The 5 mm beard [Everything that you need to know]

For those of you that want to delve into the world of growing a beard one of the first beard styles that you can try is the 5 mm beard. The 5 mm beard is a perfect companion for the professional person and can provide you with some of the benefits of having a beard without the hassle of trimming and maintaining a much longer beard. You can do the majority of the training up at your house and, with a little bit of practice, you’ll be able to line-up your beard like a professional!

A 5 mm beard is perfect for people who want to grow a beard in a short period of time in order to change their style or appearance. If you have dense follicle coverage a 5 mm beard will allow you to have a continuous beard which you can style easily with trimmers.

Beard hair grows at approximately 0.38 mm per day (0.015 inches) which means that after only two weeks of beard growth you will be able to sport a 5 mm beard.

However, because of the different growth rates of hair on different parts of your face you’ll have to grow your beard past the 5 mm length in some areas so that you can trim it back to achieve a homogenous and evenly trimmed beard.

I recommend that you grow your beard for about one month before cutting back to 5 mm.

How long is a 5mm beard?

A 5 mm beard is 0.2 inches long. To give you some perspective on how long that is here are a few references:

pencil eraser5 mm
The length of a red ant5 mm
Half the width of a fingernail5 mm
The height of a letter on a credit card5 mm

Using these examples, it becomes obvious that 5 mm isn’t very long. However, this is a good amount of length to start to assess the density and potential of your beard before committing to a longer style.

Here is a photo of my beard when it was 5 mm long:

Photo of my 5 mm beard

While I was growing my beard, I was taking a short video every single day for a LinkedIn log that I was recording to promote various business activities. Here is what my beard looked like after approximately two weeks and 5 mm of growth.

You can see that the beard is not fully dense and there is a significant amount of unevenness in the weaker areas of my growth such as under the bottom lip and on the cheek lines.

The beard is long enough to create a fuzziness on the edges of my face but the length means that it still adheres very closely to the shape of my jaw line and does not do anything to change the shape of my face overall.

Compare that photo to one month of growth:

After one month of growth you can see that the beard is much more continuous across the face and it has enabled me to fill in the gaps and patches which were obvious when it was only 5 mm in length.

The moustache has completely filled in and the patchy area under my bottom lip has also completely filled out. If your beard is similar to mine it may be worth waiting for a little bit longer than 5 mm before deciding if 5 mm is the best length for you.

This is because my experience has told me that everyone’s beard is different and simply waiting for a couple of extra weeks could be the difference between a beard that you are not very happy with and a beard which is best suited to your growth pattern.

How to grow a 5 mm beard

Growing a 5 mm beard is very simple and quick compare to other longer forms of beard growth. If you are planning on growing a 5 mm beard and you haven’t yet started I recommend taking good care of the skin before attempting to grow your beard for a couple of weeks.

A simple skincare routine includes:

  • cleansing your face up to twice a day – cleansing your face removes the dirt, grime, and access all that has settled inside your pores. This will prevent you from developing breakouts and any issues which could stop the hair from emerging from the follicle.
  • Exfoliate – after you cleanse you should aim to exfoliate which enables you to remove any dead skin cells that have accumulated on your face. Pick a gentle scrub to put into your routine before growing a 5 mm beard. The good news is that some exfoliating products also act as cleansers.
  • Moisturize up to twice a day – rehydrating and protecting your skin is going to be one of the most important things that you do to prepare your skin for growing a 5 mm beard. Choose a moisturizer that contains a small amount of sun protection if you are out in the elements throughout the day. A good moisturizer will contain vitamins and nutrients which are absorbed by the skin and will also create a barrier on top of your skin to protect you from pollution and other environmental toxins.

Once you feel that your face is in as good a condition as possible it’s time to wait for approximately two weeks to allow the hair to grow to 5 mm.

While your hair is growing you can choose to exfoliate which will minimise the amount of ingrown hairs that you experience while you are growing out your beard in the initial stages.

If you notice that you have a significant number of ingrown hairs you should exfoliate daily until the bumps are gone and you have freed up the hairs which are growing under the skin. Some people are more likely to get ingrown hairs in the early stages of growing their beard than others.

