Should I grow a beard or not? 13 surprisingly simple questions to ask yourself.

There comes a time in most men’s lives where they will consider growing a beard. You’ll hear that nagging feeling in the back of your mind “Should I grow a beard?.” Some think that is is as easy as just stopping shaving – while others are put off by the amount of time it can take to get you your ideal beard! Whatever you are thinking in regard to growing your beard – here, we will do through all of the important questions that you should ask yourself that will help you decide whether to grow a beard or not.

Growing a beard requires patience and commitment. If you have a good hair follicle density and you want to experiment with different looks you should grow a beard. It even keeps your face warm in winter and protects it from the sun in summer!

Here, I want to share with you all of the simple questions that you should ask yourself to make sure that you are approaching your beard growing ambitions with the right attitude and expectations!

1: Have you got patience?

Beard growing can take a long time. Check out my other blogs on the stages of beard growth so you can get an idea of what you should expect during your growing!

Depending on your genetics you may or may not be able to grow a thick luxurious beard. Genetics also defines how quickly your beard will grow. You should aim for at least four weeks of growth before you even consider cutting your facial hair at all. Only then will you have a good sense of what you are working with. Also, take a look at the male people on your mum and dad’s side of the family. You’ll get an indication of whether or not you will able to grow a beard by looking at the male heritage in your family.

Hair grows at a rate of approximately one inch per month but there are other factors that can hinder or help your beard growing. Your age, diet, stress levels and even the weather affects the beard-growing rate.

If your vision is a super long beard – you are going to have to be in for the long hall of at least 4 years. However, there are plenty of stops along the way that you can make to take advantage of your new look!

I found that I was able to grow a reasonable beard in just a few weeks. There were awkward beard growing days but I managed to push through them and am still sneaking up on the long beard of my dreams! Here is my beard journey as I discussed on the Beard Growing Pro website:

2: Are you ready for a complete change?

Growing a beard is a huge change for people that look at you regularly. If you grow a beard you will have to talk about your beard a lot with other people. I liken the experience to face tattoos.

Sure, growing a beard is reversible – unlike a face tattoo – but they share a couple of common features:

  • It will be the first thing people comment on – now when I meet people they will almost certainly comment on my beard. I feel like I always have to give people a rundown on what it is like to grow one and where it is heading. They never ask for that information – I just give it to them…
  • Some people will love it – some people will comment on how much it suits you. Others will say how they like beards in general. This is always nice and balances out the next type of person.
  • Some people will hate it – my beard has been called disgusting, hideous and an abomination. These are people who I consider friends and mentors. It can hurt. But I always remind myself of why I am growing a beard and remind myself that it is not for anyone else.
  • People will judge you for it – no matter if they love it or hate it, people will make a judgment on you. They will think you are a hipster, either too fashion-focused or, perhaps, not enough. Whatever they think – your beard is not for them!

If you want to shave up your style and look – growing a beard is a great way to do it!

3: Do you like daily maintenance?

This is one of the learnings that I wish I had known before growing a beard. Here is my daily routine:

The nicest, well-maintained beards take a lot of maintenance and daily care. For example, in the mornings I shower and get my beard wet. Every other day I wash it with some beard shampoo or mild soap. After towel drying, I blow dry it and brush it. I then work beard oil through my beard. If I’m attending an event or need to look extra polished I will also use some beard wax to the side and cheeks to cut down on the flyaway hairs.

This process should only take five minutes!

In reality, it takes much longer because you can’t help but tinker with the hair and the style of the beard.

If you decide to grow a beard be prepared for a longer morning routine and the potential to spend longer in the bathroom than your partner! I wasn’t a vain person but now I can’t help but check in with my beard regularly!

4: Do you have the budget for it?

Okay, your new beard hobby will not be as expensive as most things you can start but it does not come without a few ‘must-haves’. Check out the recommended tools page of this site and also the rundown on the essential items you need from the YouTube Channel:

The basics of beard growing can soon add up. From hairdryers and trimmers to beard oil and wax everything costs a little bit of money – maybe money that could blow out your budget.

