To grow an awesome beard, simply put away your razor and trimmer and wait.
That's all there is to it!
…or so most men would have you believe.
The fact is there is a lot to learn about how to grow a beard, if you are into style – which I know you are.
Now I'm not an expert on beards. But I know someone who is. Let me introduce my friend – and beard specialist – Eric Bandholz. The Beardsman.
Eric has created this guide for the first time beardsman who doesn’t know what to expect. First up, we've got quick-fire 3 tips on growing men's beards. Then we're going to move into a move in depth guide. After reading this article, you'll have all the tools you need to wear something that makes you proud.
Gentlemen, welcome to the most epic, comprehensive article on bearding on the internet.
3 Tips On Growing Men's Beards
Eric Bandholz: An Advocate Of Men's Beards
Who exactly is Eric Bandholz? He's the guy behind Beardbrand, a company that specializes in men's beards, beard care, and beard maintenance.
Eric is proof of how beards can look fantastic. He even competed in a regional Beard & Mustache Championships back in 2012 (yes, those kinds of contests do exist).
You can say that became one of his turning points. It gave him the drive to leave his old job in the corporate world…and launch a business around men's facial hair.
Fast-forward a few years and now Eric runs Beardbrand full-time plus the Beardbrand YouTube channel. Both serve as platforms for beard enthusiasts and beard-growing beginners alike. Thanks to them beards are becoming popular again. More and more guys are using facial hair to boost their image and confidence.
So…want to try a beard for yourself? Have you felt like growing your facial hair but aren't sure how to go about it? Still unconvinced that beards can be stylish? In any case – I suggest you visit Beardbrand.com and watch their videos.
You might be inspired by the way different guys grow their beards, have their hair styled, and look amazing afterward. You'll get a chance to learn more about beard types, beard care, and self-improvement for bearded men.
Now for Eric's fundamental beard tips for anyone starting out…
Tip #1. Give It Time
It's really the first and foremost step. The good news is you're simply required to NOT shave. That means one less “chore” for you to worry about.
The bad news is waiting…and waiting even more. Does anyone like to wait? No. But growing a beard takes time and patience. There's no shortcut to it.
One of the most impressive traits you'll gain as a beardsman is patience.
Eric mentions it'll take roughly 30 days before your beard kicks in. In fact, facial hair grows 1/2 an inch per month on average. So if you're aiming for a 6-inch beard…it's likely going to take a whole year.
Do men really commit that long? Yes – Eric's signature Bandholz beard (which includes a full-on mustache) is over actually 7 inches! It's not a look for everyone, but it does show that good things come to those who wait.
It's important to know that the hairs grow at different rates. You'll notice more thickness on certain spots earlier on because of this. But don't be alarmed or tempted to even them out. It's all part of the process.
Also, note that your beard-to-be can feel itchy in the first 1-2 weeks. It's the reason why many guys stop and go back to shaving. But if you're determined…you'll man up and tolerate the discomfort (with the help of beard oil or a similar product). After that period the beard becomes softer, more manageable, and far less itchy.
Tip #2. Groom The Beard
One of Eric's motivations with Beardbrand is to abolish the stigma of beards and bearded men. Not all guys who have beards are “lazy” or “unkempt.”
There are guys who grow beards and take good care of them. Well-groomed beards – if you read up on the science of facial hair – can actually make men look mature.
Beards are pretty much the second batch of hair on the opposite end of the face. If you groom them just as well as you do your hair…you'll come across as more mature, more responsible…and more powerful.
Here are some basic grooming products Eric recommends for first-timers:
- Beard Oil: It helps deal with flakes or itchiness in your beard; keeps your facial hair moisturized and smelling great
- Soft Goat Scruff Softener: It makes the stubble softer (as well as more kissable for your partner) during the early “stubble” phase of your beard
- Boar Bristle Brush/Beard Comb: Use this to undo any tangles on your beard before leaving the house
As for trimming your beard, there's only one major rule you should follow – do NOT trim too close to the area between your chin and neck. The beard's overall structure needs a good base. If you leave all the hair on that region too short, it can look a little odd or incomplete.
As shown in the image above, Eric has one simple hack you can use when trimming your beard. Form an L-shape with your thumb and index finger (where the thumb makes contact with the neck right beneath your head). Anything below the thumb can be trimmed if you want, while anything above should stay put.
Tip #3. Enhance The Good Parts Of Your Beard
The truth? There's virtually no right or wrong way to grow a beard.
There are different styles of beards you can experiment with. You can choose to go big and wild like Santa Claus (without the white color) or you can try a neat version with shorter hairs and straight lines.
