Looking to grow a beard? Here’s everything you need to know. For full, healthy facial hair, there’s more to it than just quitting shaving.
How to grow a beard
Just stop shaving and you have a beard, right? Not quite. Just like growing hair out, some upkeep minimizes awkward phases that sets you up for an attractive and healthy beard.
The process of growing a beard can be itchy and even flaky. Skip the dry skin and beard dandruff by applying beard oil to the chin daily. Many men like to apply it once in the morning and again at night.
Despite its name, beard oil is really designed to condition the skin under the beard more than the beard itself. Work the chin thoroughly with fingers and finish by coating facial hair with any leftover oil for added shine and conditioning.
Wash + Brush
Beard hair can stick out in every direction, especially at the beginning. In addition to beard oil, washing facial hair with a gentle beard shampoo once or twice a week can help soften hair and get it all going in the same direction. Never use body soap on facial hair. If you don’t want to invest in beard shampoo, a gentle shampoo can be used.
Finish by brushing with a wood beard comb or beard brush and you’re good to go. Wood is naturally anti-static and will help tame fly-aways. Don’t use a plastic comb, unless it is a high quality Kent comb. Cheap molded plastic combs have many imperfections that can snag and damage facial hair.
If it seems like a lot of products to buy, try a beard kit with everything you need. There are lots of all-in-one beard kits available but
Other than cleansing, brushing, and moisturizing, the best way to grow a beard is to keep your hands off. Don’t touch it or shave it. Any stray hairs up high on the cheeks or down low on the can go but let your hair do it’s thing. When your new beard feels full but unmanageable, it’s time for a trim.
How to trim a beard
There are 3 ways to trim a beard – at the barber, at home with a beard trimmer, or at home with scissors. For shorter beards, beard trimmers make it easy to do the job right. Just pick a guard length and shave hair down all over. Then with a shorter guard, clean up mustache area and cheeks.
For big and bushy beards, many men prefer to use scissors because there’s less risk of removing a large chunk of hair by accident. Of course, if this is a concern, visit a barber with beard experience.
Wet vs Dry
Always trim a beard dry. Water pulls hair down to make it longer than it really is so a wet trim can end up being too short. Also, apply products as usual before trimming a beard to create the ideal shape.
The beard neckline is not the jawline. It is literally where the head connects to the neck, right above the Adam’s apple. Hair can be left a bit lower down on the neck too. The neck adds a lot of width and length to the beard so don’t mow it down.
This is the line of hair between the sideburns and mustache. Everyone’s cheek growth patterns are different but in general, leave the top line as high as possible. Shave or pluck any random hairs.
The mustache may require more frequent trimming. If you’re growing a handlebar, get through that itchy phase knowing hat soon hair will be long enough to sweep out of the way. For a shorter ‘stache, the area under your nose can be trimmed every three to four days to keep hair out of your food. Use a pair of grooming scissors, never paper scissors. Hair is strong and will be damaged by ordinary household scissors.
Beard trimming does not make facial hair grow faster! Clean up the neckline and top line as often as necessary but if you’re growing out your beard it’s all about patience. A trim every 3 months is enough. Facial hair grows about 1/2″ a month so that should be 1.5″ of growth to work with.
To maintain a short beard or stubble, clip hair back down to your desired length every couple of weeks. How often depends on your beard length and how fast hair grows.
How to grow a beard faster
While there are plenty of supplements and products out there that promise faster hair growth, there is no evidence that any of them work. However, there are ways to help hair grow.
Facial hair grows fastest for men after puberty and before middle age, so somewhere between 25 and 40. Of course, you can’t change your age but it’s something to keep in mind. If you’re not of prime beard growing age, have more patience.
The best way to make a beard grow faster is a healthy lifestyle. Eat a wide variety of nutrient rich foods, including vegetables and meats. Vitamin supplements like Nutrafol, specially formulated to support hair growth for men, can help ensure you’re meeting all daily requirements.
Carnitine is an amino acid that helps the body convert fat into energy. It has also been shown to improve hair density and growth when used orally and topically. All it takes is 2g/day of L-Carnitine L-Tartrate. Drink it with water or juice, add it to your favorite beard oil, or do both.
Smoking is known to slow down hair growth. The same is likely due to vaping. Vanity is as good a reason to quit tobacco as any.
Weight lifting can stimulate testosterone production. The hormone testosterone is associated with facial hair growth. This is your best bet to speed up your beard. And you’ll look and feel better too.
The easiest way to increase testosterone naturally is by sleeping more. An additional hour of sleep has been shown to increase testosterone by 15% the following day.
How long does it take to grow a beard?
As the hockey playoffs demonstrate, the beard growth process varies from man to man. You probably won’t be able to grow a full beard over the winter holidays or a summer camping trip, but you’ll be off to a great start.