The beard hairs when they are young have got a sharp ends – due to shaving – which makes them much more likely to curl under the skin.

How long does it take to grow a 5 mm beard?

Once you start the growing stage of your 5 mm beard journey you need to simply allow your body to do the best that can in growing your beard.

Do not touch your beard with any scissors, razors, or other cutting tool for at least 3 to 4 weeks which should take you a little bit past the 5 mm length that you are aiming for.

During this time you should try to look after your body as well as possible. This means:

  • exercising – exercising is a great way to allow the body to work at its highest potential. Also, weight training can increase the amount of testosterone in your body and help you grow a thicker beard, quicker.
  • Diet – in this early stage of growing a beard you should stay well clear of any junk food which provides inefficient fuel for your body. Eat a lot of greens, protein, and leafy vegetables to ensure that your beard has the best potential to grow with the nutrients that it needs.
  • Sleep and stress – part of making your body run as efficiently as possible involves making sure that you get plenty of sleep at night. If you want to know how much sleep you need to check out the sleep foundation’s sleep calculator – click here.

You won’t need to have the same level of persistence and self-control as someone growing a much longer beard so if you are able to keep your hands off your beard for about two weeks and your body is in the best condition possible for growing a beard you’ll be well positioned for growing a 5 mm beard.

Is 5mm a good beard length?

There are many benefits for wanting to grow a 5 mm beard. They include the fact that a 5 mm beard is easier to maintain, with less tools and products and are seen as more professional than their longer beard counterparts.

The benefits of a 5 mm beard

Here are the top benefits of a 5 mm beard.

Easy to maintain

A 5 mm beard, once trimmed up and lined up on the cheeks and the neckline, is very easy to maintain.

The daily maintenance of a 5 mm beard is very simple since the beard is not long enough to require regular oiling or the use of style controlling products such as beard balm and beard wax. The daily maintenance schedule of a 5 mm beard will be talked about more, in the section, but is as easy as removing the hairs which have strayed away from the lines of the beard and cause it to look less defined. These hairs can be found on the cheek and the neck area.

You can also use a small amount of beard oil with jojoba oil as the main component as this will moisturise the skin underneath.

If you also look for a beard oil, or make your own beard oil, which contains Almond oil and Argan oil will have the best combination of oils for your skin and your beard hair.

The fortnightly trim up is also easy as long as you have a good set of trimmers which cut reproducibly and evenly across your entire face. You’ll need to have multiple passages at different angles on some of the more angular parts of your face but this technique is easy to learn with a little bit of trial and error.

The use of a trimmer with a good quality (i.e. not flimsy plastic) guard means that it is incredibly easy to cut your beard to the same length all over. That guard means that it is almost foolproof and you cannot over cut your beard like you can if you are using scissors or freehand styling a longer beard.

It can grow over a couple of weeks

One of the things that puts off a load of people about growing a beard is the fact that it can take many weeks to grow a significant beard. However, a 5 mm beard can be grown in as little as two weeks.

If you are going from no hair it’ll probably take a little bit more than two weeks length across the entire area of your beard but it’ll be a very good start.

If you have an important occasion coming up and you want to have a style that is a little bit special and not what you normally do a 5 mm beard allows you to add some rugged style elements to your new look in as short a period of time as two weeks.

Use less products

Another great thing about 5 mm beard is that you need very little in terms of products to keep it looking awesome. In fact, the less you use on your beard at this time the better.

Even though it isn’t ideal you can even get away with using products for your hair such as regular hair shampoo and regular hair conditioner.

I recommend that you purchase a beard oil that contains jojoba oil as jojoba oil is much better for the skin than any other type of beard oil ingredient.

You also do not need any beard wax or beard balm for a beard which is only 5 mm in length. You can choose a beard balm if you wish however an oil is all you will need to help keep your beard soft and moisturised.

For more information I will be talking about how to maintain a 5 mm beard, below.

Doesn’t put people off

Some people think that there is something weird about having a long beard. The thing about the 5 mm beard is that it appeals to far more people than a long beard.

The thing is people will always have an opinion on whether beards are attractive or not. There have been a number of polls and surveys over the years but they often contradict one another.

