If you’re looking for tips and info on growing a beard, this guide will point you in the right direction.
Full disclosure — I couldn’t grow a full, non-patchy beard until I was about 26. I’d always sort of chalked it up my late-blooming facial hair to genetics, but looking back now I can see that I could’ve taken some simple steps to help my facial hair flourish.
For many guys, growing a beard seems simple enough. You just stop shaving, right? As it turns out, there’s a lot more to the story.
Growing a full, healthy beard requires regular grooming and monitoring, and if you skip some steps, it can become frustratingly difficult and discouraging.
But if you trust the process, stick with it through the awkward phases, and learn how your facial hair behaves, you can end up with a great-looking beard.
Curious as to what that process is? Here are six steps to growing a great beard:
1. Starting From Scratch? Consider One Last (Close) Shave
This is an optional step, but if you’re starting from a completely clean-shaven face, it can help to give your mug one last shave so you can apply some skincare to create a nice foundation for your facial hair.
For best results, give yourself the closest possible shave with a safety razor (or even a straight razor if that’s your thing).
While this step won’t necessarily help your beard grow in faster or fuller, it can help prevent ingrown hairs and stimulate your skin.
This is also a good opportunity to evaluate your face to determine which beard styles you might want to go for. A beard can dramatically change your face, so take into consideration how much change you want and what you want it to look like.
However, if you’ve already started growing out your facial hair and everything looks good, you can skip this step.
2. Grow It Out for Two Months
When you’re growing out a beard, there’s a good chance that the initial growth phase will be awkward, patchy, and generally a little uncomfortable. This is especially true if you’ve never had any kind of substantial facial hair before.
During this awkward period, it can be tempting to trim your beard, but doing so will only set you back. For best results, leave your facial hair untouched for about two months to give it a chance to fill in. (Thankfully, this is a one-time deal).
That said, if your facial hair quickly gets scraggly and unruly, you can trim along your cheek and neckline to keep it defined. Be careful to not remove bulk, though, as that will be shaped later on.
3. Start Grooming and Maintenance
Once you get significant beard growth, it’s time to create a grooming routine. For most guys, this will kick in at around that two-month mark, but if you’re especially hirsute, you can start sooner.
In this early stage, grooming and maintaining your fledgling beard will condition your facial hair, prevent itchiness, and keep things tidy. (It’ll also make the experience more comfortable).
You don’t need to build a full beard care routine right away, but you should at least use a couple of key products to ensure a healthy beard from the start.
First, pick up a good beard oil. This will keep your facial hair hydrated, shiny, and easy to work with. In the beginning, use 1-3 drops depending on how long your beard is.
Along the same lines, pick up a nice beard brush, which will more effectively distribute the beard oil. It also helps keep your facial hair untangled and exfoliates the skin beneath, both of which are crucial for healthy growth. Get into the habit of brushing your beard at least once daily.
4. Shape and Trim Your Beard
Once those first two months have passed, your beard will be ready for trimming and shaping.
First, take a good look at your beard to figure out exactly what you’re working with. Analyze your hair’s growth patterns and overall character. Is it patchy in places? Do certain areas have more growth than others?
When that’s done, you can settle on a beard style that works with your facial hair and trim and shape it accordingly.
While you can (and should) be comfortable trimming your own beard, you’ll benefit from having a barber or stylist who’s adept at beard sculpting. In fact, heading to a barber for your first trim can be a smart choice, as the visit will help you better understand what kind of shaping your facial hair needs.
If you see your barber regularly, then you likely won’t need to trim your beard at home. However, if you go longer between barber visits — or if your beard just grows in quickly — then you should get used to doing fairly thorough trims.
You can pick up beard scissors and/or clippers depending on your beard needs. Scissors are great for general neatness and flyaway removal, while clippers are best for all-around trimming.
If you plan on using clippers at home, ask your barber or stylist what guard lengths they’re using so you can replicate the look yourself. When in doubt, start with higher guard numbers (longer lengths) and work your way down until you get the right length.
5. Develop Your Beard Routine
At this point, you have a beard style and know what trimming you need to be doing. Now, it’s just about keeping your beard in tip-top shape with some handy products.
You should already be using beard oil, but you’ll probably want to up your dosage if your beard is now significantly longer. Use 2-3 drops for a short beard, 3-6 for a medium-length beard, and 7-9 drops for a long beard.
Consider picking up a beard balm or butter as well.
This will soften and nourish your beard which also helps decrease irritation and itchiness. My barber recommended the Black Light Beard Butter by Fresh Beards, and I haven’t looked back since.
You’ll also want a beard wash/shampoo and softener/conditioner. These products will see less frequent use, but they’re vital for cleansing your beard. In this arena, it’s hard to beat what Beardbrand has to offer.
Using these beard products in tandem with regular trims will ensure that your facial hair is looking and feeling its best.
6. Change Things up if You Want
If you reach a point where you’re comfortable with your beard, great! Stick to your grooming and maintenance routines, and you’ll be all set.
On the other hand, you might find yourself wanting to make changes as you spend more time with your beard.
Once you understand what type of facial hair you have and what’s possible with it, you can properly experiment and find out what you like best. Again, your barber or stylist can help you here, especially if you want to make a bigger change.
Beard Growth FAQs
Still got questions about growing a beard? No problem — here are answers to a few common questions:
What stimulates beard growth?
While there are lots of beard growth products on the market, their effectiveness is dubious at best. By far, the best way to stimulate beard growth is to keep your facial hair clean and hydrated.
Exercising, eating well, and getting enough sleep will also ensure your beard is as healthy as possible. And don’t forget to take good care of your skin by keeping up a skincare routine, applying sunscreen when necessary, and refraining from touching your facial hair.
Can everyone grow a beard?
Unfortunately, no. Since beard growth is largely determined by genetics, you’ll have to work with the cards you were dealt. That said, most men can grow some facial hair, so it’s just a matter of finding out what your situation is and choosing a style to suit it.
How do I start my beard?
Stop shaving! Put down that razor and grab some beard oil to soothe and hydrate your facial hair once it’s seriously growing in.
Does beard oil really work?
Yes, it really does work. Read my article on beard oil to find out how!
All things considered, growing a beard is a simple process, but following these steps will help you optimize your facial hair journey.
Do you have a beard? Let me know in the comments!