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Hair Follicle

The hair follicle is what produces the individual strands of hair, and can be found all over the beard area. The follicle is responsible for the shape of the hair it produces, as well as the texture.

The follicle will have sebaceous glands nearby for the secretion of sebum and is located below the epidermis, within the dermis.

Depending on the individual follicle, it will be in one of three phases in the hair cycle.

Where follicles are will be based on genetics. There are around 90,000-150,000 hair follicles on the scalp, and 5 million total on the male body. If there is no follicle present, there will be no hair produced. This is why some men may have very dense, thick-looking beards compared to other men. The more follicles there are, along with how many of the follicles are active through androgens, the thicker the beard will appear to be. Of course, the hair shaft thickness itself plays a role in that as well.

For men wondering if they can change the shape of their unruly beard, in any natural way, the answer is no. The best options you'll have are working with the beard, using a beard balm or wax, and/or using a hair dryer.

Ultimately, beyond using a few natural techniques, there's nothing you'll be able to do if you have a tight curl and want a straighter beard. As well as vice versa.

While you might be able to help the fullness of your beard by using something like minoxidil, you cannot change how your hair comes out. In general, the curl of a beard may resemble the hair on your head, although there are many exceptions to this (such as straight-haired men having curly beards). The color of your beard will be determined by genetics, and may not be the same color as your head hair. Even mustaches or soul patches may be different colors from the base beard.

Hair can and will shed, as it is a natural process of cell replacement. If you notice facial hair falling out of your beard daily, you are not losing this hair. It will regrow in the hair follicle.

Each hair follicle has an independent cycle. While some may be roughly synced, hair will mostly shed independently*. This is not necessarily the case for those using minoxidil to grow a beard, however.

*Independently does not mean single hair will shed at a time.

The three phases of the growth cycle are anagen, catagen, and telogen.

This is the phase in which the follicle is actively growing hair. The one that we want most of our hair to be in to achieve the thickest beard possible. Minoxidil, and to an extent, peppermint essential oil are known to cause follicles to go into a state of anagen.

Once signaled, the anagen phase goes into the catagen phase. This transitional phase allows the hair to renew itself, and only about 1% of human body hair will be in this phase at any one time.

The length of hair in the phase can still appear to be growing due to it being pushed out during the two weeks it is in effect.

The telogen phase is the body's way of conserving its resources while the rest of the hair is in its growth (anagen) phase. It sticks around for one to several months before the hair is shed. In the coming weeks, the follicle will then enter its growth phase.

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