One of the first things that comes to mind before starting this journey is how long we have to apply minoxidil to grow a full beard.
To get the first part out of the way: minoxidil does not need to be applied for life as some would have you believe. The science between balding and growing a beard are not blurry lines. They are entirely different.
Everything we know about secondary hair is that it is permanent when terminal (matured). Barring disease and health complications, of course. Scalp hair, when you have the genetics that cause male pattern baldness, is when minoxidil needs to be applied for life. It’s a lifelong process where genetics are working against you — where dihydrotestosterone (DHT) essentially attacks and miniaturizes the scalp’s follicles.
DHT does not work that way with androgenic hair (such as the hair on your face). In fact, DHT helps growth on the face and is required. This androgen is the fuel that beard follicles require, along with testosterone.
It’s highly dependent on the person, but after the several years I’ve seen men on this journey, we can make some educated guesses. For those that respond well to minox, it will take roughly one year of consistent application to fill your beard out. Many choose to go beyond one year, going roughly 1.5 to 2 years total.
The reason for going longer than a year is because time is not the primary factor in growing a beard with minoxidil. What you need to take into account is whether the hair is terminal or not. This can happen much sooner than a full year, or take a fair bit longer.
If you’re going to apply minoxidil to grow a full beard, don’t measure your progress in terms of how long it takes. As well, don’t compare yourself with other people, as everyone is different. Take it a day at a time and simply make sure that the hair is terminal before completely stopping your journey.
This reasoning is partly why a lot of guys go beyond the actual amount of time it would have taken; they are trying to make absolute sure that everything is good to go before they stop. And since, in the grand scheme of things, a year or two is a short time, the question becomes “what’s a few more months?”
Minoxidil works for growing more facial hair, almost no matter who you are. How much it works for you can only be answered by giving it a shot.