If you want to know how to grow a beard....it's as simple as putting the razor down. Biology will take over and your facial hair will start to sprout! However, if you want to grow a seriously impressive beard, and grow faster, thicker and healthier, you came to the right place! The purpose of this article is to cover absolutely everything you need to know to grow a beard and maintain it. We'll cover beard products, beard trimming, and everything else you might need along the way.
How To Grow A Beard: Month 1
When it comes to growing a beard, your genetics play a huge role in how well it grows in. We all know that guy who had a beard in middle school (that lucky bastard), but for most of us we were lucky to have a few patches until our 20s. The fact is, it's different for everyone. Beards can start to come in from teenage years or not show up until well into your 30s.
My advice to you up front is to own the beard you have, and do what you can to improve it without beating yourself up over it not being "perfect". We'll show you a few things you can do to deal with a patchy beard so don't stress out if you don't have full coverage out of the gate.
Looking for better beard growth?
Aren't we all!? I don't know a single guy who doesn't have something about his beard he wishes he could change, and 99% of the time it's wishing for better beard growth and thickness. This has led to endless beard growth products which we'll touch on later...but before I get into it all, I want to debunk some pretty wild claims floating around that are simply not true!
There is NO magic potion, lotion or creme that will make you grow new hair follicles in a safe or permanent way, or turn vellus hairs (usually blonde, younger hairs) into terminal hairs (usually darker and more coarse hairs).
Sure you can put Rogaine (Minoxidil) on your face, but that's the LAST thing I'd recommend you doing. It's not proven to be permanent, and honestly it's simply not worth it. That said, there are a few ways you can improve your beard growth naturally...
6 Proven Ways To Get Better Beard Growth
One of the primary factors in beard growth and thickness is in the amount of testosterone and dihydrotestosterone (DHT) your body produces. The more testosterone and DHT your body produces directly affects your beard and hair growth patters.
More testosterone = more beard (and potentially less head hair!).
Now every man produces a different amount of testosterone naturally, and I am not suggesting you go take testosterone to boost your beard growth! However, there are some ways to naturally boost the amount of testosterone your body produces, and exercise is one of the best ways! Whether that means hitting the gym, going for a run or banging out pushups every morning. Get out there and get after it!
Now we've all heard that we should get 8 hours of sleep every night. HAH! Like that ever happens. I know life can get crazy, but try to at least catch 5 hours a night or more. Less than 5 hours can actually reduce testosterone by as much as 15%!
When you are stressed out your body freaks out and produces an increased amount of cortisol. This isn't a good thing as this increased cortisol will actually decrease the testosterone production, which I explained above is critical in your beard growth. Whether you need to blow some steam and get outside, try meditation or yoga, or whatever might work best for you, try to destress as often as you can.
Now I'm not just saying this so you can use this to get a little more action! There is legitimacy behind this! It has been proven that pre sex anticipation as well as post sex can actually boost testosterone! It's certainly worth a shot anyway, right!?
5. Stay Hydrated
You want to make sure to stay hydrated for your overall health, and the health of your beard. Drinking enough water will increase the hydration of your skin and help with overall beard growth. The recommended intake of water does vary depending on activity level etc. but I personally try to get at least 1 oz of water per pound of body weight.
Better beard growth starts within, and the food you eat makes a HUGE difference in how fast, full and healthy your beard grows. Certain foods are loaded with vitamins that will benefit your beard.
Eggs are rich in protein and a natural source of biotin which is great for beard growth. Sweet potatoes are high in beta-carotene which can help with the cell growth in your beard. From dark leafy greens, avocados, almonds and salmon, there are lots of foods o ut there that can help.
The issue I personally have is consistently getting these foods into my daily diet. I just like pizza and burgers too much!
That's why Beard Growth Vitamins like Beard Boost exist. They pack all the known vitamins to promote better beard growth into two little capsules which makes it the easiest, more guaranteed way to better beard growth. Without getting into the details here, you can check out the hundreds of reviews and see how it's helped them.
People Will Look At You Differently
When you first grow a beard, everyone from your mom to your coworkers, and even complete strangers will want to talk about it. It's incredible how different you can look with or without a beard, and people will notice. And to be completely transparent, not everybody loves beards. There is almost always someone in your family (usually your mom or grandma) who may tell you how handsome you are and question why you're deciding to grow a beard.
It's easy to tell you not to let other people's opinions mold who you are, and that's true. But we are human, and we do care about the people we love and their opinion. I'm here to challenge you to grow whatever beard YOU want. Whether that's long and wild, or short and tight, grow the beard that is best for you, and don't let other people's opinions get to you.