Here are a few polls where beards have been at the center of the discussion:

Poll byLinkResult(s)
YouGovFull report– Judgment on character = 20% prefer clean-shaven, 6 % prefer beard
– Masculinity = 24% clean shaven more masculine, 19% beard more masculine
PrimandPrepWebsite– Short Stubble beard was most attractive
– Full beard 5th place
– 3 x more women think beards are unattractive
Focus Pointe GroupWebsite– 4% of men would prefer a beard (38% prefer clean-shaven)
– Most men need to be clean-shaven for work
– 9% of their partners prefer a beard (37% prefer clean-shaven)

It seems to me that most people when polled say that they prefer clean-shaven men. However, when you look at the research it seems to be the opposite. I sit that we should believe a random poll or science? As a bearded man and scientist, I say I trust science!

In research published by the Journal of Evolutionary Biology titled “the masculinity paradox: facial masculinity and beardedness interact to determine women’s ratings of men’s facial attractiveness”, researchers asked 8,500 women to evaluate the attractiveness of men of three categories – bearded, fully bearded or sporting a goatee.

They used photos of men as they grew their beards. The results showed that men who were sporting full beards were seen as more mature, masculine, socially dominant and aggressive.

Need less tools than a full beard

If you have a short, 5 mm, beard you need much less in terms of beard tools than if you have a longer beard.

Typically, all you need for a 5 mm beard is a good set of trimmers and a single blade safety razor. You can choose to purchase a soft beard brush to distribute beard oil and keep those whiskers in check but that is all you need.

As soon as you get to a much longer beard you need multiple types of trimmers – for each type of trimming up – as well as a nice sharp pair of scissors, a single blade safety razor, multiple mirrors, multiple brushes and combs, and a whole range of products to go with it.

Having a 5 mm beard means that you are able to keep your beard style as well as your dad’s room cabinet minimal.

Less head turning

One thing I noticed when I was growing a beard is that I get stared at a lot. It may just be the odd glance here and there that there is something unusual about seeing a big beard in public.

If you are rocking a 5 mm beard it is likely that you will not stand out as much as if you have a big bushy beard.

For those of you that do not like gaining attention and want to blend into the background it is possible for you to do it with a 5 mm beard.

If you look too good with it, however, you will end up attracting attention anyway…

Here are some of the downsides of a 5 mm beard that you may want to consider if you are aiming for this style.

The downsides of a 5 mm beard

Even though, overall, a shorter beard is easier to maintain there are some limitations that you should consider.

One of the biggest risks about growing a 5 mm beard is that you will get the bug for growing your beard and longer. I don’t necessarily see a problem with this unless your current workplace doesn’t allow you to have a big bushy beard. Maybe the only risk there is disappointment.

May not cover problem areas

One of the biggest problems I see with a 5 mm beard is that it may not be long enough to cover up your problem areas.

If you have great density and coverage a 5 mm beard will not look patchy. However, if you do not have even coverage and density over the rest your face 5 mm of hair is not really enough to cover up any problem spots. You may be better off with a slightly longer beard – about 7 mm or more.

You’ll be able to get an idea of whether or not your beard looks awesome at 5 mm after only a couple of weeks. If you’re not happy with the coverage you should continue to grow beyond the couple of weeks until you find the density and length that match perfectly.

Not many options for styles

If you have a shorter beard style you do not have many options for expressing your creativity and individualism through style.

A 5 mm beard is limited by the fact that it is still following the contours of your face.

The options you have starting a 5 mm beard are limited to fading into areas that are less than 5 mm – including down to fully shaved areas – as well as changing the lines of the beard by making them more or less defined and changing their position.

For most people, a 5 mm beard means that they will simply stick to a 5 mm length all over their beard. If you want to trial more styles I recommend going to go see your barber so that you can get it done professionally – the shorter the beard the harder it is to achieve a clean fade.

For a full rundown on all of the different beard stars check out my other article – beard styles a list of all of the foundational beard options.

beard styles header

Need to trim up more often

Counterintuitively, a 5 mm beard requires more regular trimming and lining up then a full beard.

