HOW TO GROW A BEARD: THE ESSENTIAL GUIDE
HOW TO GROW A BEARD
- Set a goal for how long you want your beard to be.
- Reduce itchiness by using Beard Oil or Utility Balm as soon as you start growing.
- Your beard needs at least 30 days, if not more, to fill in, so don’t give up on it too quickly.
- Enhance your beard growth by getting enough sleep, exercising, and eating a proper diet.
- After 30 days, trim your neckline just above your Adam’s Apple.
- Use a 100% Boar’s Hair Brush to exfoliate the skin beneath your beard.
- Use scissors to trim stray beard hairs that grow longer than others.
- Never make any drastic decisions about your beard.
- When in doubt, ask Beardbrand.
HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO GROW A BEARD?
- On average, beard hair grows half an inch per month.
- It takes around two to four months to grow a full beard.
- Studies show that the average beard will grow to 3-feet long if left untrimmed.
- In general, a beard will never grow longer than it is at six years worth of full growth.
COMMON MYTHS ABOUT GROWING A BEARD
There are a lot of myths out there about growing a beard. Let's break down the most common ones.
Myth #1: Shaving makes it grow back quicker
Reality: All shaving your beard does is get rid of your beard. There’s no scientific evidence that proves shaving makes hair grow back faster or thicker. Only time and genetics do that.
Myth #2: Beard growth oils work
Reality: Beard growth oils, serums, and pills are not backed by science and are the beard equivalent of male enhancement pills. Don’t fall victim to them. However, there are vitamins like biotin that will help improve the health of your hair, but they won’t change your genetic capabilities.
Myth #3: Beards are too hot for the summer
Reality: Beards help block UV rays from your face and wick away sweat, creating a cooling airflow.
Myth #4: Beards itch
Reality: It is normal to have some beard itch during the early stages of growth, but this goes away quickly. Beards, in general, are not itchy, and itchiness is more indicative of a grooming problem.
Myth #5: Beards are dirty
Reality: You may have read about beards containing trace amounts of fecal matter. Well, nearly everything contains trace amounts of fecal matter. Use a Beard Wash to keep your beard clean. Problem solved.
Myth #6: Bigger is better
Reality: The best beard for you is the one you can grow and that you love having. Your beard is not indicative of your masculinity.
FACTORS THAT IMPACT YOUR ABILITY TO GROW A BEARD
The kind of beard you grow is explicitly tied to your genes. In fact, it’s the single most significant factor for why your beard does what it does (or doesn’t do). While you may not grow the exact same beard as your father, grandfather, or great great great grandfather, the genes that determine the coarseness, color (or colors), and terminal length of your beard are coming from your ancestors.
Your age helps determine the rate of your beard’s growth. Males begin to develop facial hair around age 13. Sure, there’s always that one kid in middle school who has a full beard, but typically, the most abundant and fastest hair growth occurs between the ages of 25 and 35. That rate of growth tends to slow down as men age.
Higher levels of testosterone lead to a better chance of growing abundant facial and body hair. The flip side, however, is that men with higher levels of testosterone are often more prone to baldness because of dihydrotestosterone. If you wonder why so many men with long beards are also bald, DHT is the likely culprit. The science isn’t exactly clear on what causes low levels of testosterone with some research indicating that it’s genetic, and some research showing that a child’s environment factors into it.
Exercise—weight-training specifically—helps to boost testosterone levels. Big, functional, compound movements that recruit multiple muscle groups are the most effective. Pushups, pull-ups, squats, deadlifts, rows, and chest and overhead presses are all great. If you’re new to weightlifting, spend some time with a trainer or coach. Bad form will slow your results and lead to injuries. If you’ve been sedentary, consult with a doctor before beginning any new exercise regimen.
A well-rounded diet that’s full of protein, vitamins, and minerals helps sustain your beard while enabling it to maximize its growth potential. Hair consists of protein, so ensuring that you get enough in your diet is essential. A lack of protein can make whisker strands brittle and weak. B, C, and D vitamins, as well as zinc and iron, also help keep your beard healthy and growing steadily.
Getting a full eight hours of sleep each night improves the quality of your beard, as well as the growth rate. The body’s temperature lowers during sleep, which leads to increased blood circulation—including circulation to hair follicles and their roots. The more nutrients that can reach the hair follicle and their roots, the better.
It’s not necessarily a joke when someone says stress has caused their hair to fall out. Stress can, indeed, change the growth rate of both beard and scalp hair because it weakens the immune system—and a weakened immune system means less hair growth.
