In this massive blog post, I want to share all of my knowledge on how to grow a beard.
Growing a beard can be a life-changing experience and getting to grips with what to expect can make growing a beard a much more pleasant experience.
We are going to take a look at the important stages of growing a beard one section at a time – before, during and after! We will unpack what is important about each step, what you should and shouldn’t do at each stage and the tips and tricks too!
That said, let’s get started!
Before growing a beard
You want to grow a beard, right? Maybe you’ve seen some awesome beards on Instagram and are thinking to yourself “How hard can it be?”. Maybe you know you can grow a decent beard and now is just the right time to try it. Or maybe you just want to give it a go for no particular reason.
Whatever your reason, you need to get your goals and outcome clear in your mind. You need to create the right headspace for the patience and time it will take!
The right headspace for growing a beard
The act of growing a beard is a meditative experience. You will need to be patient, resist urges to groom too early and also put up with looking shabby before looking awesome.
In that sense, growing a beard is like a caterpillar emerging from a cocoon! You are going to have to put up with looking a bit ‘pubey’ and shabby before your full beard potential is realized.
How to get into the right headspace:
1) Know where you are going.
I recommend before you start looking into growing a beard you should start googling beards and beard style. Create a folder on your computer where you save all of the beards that you like. Do they have common features like length, shape, formal or shabby? There is no right or wrong beard type – just the ones that you like and are drawn to.
Once you have a clear favorite style it’ll be easier to stay in it for the long run. And make no mistake, growing a beard takes time!
2) Write down your goals
I always recommend to new beard growers to write down SMART goals around growing your beard. To make sure your goals are clear and reachable, each one should be:
- Specific (that means simple, sensible, significant).
- Measurable (so they are meaningful, motivating).
- Achievable (not crazy goals).
- Relevant (reasonable, realistic and resourced, results-based).
- Time-bound (time-based, time-limited, time/cost limited, timely, time-sensitive).
For example, one of my goals during my time growing a beard was that I did not want to cut it for six weeks. You can see that this is specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound.
If you can set up two or three of these goals for your beard growing journey you’ll find it much easier!
3) Track your progress
A beard is a slow-growing beast! A that makes it hard to really judge your own progress!
Set up a folder and aim to put a photo in it once a week during your beard growing journey. You can see my progress photos in my other blog post.
The people around you, like friends and colleagues, that see you once a week or so will notice your progress and feel like you have grown a beard in no time! However, because you look at it everyday it’s going to feel like slow going!
By tracking your progress and being able to reflect n how far you have come – you’ll be more likely to continue growing your beard!
Now that you have the tools to remain in the right headspace. You’re going to want to know what, on average, will look good on your face!
Face shapes and beards
When you are considering growing a beard you need to factor in the sorts of beards that’ll look good on your face.
When you’re trying to figure out the shape of your face, these are the three factors that’ll help you distinguish exactly what your face shape is.
- The widest part of your face.
- The shape of your jaw.
- The length of your face.
Have a look at the beards that will best match your face based on the three metrics above.
People have a square-shaped face if the widest part of their head is close between their chin and their forehead. The face is also quite equal in height and width. These people tend to have angular jaws.
The best and most famous example of someone with a square face is Brad Pitt:
Beard for square face: The best beard styles for square faces are ones with skinnier sides and fuller jaws and chin. The beard could be rounded slightly to make sure that you distract a little from the squareness of the face. However, not too much! After all, your strong square face could be considered an asset and we don’t want to take too much away from that!
You have a round face when the cheeks are the widest part of your face. The height and width of your face are close to being equal and all of your features are soft and rounded!
The most famous man with a round face is Leonardo DiCaprio.
Beard for round face: People with round faces should look at beards that are short of the sides. As not to add to the weight of their face at that point. The chin should be grown out a fair amount and can be a little more angled at the sides and front to give the illusion of more of a chin.
People with heart-shaped faces have a pointy chin. The widest part of their face is the top. It can also be considered an inverted triangle. We don’t care about whether there is a widow’s peak or not – we are only looking at the overall shape.
