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Growing a Beard - The Ultimate Guide (Updated 2018)

Growing a beard is as simple as setting the razor down and not shaving. However, if you want to grow a great beard, the honest truth is, it takes a little work. Just like the hair on your head, you need to wash, condition, and groom your beard daily.

With so much "buzz" surrounding beards, it's easy to get overwhelmed with product options and grooming tips. Because of their popularity in the recent years, dozens (if not hundreds) of companies have popped up all trying to capitalize on the "trend." 

As you know, we Live Bearded so in an attempt to help you cut through the noise, we wrote this guide for you! The "Ultimate Step-By-Step Grooming & Style Guide" will tell you everything you need to know to grow to your full potential, without any of the fluff you don't need. 

In our pursuit to help our readers (and customers) grow the best beard possible, We developed a very simple, 3 Step Beard Care Routine™. All you need to do is follow our routine and use the types of products recommended and we guarantee you'll grow your best beard.  

Step One: Wash The Beard

Wash your beard

Step one is as simple as it gets, wash that dang thing growing out of your face! Just like you wash your hair in the shower, take a minute to wash your face and beard. The only question is, what soap do you use?

Bar Soap & Body Wash

Most guys think its ok to just use bar soap or body wash but this is a bad idea. We recommend avoiding this at all costs. These types of soaps are typically made with alcohols and harsh ingredients which are great for washing away a hard days work, but terrible for your beard. Using soaps like this on your beard leads to:

  • Dry, itchy skin
  • Beard dandruff
  • Split ends
  • Unhealthy growth

Side note, if bar soap is all you have available it is critical to apply a good amount of beard oil after and depending on length, we beard butter immediately following. The combination of the oil and butter will help add the moisture back into your beard and skin, keeping it as healthy as possible. 

Beard Wash

If you're serious about growing a great beard, and you want it to look and feel great, we recommend using beard wash. A good wash is designed specifically for your face and coarse beard hairs so it helps:

  • Eliminate itch, irritation and flakes at the source
  • Promote softer, healthier, more manageable growth
  • Offer a deep clean without damaging skin and hair

Recommended: Learn About Beard Wash

Step Two: Condition Your Skin

Moisturize your beard

After you've washed your beard, we recommend gently towel drying and applying your beard oil. Beard oil is the perfect combination of all natural carrier oils and essential oils, and it's designed to keep your skin and beard healthy.

A good, all natural oil is the foundation of a healthy beard and is one of the most essential product a beardsman uses. It can transform your beard from average to excellent in just a few minutes a day if you apply your oil the RIGHT way! 

This may come as a big surprise, but beard oil is NOT for your beard. With a name like, "beard oil" it would make complete sense to apply it to your beard, but we recommend applying it to the skin underneath your beard. 

Here's why, as your beard grows it absorbs the natural sebum oils your body creates and this can cause some issues like beard itch, dandruff, slow growth, and irritated skin. If you've ever had beard itch, beard dandruff or slow growth, you know exactly what I'm talking about. 

This is why we recommend applying your beard oil underneath your beard, directly to your skin. Sure, some oil is going to get on your beard, and that's perfectly fine. However, you want to focus on applying the oil directly to your skin. 

A high-quality beard oil is typically made up of two types of oils and both are important. 

1. Carrier Oils

A good carrier oil is designed to mirror your natural sebum oils your body creates so when you apply the oil to your skin, it is easily absorbed into the skin giving you the full benefits. 

Generally speaking, the best carrier oils are argan oil, jojoba oil, and grapeseed oil with sweet almond and avocado oils being nice alternatives. Before you buy any bottle of oil, check the ingredients. Look for oils with a few of these top carrier oils, and avoid anything that has names you cannot pronounce or alcohols in it. 

2. Essential Oils

Essential oils are what give products fragrance. Whether its pine, cedar, sandalwood, citrus, clove, or vanilla, the best fragrance comes from all-natural essential oils. 

