How long to grow a beard before giving up? [Insider considerations]

It’s something that every beard grower has to go through – the internal monologues, particularly in the early stages, that are telling you to give up. The early stages of grown a beard are particularly torturous. You have to deal with the way it looks on your face, and the negative feelings are amplified by the way it feels.

Do not give up on a beard that is less than six months old. Getting to the six-month stage means that you have passed the awkward beard stages, and you have the potential to shape it into your perfect beard. Too many people give up too early.

When you are growing a beard, the early stages are full of self-doubt. It is fuzzy around the edges; it looks patchy and, one of the biggest issues is, it feels as bad as it looks. A growing beard feels uncomfortable for the beard grower, which can amplify the negative attitudes you feel towards your early growth beard.

If you are thinking about growing a beard, you need to set your goals on a long-term project. There is no way to determine if you can grow a thick and bushy beard by waiting less than six months. Growing a beard can be like watching paint dry, and because you look at it in the mirror every day, it can feel like it is taking forever.

how long to grow a beard before giving up

There are some aspects of growing a beard that you cannot control and are largely determined by your genetics. If you have been growing your beard for a while, here are some indicators that you should give up on your beard growing adventure this time.

When should you give up on growing a beard?

Many people give up on their beards too early. They do not give their beard enough time to grow, and they are constantly comparing their beard to beards that are two or three years old. Unfortunately, we tend to live in a society that expects results quickly and with little effort. A beard will test your patience and your resolve throughout the growing stages.

After six months you are not happy

After six months of growth, the first time, you can truly judge your beard and decide whether or not you are giving up on growing your beard.

In the early stages of growing your beard, you can expect to see it go through various issues. If you want to know all of the stages of growing a beard, you can check out my other article – click here for an outline of all of the stages – or you can check out my YouTube video below.

Common issues that occurred before six months include:

  • irritation – as the hairs emerge from the skin, you can have a fair amount of irritation and redness.
  • Patchy growth – patchy growth can occur in the early stages, and it takes time for the beard hairs to get long enough to cover them.
  • Uneven growth – until you trim back your beard to an even length, certain parts of your beard will grow faster than other parts.
  • Fluffiness – as your beard grows, your beard will end up looking like the surface of a tennis ball. It is not until you have shaped up the beard with a set of trimmers that it starts to look homogenous, and you can trim in some defined lines.
  • Neckline and cheek line issues – it takes about six weeks for you to determine where the point of maximum growth is of your beard. The point of maximum growth is where you should trim your cheek line and neckline back.
  • Balms and waxes do not do much – because your hair is relatively short, the balms and products with style hold do not do much for your beard. Short beards are harder to control with products and rely on heavy trimming to define the shape. Longer beards are flexible enough for products to work their magic.

After six months of growth, most of these issues are worked out, and you can make an informed decision on whether or not you want to remove your beard completely or choose a style that matches your growth patterns.

You cannot trim in a shape

Another reason you may want to remove your beard completely is if you cannot shave in the style of beard that you want to grow.

Even the lightest of stubble beards can change your look dramatically. And, if you want to find out more about how to grow and maintain a light stubble beard, you can check out my full guide – click here to be taken to the article.

Light stubble beard – The FULL guide

The beard spectrum includes everything from a 1 mm beard up to a long wizard length beard.

It is unlikely that you will not find a beard style that suits your growth pattern and shapes. However, it may not be the exact beard that you want.

After six months of growth, you should take stock of your beard and choose beard styles that suit your growth pattern. For example, if your beard is really strong on the chin, you could choose a full chin or goatee type beard. Alternatively, if you have no hairs on your cheeks, you could choose a low cheek line beard that hugs the jawline.

If, after noting all of the different types of beard styles, you do not find one that you would be able to grow confidently with your current growth patterns and length, you may want to consider calling it quits on your beard.

The extra length will not cover gaps

After six months of growth, your beard will likely be between 6 cm and 7 cm long. The hairs will be completely off your face, and you should be able to trim in a wide variety of beard styles.

In the early stages of growth, you will likely notice a series of gaps or asymmetries in your beard. With a six-month beard, these gaps will have closed up.

In rare cases, the extra length of a beard may not be able to close up gaps. Extra growth may not close up gaps if they exist on the cheek line or near unusual growth patterns such as cowlicks.

It is common for cowlicks to appear on the jaw and neck area, although it can happen anywhere else on the beard. There is no evidence to suggest that you can get rid of a beard cowlick permanently, and you can only minimise the effects of a cowlick by using a variety of brushing and shaving techniques.

Whatever the issue, if six months of beard growth does not allow you to cover up any issues, you may want to consider shaving it off completely.

Your hair is too straight to cover gaps

Depending on the curliness of your beard, extra length may not be able to cover up any issues with your beard. The curliness of your beard is related to your genetics and cultural heritage.

Ultimately, it is your genetics that determines the type of beard hair texture that you are growing.

