How To Grow A Beard

Growing a beard isn't as easy as it might seem.  There are different stages that require different tactics. From itchy skin to ingrown hairs, growing a beard requires patience, planning and commitment.

In this section of the Beard Handbook, we'll look at what makes facial hair grow and why some guys have a harder time with beard growth than others. Then we'll take a look at the six different stages of beard growth and the unique challenges that come with each phase.

What Makes Facial Hair Grow

Have you ever wondered what makes your facial hair grow? For some guys growing a beard or mustache just seem so easy. For them it seems like after only a few weeks their facial hair has grown in full and long without any effort at all, while for others it seems to take forever and there are bald spots or patches where hair just doesn't seem to want to grow.

​There are a variety of factors that affect how fast facial hair will grow. Certainly genetics can play a role. Depending on your family history you simply may not be able to grow the full beard or mustache you always dreamed of. For example, some ethnic groups have a very difficult time growing facial hair. You may want to consider how quickly and completely your facial hair grows as you select the style of beard or mustache you want.

How to Grow Facial Hair

Well, the good news is doesn't take much work to grow facial hair. However, during certain stages you may feel insecure or experience some degree of itchiness. When growing facial hair, timing can be an important factor. You might consider starting your hair growth just before you start a long vacation over the Christmas holidays. This way you won't have to feel so self-conscious while your hair is in the early, gnarly stages.

If you are having trouble growing a beard, you might want to consider these articles written to address problems with growing facial hair:

forced facial hair

Still need inspiration?

Beard Growth Stages

Depending on your goals for style and length, you may have to endure several different stages of beard growth. We've identified six unique phases and we'll look at the unique challenges of each stage here.

The Six Stages of Beard Growth

Stage One - Stubble (1-2 weeks)

Depending on your tolerance for stubble, this may be the easiest stage. During the first few days it takes zero effort and hardly anyone will notice or comment on the state of your face.

However, after the first week, you will start to lose that relaxed, tidy, 5’clock shadow and take on a more rugged look. You might start to get a few double-takes and the occasional jokes about an all-night bender. Just shrug it off and push on.

Itchiness can start to set in and it may help to apply a moisturizer, but avoid scratching. Scratching will only make matters worse and the dirt and other contaminants from your fingers may actually introduce allergens or spread bacteria into hair follicles that are already inflamed. You might be thinking, “I’ll just wash my face, keep it clean and the itchiness wills stop.” Wrong. Washing your face with water alone removes protective oils from the skin and actually makes things worse. Itchiness is typically caused by dry skin so a beard oil can actually help at this stage, even if it doesn’t seem like you have much of a beard yet. Why? Beard oil isn’t just for facial hair; it’s designed specifically to moisturize the skin beneath your beard, soothing your dry, itchy face and neck while you wait for hair to grow.

Stage Two - Proto Hobo

This stage may last for a couple of months and, for most guys, it’s the most difficult stage of growing a beard. The itchiness is still there for awhile, but on top of it all, you have to endure the comments from co-workers and friends about looking like you’ve given up on being a productive member of society. If you care what people think and haven’t already done so, now might be a good time to explain your intentions, although it’s probably obvious at this point. Telling people you are growing a beard is a simple way to deal with all the questions.

While it might seem like a good idea at the time, you should avoid trimming your beard during this stage. It’s important to let your hair grow evenly. Premature trimming will only prolong the bedraggled and patchy look you are trying to avoid.

Once again, applying beard oil regularly can help with the itchiness, but at this stage, it will also soften the facial hair making things look more even and manageable.

If you work in a corporate environment, dressing more formally during this stage can help mitigate a disheveled appearance and give you more confidence during meetings and presentations.

Stage Three - Foundation

Somewhere between 2-3 months, your beard is at the stage where most would consider it a proper beard, but for a true beard aficionado, the beard is just reaching maturity. At this point you can start to shape your beard or let it continue to grow to the next stage. At this point, you might want to consider having your beard professionally trimmed by trained professional.

Stage Four - Badass

This is where things get really interesting. You now have a full and proper beard with all the benefits that come with it. You look like a badass and you know it.

Stage Five - Yeard

Congratulations - you have grown your beard for a full year! This is quite an accomplishment and if you have resisted the urge to trim, you are sporting a substantial crop of facial hair.

Stage Six - Epic

Few dare to venture to stage six, but for those daring individuals, the epic beard is a defining characteristic.