Use some beard oil

Daily application of beard oil will hydrate your skin and beard, and will eliminate:

  • Beard Itch: the primary reason many men don’t continue their beard growth.
  • Beardruff: dandruff of the beard – flakes of skin everywhere.
  • Split Ends: we’ve all heard the women in our lives complain about them. When your hair splits (go figure), causing an unruly, un-kept appearance.

How To Apply Beard Oil:

When you apply the oil, first go under your beard and apply to your skin, then use the extra oil to coat the beard itself. Here's how we recommend you do it:

Recommended: Learn More About Beard Oil

Step Three: Condition Your Beard

As you know, beard hair is thicker and coarser than most hairs so using a product specifically designed beard hair is critical if you want to achieve that soft, well-groomed look. 

For this 3rd and final step, we recommend conditioning your beard with beard butter. Beard butter is made with a combination of oils and butters which give it a light creamy texture so it's easy to apply and gives you deeper nourishment. The best base is shea butter combined with carrier oils and essential oils for fragrance.

What Does Beard Butter Do?

Beard butter is the best of both worlds, the perfect balance between an oil and a balm/wax. It's as if you’re walking around with conditioner in your beard all day long while having a light to medium hold so you can style your beard and keep it in place all day long.

It locks in a deep condition for your beard beyond what a quality oil can do alone, especially with medium to longer length beards, and will leave your beard soft and manageable, smelling great.

How To Apply Beard Butter:

Beard butter should be applied daily for styling and moisturizing purposes. It is important to note that it is not a replacement for your beard oil which will help keep your skin from flaking and itching.

Recommended: Learn more about Beard Butter

Final Touches

Now that your washed, oiled and buttered up, we recommend combing your beard to help evenly distribute your product as well as give you're a beard a good shape and style. A good quality beard comb is a tool that no beard should be without. A high-quality beard comb will help you:

  • Tame and shape your beard
  • Train hairs to grow in the right direction
  • Reduce/eliminate fly away and ingrown hairs
  • Help evenly distribute oil

Because beard hair is thicker, denser hair than that on your head, combing your beard creates more friction, so choosing the right beard comb is important. If you've ever used a cheap plastic comb on your beard, you know what we're talking about. 

A lot of cheap combs will pull and snag on your beard hairs making it super painful and difficult to comb your beard out. Let's take a look at the types of beard combs to choose from:

Plastic Combs:

Pros & Cons:

  • Inexpensive
  • Can cause split ends
  • Creates static and beard "frizz"
  • Snagging happens a lot
  • Breakage of hairs

Metal Combs:

Pros & Cons:

  • Durable and stylish
  • Increased snagging
  • Causes Split ends
  • Breakage of hairs

Natural Horn Combs:

Pros & Cons:

  • Reduced static
  • Less snagging and healthier hair
  • Expensive

Wood Combs:

Pros & Cons:

  • Anti-Static
  • Least amount of snagging
  • Healthier and shinier hair
  • Evenly distributes oil and butter
  • Can break if you're not careful.

Wood beard combs are the most popular and widely accepted combs on the market and we love them. Guys swear by our wood comb and it has hundreds of 5-star reviews. 

Recommended: Learn About Our Wood Comb

How To Comb Your Beard

Here is a video showing you our suggested technique for added fullness and shape:

Combing your beard regularly will give it a better shape, get you more compliments, and give you more confidence. You should keep your comb on you or near you at all times. One thing you’ll notice, the longer your beard gets, the harder it is to keep it looking good.

Boar's Hair Brush

A boar's hair brush is a great tool to give you a little extra control when styling. Many of us use a bush and a comb in the morning after oil and butter application to really shape it up and use a comb throughout the day to keep it looking good all day long.

Boars Hair Beard Brush

Recommended: Learn About Our Boars Hair Brush

Beard Style

Choosing the right style to compliment the shape of your face can dramatically improve your overall look and appearance as a beardsmen. Just like the wrong haircut can make you look like Joe Dirt, a bad beard style can be painful. 