So Eric's last tip is for you to figure out which portions of your facial hair are strong points – and capitalize on them.
Maybe your mustache grows nice and thick. Or a goatee goes perfectly with your jawline. Or distinct sideburns can complement your hairstyle. So you'll want to check for the “lush” areas of your facial hair early on. That'll help you decide which beard style to go for.
Remember that it's no big deal if you attempt Style X and then realize it doesn't work. Why? There's a good chance you'll easily find a Style Y or Z to switch to. It can be a matter of trimming here and there…before you'll end up with something more suitable.
That's the advantage of checking out the Beardbrand channel on YouTube – where you're exposed to countless possible beard styles. So don't feel intimidated by the process. Start growing your beard, learn from Beardbrand, be adventurous…and have fun!
Let's Get More In Depth
So now you've got the basics. But this is Real Men Real Style and we don't do things by halves. Since this is the most comprehensive guide on beard growing anywhere on the internet, we want to give you more. We've broken our guide down further:
- Growing a beard (the physical)
- Growing a beard (the psychological)
- Styling and maintaining a beard
#1. Styling and Maintaining (The Physical)
Like I mentioned above, the best thing to do when growing a beard is to put away the razor and build your patience.
A beard is not measured in length, but it's actually measured in months.
You'll have a 1-month beard, 3-month beard, yeard (year long beard), or the holy grail of beards – the terminal beard (maximum length you genetically can grow).
Each length presents slightly different challenges. For the stage of beardless to about 2 weeks you may notice that your beard gets pretty itchy, may appear patchy, and is generally shaggy.
The reason your beard is itchy is because when you shave, you are essentially creating little spears on the tips of each hair.
They finally get long enough to bend around and poke at your skin. Your neck is very suspect to this because of the angle where the neck meets the head.
- “Man it up” and just wait. It's only temporary and will pass shortly.
- Apply ample amounts of moisturizer like a beard oil, or other product. Try to avoid moisturizers with alcohol in there as they actually dry out your skin.
- In the early stubble phase (day 1 or 2) use Soft Goat scruff softener. This product is designed to help make stubble softer and more kissable.
At this stage, you shouldn't be using a shampoo as the length is still fairly short. I'd recommend using a natural bar of soap that doesn't have irritant chemicals in them (like sodium laureth sulfate). There are a lot of soap options out there, and one I've personally used and enjoyed is Rocky Top Soap.
Once you get through the itchy phase, you'll get to the point where your beard will look untidy. To neaten up your look, I recommend trimming the neckline, upper cheeks, and mustache lip. If you are going for the yeard or natural beard, you should leave your beard untouched.
At this point is when we lose the most amount of beards. Men will typically get a little ambitious with their razors, cut too much and then shave the entire thing off. Because of the risk of mistakes, I recommend waiting at least a month to trim if possible.
Most new beardsmen trim the neckline too high. The ideal location for the line is where the neck meets the head. So whatever your beard area is parallel with the ground, do not trim; whatever is parallel with the world in front of you, then it's ok to trim.
The reality is that it's very little of your beard that you are trimming. You shouldn't need to look up to trim and aim to shape a nice round curve from one ear to the next.
When trimming the mustache, I recommend you use a pair of scissors over clippers. This will give you a little more control and only cuts a few hairs at a time. With the cheek line try to go with your natural line and only trim off the one or two stragglers that are outside that line.
If you have a very dense cheek, you should trim no lower than the bottom of your nose. See this beard infographic for inspiration on the different facial hair styles.
For the “euro style, corporate look” I'd go with a 1 day to 2 week look. A nice stubble, and trim using clippers on the lowest setting as needed. Do not trim up the neckline or cheek line as the natural stubble look is what you should be aiming for.
For a “corporate beard” I would aim for about 1 to 2 month of length. It will be good to keep everything trimmed and tidy as mentioned above. To keep the length, I'd recommend using scissors instead of clippers. This will help prevent against wrong guard mistakes and gives you more control. Use a comb to pull out hairs to the desired length and trim away.
Remember that less is more and you can always trim more another day. In terms of maintenance, I'd recommend rinsing the beard thoroughly every day in the shower and apply beard oil daily. You can wash the beard with a beard wash anywhere between one and 3 times a week.
For those growing out the beards, this is where all the fun starts to come in. After about 2 months you'll notice your beard does some really funky things. What was once a straight and neat look, becomes wavy, curly and what you may think is wild. This is natural and it should be embraced as your natural beard.
At 3 months and longer, you'll only want to wash your beard about once a week or as needed. Again, a thorough rinsing daily is also recommended. Apply daily beard oil for moisturizing, and trim only with scissors. Never trim or shave off your beard if you are depressed or under the influence of alcohol.