Beard Products During Month 1
Keep Your Face Clean
Now this isn't anything new, don't be a slob and wash your face daily. However, the type of soap you use does make a big difference. You really want to avoid bar soaps and harsh body washes on your face as they dry out your skin which can impact your beard growth. During your first couple weeks you can get away with a good natural face wash, just make sure to read the ingredients though and avoid products with alcohol!
As you get closer to the end of the month, you'll want to consider an all natural beard wash. It is designed specifically for your face and for your beard, so you'll get the deep cleanse you need and want, without drying out your face and causing damage to your beard and beard growth.
Exfoliate Your Skin
Exfoli-what??? That's basically a fancy way of saying to massage or brush your face with a boar hair brush to clear any dead skin away and bring blood flow circulation to the surface of your face. It is scientifically proven that increased blood flow circulation can improve the beard growth speed, so brushing early will help speed up the beard growth process!
Eliminate Beard Itch
During your first month of your beard growth, it's super common to experience beard itch. In fact, that's why most guys end up shaving and not growing out their beard! The reason your skin itches is because it's extremely dry. Your body produces oil naturally called sebum oil, but as your beard grows out your beard hairs draw the oil away from your face, leaving your face dry.
One of the biggest misconceptions is that beard oil is for your beard. It's not! It's designed for the skin under your beard. By applying beard oil daily you will nourish the skin and help promote better beard growth moving forward. I recommend using beard oil even in your first couple weeks to prevent the itchy phase and keep your skin healthy.
Condition Your Beard
Now you just learned that beard oil is for your skin, which means beard butter is for your beard! By about 3-4 weeks into your beard growth, your hairs will be long enough to benefit from beard butter.
Beard butter is a deep conditioner for your beard hairs, which will nourish and soften your beard hairs. As they grow out the beard butter will not only help the the softness and health of your beard, but will also help keep the rogue flyaway hairs from going all over the place. Beard butter will help you look, smell and feel better than ever.
Establish Your Beard Routine
Now as you continue growing your beard, you'll quickly notice you go through a morning routine just as you do with your hair etc. By the end of the month you're really at the point to where you should wash your beard with your beard wash, towel dry to about 90% and apply your beard oil to the skin, the finish up with the beard butter. You should still hit your beard with the boar hair brush mentioned above to get the hairs to lay down properly and you're out the door! This routine only takes a couple of minutes but make ALL the difference in having an exceptional beard. Here's a video of me walking through what I do every day!
Beard Trimming During Month 1
As you get to the end of your first month of beard growth, this is usually a good time to shape your beard and line it up. Nathan mentioned in the video above how he trims in his beard and where to shave the lines in, and this step is crucial! So make sure to TAKE YOUR TIME when you are doing any kind of beard trimming! When it comes to shaping your beard in the early stages, there are three primary lines you need to get right.
Now when you are trimming your cheek line, the basic idea is to create a line from the sideburn to your mustache. You want to keep this line as high as physically possible. Now keep in mind that every guy grows differently so your line may be higher or lower than others. What you want to do is trim or shave any hairs growing above the bulk of your beard so it creates a uniform starting point to your beard.
The back line may be the most difficult to get right the first time simply because it's hard to see. A trick I have found helpful is to use a secondary mirror to see what you're doing. You can pick one up for a couple bucks at just about any general store.
The technique here to get the best beard style is to take the line from the back of your sideburn straight down until it meets the neck line. When you get to the corner, if you are going for a boxed beard style, go ahead and cut that line to square the corner. If you prefer a more rounded beard style, round that corner and match the other side.
Now when it comes to trimming your neck line, I've seen this one done all sorts of ways. Too often guys trim this line in much too high. You do NOT want to trim your beard on your jawline. You need the hairs from your neck to really come together and give your beard the fullness it needs to look great. Shave your neck line where your head connects to your neck which is usually just at or slightly above your adams apple. Look up slightly and make that an even line across your neck.
How To Grow A Beard: 2 Month Beard Growth
Now we don't need to dig into all the reasons why you need to be hitting your beard with proper beard wash, beard oil and beard butter as we already covered that above...but as your beard gets into the second month you really should be going about your beard routine every morning! If you neglect using proper beard grooming products daily, you will notice the negative impact, and others will notice too!
Why You Need a Beard Comb
Let's be honest, beards are awesome. But a beard that is disheveled and all over the place is not a good look. So if you have a beard, you need a beard comb on you at all time, and not just any comb...
When I first started growing my beard years ago, I grabbed a cheap plastic comb from the store and would run it through my beard. If you've done the same, you can relate to the amount of snagging that comes from a cheap plastic comb. That's because these plastic combs are made in giant molds, and then snapped out. This process leaves micro jagged edges that can actually destroy your beard. In addition, the plastic can actually cause static and leave your beard "frizzy".
