This post was most recently updated on November 6th, 2018
To put it simply, yes and no. Combing by itself smoothens and makes the natural oil flow better, which in turn makes the beard grow faster, so it indirectly helps. Directly though, studies have not found any correlation.
You reap what you sow. This saying holds true even in growing out our beards.
Some are fortunate enough to have the perfect lions mane that grows without much assistance.
Some have facial hair that grows very fast. Then they complain about what a pain it is to trim. (insert world’s smallest violin)
A few are even lucky enough to have all of the above.
Most are not so lucky.
A study has shown that the beard growth rate is affected by genes. Unfortunately, nature is stronger than nurture, at least when it comes to beards.
But there is no need to fret about the seemingly slow rate of growth of your beard.
There are a lot of factors why the rate of hair growth is slower, and there are some suggestions on how to take care of these.
Several factors greatly affect the growth of the beard, but below are two that are quite common. The first one presents at the start of growing your beard and the second one is most often encountered when your beard is around three months old, depending on how fast you grow facial hair.
Everyone with a beard knows the struggle of the itchy new beard. Scratching actually does not help the smoothening of the hair nor does it help spread out the natural oils. In fact, scratching your beard may damage the hair follicles themselves. Thereby, prioritizing the repair of damaged hair, over growing healthy new ones.
Combing can actually help, especially if the comb you are using is the one with two sides. The side with the smaller comb teeth and which are also spaced nearer can help smoothen the hair and will not damage them, unlike your nails.
In this sense, combing them will help. Instead of scratching your beard, it is better to comb it instead. If you need help deciding on the best beard comb or brush for you, please check out our guide.
The stress hormone cortisol is the enemy of everyone, including your beard. The body will secrete more of this hormone and less of other hormones that will actually help your beard grow faster and fuller.
This is the reason why there are beard oils and balms offered on the market to help you get the natural and essential oils that you need for your beard to stay refreshed. It does not necessarily make your hair grow directly, but it gives a better environment for it to start growing.
Combing is crucial, simply because it is the most efficient way to spread those oils without damaging your hair follicles. Whether they are the oils being secreted by your own body or added oils through applications of beard oils and balms.
This is because the oils will be properly and evenly applied to the hair follicles and skin. That way, even if you are experiencing stress and your body is secreting cortisol, your beard will still be getting the critical oils it needs to grow.
Also, there is a theory but no studies done yet, that massaging the beard gently can trick it into producing oil (not sweat) which will make it naturally smoother. Combing or brushing is a more efficient way to massage the chin and the beard.
Rome was not built in a day. You can be certain that your beard will not be grown in a single day as well. However, there are some activities that you can do or avoid to help speed up the growth of your beard. One of those is combing it. More importantly, you should be focusing on growing and maintaining a healthy, well kept beard.
Combing does not directly make your beard grow, but it can help. Combing also allows you to control where the hair of your beard lays, so combing is a great way to hide those rough patches.
All things considered, you will not lose anything if you comb your beard, and it will actually be beneficial for you.