by Cody Wiley
Hopefully you’ve read my previous article on brushing and combing your beard, and how important these elements are to proper grooming. If you haven’t, go ahead and check it out here.
Keeping you hair tangle-free and your follicles massaged are important to maintaining a healthy well-kept beard, but maybe you’ve noticed a few hairs left in your brush or comb? Or perhaps a few running down the drain after a wash? Should you be worried? Is your beard falling out? Probably not, hair loss is a normal part of a hair’s life cycle, and when doing research for this article I found that most people lose hair at a rate of 50-100 per day. Keep in mind, this data relates to the hair on your head, there have yet to be any definitive studies specific to beard hair, but we can gather that some hair loss is absolutely to be expected.
There are three widely accepted phases to the life cycle of hairs-- the growing phase (anagen phase), the inbetween phase (catagen phase), and the resting phase (telogen phase). At any given time 80-90% of your hairs are in the growing phase leaving 10-20% in the resting phase. So what exactly does that mean? The anagen or growing phase is exactly what it sounds like, the hair is growing. This phase lasts for the first 2 to 6 years of a hairs life, the hair growing at an average rate of 1/2 an inch per month, longer hair growing at a slower average rate of 1/4 an inch per month. Next is the catagen phase, a short transition period between the anagen and telogen phases lasting approximately 10 days. And finally the telogen or resting phase, the end of the hair’s life cycle, as it is released and falls out. The follicle remains inactive for 3 months and then the cycle is repeated.
You could drive yourself crazy trying to keep track of the number of hairs that either fall out naturally during the course of your day or what comes loose during the maintenance of your beard, but as I said at the start losing some hair is completely natural and nothing to worry about. Maybe your beard is getting rather long and you feel more hairs are coming out than before? Again, don’t worry, longer hairs are more noticeable when they fall out or accumulate on your brush, that doesn’t necessarily mean you’re losing more hairs, just longer ones. If you would like a simple test to check your hair loss level, try to get roughly 60 or so hairs in between your thumb and a finger, lightly pull as you run through the length of the hairs. According to Dr. James C. Marotta (a New York based hair restoration specialist) anything up to 5-8 hairs pulled free would be considered normal, whereas an excess of 15 could indicate something other than the normal life cycle of the hair could be the cause of the hair loss.
While I can’t speak to every case, I can say that the loss of hairs is completely normal, natural, and healthy. These can fall out during brushing, washing, oiling, or just walking around. To minimize hair loss, include an effective conditioner such as beard oil or beard dry oil (beard balm) into your routine and make sure that you are grooming your beard with a high quality comb or brush. I hope this information has helped put you at ease concerning the hairs you see in the shower, sink, floor, or brush. Stress can also be a contributing factor to hair loss so take what comfort you can in this article, as we certainly don’t want you to lose any more than will naturally fall out on their own!
This post is part of an ongoing Can You Handlebar series designed to help our customers. Please visit our full library of articles at TheBeardMentor.com