The most famous person with a heart-shaped face is Ryan Reynolds:
Beard for the heart-shaped face: Because of the relatively weak jawline people with heart-shaped faces will benefit from being strategic about their beard growth. Quite large dense growth all over will balance the lower part of the face with the top. If you don’t want to go for a full beard a decent amount of stubble will also help balance the face shape.
Rectangle or oblong face
You have a rectangular face if your forehead, cheeks, and jawline are nearly the same widths. The chin of a rectangle face is only slightly curved and a more oblong face is a rectangle with slight curves. Overall, the same rules apply.
A recognizable face with a rectangle/oblong shape is Hugh Laurie.
Beards for rectangle-shaped faces: People with rectangle faces should consider slightly longer sides and shorter chinned styles. You don’t want to make your face any longer – unless you are going for the wizard length beard.
People with an oval-shaped face have a very similar shape to those with a rounded face. The only difference is that the length of the face is more than the width. The chin is still rounded but there is a likelihood that your forehead is only just the widest part of your face.
A male celebrity with an oval face shape is Jude Law:
Beards for people with oval faces: If you have an oval face almost any beard shape or style looks good on your head! Congratulations, you have won the genetic lottery. If you are lucky enough to fall into this category you have a license (and some say an obligation) to play about with as many beard shapes and styles as possible!
Men with diamond-shaped faces will have high cheekbones and pointy chins. The main difference between this face shape and the heart shape is that the forehead is slightly narrower. This face shape is slightly less common in males.
A male celebrity with a diamond face is Peter Andre:
Beards for people with diamond-shaped faces: Much like the heart shape, the beard should be kept neutral as possible and steer away from any hard angles or edges. Particular care should be taken around the cheeks as they tend to recess a fair bit. Stay away from low cheek lines as it can give a gaunt look.
All of these styles are only suggested and personal preference is what comes into play as each person grows a beard. Don’t let anyone tell you what you should do. It is your face and you can do what you want with it!
Beard styles – Short, medium, long
After looking at the options of beards for your face shape you’ll need to plan on what length you wish to stop at.
Many people decide to make multiple stopping points where they get to check out a certain length before moving on to the next length.
To give you an idea of how long you can expect yo wait for a beard to grow here are two measurements:
- One month growth: 0.5 – 1 inch per month (1.25 – 2.5 centimeters)
- One year growth: 6 – 10 inches per year (15 – 25 centimeters)
No matter what length you decide to grow, remember that it is different for everyone and you should be patient as your beard comes in. There’s also no harm in letting your beard stall at a certain length, so you can enjoy it for a little while.
After all, it is your journey and yours alone to take! Before you take your journey you need to ask yourself one final question! What are the reasons that I would not grow a beard?
Why you should not grow a beard
The last question is probably the last thing stopping you from embarking on your beard growing journey!
Although I love having my beard and it has been one of the best things I have decided to do recently, there are some instances where you need to consider if growing a beard is the right this for you. Here are a couple of examples of why you potentially shouldn’t grow a beard.
If you can’t grow a beard
This is probably an obvious point but some people just cannot grow a beard. Have a look at the density of your beard and the thickness of the hair on your face. You can use this to decide if growing a full beard may cause more harm than good.
Fear not! If you cannot grow a full beard you could still use stubble to accentuate parts of your face! Check out this video for more information on choosing not to grow a beard.
If your job or other commitments don’t allow it
We live in a time where appearance matters and the truth is that in some professional settings a beard just is not appropriate.
As much as I do not agree with the idea that beards cannot be professional, some disagree. I recommend asking your employer or human resources manager what the company policy is on beards and facial hair in general. Most employers will have sensible rules like having to keep it tidy etc.
Also, you can use this to manage the expectations of your employer and tell them that there will be a few weeks where it will be growing out and, although you will do your best, it may look a little shabby.
Top tip: If your boss isn’t super keen you can try a well-known tactic on them: The Puppy Sell! Tell them that you can do it for a trial and if they don’t like it they can reverse their decision. Quite often this is enough to allow you to grow a beard – and most of the time they will never ask you to remove it! This also works for a range of other things too!