A general rule of thumb is for every month of growth give it a day to think about shaving it off. So if you've been growing for 6 months, think about it for a week. This will prevent any errant beard losses.
With a longer beard, you'll find that using a blow dryer will help your beard look fuller and tidier. To use a blow dryer, I will blow from the neck up which will essentially “poof” out the beard. If you want to use styling products, I'd recommend applying a beard balm while your beard is still damp, then blow drying.
After the beard is dry, use the blow dryer to blow the beard down and into its final resting place. Use a nice acetate, wooden, or metal comb and finish it off with a boar's hair brush. Watch this video on how I style my beard.
The beauty with beards is that you can style it in many different ways. I recommend that you “grow what you got” which means, based on your beards genetics try to grow a style that fits your best parts of the beard. If you grow a full thick mustache – don't trim that bad boy off.
If your cheeks are very sparse and patchy, then go for the goatee. The full beard is timeless, but other styles will come and go into fashion. See this beard infographic for inspiration on the different facial hair styles.
#2. How To Grow A Beard (Physical)
Your genetics determine pretty much everything to do with your beard growing potential. That being said, things like stress, bad diet, and physical damage can hurt your full potential. If you want to grow the most epic beard you can, here are some simple tips to make growing a beard faster and better.
First off, shaving your beard will NEVER make your beard grow faster – that's just an urban legend and anyone who says it makes your beard grow faster is just trolling you.
Now, into the tips – if you have a perfect diet, perfect work out regimen, and perfect stress levels, then this won't help you – but if you aren't living the ideal life; they will help your beard grow better.
First, you can take supplements to make up for any deficiencies in your diet. My regimen usually consists of a multi-vitamin, biotin, and fish oil. Biotin will help your hair and nails grow faster and in other countries it's called vitamin H for hair. In addition to these basics, you can add zinc, vitamin B (specifically B6), and magnesium.
What will help your beard grow better is a boost in testosterone. To boost testosterone, eat more red meats, avoid soy based products, and lift weights. Other good foods are: spinach, nuts, avocados, olives, broccoli, and olive oil. Brett wrote an excellent article over on Art of Manliness about naturally boosting your testosterone.
Once you have the internal stuff taken cared of, you need to focus on the external tips to grow a better beard. That will mean that when growing your beard you'll need to focus on stroking the beard rather than picking at the beard. Picking split ends, or simply focusing on single beard hairs can lead to patches, more split ends, or other damaging effects.
The final thing you need is patience. Beards take time and they will get longer – you just need to wait. Hell, the best things in life take time, right?
#3. How To Grow A Beard (Psychological)
If you are new to the beard-growing process you'll find the most challenging part of growing a beard is how to handle other people's reactions. If you were left on a desert island by yourself you wouldn't have this issue; but going for a different look with without doubt get comments from others.
The first and most difficult challenge will be communicating with those who are closest to you. I've found that if you ask for support from them, you'll usually find success.
People feed off your confidence and will quickly accept that's your choice. One thing I always like keeping in the back of my mind is the phrase – “Haters gonna hate.”
You can't please anyone; nor can you control their actions and emotions. What you can control is your own actions and emotions and you need to do things that make you happy.
After all, you won't be able to please everyone – but you can please yourself.
After a while of growing your beard, you'll find that as you meet more and more people they will only know you as the guy with a beard.
The hurdles of dealing with comments from the peanut gallery will decrease and you'll just be who you are – the awesome man that you are.
#4. How To Grow A Beard – Quick Instructions
- Beard length is measured in months of growth – e.g. 1-month beard, 3-month beard, yeard (year-long beard), or terminal beard (longest your beard can grow).
- You will ITCH when you start growing a beard. Use Soft Goat scruff softener in days 1-2.
- Take multivitamins, biotin, and fish oil to help your beard grow.
- Testosterone helps your beard grow too. Eat more red meats, avoid soy-based products, and lift weights.
- Rinse your growing beard and apply beard oil daily.
- Wash with a beard wash 1-3 times a week.
- Grow your beard for at least a month before trimming the neckline, upper cheeks, and mustache.
- Don’t trim beard growth too much – that’s how most beards are lost.
- Hardest part of growing a beard? Handling people's REACTIONS to your growing a beard.
- Get loved ones on board by asking for their support on your beard-growing journey. With buddies, act confident… beard-haters gonna hate.
Now that is THE guide on how to grow a beard! If you're hungry for even more, you can access our free 39-page eBook – The Ultimate Beard Guide by clicking below.