The health hazards of tobacco are abundant, but one risk you may not have heard of is that smoking may lead to hair loss—beard hair included. It’s just another good reason to put down the cigarettes for good.
UNDERSTANDING BEARD GROWTH
The average man has 30,000 beard hairs on his face, and each one is doing its own thing. Some grow fast, some grow slow, and some grow all curly and weird. Additionally, beard hair behaves differently depending on where on your face it sprouts from.
Let’s break it down. Facial hair grows in 5 different areas:
The mustache - the hair above the upper lip.
The soul patch, flavor savor, or jazz dot - the patch of hair directly underneath the bottom lip.
The goatee - the hair on the front of the chin, above the jawline, and expanding to the cheeks.
The side-burns or mutton-chops - the hair on the cheeks above the jawline.
The neck - everything that grows below the jawline.
Facial hair grows differently in each of the five growth areas, and rarely grows in a way that is even and uniform. This becomes especially noticeable around two to six weeks of beard growth when the hair has gone from mere stubble to the beginnings of a beard. It’s natural for a beard to be patchy and disconnected at this point.
Growth patterns differ from person to person and are highly subjective to a person’s age and genetics. Additionally, the hair that grows in each of these areas has its own unique terminal length, which again varies from person to person. This is why some men can grow long handlebar mustaches while others can’t, or why some men have soul patches that are the entire width of the bottom lip, and some don’t.
The majority of the bulk and shape of a beard actually comes from hair that grows on the neck. Typically, neck hair has the longest terminal length of all five growth areas and has a tendency to grow a little bit faster than the rest of your beard.
For a deeper dive, let’s take a quick look at the three phases of hair growth.
THE 3 PHASES OF BEARD GROWTH
All hair growth—beard hair included—goes through three phases: anagen, catagen, and telogen.
The anagen phase
The anagen phase of the hair growth cycle represents the growing stage. The cells in the root of hair follicles divide at a rapid rate during the anagen phase, which can last from two to six years, perhaps even more. The length of your anagen phase is determined by your DNA. During this phase, the root continuously divides, and hair strands may grow a half-inch, or more, per month.
The catagen phase
Catagen is the shortest of the three phases and represents the “transitional” part of the cycle. Hair growth stops during the catagen phase, and hair strands become separated from the hair follicles and attach to the skin. Additionally, the blood supply to the hair cuts off completely. Hair that’s in the catagen phase has stopped growing and is no longer in the active stage. This typically lasts for two to three weeks.
The telogen phase
New, incoming hair pushes the old hair out—eventually causing it to fall off during the telogen phase. While the old hair sheds, the follicle returns to the anagen phase to start the growth cycle over. The telogen phase typically lasts for two to four months.
EATING FOR BEARD GROWTH
Your beard is really an extension of yourself, and the relationship between beard health and body health is a close one. These are the best foods you can eat to support optimal beard growth.
Sweet Potatoes - High in beta-carotene, this will help with the cell growth in your beard. What happens is that the beta-carotene is converted into vitamin A, and this will lead to more cell growth within the hairs located on the beard.
Oysters - One of the best sources of zinc. Zinc is a crucial mineral that helps the cells which are designed for building hairs. Oysters are also a great source of protein.
Eggs - Rich in protein, eggs offer a serious bang for your buck. They’re a natural source of biotin, which is known to strengthen hair and is a well-known supplement that promotes beard growth. Eggs also contain many minerals, such as iron, calcium, and zinc.
Spinach - Spinach is rich in calcium, iron, magnesium, protein, and potassium, all major factors in having healthy beard growth. It’s great raw, sautéed, and even works well in smoothies if you want to try and mix it with other food sources.
Cinnamon - Cinnamon encourages the flow of oxygen to hair follicles. A little goes a long way when you add it to food. Toss it in oatmeal, protein shakes, and other dishes where sweetness is desired. Just don’t try and swallow it by the spoonful.
Liver - If you can stomach it, this animal organ is jam-packed with protein, iron, and biotin.
Biotin-Rich Foods - Nuts, such as almonds, peanuts, and walnuts, soybeans and other legumes, whole grains, bananas, cauliflower, and mushrooms.
A quick note on biotin
Your hair, skin, and nails are made up of keratin. Biotin has been shown to boost your body’s keratin infrastructure. Research on biotin’s direct impact on hair growth is limited. However, adding foods that are high in biotin to your diet doesn’t hurt. You can also take biotin supplements, but you are likely getting enough from your daily diet already.