For most men, it typically takes two to six months to grow a full beard. Of course, that depends on your goals. A shorter beard can only take a month. In general, try to give your face 4 weeks of growth before doing any major trimming.
For a full on lumberjack beard, a yeard, or year-old beard, is an excellent goal for a beardsman. Or go twice the distance with a tweard, two years of beard growth.
How to grow a thicker beard
If you have a thin or patchy beard, there are ways to overcome genetics. From the cheapest and easiest to more involved, these include carnitine, dermarolling, and Minoxidil. All of these tools can also be used together.
As mentioned above, carnitine is an amino acid that converts fat into energy. It is a popular supplement for weight loss, performance enhancement, and hair growth. The particular formula to take is pure L-Carnitine L-Tartrate. Take 2g/day orally. It can also be applied topically when added to beard oil.
Dermarolling is at-home microneedling, using a roller containing tiny needles to prick the skin and create microabrasions. The process prompts the body to heal by stimulating collagen and enhancing circulation. Microneedling helps promote hair growth on its own but also increases the effectiveness of Minoxidil, when used together.
Minoxidil, the active ingredient in Rogaine, isn’t approved or recommended for use on the face. That being said, many men do get good results with a Minox beard.
A lack of facial hair is not the same as balding but Minoxidil will stimulate hair growth anywhere it is applied. However, Minoxidil can activate the follicles that are causing a thin or patchy beard. More follicles growing facial hair means a fuller and more uniform beard.
Dermarolling has been shown to improve the effectiveness of Minoxidil. However, that doesn’t mean use the roller and apply Minoxidil after. That would be applying alcohol to tiny wounds, which would both hurt and introduce too much Minox into the bloodstream.
To use a dermaroller with Minoxidil, wait 4 hours after your last application and then wash it off. Use the roller 10 times in each direction: side-to-side, up-and-down, and both diagonals. Wait 24 hours to reapply Minoxidil.
What does beard oil do?
The main job of beard oil is to moisturize the skin beneath the beard. This prevents beard itching, flaking and beard dandruff. After working beard oil into the chin with fingers, rub the excess through facial hair for a softer, tamer beard.
A little oil goes a long way so start with 1-2 drops for new beards and go up from there. Rub hands together and work oil into the chin before spreading it onto hair. Use fingers, a comb or beard brush to make sure oil is evenly distributed from roots to tips.
How long to grow a beard
The longer the beard, the longer the wait. While healthy living, quitting tobacco, taking Carnitine, dermarolling and using Minoxidil can all help, time is the most effective beard growing tool.
How to groom a beard
Grooming just means taking care of your beard. Facial hair is wiry and grows in every direction. This means it can take more grooming to look its best than hair on the head.
To groom your beard, wash it several times a week and gently pat dry. Use beard oil to keep the chin moisturized and condition hair.
With a clean and moisturized beard, it’s time to train hair to lie in the right direction – down instead of up and/or out to the side. For shorter beards, use a beard brush, while longer beards may need a wood comb. Finish with a product to hold. Beard balms are pomade for the beard that also soften and condition hair.
The mustache is the focal point of any beard. Keep it neat with 1-2 trims a week, whenever you start noticing stray hair or getting poked in the lips. Shorter mustache hair may need a stronger hold from a mustache wax or a medium hold pomade. Use an unscented formula or one you like a lot.
How to straighten beard
There are a few ways to straighten a beard. Using a beard oil and beard balm consistently will help smooth straighten all types of facial hair. If that’s not enough you can use a boar bristle brush followed by beard balm.
If that still doesn’t do it, you can use a blow dryer with a brush to straighten a beard. If your curls are stronger than that, try a beard straightener. It’s a hot hairbrush designed for facial hair that easily and safely tames any beard.
Why can’t I grow a beard?
Blame your parents. Genetics are responsible for all hair growth.
Many people think that high testosterone levels are responsible for facial hair but most men have similar T levels. The bodies responds to testosterone controls hair growth. Testosterone sensitivity means more facial hair, but it is also correlated with baldness.
You may not have hair on your face but you will keep the hair on your head.
How to fix a patchy beard
Every beard grows in differently and most men have spots that don’t grow in as thick as others, if at all. In addition to using Carnitine, a dermaroller or Minoxidil for a thicker beard, here are other ways to fix a patchy beard.
The easiest way to cover a beard patch is cover it up with longer facial hair. In addition to growing hair longer, use a beard oil, brush, and balm to smooth, train and keep hair in place.
Variable growth patterns around the cheeks can make a beard look more accidental than intentional. Keeping the cheeks, mustache, and sideburns neat and trimmed can even up a patchy beard and lets the world know you haven’t given up.
Either longer or shorter hair can make a patch beard look better. Sometimes both of these solutions are the answer. Short hair can minimize the difference between thick and thinner hair while longer hair can cover some holes. What works for you really depends on your particular situation.