Are beards uncomfortable? [every stage explained]

As an outsider looking in having hair on your face could seem like a really annoying thing. We all know the experience of having a stray hair on your cheek or in your mouth. It’s incredibly annoying – so does that mean having hair constantly on your face is just as uncomfortable? In this article, we are going to discuss and have a look at whether or not beards are uncomfortable for the wearer. It’s going to be a collection of personal experiences and what people are saying online about uncomfortable beards.

Beards are not uncomfortable for the person wearing them. A person with a beard is constantly aware of the beard on their face if hairs are touching the upper lip or the neckline is not trimmed. Some actions like eating and blowing your nose make you acutely aware of your beard.

It’s hard to explain to a person without facial hair exactly how a beard feels when it is on your face 24 hours a day. There are sometimes when it is very noticeable. This is when hairs are growing over the top lip and you notice the hairs brushing up against and touching your lips. This is easy to overcome by trimming up the bottom line of the moustache regularly. Even though you become aware of some of the hairs through them lying unnaturally having a beard is never considered uncomfortable.

If a beard becomes uncomfortable it could be that you have a bacterial infection, you have irritated your skin, or you are forcing your hairs to lie in an unnatural position through products or straightening. You can train your hair to sit in a certain direction over time which could cause a little bit of discomfort.

There are many aspects of a beard that could be uncomfortable but I think your brain gets used to it very quickly. It is only in the early days where you are acutely aware of the growth. Let’s take a look at that now.

What do beards feel like?

Not all beards are created equal. Each beard goes through and evolution from non-existent too long and luxurious. There are many steps in between where the beard feels different on your face. In this section I want to talk about what beards feel like at different stages of growth and how you can get over some of the worst feelings of growing a beard.

The early stages

The early stages of growing a beard are typically where you are most aware of your beard. It is at this stage where beards can become very uncomfortable for a variety of reasons:

  • ingrown hairs – ingrown hair is one that grows back into your skin instead of rising out from it. Sometimes this is caused by a dead skin cell that clogs the hair follicle and forces the hair to grow sideways under the skin rather than up and out. Another cause can be if you have a very curly beard hair after cutting the sharpened end of the hair can pierce your skin causing an ingrown hair.
  • Sharp hair ends – in the early stages of growing a beard this is where your hair has recently been trimmed with a razor. The razor creates a sharp point on the hair and as it grows it can easily kill back into the skin and irritate the surface of the skin.
  • Neck creases – the neck is one of the first places where beards become uncomfortable. This is because the hair is bunched up in the neck crease and rubs on a very small part of the neck over and over again. The neck line is one of the first things that beard growers should trim as it is something that is the most irritating to deal with and can cause someone to not continue with their beard growth.

The early stages are one of the most irritating and challenging parts of growing a beard. You have to to stay focused and grow your beard for at least three months before making a decision about whether or not a beard is something that you can handle. Check out my YouTube video on the early stages and awkward beard stages that I have experienced:

Trust me, it gets much better in the middle to late stages of beard growth. Let’s talk about that now.

Medium length beards

Once you have got past the awkward short beard stage the most uncomfortable parts of your journey are over. However, this doesn’t mean that a beard can’t feel uncomfortable in some way.

At a medium beard length this is where the moustache can start to become the most irritating part of the beard. The moustache can get long and starts to touch the corner parts of your mouth. This is where I feel my beard the most and have done for a while.

The easiest thing you can do at a medium beard length is to keep your moustache trim tight against your top lip line so that it doesn’t infiltrate your mouth or lower lip area.

Continue to trim the neckline of the beard and you will be in a much better position to be able to last with a beard. Whenever I feel like my beard is becoming super obvious on my face I will go and trim up all of the neckline, cheek lines and moustache length which will solve most of the issues with my beard becoming obvious and uncomfortable to wear.

Long beards

When you have a super long beard the neckline has grown out enough that it doesn’t irritate but there are other things that you need to worry about.

Having a long beard means that you are most likely going to want a longer moustache to support the long growth at the front of your beard. As you are growing at the moustache it will become a bit of a pain as it will touch the top part of your bottom lip. Sometimes the hairs will get long enough that they will end up in your mouth too. The good news is that you can also get used to this feeling.

In my personal experience I used to always trim my moustache very short. That is because the smallest amount of hair that ended up on my lips was very irritating and it caused me a fair bit of frustration while eating. I ran an experiment to see if you can get used to moustache hairs touching the top lip and this is what I found out.

I left my beard and moustache to grow forward to months without trimming to develop the length. I was able to overcome the feeling of hairs on my lips. At first it was incredibly frustrating and I didn’t think I could last the distance but after about a month and ½ the hairs got long enough that they didn’t poke my lip in an annoying way and also I think I got used to the feeling of having hairs on my lips all the time.

If I think about it I can always feel that hairs on my lips but most the time they are easy to ignore.

Another place where I am conscious of my beard length is on the cheeks and lower jaw. I guess it is because this area is not normally used to having sensory input but now with the wind, movement, rubbing up against clothes, and other movements I become aware of that area much quicker. I guess it is similar to whiskers on a dog or cat.

Let’s take a look at getting used to having a beard and the tricks that you can use to overcome the most uncomfortable parts of growing a beard.

Getting used to having a beard

Getting over beard issues and hurdles is a challenge for every single beard grower. Some people have not been able to grow beard for any more than a week because it just becomes too irritating and uncomfortable. For some it’s not really the itchiness it’s just the uncomfortable feeling of brushing up against a pillow when sleeping. They are so used to having a clean shave that the foreign feeling of facial hair is so obvious to them.

