How to grow a beard – The Ultimate Guide

With beards continuing to dominate men’s fashion, you may have considered growing one yourself. I know I did. However, like me, you may have soon grown frustrated at either a lack of growth or withstanding the itch, or you may just not know where to begin.

Luckily, I saw my way through the first growing pains. Now I can bring you some top tips on how to grow a beard fast that is both stylish and full.

The Preparation

Mental preparation

Before you begin to grow your beard, you first have to assess what you have experienced so far. What colour is your facial hair? Is your facial hair curly, straight, full, patchy? What kind of coverage do you have? These are things to understand before you set out, as you can only really grow what nature gave you. You can’t expect a bushy beard if your hair is straight and patchy just as you can’t expect a dark beard with fair hair. Know and measure your expectations before you begin.

Man with beard in parking lot

Make a plan

Planning to grow a beard begins with knowing how long/short you’d like to grow it. You may be asking “how long does it take to grow a beard ?” Well typically, a beard grows around a 1/2 inch per month, and each individual has their own limits set by genetics. The best plan is to grow your beard between 2 – 6 months until it is soft to the touch. You can then decide to shape and style it – let it grow out before taking it in.

Pick a style

Once you have prepared for your limitations and made a plan, next set about choosing a style. This will dictate how long to grow your beard out and how soon to shave it. Think about your face shape; wider faces benefit from longer beards, while long faces tend to look better with full sides. Trim around your neck and sides with a razor to shape your beard. Try not to go too close to the jawline and instead start by trimming a line roughly above your Adam’s apple – this will help give a fuller look that you can later style.

Give it time /Be patient

The golden rule of beard growth is to just let it grow. It takes time to grow a beard and, yes, you may even hate it in the early stages when you look like a grizzly hobo. Patches fill out as hairs grow, curl and cover, meaning poor hair distribution at 2 months may look spectacular at 6 months. You may deal with discouraging comments within the crucial early stages, which we’ll deal with next.

Dealing with criticism

You’re going to get comments for having a beard, particularly as you’ve just decided to grow it. It’s a completely new look which friends and family need to get acclimated to, just like a new haircut. Whether it’s a gentle rib from friends or name calls of “hipster”, “hippy” or “fuzz face”, you’re bound to hear something that’ll rattle you up. Don’t stress, stick with it and soon you’ll be getting compliments. Many comments may be from guys who don’t have beards, can’t grow beards or are not brave enough to try something new. It could even be beard envy.

Dealing with beard envy

Beard envy is a thing. I know I have it. Don’t get hung up on other people’s growth and remember everyone’s facial hair grows at a different pace. I can’t grow a long ZZ Top style beard, but I deal with what I have and receive compliments because it suits me. Sure, I’d like a darker beard with fewer speckles of white and grey, but I can’t do anything about that. Learn to love what you’ve got and remember others are envious of your beard too.

Convincing people you’re growing a beard

Beards are a personal choice that sometimes others might question. This is particularly true of loved ones who may not be entirely convinced about your beard growing choices. This may be aesthetic, but it’s often always due to the fear of harsh itchy burning on contact. Make the case that it’s your choice and your beard will soften with both time and products. With that said, you can take some physical preparatory steps to help grow your beard out.

Man with beard adjusting long hair

Physical preparation

Although part of growing a beard is just coping with it and seeing your goals through, there are a number of other things you can prepare. By preparing you will ensure you know how to grow facial hair faster.

The hormones that affect a beard

Testosterone is a proven factor for beard growth as it is responsible for priming your hair follicles and producing DHT. DHT is essentially a sex steroid produced in the testes and prostate. About 10% of your testosterone is converted into DHT, and DHT is the primary androgen for beard growth.

Raise your testosterone

Given that testosterone is so important for beard hair growth, you can boost it by sticking to a healthy diet with plenty of exercise, particularly weight training. You should also work on minimizing stress and ensure you have high-quality sleep to ensure healthy testosterone levels.

Best food for a healthy beard

In terms of diet, the best ones to try are low sugar, low carb diets which are rich in proteins, healthy fats, and minerals. This can be achieved either with good-quality red meat or, if you’re a vegetarian, nuts, and beans (but limit soybeans). Supplement this with green leafy vegetables.

Use supplements

Supplements are not always necessary, but you should definitely ensure you are getting enough multivitamins and minerals in your diet. For good healthy growth, consider zinc-rich supplements, vitamin B and magnesium pills, as well as omega 3 capsule and biotin, a vitamin which ensures healthy skin, hair and nail growth.

Supplements on dark table in spotlight

Understand Your Beard (and Your Face)

Beards are vulnerable and need some care. To avoid damaging your beard in the crucial growing stages, make sure you’re optimising your health and wellbeing. This is important as a healthy body and mind lead to healthy facial hair growth. Furthermore, avoid picking at your beard hairs. I know, it can be itchy or you want to get a good feel, but stroking is the way to go. Otherwise, you risk damaging your hair follicles, creating patches and inhibiting growth.

Growing your beard

When growing your beard, treat it kindly and take some steps to ensure a good-looking, healthy beard.

Take care of your skin

Utilise a skin conditioning regime to ensure your skin below your hair is healthy. This comes by caring for the beard by applying beard oil. This isn’t just to soften and moisturise your hair but to heal the skin below and prevent flaking.

Shave the perimeter

The difference between letting your hair grow wildly and managing growth is keeping its shape under check. Although you’ll want to grow your hair out to cover any patches and to see what kind of beard style you can pull off, by shaving the perimeter, you keep it neat and tidy and prevent it from sprawling down your neck. Maintain cheek and neck-lines by trimming your beard as it grows. This will make sure you know how to grow a full beard that has volume.

