On January 21, 2003, a 20 year old man with the online name “Curi0usGeorge” started a US based beard forum thread about growing his sparse beard via applying extra strength Minoxidil (5% Rogaine) onto his face rather onto his scalp. In early March of that same year, he stopped his experiment, largely because he started getting excess body hair as a side effect. While he also got more facial hair from the Minoxidil, it was not in a pattern and density that truly satisfied him.
Tremendous Interest from men Wishing to Grow Beards
Little did “Curio0usGeorge” realize what he had started in 2003. His forum thread grew to 615 pages in length with 20 comments per page. Finally, towards the end of 2016, it was unfortunately closed by the moderators after 15 years of postings 🙁 Prior to 2003, while many others on the web had discussed (or experimented) with the phenomenon of Minoxidil growing facial hair, it was this mega-thread that became the go to place on the internet for men trying to grow denser beards using medication.
While myself (and numerous other men losing hair) have the opposite problem and would prefer a much less noticeable beard and slower facial hair growth, I still thoroughly enjoyed going through 100 or so pages of the above thread some years ago. I was amazed at some of the before and after photos and transformations.
I never forgot those visuals, and after I started this blog, I have posted about the above thread at least briefly in passing several times. It clearly shows that Minoxidil can grow new hair where there were none before and not just make existing hair stronger. Or, to be more precise, it can convert vellus invisible-to-the-eye unpigmented hair into terminal pigmented hair. I have never enjoyed using Rogaine on my scalp, but the numerous before and after photos in the above mentioned thread (as well as via the testimonials in here) have convinced me to keep using Rogaine to this day (albeit just several times a week in order to minimize side effects).
Note that while writing this post, I did not go through the above 615 page thread in much detail beyond a few initial pages this time around and am assuming all the photos are still in there. If any of you readers have some spare time, please post your favorite before and after Minoxidil facial hair transformation photos from that thread in the comments on here along with a page number from 1-615 for our reference.
Growing Beards with Minoxidil in Indonesia
The reason I wrote this post and remembered the above mentioned mega-thread is because earlier this week, the Wall Street Journal published a very interesting related article on the front page.
If you cannot access the WSJ online edition, I have pasted an image on the left side of the first half of the story. Apparently, an entrepreneur in Indonesia by the name of Fariz Gamal has started a business to help men grow beards via just using Minoxidil. Like most Asian men, Indonesian men on average have much less facial hair in comparison the average caucasian men, and it is now becoming fashionable and trendy to grow at least modestly thick beards (especially in a Muslim majority country such as Indonesia).
When I did more research on Mr. Gamal, I came across this interesting article from April of this year from a local Indonesian magazine. He mentions that he orders the Kirkland brand of Minoxidil from the US. He claims that “he grew the full beard of his dreams after four months of regularly applying minoxidil to his face”. For social media fans, here is his Instagram page and here is his Youtube channel.
It should be noted that there are numerous very popular Youtube videos of men growing much thicker beards after using Minoxidil on their faces. However, I find some to be sketchy so did not select any favorites to embed on here.
There are now also numerous online forum testimonials with photos from men who have had success with this type of experiment. If I had the time, I would try to tally all the success and failure testimonials from these various beard and related forums (or at least from the 615 page thread that I mentioned at the start of this post) and calculate what percent of men who use Minoxidil on their face see significant new hair growth based on forum anecdotal reports (ideally, with photos as evidence).
Luckily, I do not have that kind of time on my hands, or else I would really do it as I think it is an important data collection venture.