For a 5 mm beard to look clean and sharp you have to line up the cheeks and neck line regularly. This means using a single blade safety razor to remove the hairs which escape beyond the bounds of your beard.

Also, you should consider using your trimmer with a 5 mm guard every couple of days to reduce the amount of fuzziness that grows out. This is due to the fact that different areas of your face grows beard hair at different rates.

Lines need to be precise

Not only does your beard need to be trimmed up more often but you need a higher precision when trimming up your beard lines.

This includes the neckline and the cheek line.

You will need to get used to lining up your beard with a trimmer as well as using a single blade safety razor to add to that next level accuracy to your beard lines.

I recommend using a single blade safety razor because the cartridge, multi-blade, razors do not have the ability to cut cleanly towards a trimmed beard line.

Keeping your beard lines symmetrical will also give you the extra level of professionalism and cleanliness that will take a little bit of practice to get right – if in doubt always ask advice from your trusted barber.

No protection from the cold or UV rays

Having a big, bushy, beard means that you have an extra layer of protection against both UV rays and cold wind.

If you have a 5 mm beard you will still need to apply sunscreen if you are in a country that has a significant UV rating. Also, you will not notice any particular advantage during winter in keeping your face warm. So you’re still going to have to wear that scarf!

No head turning

Maybe, you’re the sort of person that wants to stand out! With a 5 mm beard you are certainly get a look more attractive to the average person but you are not able to completely express your individual style.

If you’re the extroverted sort, a 5 mm beard may not cut it for making you stand out amongst the crowd. Of course, that all comes down to what you prefer and for a lot of people a 5 mm beard is more than enough to make them stand out to the right people (prospective partners).

Who is a 5 mm beard best for?

I think that a 5 mm beard is perfect for the majority of men who have reasonable beard hair coverage. It gives them just enough to create more than a 5 o’clock shadow look but is short enough to remain fashionable in the eyes of society.


A short 5 mm beard is perfect for professionals whose organisation does not allow them to grow a long beard. There are a range of organisations which need you to wear a suit and tie as they are customer focused roles.

It is understandable that some companies do not want full beards since the evidence is clear that the most attractive beard is one that is short. If you want to rock at beard but your company guidelines do not allow it a 5 mm beard is easy to grow and remove if you get told off.

In my experience a lot of companies that do not like beards allow a small amount of stubble and 5 mm is as long as you can go before people start getting suspicious.

People who get razor bumps easily

A 5 mm beard is also perfect for people who get razor bumps easily.

Did you know that the act of growing out a beard can really help with inflammatory conditions associated with shaving?

These are called “razor bumps” but can also be called barbers itch, pseudofolliculitis barbae and folliculitis barbae traumatica. The synptoms are very common for many men and these include:

  • Pain
  • Redness and darkening of the skin
  • small solid bumps on the surface of the skin
  • Puss-filled blister like lesions on the surface of the skin

None of these some great, right?

These symptoms can occur anywhere on the body that has been shaved but are most likely to occur on the face in the chin, neck and lower cheek areas. The cause of these small bumps is when the curly beard hairs get stuck inside the hair follicles.

Although this issue can be seen across the whole spectrum of beard growers it is most common in people of African decent. A 2013, study showed that there are several skin conditions that are more common in skin of colour and “Altering shaving techniques helps prevent lesions from recurring“.

Obviously, if you are growing a beard you remove the need for shaving altogether putting a stop to this inflamation. However, many men choose to shave the neck area of their beard so treatment can include steroids, antibiotics, and retinoids to prevent progression.

How to maintain a 5 mm beard

Maintaining a 5 mm beard is incredibly easy. Here we will look at the daily and weekly grooming steps that you need to undertake to keep your 5 mm beard looking as sharp as possible.


Your daily routine needs to be manageable so that you can do it every day and it can be incorporated into your morning ritual. Here are the most important things to do daily. Remember not to overdo any trimming as you don’t have much to work with and you wouldn’t want to take off more than you grow every day.

Trim up cheek lines and necklines

The first things I would check and focus on are the cheek lines and necklines of your beard.

The cheek line should flow nicely from the top of your moustache to the front edge of your sideburns.