TRIMMING YOUR NECKLINE
Once you get through your first month of growth, you’re likely going to have some thick neck hair that’s growing down over the Adam’s apple. Maybe the likes of David Beckham, Adam Levine, and Brad Pitt can get away with letting their neck scruff run rampant. But for most people, having a swath of thick hair migrating down your neck isn’t going to earn you any style points. It’s more likely to make people wonder if you’re okay—a la Shia Labeouf and his 10-hour movie marathon.
If your goal is to grow your beard out, we don’t recommend trimming it during the first couple of months of growth, but you can definitely clean up your neckline.
Here’s how to do it:
- Grab an electric beard trimmer or a razor.
- Take your index and middle finger, hold them together, and place them on your neck with the middle finger at the top of your Adam’s apple. Where your index finger lands is the point where your head connects to your neck. This is going to be your line.
- With your electric razor, trim the bottom line above the Adam’s apple. Follow the shape of your jaw.
- For the outer edges, trim straight down from the back of the sideburns until you reach the bottom line.
- Trim or shave all the hair below the newly formed line.
While we’re on the subject of cleaning up your neck, be careful not to trim your neckline too high. Remember, the bulk of your beard’s shape is going to come from the neck. Cutting your neckline higher may work fine if you plan on keeping your beard short, but if you’re growing it out, you’re going to end up with a wispy face beard that resembles Spanish moss.
TRIMMING YOUR CHEEK LINES
Not everyone will need to trim their cheek lines, and the decision to do so comes down to personal preference. For many men, cheek hair is the slowest to grow, so make sure you give yourself plenty of time to see what your real cheek line is. We recommend letting your beard grow for three months before attempting to trim any hair working its way towards your eyes. A good rule to adhere to is to keep your cheek line higher than you think it needs to be. If you push your cheeks too low, it will look like you have a chinstrap or neckbeard.
Here’s how to do it:
- Grab an electric beard trimmer or a razor.
- Find the point where the front edge of your sideburn meets where your beard starts angling forward.
- Make a line from that point to the bottom corner of your lips. This is your guideline. If you actually want to draw a line, you can pick up an eyeliner pencil for a few bucks.
- You can also use a beard shaping tool and can find quite a few options online.
- Trim any excess hair that is above this guideline.
If you make a mistake and trim one side too low, don’t panic. You don’t have to start your beard over. Bring the other side down to match and then let both sides grow back up together.
CARING FOR YOUR BEARD
One of the biggest mistakes first-time beard growers make is not taking care of their beard. Yes, we hear you, cavemen grew beards without Beard Oil. But you’re not a caveman, and not taking care of your beard can lead to a myriad of problems such as beardruff, broken hair, and dry skin. All these can prevent you from growing your best beard possible.
We like to separate beard care into two stations—in the shower and in front of the mirror.
CARING FOR YOUR BEARD IN THE SHOWER
The shower is where you lay the groundwork for optimizing your beard growth. Healthier skin leads to a healthier, more manageable beard. Here are the products we recommend incorporating into your shower routine to help move your beard closer to your goal.
Beard Wash and Beard Softener
You may be tempted to use regular hair Shampoo and Conditioner on your beard, but traditional hair products are formulated to handle the skin on your scalp—not the skin beneath your beard.
What’s the difference? For starters, the skin on your scalp is thicker and contains approximately 130,000 hair follicles. The skin in your facial area is thinner and has closer to 30,000 hair follicles.
More hair follicles mean more sebum, which causes your scalp to be more oily. Hair Shampoos and Conditioners are designed to remove that excess oil. Using it on your face— where there is less oil—can strip the skin, and your beard, of the oil it needs to be healthy. In other words, it will make your beard dryer than a Texas summer.
Beard Wash & Softener are built with softer ingredients to handle the skin beneath your beard. The Beard Wash cleans while the Beard Softener conditions.
At a ground level, we recommend a method known as co-washing. This is where you wash your beard every day with Beard Softener. Beard Softener is formulated with light cleansers, so it’ll take care of your run of the mill dirt buildup. It will also help make your beard soft to the touch.
Then, two or three times a week, do a deeper cleanse with Beard Wash. Whenever you use the Beard Wash, follow-up with the Beard Softener.
For extra conditioning, don’t wash the Beard Softener completely from your beard. If you go with this method, be sure to rinse with water daily.
Your beard is only going to be as healthy as your skin, and the soap you wash your skin with matters. The Utility Bar works as a body wash, shave soap, face cleanser, beard wash, and hair shampoo. It's gentle enough for everyday use and makes the perfect fragrance base layer to build on top of. The Utility Bar is formulated with natural ingredients—there are no artificial dyes, rough exfoliators, or palm oil.