What you really need is a wooden beard comb to style your beard daily. The wood will glide through even a super curly beard with ease, and help spread your beard oil and beard butter evenly throughout your beard.
I've found combing your beard up and out first to separate the hairs, then combing it down into place to be the best technique to really add fullness to your beard and give it a great shape. Throw your comb in your pocket or keep it nearby though as you'll quickly realize your beard is going to get messed up throughout the day.
Maintaining A Corporate Beard
Now by the second month of beard growth you should start to have a pretty respectable beard. A lot of guys in the corporate work setting choose (or their bosses tell them to) keep it at this length.
Beard Trimming Guidelines
It's important to point out that your beard hairs will grow at different rates in different areas of your face. Your chin for example could grow extremely fast, or maybe it's your neck that does, it's different for everyone. So unless you are going for a true Yeard (a full year of beard growth with no trimming at all), you should check in once a month or so to even it out. That does not mean you have to take serious length off, but rather check in and trim any flyaway hairs to keep your beard shaped nicely. That said, here are some beard trimming guidelines everyone should follow:
Take your time
I can't stress this one enough guys, take your time! You never want to attempt a beard trim when you are in any sort of hurry. Make sure you set aside time so you can really take your time.
I personally love setting time aside on Sundays to trim my beard. I feel like Sundays are a great day to relax with family and get some chores done in preparation for the week. And for me, a beard trim is one of those things. Block off 30-45 minutes if you are just getting started, and know that you have time to really take things slowly. As you get more comfortable with trimming your own beard, you'll easily get the process down much faster.
Scissors or Electric Beard Trimmers?
Both of these tools can get the job done so it really comes down to what you are most comfortable with. If you are just starting off, I would recommend going with the scissors simply because they will force you to go slow. They are a very meticulous tool and you can literally cut one hair at a time if you choose to. The beard trimmers are a work horse and will get the job done faster, but if you're not careful you can go in at the wrong angle and take off months of growth.
Never Trim A Wet Beard
When your beard is wet, the water will actually cause your beard to lay entirely differently than when it's dry. So you never want to trim your beard when it is wet, or even damp. I recommend fully drying your beard before you consider any trimming. If you use a blow dryer daily as part of your beard routine, go through that process just as you normally do and then...
Style your beard before you trim
When you apply products like beard oil and beard butter, they will soften the hairs and also absorb to give your beard a much different (better) appearance. So you really want to go through your beard routine and apply the products you use daily before you trim anything at all.
Treat it like a hedge
I've talked to tons of barbers as well as beardsmen about beard trimming, and whenever I get asked how I go about trimming my beard the best analogy I can come up with is to treat it like a hedge. Just as you would shape and trim a hedge in your front yard, work around the outside of your beard to trim flyaway hairs and get the desired shape and beard style you desire.
Trim over a couple days
Don't be afraid to get your beard shaped up and come back to it a day later to finish it up. I've found that sometimes it's easy to go crazy staring into the mirror trying to get every hair just perfect. But then as soon as you go to the gym, take a shower and style your beard again, it will lay slightly differently. Don't make a habit of constantly trimming your beard by any means, but don't be afraid to fine tune it over a couple days as you see areas you may have missed.
How To Deal With A Patchy Beard
Now if you're like most guys, your beard will come in a little thin in some areas and that's perfectly ok. As your beard grows in length, the hairs will start to cover up some of those thin spots to the point in which you'll likely never know they were there in the first place.
Not to mention you are your own worst critic. Nobody else is staring and judging your beard as closely and harshly as you are. Chances are high that the areas in your beard you doubt, aren't even noticed by others. And if they are, who cares!
If you really struggle with a patchy beard, that's ok too. Embrace the beard you have and work with what you have. My man Ryan is the best example of this I can think of. His beard isn't the thickest around, and he has learned to embrace it! He rocks a sweet handlebar mustache and truly does love the beard he has. His advice is super spot on...
It is natural to lose beard hairs
Every single day we lose hair from our head to toes, including our beards. Although the sight of some fallen soldiers in the sink after combing your beard can be frightening, it's nothing to lose sleep over.
If you do notice larger amount of hair coming out, it may be caused by over brushing or combing. Make sure you're using a high quality comb and brush to avoid this and try not to overdo it. Try to avoid destructive habits like touching or grabbing at it all day as well.
How to Grow a Beard: Month 3 Update
Now by month 3 most guys will have what is starting to look like a respectable beard! If you're growing a bit slower, don't beat yourself up. We all grow at different speed, embrace the beard you have and keep on growing!