At a minimum you will need:

  • A comb or brush – $6 – $20
  • A hairdryer – $15 – $50
  • Beard trimmer – $20 – $110
  • Scissors – $7 – $30
  • Beard oil – $12 – $20
  • Shaver and blades – $10 – $30
  • Optional:
    • Beard wax – $11 – $23
    • Travel comb – $8 – $13

This means that growing a beard could cost you $70 – $260 to start and then a quarterly payment for beard oil and wax etc. Getting your beard cut by a professional will all cost somewhere between $60 and $150 per trim. It can soon add up over the course of a year.

Although these items make sense from a beard growing perspective…there was one thing that I wasn’t expecting to spend money on.

I ended up buying new clothes to match my new look. You don’t have to do this, obviously, but it was an expense that I wasn’t expecting.

5: Do you have thick enough growth coverage for the beard of your dreams?

I want to preface this with the notion that you don’t need a super thick dense beard to rock having a beard. Check out my other blog with advice on what to do if you “cannot” grow a beard.

There are plenty of options for people with sparse coverage on their face or cheeks and it is all about managing expectations of your beard.

Check out my beard vitamin blog if you feel like this is a good option for you. Be warned, however, there is a bit of science but not enough data to show true value!

Do you have the appropriate level of growth density to get your dream beard? If not, you have to consider changing the expectations of your beard or give up on your beard growing journey for fear of being sorely disappointed. I covered how to work out if you can grow a beard on my YouTube Channel – check out the video here:

Remember to make sure you set yourself up for success!

6: Do you want to learn some new skills?

The decision to grow a beard will result in you having to learn some new skills. Maybe skills that you didn’t know you needed.

You will need to get to grips with how to style your beard everyday. As I doubt you will be able to afford someone to do it for you every morning. You will need to learn about the different beard waxes and oils and how to apply them.

You will need to learn how to trim your beard and keep it looking sharp between barber visits. You’ll have to get used to trimming your beard with trimmers and scissors. Check out my guide on how to trim your beard!

You may also want to learn how to make your own beard oil and beard wax. That is a good thing to do if you want to keep costs as low as possible. Check out my recipes on this blog post.

Before launching into your beard growing journey take a moment to check that you want to learn these new skills or be prepared to pay some money!

7: Will your partner or boss like you growing a beard?

This one pains me but it would be bad to ignore that your beard growing journey will affect more people than you.

Growing a beard will be a huge change for you and those that look at you. It is worth taking a moment to think about the effect your beard may have on others. This includes but is not limited to your partner and your boss.

Your partner may hate beards. Kissing someone with a beard is not everyone’s cup of tea! There’s no getting around the fact that you have to get a mouth full of hair.

Your partner will also be finding more hair around the house as it falls out of your face. Something that may not go down too well!

Also, depending on your profession, it may be that your beard will cause extra issues. I’m thinking particularly about food and health occupations where a dropped hair may cause some serious issues.

Just take the time to acknowledge the worst parts of growing a beard for those around you. It’s only polite, right?

Is having a beard Unprofessional?

A question that commonly gets asked by people who want to grow a beard is “is it unprofessional”. I will tell you what is certainly not professional – growing out a beard not maintaining it. The moment that you let your beard do what it wants is the moment that it stops looking professional.

The key aspect here is “intentional” if you keep your beard trimmed and maintained and it looks like you are intentional about its style then – yes – a beard can be very professional! Before you jump in check with your current workplace guidelines, or guidelines for places that you would like to work at.

8: Will you be OK with some people not liking your beard?

We covered the fact that people will have different opinions on your beard and the question you need to ask yourself is – am I OK with that.

Criticism is a strange thing one simple opinion doesn’t hurt but they soon add up and the constant feedback can cause you to feel bad. Beards polarise people and they either love them or hate them. Unfortunately, the people who hate them tend to be the loudest.