BEARD CARE IN FRONT OF THE MIRROR
Now that you’ve got your shower game locked down, let’s bring it all together in front of the mirror. There are several products to build a routine around, from conditioning products like Beard Oil, styling products like Styling Balm, and grooming tools. We’ll break down each.
BEARD CONDITIONING PRODUCTS
Beard Oil is a classic, and every beardsman should have some in his collection. Your beard thrives off the sebum produced by your skin, but showering can strip your skin of those essential oils. If your skin is dry, your beard becomes dry, and dry hair is prone to breakage and more difficult to manage.
Beard Oil is designed to replenish and hydrate your skin and hair, so your beard stays nourished, soft, and easy to style. Since it is a liquid, it's light in weight and the purest way to take in any fragrance.
Beard Oil isn’t just for men with long beards. A few drops a day in the early stages of growth can do wonders for preventing beard itch.
Disperse the oil into your hand, then warm the oil between the palms of your hands. Apply the oil directly to the skin beneath your beard and onto the hair. A Boar’s Hair Brush or Beard Comb will help evenly distribute the oil and shape your beard.
How much Beard Oil to use
Beardless–1 month - 2-3 drops daily
1–3 months - 3-6 drops daily
3–12 months - 6-10 drops daily
12 months + - 10 + drops daily
Designed to stay on the surface of the hair and skin longer, Utility Balm is absorbed slowly, giving you the effect of a leave-in conditioner. It's not a styling product, so don't expect hold, but it is slightly heavier than our Beard Oil—giving you more control of those flyaways in your beard.
Like a utility knife, Utility Balm is designed for the beardsman who needs a grooming product that can do it all. It features all the benefits of our legendary Beard Oil, but in a balm form that gives a little more control to pesky flyaways, works magic on dry skin, and adds shine and vigor to fully healed tattoos.
A little goes a long way, so start with a small finger-full, warm between hands, and apply to your beard or… well, anywhere on your body. Apply more as needed.
BEARD STYLING PRODUCTS
Styling Balm does not have the conditioning properties of Beard Oil or Utility Balm. Styling Balm is designed to be a finishing product for your beard, controlling flyaways and giving you hold throughout the day. It’s a medium hold, so it won’t leave your beard hard and crunchy. Styling Balm also works great on head hair for providing a natural-looking finish.
Scoop out a pea-size amount of balm, rub hands together, and work into your beard or head hair. Apply the product evenly from the roots of the hair to the tips. Add more as needed. Shape hair to the desired style.
Beardbrand Mustache Wax is made with natural ingredients like beeswax, jojoba oil, and lanolin. It’s formulated to give you a natural style and shape. With our Mustache Wax, you won’t pull out your hair or make your hair hard. However, you can obtain more hold from the wax by tweaking your technique or increasing the amount of product.
Remove a small amount of Mustache Wax with the tip of your fingernail and rub the wax between your fingertips until it becomes warm. Then, apply to your mustache directly for shape and hold.
Utilize the heat from a blow dryer to warm up the Mustache Wax. Then, apply the wax directly to your mustache like you would lip balm. Next, use the blow dryer to shape and style your mustache. Be sure to blast your mustache with cold air from the blow dryer to finish and set the style.
ESSENTIAL BEARD GROOMING TOOLS
Having the right grooming tools can be the difference between having a beard you love and reaching for the nearest razor.
The most straight forward tool is the comb, but not all Beard Combs are created equal. Traditional combs typically don’t have enough width between the teeth, even on the broader side of the comb, to comfortably get through the thickness of your beard. Plastic and metal combs produce static, which makes taming your beard more complicated—and makes you look like you never learned to stop sticking forks in the electric socket.
Beard Combs are handmade from Italian cellulose acetate—a plant-based, rubber-like material that doesn’t produce static, is durable, and won’t snag your hairs. Each comb tooth is saw cut by skilled craftsmen, rounded with pumice, and then hand-polished. The result is fine-tuned, smoothly tapered teeth that comb through straight, curly, and wavy beards like a hot knife through butter.
Boar’s Hair Brush
Boar’s Hair simulates human hair and is an essential grooming tool for any beardsman. What makes a boar's hair Beard Brush better than synthetic brushes? The surface of each bristle is scaly and draws dust and excess product from the hair as you use it. The stiff bristles also stimulate the sebum present in the skin and distribute it along the hair shafts—keeping hair clean, healthy, shiny, and protected.