If your significant other really detests beards
The last reason I’d like to touch on is if your partner really doesn’t like beards. If you got together while you didn’t have a beard it can be a big change for them and maybe they just hate beards.
It won’t feel like such a big deal for you because you don’t look at your face as much as your spouse or closest friends.
Like all good relationship advice, if you are thinking about growing a beard you need to discuss this before doing so. Please don’t just launch into it without consulting the most important person in your life!
Okay, now that we have covered all of the things you need to consider before growing a beard – let’s get going!
While growing a beard
Okay, you’ve just made a fantastic decision as far as I am concerned! Two things are going to be your superpower at this stage of the beard-growing process: patience and commitment!
The stages of growing a beard
I’ve written in detail in another blog post about all of the stages of growing a beard. I share my journey and also show you pictures of what my beard looked like at each stage. In summary of that post, we can consider the growth of a beard in a number of stages:
- Day zero – it feels like you are about to climb a huge beardy mountain. But with the right preparation, you can be sure to set great foundations. Moisturiser is your friend at this stage!
- One week in – this is the time where you just look lazy! One week uneven growth is the toughest thing to get through. People just assume you have let yourself go!
- Week two – this stage isn’t much better than week one but it is where you can start to appreciate where your beard growing strengths lie in terms of beard density and growth patterns.
- The one month beard – If you’ve made it to the one month beard you can breathe a small sigh of relief. Here you should consider beard oil, and invest in beard shampoo and conditioner to keep it soft. It won’t be long before you’ll need a product to manage the shape. Maybe grab some beard wax or balm for the next stage.
- Six to eight weeks – Your beard is starting to come into its full glory! Here you should be well into a full beard maintenance routine and you should have gone to a professional for your first shape up and trim. Consider buying a really good set of prosumer (professional consumer) clipper and trimmers. I have saved hundreds of dollars by doing a large part of the trimming myself.
- Week 10 plus – If you’ve made it here you are well on your way to the beard of your dreams. You’ll still be looking in the mirror every day and looking for improvements but overall you are honing in on the beard of your dreams!
As I stated above, I have written a detailed blog post about each of the beard-growing stages with pictures and the top tips I have gained from my own beard growing journey. Click here to read it!
How to grow a beard? Patience, my friend!
Beard growing accessories and tools
To be perfectly honest with you. I never realized how much “stuff” it takes to keep a beard looking good! If you read other blogs and advice it can seem like you need to spend a lot of money but I have learned to create my own waxes and oils which I will share with you in another blog post.
Here are the essentials that I think you need to buy if you are going to keep your beard looking good!
Beard brushes and combs
As your beard grows you will need to keep it looking it’s best by brushing and combing the hair.
I have three things that I use to brush my beard:
- A straight plastic comb that I use when blowdrying my beard to get the sides straight.
- A round 2” plastic comb that I use with the hairdryer to reshape any parts of my beard that tend to sit the wrong way.
- A large boar hairbrush (it looks like a shoe shining brush) which I use as a final light sweep to finalize the shape of my beard.
I also carry around a wooden pocket comb in my backpack. I have found it useful to have a pocket comb for when I need to give it a quick taming in the middle of the day.
I didn’t actually buy a hair drier specifically for my beard. I use one that my partner had already.
The most important feature a hairdryer can have for a beard is the option to do a cool blast. Often this is a button that you push and it quickly turns off the heating element.
When I am drying my hair I use a medium heat to dry it to about the 80% mark and then hold it in place with either a flat or rounded comb and give it a cold blast. The cold blast will lock the hair in place.
I have two types of hair clippers and it is all I have ever needed to trim my hair on my own. The Wahl Elite Pro clippers to do my sideburns and define the neckline. And a simple Phillips beard trimmer to cut in the finer aspects of the beard and define the shape.
The combination of these two is perfect for most use cases. Backed up with a good set of scissors to catch the individual hairs that you see – you are set to go!
Say after me: BUY BEARD OIL!
Seriously, it is the one best thing you can do if your beard is over a month old. There is a tonne of benefits to using beard oil but and there is a load of options for you to consider.
