10 Beard Growing Tips That I Wish I Knew Before Starting!

Making the leap into beard growing is fraught with confusion and anxiety. How long will it take? When will it actually look good? Is it expensive? All these questions and more will pass through your mind. Here, I want to share with you my top 10 beard growing tips and what I have learned after 24 months of growing a beard that I am now very proud of!

In a hurry? Here are the top beard growing tips that wish I knew before starting!

  1. Practice patience while beard growing
  2. Don’t get put off by what people think of your beard growing
  3. Look after your skin
  4. Grow before shaping
  5. Itching is only a phase – you can get through it!
  6. Beard oil helps in a load of ways.
  7. Shape it up after 6 weeks of beard growing – you’ve earnt it!
  8. Ask for napkins every time you eat or go for a coffee!
  9. Be prepared to get noticed
  10. You’ll spend a load more time getting ready than you did before beard growing.

Here is my video where I look at each benefit in more detail I think there are a couple of extra bits in there too:

1: Practice patience while beard growing

The biggest tip I can give you is to practice patience! Growing a beard is a slow process – you need to understand that before going into it!

It can take anywhere between 2 to 12 months for you to reach your full beard potential. During that time you’ll have self-doubts about what you should be doing to your beard. You may get beard envy and you’ll definitely consider chopping it off!

But don’t! Moments of short term impatience can be easily identified. Here are a couple of techniques that I have found useful in maximizing my beard-growing patience:

  • Understand your triggers. For me it can be watching YouTube videos of awesome beards and thinking “Mine will never be like that!” or “I don’t have the time to be able to style a beard every morning like that!”. It’s different for everyone but knowing your trigger can help in overcoming the desire to shave it all off!
  • Build Self-Confidence. In today’s media-driven world we can quickly lose self-confidence by comparing yourself to other people. This beard growing journey is your’s and yous alone. Being confident in yourself will help when someone says to you “your beard is looking rubbish!”.
  • Think long-term and ignore short-term pressures. When I started my beard journey I knew where I was heading with the look I wanted. Take a bit of time to find out what you want to achieve – that way you’ll be more motivated to stick with it when you feel like it is not going the way you want it!

That brings me to the next of our beard growing tips that I think is super important!

2: Don’t get put off by what people think of your beard growing

We shouldn’t care, but we do! Right?

Making the decision to grow a beard is still a little bit out of the ordinary. If anyone does anything a little bit out the ordinary people instantly feel like they want to share their opinion with you!

I’ve been told many things like: “Shave that thing off it looks hideous!” and “What do you think you are doing – you are becoming a hipster!”.

Most things, I’m happy to report, are said in jest or are quickly left aside. But sometimes, they really leave a mark on my day.

You’ll need to accept that growing beard will polarize people. Some will love it, some will hate it. But as long as you love it because it is your beard then no-one can make you feel bad about your decision to stand out and rock an awesome beard!

3: Look after your skin

Looking after your skin is literally the foundation of growing a full and healthy beard!

The biggest bits of advice that I can give you based on my own experience is:

  1. Take sun care seriously.
    • It is so important that even in mild climates you don’t expose your skin to UV rays or risk burning your face. As your beard grows you’ll have to worry about this less and less but in the early stages consider a moisturizer with UV protection.
  2. Smoking and alcohol.
    • Smoking reduces the skin’s natural elasticity by causing the breakdown of collagen. Collagen is a protein that supports skin strength and you’ll be wanting to keep as much of it as possible.
    • When you drink alcohol, your skin becomes dehydrated, leaving the skin looking old and tired. The only way to combat this is to drink water.
  3. Wash your skin the right way.
    • Try using mild soaps on your face. Too much washing or using harsh soaps can wash away the natural oils that are there to keep your skin healthy.
    • If you have dry skin, do not use alcohol-based products. These can irritate skin and also dry it out. Moisturizing regularly can help prevent dry skin.
    • If you have oily skin, avoid oil-based products and choose water-based ones instead.

4: Grow before shaping

You want to grow a beard because you think it looks awesome. Perhaps you’ve seen some beards online and you are impressed with the fullness and shape.

Here’s their little secret: It looked a little less perfect than that for a long time!

One of the things about growing a beard is that it needs to grow! As silly as it sounds you do not want to cut a beard that you want to grow!

Leave it alone for at least 6 weeks. As your beard grows, take note of which way it grows, are there parts that grow quicker than others? This little bit of knowledge building will help you combat troubled areas of your beard when it is at the length you want it.

This sort of knowledge will also help you communicate with your barber when you come to shape and maintain your beard.

Think of the growing step as a beard reconnaissance mission! And keep the scissors away from it!

5: Itching is only a phase – you can get through it!

This can be the most trying part of growing a beard! The relentless itch at the beginning. As my beard was growing in weeks 3 – 6 is where I experienced the worst of the itch!

