This article was originally written on Beard Profile, which is merging with the Beard Wiki. It is written by the same author and founder of both websites, but uses a different voice from what the Beard Wiki traditionally uses. Some of these transferred articles may or may not have sources included.
Growing a beard isn’t as easy as many people seem to assume. Sure, there are a lot of men out there that can get insane beard growth with just a couple of months of growing under their belt, but most men in the world don’t have it so easy. It’s not as simple as picking up some beard oil, rubbing it into your face everyday, and waking up one day with an awesome beard.
On the contrary; it takes time and dedication to grow your beard to its fullest potential.
Throw out the notion that you’ll have a beard in two weeks. If that’s the mindset you have, you’ll be sorely disappointed. Regardless of the style of beard you’re attempting to grow, two weeks is not enough time for anything but stubble. Don’t get me wrong, a stubble beard is a great look to have as well, but we’re talking about full beards here.
With all of that said, let’s get down to the rules of bearding. Keep in mind that these points are purely opinion, because obviously there are no actual rules or commandments of growing a beard (aside from the possible religious views, of which we won’t get into). You’re a grown man and you do what you want!
Rules of Growing a Full beard
Grow your beard for at least three months before giving up
Yes, three months. The number 3. That’s twelve weeks. Many men will recommend thirteen weeks, which is an appropriate amount of time to see the potential your beard has.
You won’t see your beard’s potential at one month. Stick with growing it out for the minimum amount of time before you decide what sort of beard style you’re going for, or if you’ll be able to grow a full beard at all. You’ll be surprised at how different your beard can look from week 2 to week 12. Even after three months, your beard still isn’t quite set in stone yet. You have the slow starters in your hair cycle that haven’t quite started growing yet, as well as the current hair that’s just not at a long enough length to start covering any patchiness or spots.
Length matters. More hair matters. Give your beard time to start revealing itself.
Don’t trim too often, and never shave
Your beard will lengthen at a snail’s pace if you insist on trimming often. The best thing you can do if you want to grow your beard out is to keep away from any trimmers and shavers. As the hair gets longer, you might want to keep an eye on split ends and use a pair of small scissors to snip off the splits before they travel too far down the hair shaft, causing you to trim deeper.
Our hair doesn’t grow at the same pace throughout the face, so there is an upside to trimming: it allows the beard grow out more evenly. Keep in mind, however, that we’re hardly symmetrical to begin with. Don’t trim too far down or too often, as chances are you’ll end up making a mistake and taking too much off. Most guys are fine to let the entire beard grow with very minor scissor trims. Scissors leave less room for error in comparison to using an electric trimmer.
Lastly, never trim your beard, or decide to do anything that cuts, while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. This will almost always lead to regret. It probably doesn’t need any further explanation than that.
Don’t judge your own beard too harshly
This is one of the biggest pitfalls for to-be bearded men. We judge ourselves and our appearance much more harshly than others do, which leads to comparing our beard growth to that of other men. Most people won’t notice the little flaws we all have in our beards, such as that tiny patch on the jaw or that the upper cheeks are slightly thinner.
Remember to own your beard and embrace its pattern, texture and color. Something you perceive as negative may very well be a positive in the eyes of others.
Set a goal
You should be setting some type of goal for your beard growth. Whether it’s to get it to a certain length in inches/centimeters, or how you want it to look in general, a set goal makes it much easier to stay on course. Without a goal, it’s easy to convince ourselves to trim or shave, and easier for others to convince us to do so as well. Keep a goal in mind and strive for it until you get there.
If it helps, look at pictures of other bearded men via Google (or even here on the beard forums!). Don’t compare your beard to that of others — simply look at different styles and aim for that style.
Utilize positive motivators
Keep yourself motivated! It can be easy to succumb to societal norms (i.e. clean shaving), so do your best to stay as positive about your beard as possible. Don’t let those one or two random people get you down when they tell you that you should shave, because it’s likely to happen. Instead, think about the times when someone has complimented your facial fuzz and focus on that.
Sometimes the compliments don’t come until you’ve grown the beard out into a fuller state, and that’s okay. It’s normal for people to dislike the initial stages of your beard and then eventually realize how awesome it looks on you.
Remember that beards aren’t for everyone, and it’s something that people seem to want to express. Whether that’s due to beard envy or them simply not liking facial hair, it doesn’t matter. It’s your beard, it’s your face, it’s your decision.
Beards take time and dedication to grow out. It requires that we, as beardsman, block out the haters. Those closest to us that know us mostly as clean-shaved will normally be the biggest deterrents when it comes to growing out our beards. Push through it, keep your goals in mind, and grow that beard out.
If you need more motivation, have any questions or just want to share your progress, don’t forget about the beard board.