For others it can feel like a lifetime before a beard feels comfortable. Having access hair on your face is something that you have to get used to. Also, if people have really sensitive skin and shaving always leads to rashes and razor bumps growing at a beard is the worst of two evils and they want to give a longer facial hair style a go.

Wearing and growing a beard has existed for many years and it can be a little bit of a philosophical challenge. If you want to delve deeper into what a beard symbolises check out my other article – what does having a beard symbolise? [What religion and science says] – click here.

The beard test

Some people like to view the awkwardness and uncomfortableness of beard growing as a test to make sure you are worthy of wearing a beard. There is an interesting point of view where it is not you that decides whether or not you are worthy but rather the beard stop some beards might deem you were the actor only a couple weeks of growth whilst other beards want to challenge you by testing your will and resolved by itching and sending messages to your brain tempting you to shave.

If you shave, you have failed the beard test, but your beard is not without mercy and it is likely that it will give you another chance in the future.

If you succeed at resisting the urge to shave your beard will cease in causing you discomfort and deem you worthy as someone that can put up with the ups and downs of growing a beard. As your beard lengthens it will also soften (given the right combination of products such as beard soap, beard oil, beard balm, and beard wax) so that it becomes much more comfortable to wear. This mental test is a fun personal challenge and something that will set you out from the pack.

Constant judgement

The thing about having a beard is that you will constantly judge it in every single way. Getting used to having a beard is to accept that some days your beard will look full, luscious, and you will feel very confident about having it. While on other days your beard will look wiry, dry, coarse, and everything that you don’t want your beard to be. Getting used to having a beard is getting used to this constant judgment of yourself and your beard.

Itchiness and uncomfortableness in the early stages is a constant physical reminder that your beard has still a little bit of development to go. For about four weeks it will be itchy and uncomfortable. But at some point you will turn a corner and while it may still feel hard it will become much easier to manage and softer because of the length.


The ultimate thing that gets you used to growing a beard and wearing a beard is time. Pretty much with every beard issue you need to tell yourself and convince yourself that it will not be like this forever. And truer words about beards cannot be said. That goes for uncomfortable and itchy beards too.

The thing about a beard is that you have to do always consider your long-term goal. Don’t focus on the short-term relief of shaving off but focus on what your beard will look like and what you want it to look like in the future. Constantly keeping that goal at the forefront of your mind will mean that you are willing to put up with the small and temporary uncomfortableness to grow a longer beard.

The best advice you will get is… Give your beard time!

If you find that you have a lot of beard issues all the uncomfortableness lasts for more than a month it could be that you have a medical condition or something other than hair irritating your skin that requires an intervention. Here are some common issues that people complain about while growing a beard.

Common issues

Facial hair tenderness is a very common complaint and it can be linked with several medical conditions that affects a lot of beard growers. Here are just a few of the potential issues that could occur while you are growing a beard.

Facial hair hurts when touched

The tenderness of your face could be described by any one or combination of the following:

  • Inflammation
  • Tingling
  • Numbness
  • Irritation
  • Itching
  • Throbbing
  • general pain

Some of the facial hair tenderness can be caused by conditions that affect the nerves and blood vessels below the skin and hair root. Some common causes are linked to a range of skin conditions such as dryness, rashes, sunburn, psoriasis, and other commonly treatable irritation issues.

Dryness is a common issue which can be treated with a good beard conditioner and moisturiser. Beard dandruff occurs because of dryness of the skin and can also happen anywhere where natural oils accumulate on the skin. Psoriasis on the other hand is a similar issue to dryness but is brought on by stress, dry air, cold weather, or hormonal issues. The difference being that the dry skin has a sheen to it.

There are various appointments, anti-septic’s, and other treatments that can treat psoriasis and beard dryness. If you find that beard oil and beard balm is not making it any better seek help from your trusted medical professional. Some of the medicated cream can only be prescribed by a doctor.

Beard hurts when combing

If your beard hurts when you’re coming it could be that you are suffering from a condition that we talked about in the last section. However, it may also be that you are combing your hair to aggressively.

If you find that your beard is particularly uncomfortable after a grooming session you should back off using any hard combs (such as plastic or wooden combs and brushes) and stick with natural bristle brushes.

It could be that you are brushing against the grain to get a big bushy beard and this is irritating that hair follicles by putting unnecessary torsion and strain on it. Back combing your beard is generally a bad idea. Work with your beard and the natural direction of the hairs rather than forcing it to look different. Except the natural beard that you have been given and you will find that it will be much more comfortable for you.

Facial hair hurts when growing

Some people experience pain or discomfort when growing a beard it could be that you have a cowlick whether hair grows straight out and up and that is causing the hair to sit unnaturally from what it wants to do. If you have relatively coarse hairs that resist being redirected than letting them grow out will overcome that. Patients will be required as this will have to be a multi-month approach.

Keeping your beard well conditions with beard oil will also soften the hairs and ease the redirection. This is particularly important if you are washing your hair regularly. Quite often if you are drying out your hair by washing with a non-specialised beard shampoo your facial hair can hurt while it is growing.


Beards shouldn’t be uncomfortable when they are growing all while wearing them. There are some challenges along the way to growing a beard but they are all overcome a bull with time and patience. If your beard is particularly painful you may have an undiagnosed medical condition and in that case you should seek medical help with a trusted medical professional.

You only really become aware of your beard on your face as the hair grows over your top lip or on the sides of your cheek. Like most things in life you will soon get used to the beard and it is not distracting or uncomfortable in any way.

Don’t let the idea of an uncomfortable beard put you off push through the challenge of the first few months and I assure you it will get better! Happy beard growing!

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!