Knowing what beard shape is best for you may save you months or years of trial and error while boosting your confidence and helping you look and feel your best. So, the question is, what's the best style for you? Follow these general rules for each of the following face types to find out.

Face Type: Round Face

When shaping a beard on a round face, add length to the chin to stretch the appearance of the face to appear less round. Avoid thickness of sideburns and keep the sides of the beard trimmed shorter.

Round Face

Face Type: Square Face

Similar to the round, you should opt for a beard style that makes your face appear to be more slender and longer. The most practical for elongating the face is to keep the sides tighter and allow for length to be at the chin.

Square Face

Face Type: Long & Narrow

If your face is already long and narrow, you’ll want to do the exact opposite from the round. Your beard style should be fuller on the sides to fill our your face.

Long and Narrow

Face Type: Large

If you have a larger face, you’ll want your beard to match. Any small amount of facial hair will only make your face appear larger and out of proportion. This gives you the right to grow it BIG!

Large

Face Type: Small

If you have a small face, you’ll want to consider a slightly smaller beard. You don’t want to completely lose your face in your beard so keep the proportions appropriate.

Small

Face Type: Oval

You lucky SOB! The oval face is considered to be the ideal shape for nearly any beard style and requires minimal shaping to balance your facial features. Consider it your duty to grow a beard.

Oval

Beard Trimming

Many beardsman have a love-hate relationship with the idea of trimming. Just like getting a hair cut, it can be a stressful process. One wrong move and you've lost months (or years) worth of growth!

Whether you trim yourself, or you go to a trusted barber, following the 10 Laws of trimming is critical. The most common mistakes made by beardsman happen when not following the 10 laws of trimming!

10 Laws Of Beard Trimming

1. Slow Down

  • Never rush! EVER!
  • Take your time, take it slow!

2. Don’t Trim Wet

  • When it's wet it will appear longer than it will actually is
  • Wait for it to dry, always trim dry.

3. Clippers vs Scissors

  • This comes down to personal preference and what YOU are most comfortable with.
  • Scissors take more time, but are way easier to control!
  • Cut less to start with, you can always cut more later

4. A Proper Neckline

This is the single most common beard trimming mistake. Too many guys ruin their beards by trimming too high. Do NOT do this...

  • Do not cut at your jawline! NO NO NO
  • If you trim your beard on your jawline it will make it look like your beard shrunk and is entirely too small for your face. You want to trim your beard where your neck meets your head.
  • Trim/cut at the neck line, just above the adams apple

This is BAD!

Jaw line very very bad!

Do NOT be this guy, this jaw line is really bad! 

This is GOOD!

Neck line good, very good!

Nice neck line brother, great job! 

5. Comb the Opposite Direction

  • Comb up, against the grain.
  • This will separate the hairs and expose any uneven areas in your beard making trimming easier.

6. The Stache

  • STACHE RULE: the bigger the beard, the bigger the stache! 
  • I always advise using scissors on a mustache of any length. If you want it off your lip, simply take the scissors and cut what’s resting on your upper lip.
  • For a shorter mustache, you can use a trimmer with a guide as an alternative. My advice is to always start with a number higher than you think you should just to be safe.

Recommended: Learn About Mustache Wax

7. The Cheeks

Depending on how high your cheeks grow in, you may want to clean up your cheek line to add a little more of a defined beard.

  • Create a line connecting your inner sideburns across to your mustache.
  • Do not go too low!!! A very common mistake is taking this line too low.
  • Round Face? Keep the sides tighter by trimming the hair on your cheeks shorter than your chin.

8. Maintain

  • Keep an eye on it and trim the strays that take away from the shape.
  • Just remember not to overdue it.

9. Made a Mistake?

  • If you’ve made a mistake, our advice is to step away.
  • DO NOT try to fix it on the spot if you are upset. Trust me.
  • Beard trimming takes patience and you’ll only be in a rush and likely make it worse.