I have found the best ways to deal with criticism of my beard are:

  • Recognize that you don’t need to be defensive – it is only one person’s opinion.
  • Take a deep breath – focusing on your breath will keep you relaxed!
  • Draw the line at insults – sometimes people can mix up having an opinion with just outright insulting you. If you feel personally attacked just walk away from the conversation.

Ultimately it is only you that need to like you beard!

9: Do you want to try different styles?

Growing a beard is a fantastic way to try out a range of different styles and looks quickly. One of my beard growing friends like to grow out his beard for as long as possible and then try different styles while trimming it shorter and shorter.

If you are the sort of person who loves trying different styles than a beard may be the fun element that you can use to rapidly change your appearance. I never knew how much facial hair could change a persons features and style. In the past I wanted to find something that defined me. I tried loads of things – fancy shirts, pocket squares, fancy glasses – little did I know that I had the key to my unique style right on my face the whole time!

I just had to let it grow to uncover and create my style!

10: Can you put up with some itchiness?

If you are the sort of person that cannot put up with a little bit of discomfort on your face while growing a beard – maybe it isn’t for you.

Some men experience very little itchiness or irritation while they are growing their beards. Maybe they have softer hair naturally or maybe their hairs are less likely to become trapped under the skin. Other men, unfortunately, have a much harder time with beard itch and it can last for 3+ weeks!

I asked 200 men how long their beard itch lasts. From stubble, most men reported that the itch lasted for up to 3+ weeks before the beard became comfortable on their faces! Some men report never having significant beard itch which is lucky for them! While other’s have never gotten past the 3-week stage and therefore never had the opportunity to feel a full beard on their faces. So, it is very dependant on the individual but there are some common times when it is the most itchy – like when growing in the early stages!

Some men notice that their worst itchy areas are around the neck. That is certainly where the worst is for me!

So, by simply trimming in the neckline on the first 2 weeks can really help to get rid of most of the itch! But don’t cut in your neckline too high too early. You’ll kick yourself and it’ll look amateurish. If you’d like more help, I’ve written a blog on how to trim your neckline (and other parts) – click here.

11: Do you have skin problems?

If you have skin problems and issues with the skin on your face – you may want to consider if beard growing is right for you! A beard can trap all sorts of things under the hair and against the skin.

You should consider washing your face twice a day, in the morning and before you go to sleep to unclog hair follicles. Buy special face cleanser and massage your face with it, in order to remove oil and impurities that could be trapped against your skin and cause itchiness.

Be sure to buy a mild or pH balanced soap to keep your skin as healthy as possible. Following up with a good beard conditioner will help you keep the hairs on your face soft so that they are less likely to cause any itching during that annoying first three weeks.

12: Are you a good problem solver?

There are so many little issues that can pop up when growing a beard mine have been:

  • How do you use beard oil?
  • What clippers are best?
  • How often should I shampoo my beard?
  • How do you clean Wall clippers?
  • and many more…

All of these issues I have had to do a little bit of research online and work out what is best for my skin type and beard type. If you like solving problems then a beard will allow you to do exactly that!

13: Do you live in a hot climate?

Before growing a beard I would consider whether or not a beard will be annoying for you give the climate you live in.

In my opinion beards, are awesome for every type of climate! In the sun beards can help protect your face against harmful UV ray! And in the snow beards act like a face warmer and can protect you against harsh cold air.

However, there are many people that do not want to grow a beard because they don’t like the idea of having something on their face during hot and humid conditions. I must admit that my beard is most uncomfortable when I am in a humid environment. The sweat eaily runs into my beard and it can leave me feeling dirty and annoyed.

Ask other bearded men about the challenges they face in their home climate to see if they have any tips or regrets about growing a beard in that climate!

The final word

Ultimately, these are some simple guides that should answer the question: Should I grow a beard?.

They will help structure your thought process and ensure that you are prepared for the journey ahead.

However, this is your decision to make alone! Good luck!

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!