Exactly how deep the curve dips into your cheek or if you want it straight that is completely up to you. The most important thing is that it is the same on both sides. You can decide to use a beard guide with your beard trimmer before shaving to define the line.

There are ton of things that you can get wrong with a neckline. Ultimately, you do not want to churn it too far up under your jaw and it needs to follow the line where your head connect to your neck. Do not be tempted to trim up underneath the jewel as that will end up making your beard look less substantial and if you have a patchy beard it will make it look almost non-existent.

Add beard oil

if you have showered you should consider using a small amount of beard oil on your beard. Because it is only 5 mm in length you should add only one or two drops on the entire surface of your beard and face.

You can back this up with a good beard conditioner if you feel like your beard is becoming dry. It is unlikely that a 5 mm beard will become overly dry as it is short enough for the face to condition the beard using its natural oils.

Use a skin moisturizer

Because you will be able to still see the skin under a 5 mm beard it is important to use a skin moisturiser to make sure that you don’t suffer from the dreaded beard dandruff.


I choose to do my weekly trim up on the weekends so that I can focus without having to rush out the door. If you have a 5 mm beard here are the things that I would be focusing on.

Trim nose hair

An overlooked aspect of beard growing is the nose hair which can go unnoticed once your beard gets past a couple millimetres in length. Make sure that you trim up your nose hair so that it does not connect to your moustache.

This is particularly important as the extra bulk that comes from your nose hair touching your moustache can be easily seen as a darkening and thickening at the top line just under your nose.

It may not be obvious to you but I can assure you it’s obvious to a lot of people who are looking at your face.

Trim up all over

Every week or so I recommend that you do a 5 mm trim up using your trimmer and guard.

To get it to cut reproducibly you will need to sweep over your beard in multiple directions so that you are able to catch the beard hairs that curl in strange directions.

Your beard likely has a number of different growth directions and therefore sweeping in multiple directions in a slow and controlled manner will mean that you will be able to cut every single hair on your face to 5 mm.

It is this level of precision that will make your beard go from good to great and give it that extra lift in terms of its style.


Relining the beard every week means that you will have a good clean guide to use for your daily shaving.

This is part of the 5 mm beard grooming routine that you should take the most time over. Trimming up your neckline with a clean sharp razor blade and a good trimmer will take a little bit of practice but, with enough time, you will be able to do it quickly and accurately.

Deep hydration treatment

One of the last things that I think you should consider for a weekly 5 mm beard routine is a deep hydration treatment. You can decide to use beard conditioner is and you can read about them in the best beard conditioner beyond oil and balm in my other article – click here.

Deep Hydration facial and beard treatments take time but the good news is that you can do all of them at home. This is what a home treatment deep hydration treatment looks like:

  1. Get a hot towel (as hot as you can stand) and wrap it around your face and beard – leave it for two to five minutes.
  2. Buy a good leave-in conditioner and use a thumb tip amount and liberally apply to every area on your beard – work it deep with your fingertips
  3. Use a wide-toothed comb to word the conditioner (homemade or bought) deep into your beard and to the surface of your skin.
  4. Place a shower cap over your beard and leave it for 20 minutes – this will ensure maximum absorption
  5. Rinse your beard with water and towel dry your beard
  6. Add 5 drops of beard oil to your palm and work it through your beard
  7. Follow up with a beard balm or butter if you want to

These seven steps should leave your beard feeling hydrated like never before. Feel free to repeat these steps as often as you feel that your beard is getting dull.


In this article, we have gone over everything that you need to know about 5 mm beard. A 5 mm beard can be grown in as little as two weeks and provide you with a gateway to growing a much larger beard. For some of you 5 mm beard will be perfect as it is allowed by your job and also it may just be that your density encourage allows for full coverage without any extra length.

Be sure to follow the recommended daily and weekly grooming routines to make sure that your beard stays as healthy and well styled as possible.

The Author

Andy Stapleton

Andy is a writer and YouTuber with a PhD in science. He has written and/or produced videos for Science Alert, COSMOS magazine, and Australia's Science Channel among others. He is an avid beard grower and after many years of growing and trialling different beard styles, he started this blog to share the tips, tricks, and science that he has learned along the way!