Simply step away for a bit and come back once you’ve settled down.

10. See a Professional

Beard Grooming

Short Beards

Beard Oil is absolutely critical to keep the skin and hair moisturized and soft and should be used by every beard after about 1 month. This in conjunction with using your beard comb regularly will reduce your beard itch and also reduce ingrown hairs and beard flake.

What’s important to remember here is that proper care and application of oil in this stage of growth will ensure healthy, faster and fuller growth moving forward.

Recommended: Learn More About Beard Oil

3 Month Beard

As your hairs get longer it will be harder for them to remain moisturized. At this stage, I would recommend a good beard wash and beard oil daily. I would also recommend beard butter to offer a light to medium hold throughout the day.

Not only does this give you the hold to maintain the style you prefer, but it also locks in moisture to keep your beard protected from the elements. Make sure to keep your comb on you as your beard will tend to run a little wilder as you grow.

Recommended: Learn More About Beard Butter

What about mustache wax?

For those of you growing your mustache, I recommend applying mustache wax daily to train your stache to grow to the side and off your lip. Doing this early will make a huge difference as it gets longer and is something a lot of guys fail to do.

TIP – For problem areas in your beard where your hairs are stubborn, hit it with a little butter combined with a pinch of mustache wax. This will give you more control to train the hairs in the direction you want them to grow.

How to apply:

Simply scrape a little onto the backside of your fingernail and rub it together between your index finger and your thumb warming it up. Start at the center and evenly disperse it across your stache, pulling it to the sides and off your lip. The earlier you begin training your stache, the easier it will lie down as it grows out.

Recommended: Learn More About Mustache Wax

6 Month+

As your beard gets longer, it gets increasingly harder to keep it healthy. You will begin to see split ends and some hairs will even stop growing. A proper Beard Wash is a must. Rinse with luke-warm to cold water to prevent further damage.

The beard oil rule still applies and is even more critical with the added length. Beard butter will be your best friend. It will not only lock in the deep moisture but will give you a light to medium hold to shape your beard without weighing your beard down or leaving it greasy.

Grow A Better Beard

Let's be honest, who doesn’t like the idea of growing a better beard? Exactly, no one. We recommend following these 7 natural ways to grow a better beard as they will lead to healthier, fuller, better growth. 

7 Natural Ways To Grow A Better Beard

1. Exercise

  • Exercise increases testosterone
  • Testosterone increases beard growth, density, fullness and growth rate

2. Sex

  • Pre-sex anticipation boosts testosterone…
  • Post sex also boosts testosterone = MORE GROWTH!
  • Worth a shot anyways… 😉

3. Growth Vitamins

  • Faster
  • Fuller
  • Thicker
  • Healthier
  • Better Growth…

Recommended: Learn About Growth Vitamins

4. Sleep

  • Recommended 7-8 hours
  • MINIMUM of 5 hrs
  • Less than 5 hrs reduces testosterone as much as 15%!
  • Catch those Z’s whenever you can…

5. Stress

  • More stress = more cortisol
  • More cortisol = less testosterone
  • Less testosterone = less BEARD
  • And NOBODY wants that…

6. Diet

Certain foods are loaded with vitamins known to increase growth:
  • Dark leafy greens
  • Avocados
  • Almonds
  • Salmon
  • And more…

7. Beard Oil

  • Promotes strong healthy growth
  • Relieves itch
  • Softens your beard
  • Tames fly-aways
  • And much more…

Recommended: Learn More About Oil

Final Thoughts

Congrats brother, you’ve made it through the entire guide to a better beard! I truly hope you found it helpful! Following any of these steps will help dramatically, but following all of them will ensure your beard is always looking its best!

If you need further explanation about anything or have any feedback, we’d love to hear from you! We are always here to support you in any way possible so don’t hesitate to Contact Us! Leave us a comment below and let us know what you thought of this guide.

And as always, Live Bearded brother!