Brush it out

If you’ve got a potentially wild, long and bushy beard on the go, the best practice is to brush it out several times a day. This ensures you get a grip on your beard and distribute natural oils. You can do this after applying beard oil in the morning and at night. By brushing, you’re guiding where your hair will grow, shaping your style and ensuring the fuzz is kept down.

Black man with beard on a crowded street

Protect Your Neck

Your neckline is important and a clean line above your Adam’s apple can make all the difference between a stylish beard and a hobo-esque mess.

Keep It Tidy, Keep It Clean

It’s all about appearances. By keeping your beard tidy and clean, you give off a more professional and business-minded aesthetic. Stay on top of your beard lines, ensure that your hair and skin are healthy, and you’ll avoid having a dry, wiry disaster on your face.

Styling and Shaping Your Beard

When it comes to styling and shaping your beard, there are plenty of options. What you go for will depend on your facial hair distribution, your work and general goals. Whatever look you go for, here are some beard growing tips to keep your beard style under control.

Use a beard trimmer

Beard trimmers are handy tools which are specifically designed to maintain your facial fuzz. A battery-operated trimmer is the best option as it ensures no annoying wires. If you’re keeping your beard short and on-point, a trimmer can be used every day to maintain a set style. For larger beards, they can help sculpt rogue hairs.

I have reviewed some of the best beard trimmers so have a look and let me know what you think.

Choose a beard style that fits your face shape

It’s no use choosing a style that doesn’t suit your facial structure. In general, oval faces benefit from most beard styles, so long as you don’t style sharp angles. For round faces, consider longer beards that elongate the bottom with shorter cheek trims. For rectangular faces, fuller sides help draw out the beard and carve better symmetry.

Use tapered settings on your trimmer, if possible

If your trimmer has a taper setting, utilise this to avoid any sharp and conspicuous lines. You want your hair to naturally grow out as it is more pleasing on the eye and adds depth for a fuller-looking beard.

Bearded bald man

Caring for your beard

Beard care should be implemented daily – this ensures your hair grows well, remains shiny (and not dry) and doesn’t itch. I have written a useful guide on how to groom your beard to give you a head start.

Clean your beard before you trim it with a moisturizing shampoo

Before you set about trimming your beard, moisturize it to help soften your hair follicles. This will ensure you don’t get caught in any nasty knots or experience any pain or irritation. It’s far easier to cut and guide your trimmer through soft towel-dry beard hair than wiry, weathered facial hair. The best option is to purchase a beard grooming kit. These kits will usually include all of the shampoos and moisturizers you will need on your beard growing adventure.

Comb your beard regularly

Combing is a necessity. Not only does it help shape your beard, but it also keeps your skin moisturised beneath your beard. Combing also removes any dead skin and hair, ensuring you have a healthy beard that’s easy to manage.

Moisturize daily

Moisturising, whether with beard oil, beard balm or special moisturising solution, is essential. It’s best incorporated into your daily bath time routine after you’ve had a shower and before you go to bed.

Use a conditioning styler

Conditioning stylers like balms help moisturise your beard while locking your hair into combed directions. This is essential for bushy beards as it makes sure your hair stays neat and healthy-looking. If you need help choosing a beard conditioner I have reviewed some here

Man with beard glasses on the street by neon lights

Reaching terminal growth

Although your beard never really stops growing, there is a set length that your hair follicle can grow to before falling out and being replaced by a new one. Combing helps remove these dead hairs to ensure a full and healthy-looking beard. Everyone’s terminal growth length is different. Some can grow just 2 inches and some can reach the floor. When you notice a plateau in beard growth – that’s probably your limit (for now).

Issues with your beard

Everybody runs into issues when they’re growing their beard. The trick is managing and maintaining your issues, sticking to your goals and ensuring a healthy facial head of hair.

Itchy Beard

Itchy beard is a syndrome you’ll likely experience in the growing months. Combat this with good moisturiser and oil. Try not to over condition your beard with shampoos in the shower as this can lead to a drier beard which, in turn, means an itchier beard. An itchy beard, after all, is caused by your dry or damaged skin underneath. If an itch persists, you may have an ingrown hair or poor hygiene. Practice a good diet to maintain healthy skin and prevent any under-beard nasties. To combat excessive itchiness or dryness, consider “beard lube” – a special product which moisturises dry hair.

Electric shaver vs razor blade

Electric razors tend to be easier on your skin, forcing hairs up before cutting them. However, you may want to implement a manual razor routine for sculpting out lines on your neck and cheek, and an electric razor for maintaining your overall style and length.

Patchy beard

If you’re plagued with beard patches, there are some stylistic solutions you can take. For one, keeping your beard shorter will ensure that your patches are less obvious. If you’re keen for length, grow it out and shape your surrounding hair to cover the patches. Beard balms, in particular, can help guide stubborn hairs. For persistent gaps with lighter-coloured beard hair, there’s always dying to help give the allusion of a fuller beard.

Bearded man working out outside

Split Ends

Split ends are caused by damaged or dry hair. To combat this problem, ensure that you don’t expose your beard to extreme heat (like a blow drier) and apply oil to help soften and nourish your hair follicles. Stick to products designed for beard use and don’t use hair products designed for hair (shampoos and conditioners) on your beard.

Beard Dandruff

Beard dandruff is generally caused by poor hygiene or over-use of beard products. Strike a balance, wash and rinse your face daily, hydrate your skin underneath with an oil or moisturiser and brush your beard regularly to keep any dandruff at bay.

Summary

Beards don’t grow fully formed overnight. They take discipline and patience. To ensure that you grow the best beard you can, ensure that you follow the tips above on how to grow a beard that is well-nourished and healthy. Don’t over trim, don’t under trim. Be confident in your new facial adventure and, most of all, live well to reap the rewards.

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