Boar’s Hair Round Brush
The Round Brush is an essential tool for styling your beard. When used in conjunction with a blowdryer, the Round Brush helps you add curl to the bottom of your beard, your mustache, or smooth out wavy and curly beards.
Beard Trimming Scissors
Beard hairs grow unevenly, so high quality, barber grade Beard Trimming Scissors are instrumental in trimming flyaways. Beard Trimming Scissors are also the tool of choice for overall beard trims and keeping your beard at your desired length.
Crank up the heat
Let’s talk about the blow dryer. Yes, you heard it right! Think of this as another tool in your arsenal. If you have unwanted waves in your hair or cowlicks that force your hair in a less than desirable direction, then using the heat from a blow dryer is the key to getting your hair to do what you want it to do.
COMMON PROBLEMS WHILE GROWING A BEARD
When you shave, the hair is cut at an angle, leaving it with a sharp point. As the beard grows, the hair starts to curl, and those sharp points prick the skin, causing itchiness. When you’re first growing, this beard itch period will typically last one or two weeks and subside as the hair gets longer. Using Beard Oil from day one will help soften the hair as it grows in, easing the itchiness in the early stages.
Beard itch with longer beards
If you are experiencing beard itch with a longer beard, it’s likely an indication of excessive dryness to both the skin and hair. Use a Beard Wash & Softener designed to be gentle enough for your face. Be careful not to wash too frequently. Add Beard Oil or Utility Balm to your grooming routine to further condition the beard hair and skin. Exfoliate the skin beneath the beard using a Boar’s Hair Brush. This helps remove any dead skin trapped under the hair and better distribute oil throughout the beard.
Beardruff is what we call dandruff that comes from your beard. In most cases, beardruff is a signal that you need to exfoliate the skin beneath your beard. Treat it the same way you would for a longer beard that itches—use Beard Wash & Softener, brush and exfoliate with a Boar’s Hair Brush, and add Beard Oil or Utility Balm to your grooming routine.
If you have excessive flaking and itching that you can't get under control, you may have seborrheic dermatitis. Seborrheic dermatitis is a skin condition that plenty of beardsmen have and treat with ease, but it won't go away unless you treat it correctly. If you’ve tried caring for flaking on your own to no avail, speak with your doctor or dermatologist.
Some beards grow straight, some grow curly, and some grow wavy. Taming the wave in your beard is relatively easy. You’ll need a blow dryer and a round brush like the Beardbrand Round Brush made from 100% boar’s hair. Apply some Beard Oil to the beard to protect the hair from the heat of the blowdryer. Use the brush to curl the hair opposite of the wave and add heat from the blow dryer. Once the wave has been removed, add cold air to lock the hair in place.
The philtrum is the dip above the middle of your lip. It forms while still in the womb, and scientists believe it is the point where the different sections of the face come together. Some men don’t grow as much hair in this groove. Be patient, as it may fill in with time. As the hair gets longer, you can also direct it towards the middle.
Patchy beard and bald spots
So your beard doesn’t connect fully, or has bald spots? You’re not alone. Be patient and give it more time. A beard that is patchy at thirty days can still be thick and full at 90 days and beyond. As your beard grows longer, those bald spots may get covered up. You may also need to give it more time in the sense that you’re still young. For most men, beard growth doesn’t really kick in until you are 25. But ultimately, a patchy beard may just be what your genetics allow. Patchy beards can still be cool when kept short—think James Franco.
So, you want to know how to grow a beard? These five tips will get you started.
- Set a goal - Growing a beard requires patience, and the early days can be frustrating. Having a goal in mind, or a beard style that you’re aiming for helps keep you from making any drastic decisions.
- Give it time - It takes a good 30 days to have a clear idea of what kind of beard you’ve got to work with. Give yourself a month of letting your beard grow before doing anything to it—and we mean anything. Don’t touch it, and don’t trim it. It takes around two to four months to grow a full beard, varying slightly from man to man.
- Keep your cheeks high and your neckline low - As it grows, your beard is going to start creeping up your face and migrating down your neck. As a general rule, keep your cheek lines higher than you think they should be and your neckline lower than you think it needs to be.
- Don’t wait to use beard products - You might think you don’t need Beard Oil or Beard Balm until you have a full beard, but using these products from day one helps keep the skin hydrated, the hair soft, and your new growth less itchy.
- Stop comparing - Having a goal and a beard role model is good. Obsessively comparing your beard to the beard of others is unhealthy and discouraging. Everyone has trouble spots and things they dislike about their beards. Focus on what you can grow and highlight your beard’s strong points.