These are the most important factors to consider when you are thinking about buying beard oil:
- The smell – this is one of the most important things as you will be smelling the beard oil for most of the day. One simple rule: choose something you like!
- The bottle type – I have seen a bottle with a dropper in the lid and also the type with a small plastic cover with a hole in the middle. I do like the dropper type as it allows me to deliver the exact amount I want to my hand. Also, if I put too much in my hand I can suck it up again…no waste at all!
- The carrier oils – There are a range of different carrier oils that can be found in beard oils: JoJoba, Grapeseed, Argan, coconut, Olive, Castor, and Almond Oil. Each carrier oil has its own benefits and they can be mixed together to suit your skin and beard type.
I actually make my own beard oil – it is very cheap and easy to do! Buy the oils, bottles and essential oils in bulk and you’ll save a fortune while also having enough to last you for years!
Beard wax is used to put the final touches on a beard’s style. Used sparingly it can provide hold and shape to even the wildest of beards.
Beard waxes can be made up of a range of ingredients but normally contain beeswax, an oil, shea butter to soften the balm and essential oils.
The more beeswax it contains the stronger the hold. For example, if you want a long fancy mustache you need to have a lot more wax to lift the hair and keep it in place.
If you live in a warm climate consider a wax with more beeswax as it softens considerably with heat. The last thing you want is wax dripping off your face on a hot and humid day!
Shaver – old school single blade
No matter what beard shape you decide on you’ll definitely need to remove some hair down to the skin. for example, on necklines and cheeks.
Do yourself a massive favor and invest in an old school double edge single blade safety razor.
I have never had an issue with ingrown hairs and with a little bit of practice this razor will give you the closest shave ever. I like that it is easy to shave right up close to the beard and that it doesn’t pull the hairs out – as multi-blade razors do.
It is cheap to buy new blades and is eco-friendly! No more plastic to landfill like the Gillette cartridges. Be warned, however, you can’t simply hack away at your face like you can with modern safety razors – you’ll end up cutting up your face.
Take your time to learn the correct technique and it’ll be the best beard growing purchase you have ever made!
After growing a beard
In about ten weeks you will have started to see the beard of your dreams emerge from your face!
But here’s the thing – your beard will never feel “finished” to you. You will contatcly look for improvements and you may try many different styles. Whatever you decide to do, remember that regular grooming and Maintainance is the key for that head-turning beard!
Here’s is the routine that I use daily, weekly and monthly to ensure my beard is growing the way I want it to!
I wash my beard with beard shampoo and conditioner every other day but always get it wet during my daily morning shower. I then blowdry the beard to how I want it to sit and use beard oil and wax sparingly until I get the shape to stay in. By using the boar’s hair brush lightly on the surface of my beard I have found that it helps control hairs that otherwise fly away from my face.
I use scissors to remove any single hairs that are causing me an issue. I do not use trimmers on a daily basis. In the past, I have had a tendency to over prune if I use trimmer daily. I shave the neckline with the safety razor and check to see if the cheek line needs the same treatment.
My daily routine lasts no more than five minutes and gets quicker as you become comfortable with what needs to happen to keep your beard looking its best.
Weekly I take my small beard trimmers and remove any obviously overgrown hairs and shape up my sideburns.
I also cut the hair on my head on the weekends so I ensure that there is a nice fade going into my beard.
Monthly is when I take a bit of time on a Saturday or Sunday to make sure that my beard is trimmed to how I want it. Every month I do a harder trim under my chin and shape up anything that throws off the line of my beard.
Taking the time once a month allows you to rebalance the beard that you have to the beard that you want.
The question is – when do you need a professional to look over your beard and take it to the next level of style?
I recommend going to see a professional barber at least once every six months!
Do your research and ask people with beards that you like the look of where they go to get their beard trimmed up and styled. You need to find someone that you trust as their influence on your beard will last many months.
Ask questions, be polite and take advice from them. Let them know what you want from your beard. A true professional will put your needs and wants before anything else. It’s also OK to double-check you have communicated things the right way if you are not sure that they will deliver the best results for you and your beard!
So there we have it! That is the end of the best guide on how to grow a beard.
Good luck and godspeed!