, we see pictures of men who’ve only been on lockdown for a few weeks – not even a month – yet they are already pulling insane Viking beards!
If you are struggling to grow a beard, then you are not alone. Many men are out here looking for the best beard growth products, a task that has proven to be very difficult.
Minoxidil is one of the hundreds of beard growth products on the market. In this review, I’ll take you through all the crucial details regarding Minoxidil that you must be aware of before spending your hard-earned money on it.
What is Minoxidil?
Minoxidil is an FDA-approved treatment for a part of the scalp known as the vertex. The drug is also known by the brand name Rogaine. Minoxidil was initially developed back in the 1950s for the treatment of high blood pressure. It helps to vasodilate the blood vessels allowing for the efficient flow of blood.
It’s actually still being used as a vasodilator to date. As the drug was being used for this purpose, physicians noticed that one of the side effects that was reported by most users was increased hair growth. This attracted the attention of experts in the hair growth industry, and by 1988, the FDA had approved its use as a hair growth product.
Unfortunately, there aren’t many studies showing how useful Minoxidil works for the beard. The FDA approval and most studies only show that it is beneficial for the vertex. This hasn’t stopped other people from using it on the beard, though, and based on the Minoxidil before and after results posted online; it’s fair to say that some guys have really benefited from it. In fact, some reports claim that since the blood vessels on the face are typically larger than the ones on the scalp, the vasodilation triggered by Minoxidil helps to feed the hair follicles around the beard with more blood to produce even better results and at a faster rate.
How Does Minoxidil Work?
The exact working mechanism of Minoxidil in increasing hair growth is still not 100% understood. Various studies have been carried out, but none of them have managed to explain everything that this drug does to your hair.
What’s known for a fact is that the drug is a vasodilator. Based on this knowledge, scientists believe that Minoxidil improves hair growth by increasing blood supply to the hair follicles. An increase in blood flow means that the hair follicles get a constant supply of nutrients that stimulate hair growth.
Also, the significant increase in blood circulation triggers stunted hair follicles to grow hair, which would explain how the drug manages to fill up bald patches on the scalp and grow a thicker and fuller beard.
Anagen is perhaps the most critical phase of the hair growth cycle. It is at this phase when your hair is actually going through some growth. Therefore, any factors that negatively affect this stage will also affect the amount of hair that you can grow. In fact, some cases of balding are due to the shortened anagen phase. Therefore, it’s in your best interest to have a long anagen phase to grow more hair. Reports show that Minoxidil can also support the anagen phase. It increases the supply of nutrients during this period allowing for more and faster hair growth before your hair moves to the next stage.
Types of Minoxidil
There are two main types of Minoxidil:
1. Men’s Rogaine Extra Strength 5% Minoxidil Topical Solution
Minoxidil Topical Solution comes with 5% Minoxidil giving the solution an extra kick to produce better results. The solution is known to treat hair loss and support hair regrowth and high hair density. It promotes the activities of the hair follicles and increases hair protein production.
The topical solution has a powerful formula that can penetrate into the hair follicles to produce the desired results. When used as directed, this Minoxidil topical solution should deliver visible results within 3 months.
Minoxidil Topical Solution is cheaper than the foam alternative. On the flip side, it feels a bit greasy on the hair, and it also takes longer to dry.
How to Apply Minoxidil Topical Solution for Beard Growth
Applying the Minoxidil topical solution is fast and easy.
- Start by washing your face. It’s vital that you use good and gentle soap on your face to retain the natural oils.
- Take 1ml of the solution using the included dropper.
- Put a few drops on the sections of your face that are to be covered with a beard. If you have a thinning beard, focus on the specific areas where the beard is thinning.
- After exhausting the dropper, use your fingers to rub the solution around your beard with light pressure, and that’s it. You can now wash your hands and focus on something else.
Minoxidil Topical solution should not be used more than twice in a day. If you decide to use it two times, make sure that the two applications are 8-12 hours apart. Also, do not use more than 2ml within 24 hours.