There are a couple of ways to get through this:

  1. Keep it clean. Wash your face thoroughly and scrub deeply. Use a specially formulated beard shampoo – trust me, head shampoo just won’t cut it!
  2. Use a beard conditioner. Beard conditioner helps hydrate your beard and keep it soft. You’ll want to do this every time you wash or shower from now on.
  3. Brush it! Consider buying a good board hair or bristle brush. Beard hair is much coarser than head hair. Brushing will help stimulate the skin underneath and remove any dead hairs your skin that can add to the itchiness.

Aim to clean and brush your beard deeply every two to three days. This brings me on to your next of the beard growing tips!

6: Beard oil helps in a load of ways.

I remember when I first heard about beard oil. I thought that it was just another excuse to sell us bearded fellows another product.

It wasn’t until I started asking strangers what their top tips were that I started noticing a common answer – USE BEARD OIL!

This common answer made me stand up and take notice of this product I was quick to dismiss.

Beard oil is exactly that – an oil for your beard. I have since ended up mixing my own (after I realized that there was no special secret ingredient in it!) but there are plenty of good options for sale.

Beard oil should be used sparingly and brings a number of benefits to the table. It helps control the beard, condition the skin underneath and make it look fabulous in the sun!

A word of warning – don’t use too much. One of my friends once asked if my beard was wet…it wasn’t. I just went overboard on the oil. Whoops!

7: Shape it up after 6 weeks of beard growing – you’ve earnt it!

Here’s how to trim your beard:

After about 6 weeks it’s time to pop into your local barber to get your beard shaped up. They will also be able to give you some tips for beard growing too!

If you are aiming for a massive beard, it will not be the length that you want it to be yet but I think that the six-week stage is a great time to get some shape put into your beard.

At the six week mark, you’ve gotten over the worst of the itching and growing. It will probably be really bottom-heavy at this stage. The neck and cheek line will be able to be defined and, importantly, you’ll have your first real conversation with a barber. They will be a wealth of information and you can use this time to ask questions.

Every barber that I have spoken to has been incredibly friendly and more than happy to help out with questions.

Getting the tiniest of glimpses into what your beard could look like is a really nice way to stay motivated through the next few weeks of growth. Once the neck and cheek lines are defined for you – it is easy to keep your beard looking neat and tidy by continuing to shave along the lines.

8: Ask for napkins every time you eat or go for a coffee!

One thing that I wish I knew before growing a beard is that eating and drinking will become a different process!

As your beard and mustache grows, you’ll start getting coffee foam or cheese/avocado in them both. In fact, even the best of my friends didn’t tell me about stuff that had become lodged in my facial hair. It wasn’t until I went to the bathroom mirror that I noticed how much stuff became lodged in my beard.

I’ve seen that some beard owners consider a handkerchief a key accessory to make sure they don’t have any embarrassment while eating.

When you order a milky coffee or drink a keep cup – or similar is an excellent way to keep liquids off of your face. There are even really fancy cups that you can get your coffee in that will stop your mustache from getting soiled!

Beard Growing Tips - mug with mustache protector.
Cup with a mustache protector

Maybe that cup is a little overkill but something to consider for your home or local coffee shop!

Okay, now on to a lesser though of beard growing tip!

9: Be prepared to get noticed

Ask any of my friends – I’m not one to shy away from attention. But now I have a beard – I’m noticing far look “looks” and side-eye glances than I did before growing my beard!

I like to think of this as an acknowledgment that you are rocking it and your patience and hard work are starting to pay off!

The more glorious your beard becomes the more you will get people stopping and staring.

Despite the negative comment, when someone stops me in the street and says “Hey! That’s a great beard! A little bit of me lights up and I know that I’ve made someone’s day a little brighter!

10: You’ll spend a load more time getting ready than you did before beard growing.

Here’s my morning routine!

This is one of my least favorite tips for beard growing but it is SOOO true!

I wasn’t a vain person before growing my beard. I’d happily spend 5 minutes looking at myself in the mirror before heading off and starting my day.

My morning routine now looks a fair bit different. The biggest difference is the fact that I now spend way more time in front of the mirror.

My routine is now:

  1. Shower
  2. Dry body and blow-dry beard
  3. Add oil or beard conditioner to beard
  4. Comb
  5. Shape with wax
  6. Trim away any stray hairs
  7. Repeat from 3 – 6 as many times as I feel makes my beard look awesome!

I’m slowly getting my routine down to under 10 minutes but I have to make sure that I’m looking as sharp as possible!

So, there we have it my beard growing friends! Here are the tips for beard growing that I wish I had known about before I started.

The question is, would I change my mind knowing what I do now? Well…absolutely not!

Good luck on your journey! Remember to stay patient!

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!