The genetics that you are born with determines things like the shape of your hair follicle, the cross-sectional shape of your hair, and the growth pattern and density of the hair follicles on different parts of your face.

Your ethnicity also plays a huge role in the type of beard texture that you will grow. As a sweeping broad statement, the middle eastern ethnicities can grow fantastic beards, as can people of Indian, Italian, and Hungarian descent.

You may also find that beard hair feels different on different parts of your face. That is because the cross-sectional area of the hair will change depending on where on the face you find it.

The types of beard texture include:

  • fair and straight – hair follicles grow perpendicular to the skin’s surface, which means that the hair does not have any torsional or growth strains as it is emerging from the skin. It has a round cross-section and has fewer curls. This type of hair is typically found in people of Asian descent.
  • Wavy hair – wavy beard hair is common for people of Caucasian descent. The hair follicle is not completely perpendicular to the skin’s surface, and the hair has a semi-oval or oval-shaped cross-section.
  • Coiled and curly – this type of beard hair is found in people of African descent because the hail follicle sits parallel to the skin’s surface. The hair is a flat oval cross-sectional shape.

Depending on your particular beard texture, you may discover that it cannot be easily held or shaped into your desired beard style. Before shaving off completely, I recommend that you look for a variety of other beard styles which could incorporate and complement your beard texture.

It feels uncomfortable

Maybe your beard is particularly uncomfortable, and you feel like it is causing significant irritation or other dermatological issues such as acne.

The science-based articles and directives that I’ve looked at suggest that pimples and acne are made worse by having a beard.

So, yes, beards are likely to be correlated with the prevalence of acne.

Yale medicine suggests that you get increased amounts of acne with beards because acne develops when the skin produces a lot of oils and sebum. In combination with dead skin cells and being trapped against the skin, the oils can cause breakouts.

 Beards in the early stage also feel a little bit uncomfortable to touch. This feeling is because the short hairs are not long enough to buckle or flex under external pressure. It means that the beard is spiky, itchy, and in the creases of your neck can be very uncomfortable.

Is your beard uncomfortable due to pseudofolliculitis barbae?

Pseudofolliculitis barbae is an inflammatory condition of the beard area. It seems to be more prevalent in men of African descent, affecting both men and women. There is a study published in 2016 which looks at the condition and also the role of facial grooming in making it worse.

Before this study, there was no robust clinical evidence to support recommendations about shaving or not shaving with a single blade or multi-blade razers. The study highlights that daily shaving which includes a good pre-shave and post-shave hydration, may be beneficial to stop the development of ingrown hairs.

Daily shaving with a multi-blade razor will reduce the pressure you put on your skin and reduce the irritation from having to pass over the same part of the face repeatedly.

Suppose you have not noticed a significant improvement in your beard comfortableness after growing out for six months. In that case, you may wish to seek medical help for whatever skin conditions you are facing.

Your confidence has taken a bit of a hit

There is no point in growing a beard if it just makes you feel bad. Your mental health is very important, and it is vital for keeping you feeling healthy and happy. If your beard is a significant point of contention and you are constantly judging it, making you feel bad, get rid of it.

According to several experts, mentally healthy people have a sense of contentment, self-confidence and high self-esteem. Having good mental health doesn’t mean that you never go through a bad time, but it does help people bounce back from problems. If your beard is becoming a source of a problem and you are finding that you cannot shake any negative thoughts related to the way your beard looks, it may be time to remove it for the time being.

Boosting your mental health comes down to increasing these aspects of your life:

  • social connection
  • staying active
  • managing and monitoring stress
  • eating a healthy diet
  • getting enough quality sleep
  • creating meaning and purpose throughout your daily life

If a beard is getting in your way of achieving these, my recommendation would be to remove it and see if it helps you increase any of these aspects of your life.

However, you may find that you are just in the awkward beard growing phase, which lasts only a few weeks.

How long does the awkward beard stage last?

The awkward beard stage is something that every beard grower goes through. I have outlined how people feel and the steps for getting out of the awkward beard stage in my YouTube video below.

After coming out of the awkward stage, you may find that your attitudes towards your beard still haven’t changed. In this case, I would consider removing your beard.

How long to grow a beard before giving up? Summary

In this article, we have been through everything you need to know about deciding whether it is time to remove your beard.

There are so many factors that influence your beard growth, with the main one being genetics, that how your beard grows is very much out of your hands. Learning to work with what you have been given and choosing styles that match your maximum growth areas is one of the only ways to show off your beard to its full potential.

Sometimes, however, beards can cause you to feel different about yourself. And important choices need to be made to preserve your mental health and resilience. If you find that your beard is affecting your mental health or an outward sign of poor mental health, it is probably time to remove it and start fresh. Focus on increasing social connectedness, improving your diet and exercise, and putting purpose and meaning into each day will do more for your mental health than looking after your beard.

Also, suppose your beard is causing any medical issues with your skin. In that case, you should speak to your trusted health professional to help you resolve any dermatological issues you may be facing.

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!