by: Aaron Capener
Whether you're just starting testosterone or dreaming of the day you can, many trans individuals wonder what they might look like with facial hair. There are many myths surrounding FTM facial hair like, "if you shave more often, it'll grow faster" or "You have to be on testosterone to grow facial hair." Today, we're going to take on these questions to help you know what you can do. Whether you've been on hormones for years, or have zero plans to ever take T, let's dive into how you can enhance your peach fuzz.
Is HRT Required to Grow Facial Hair?
Although being on testosterone will induce a second puberty that stimulates FTM facial hair, it's not required. Hair growth products such as minoxidil can improve hair density and promote new hair growth - even if you are not on T. A quick YouTube search will supply you with all the testimonials you need. Minoxidil can really give you some serious hair growth.
That said, it's important to be aware of the side effects of using hair growth products. Please note that Minoxidil is NOT intended for use on your face and there are risks associated with using the product in this way. Know the facts before taking the plunge.
While you don't technically *need* T to make your facial hair grow, HRT is almost certain to expedite your facial hair growth. If you happen to be on HRT, and are still unhappy with the amount of facial hair you have, you can always supplement with other hair growth treatments.
You can also enhance the appearance of your peach fuzz even more by dying it with a beard dye. Here's a great video on how to do this at home:
Will Taking Higher Doses of T Speed Facial Hair Growth?
No. Not only do we not recommend tampering with your T dose without medical supervision, taking more T won't magically give you a bigger beard or more facial hair. The true facial hair facilitator is time. Think of it this way: the average cis teenage boy has more testosterone in his body than the average 50-year-old cis man. If more T meant more beard, teenage boys would all be walking around with awesome ZZ Top-looking beards.
Give it time. How long it will take? That depends mostly on your genetics. As un-fun as it is to hear, it's the truth.
To Shave Or Not To Shave
Will shaving help your beard grow faster? This has got to be the most common myth there is about facial hair. Unfortunately, no it won't. When I was in my first few months of HRT I was so excited to have some facial hair to play around with. I immediately went and bought a trimmer just so I could see what it felt like. I also thought it would make my stubble grow faster. Although I'm glad I bought a beard trimmer so I could experiment with my new facial hair, it didn't make my beard grow any faster.
While shaving won't make your beard come in more quickly, massaging your face juuuuust might. As far as I know, there haven't been any studies on beard hair growth and massage. However, there have been studies on scalp hair growth and massage. Scientists believe that stimulating hair follicles improves blood flow. This blood flow delivers more nutrients to the hair follicles and thus promotes faster hair growth.
I recommend massaging a small amount of beard oil into your face for 4 minutes a day. According to the study mentioned above, 4 minutes is the time needed to adequately stimulate your follicles. Plus, sometimes your new facial hair growth can get dry and itchy. A good beard oil can be a huge help for that.
Beard oil conditions and protects hair follicles to remove knots, prevent ingrown hairs, itching, split ends and dandruff. It'll help soften your facial hair, add body and shine, and even moisture the skin beneath. Trust me, your beard and face will thank you.
Genetics & FTM Facial Hair
Look around your immediate family. Does your brother/father/uncle have facial hair? Does your mom wax her upper lip often? These kinds of signs will give you information to support what your new whiskers may look like. Your genetics will play a part in what your end result will look like when growing out your stubble. Some cis-gender men can't grow beards simply because they don't have that card in their genes. When it's all said and done, it isn't easy to have the patience it takes to grow your facial hair out. While writing this, I'm 20 months on testosterone myself and I still haven't grown my connectors or my cheeks all the way yet! But what I do have, I credit to genes and resisting the temptation shave it all off. Try not to compare your beard with others - as hard as that may be.
We are all on our own path.
There is only one you.
Be proud of the journey you are taking to become your authentic self.