- 3-month supply of Men's Rogaine Extra Strength 5% Minoxidil Topical Solution to help treat hair loss, maintain hair density and allow for the regrowth of fuller hair
2. Men’s Rogaine 5% Minoxidil Foam
Rogaine 5% Minoxidil Foam is a fast-acting hair regrowth treatment. It contains 5% Minoxidil, and studies show that it can stimulate regrowth of as much as 25% more hair. Not only does it reduce hair loss, but it also stimulates the growth of fuller, stronger, and more voluminous hair.
In addition to stopping hair loss and boosting hair regrowth, the foam supports a healthy and conditioned scalp thanks to the addition of several botanical extracts.
Like the topical solution, Minoxidil foam requires around 12 weeks to produce visible results. However, it’s more expensive than the solution.
How to Apply Minoxidil Foam for Beard Growth
- Wash your face thoroughly with a gentle cleanser. Also, wash your hands with some cold water before using the foam
- Pour just enough foam for the job into the can of the bottle. Most people fill the can halfway.
- Pick a little foam from the can with your clean and cold finger, or two fingers, and rub it on your beard. Continue picking the foam and distributing it throughout your beard until you exhaust the half-filled can. Apply the foam with a little pressure. You are also free to use a bit more foam on areas with bald patches. Now wash your hands and get on with your day.
The Minoxidil topical solution and foam work best when used on hair that’s on its early stages of thinning. This is especially important if you are dealing with hair loss on the scalp. For beard growth, it should be able to work at any point.
- 3-month supply of Men's Rogaine 5% Minoxidil Foam hair growth treatment to help treat hair loss, maintain hair density and allow for the regrowth of fuller hair
I also want to recognize another popular type of Minoxidil known as Kirkland Signature Minoxidil 5% Extra Strength. The formula is very similar to that of the other two Rogaine Minoxidil discussed above, but this one is a bit cheaper, so it can be considered as a better value for money.
Side Effects of Minoxidil
Minoxidil has been linked to several side effects. These range from mild to severe adverse reactions. They include:
- Skin dryness
- Body hair growth
- Temporary hair shedding
- Dizziness and lightheadedness
- Heart palpitations
- Water retention
- Weight gain
- Lower blood pressure
Using Minoxidil as directed should reduce the risk of adverse reactions unless you are allergic to some of the ingredients used in the formula. You should stop taking Minoxidil immediately if you experience any of these side effects. You may also want to consult a medical practitioner afterward, especially if you are witnessing serious side effects like heart palpitation, lower blood pressure, and dizziness.
Where to Buy Minoxidil for Beard Growth
Minoxidil is available over the counter in most drug stores and supermarkets. You can also place your orders online from stores like Amazon. When buying Minoxidil, make sure you check the drug percentage because it also comes in 2%, 10%, and 12.5%. The 2% Minoxidil works best for women, while the Tugain 10% Minoxidil solutions are too strong for most people. Just settle for the 5% Minoxidil, which has proven to be effective and safe for most people.
How Fast Does Minoxidil Work for Beard Growth?
Minoxidil is a powerful solution, but it does not produce results overnight. As the manufacturers explain, this drug can take up to 12 weeks to produce clinically visible results. You should also know that the waiting period varies from one user to another because some may witness results a lot sooner than others. Some people use Minoxidil for up to 6 months for even better results.
When Can I Wash Minoxidil Off My Face?
According to several trials, it takes around 4 hours for 75% of Minoxidil to be absorbed. It’s therefore important that you do not rinse off the solution for at least 5 hours.
Minoxidil is a decent option for anyone who is looking to improve their beard growth. Even though there aren’t as many studies supporting its effectiveness on the beard as there are on scalp hair loss, anecdotal evidence shows that it can be just as beneficial for your beard. So yes, Minoxidil is worth considering, but remember to use it as directed and stop applying it right away if you experience any adverse reactions.
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Diana used to work as an Assistant Salon Manager in Los Angeles, CA before she started writing for Union of Barbers. With over 10 years of experience, she has tried hundreds of hair care products and has seen, styled, and treated all types of hair. Now, she shares all of the things she has learned in the hair industry and gives advice on everything about hair. When she’s not writing, you can find Diana at the beach on her yoga mat!