During this month, unless you're growing a yeard you will likely want to clean up the shape a bit by trimming down some of the flyaway hairs. Your beard grows at different speeds in different areas so it will be slightly differently for everyone. For Nathan, his beard was starting to get a little long at the corners. By trimming this area down it will elongate the beard shape and make your face look slimmer.
Now beard trimming is arguably the hardest part of growing a beard. Follow the rules I outlined above about beard trimming and you'll be well on your way. Just make sure to take your time!!! If you aren't 100% comfortable doing this yourself the first time, I'll give you some advice to finding a beard barber in your area.
How to Get a Great Beard Trim From a Barber
Now one thing you need to realize is that they don't teach beard trimming at barber school! Shocking I know. But they don't actually teach it. So the only way to learn (as of now) is by practice. And unfortunately not every barber out there has the practice. So you can't just go into any ol' barbershop and trust them blindly. So before you sit down in a chair, follow these 5 steps.
1. Verify the Quality of Their work
In the world we live in, just about everyone wants to share what they're doing. Too much most of the time if you ask me. But, the advantage of this is that you can check out the quality of a barbers work.
Do some research and check out their website and social media. A good barber will often time (not always) want to share before/after photos. Make sure you find examples of beards they trim.
2. You Need a Barber, Not Just a Barbershop
Most barbershops have several barbers that cut there, and often times turnover can be high. When you are researching, make sure you find a specific barber that knows how to trim a bead, not just a barbershop. When you find him/her, make sure to schedule an appointment with that specific person, or be willing to wait if they only take walk ins. It'll be worth it, trust me.
3. Ask For Referrals
If you see a great beard in your area, don't be shy. Introduce yourself and ask him where he goes to get his beard trimmed. If he has a barber he likes, he'll gladly refer you his/her contact. Just make sure to get the specific person, not the shop!
4. Show Examples
We've all heard the saying, "a picture is worth a thousand words". Well, it's true. Do some digging before you go in and find the beard style you want. Do you want a square or boxed beard style, or more round? Do you want the sideburns faded into your beard? Do you want a handlebar mustache? The more detailed you can be with the style you want, the easier you will make it on the barber to give you a good beard trim.
5. Be Extremely Specific
The last thing you should EVER do is sit in a barber chair and say "clean me up". Everyone will have a different opinion of what that means. You want to be extremely specific with how much length you want off and where. Again, show them pictures so you are very clear. And if you notice them not doing what you've asked, SPEAK UP! Don't just sit there quietly or you'll end up with a botched job. Trust me, it's in everyone's best interest for you to get a beard trim you love. That way you refer other friends, and come back repeatedly. So help your barber out and be specific.
Or you can learn to do it yourself...
Trimming and Styling a Handlebar Mustache
When it comes to training and trimming a handlebar mustache, I personally believe you should learn to do it yourself. Only because barbers don't see them as often and they are all a little unique. Plus, I think they are easier to trim yourself as it's easier to see then the sides and back corners of your beard.
If you are growing your beard and want to give a handlebar mustache a try, follow these trimming and style tips.
Train Your Handlebar Mustache Early
As you get to month 3 or so, you'll quickly realize why mustache wax was created. It will keep your hairs growing to the sides, away from your mouth so you can eat and drink a little easier. It's still a pain trust me, but well worth it.
Keep your mustache wax on you and apply throughout the day or as need be to keep your mustache shaped. When you apply, work from the middle out, and roll or snap your fingers at the ends to get the hairs to train to flip up. By doing this early, your mustache will eventually hold it's shape much easier.
Handlebar Mustache Trimming
When it comes to trimming I recommend using two tools, an electric beard trimmer and a good pair of scissors. The beard trimmers will be used to clear out just a little space around the mouth. I usually recommend trimming the hair to the upper lip, about the width of your nose as Nathan explained. The hairs outside of that will grow out and give you the handlebar shape.
For the ends, I recommend using scissors as they will be a much more precise trimming tool. Apply your mustache wax and shape your mustache, then cut the ends as evenly as you can. Don't drive yourself crazy trying to get them exactly perfect. Get them as close as you can and walk away.
One trick we've discovered over the years that can make all the difference, is separating your handlebar mustache from your beard. For this you can use scissors or trimmers, just make sure to go slow. The idea is to pull your mustache hairs up and trim the beard hairs on your cheek that blend into your mustache. Done properly, this will help give the appearance of your stache sitting on your beard rather than blending into it. If you are new to this, start by taking just a tiny amount off the length, and slowly take more.
How to Grow a Beard: Month 4 Update
Stay tuned brothers...more to come!