Between Movember going mainstream and the lumberjack look becoming the new “clean shave”, there has never been a better time for a man to grow a beard.
However, putting those safety razors to rest doesn’t necessarily mean you’re off the hook.
After all, beards still require a routine on their own.
So, if you want to get past the stubble phase, here’s how to grow a full beard without patches.
How Long Does it Take to Grow a Beard?
We’ve all seen those guys.
You know, the ones who make Thor look like a high-school boy.
If the first question that pops into your mind when you see them is how long it took them to grow their beard, well, I got a slightly annoying answer for you: “It depends”.
You see, every man grows facial hair at a different rate, and it’s all a matter of genetics.
That’s actually why some guys sport the shadow beard hours after they’ve shaved while others have a peach fuzz thing going on for days.
That being said, it’s hard to pin down a growth rate that represents (and does justice to) all guys out there.
But, if we were to sum it all up in a number, that’d be around ½ inch per month.
And to paint the whole picture, that means the average man can grow a full beard in about 2 to 6 months.
How to Know if You Can Grow a Beard
So, you’ve decided to let your whiskers grow, but you’ve never made a legit effort to do so in the past.
In other words, you don’t know whether your facial hair is up for the task.
Well, fret not!
You can easily see if you can grow a full beard by merely taking a look at the rest of your body.
If you tend to sprout hair from everywhere (see: scalp, armpits, chest, and so on), then chances are your man-mane dreams will come true.
More than that, if you want to know just how hunky and lush your beard can get, check out your scalp hair.
How fast does it grow after cutting or trimming? Is it thin or thick? Now you know!
The 9 Commandments of Beard-Growing
Have the Patience of Job
The first thing you need to realize before you start growing a beard is that it takes time.
As mentioned above, such a task may take months and in some cases, almost a year (genetics, bro, you can’t fight them!).
So, don’t get frustrated if your bristles don’t grow as much as you anticipated during the first couple of months.
Just keep in mind that even guys with serious man manes weren’t born with naturally gorgeous beards.
It’s quite likely that they, too, have struggled with a patchy beard in the past or may have been late bloomers themselves.
And I know this phase can be super uncomfortable as there will come a time when your skin feels itchy AF and all you’ll want to do is scratch it right off your face.
But, mark my words: Things do get better, and if you stick with it long enough, your facial hair will be scraggly enough to fill in those patches.
Oh, and a word of advice: Don’t buy into the myth that regular shaving can help your hair grow back thicker.
This theory has been debunked several times over. If you shave your beard in hopes of boosting its growth, know that you set yourself back several days (if not weeks).
So, the bottom line here? Time rewards those who are patient.
One of the things you can control when it comes to growing a beard is your body’s nourishment.
In other words, providing your body with enough of these nutrients is a sure-fire way to boost your hair growth.
So, what can you do to get more of these nutrients?
Here’s a quick list of foods that are rich in them:
- Sweet Potatoes
- Nuts (Almonds, Pistachios, Walnuts, etc.)
- Bell Peppers
Catch Some Zzz’s
You probably don’t know this, but most of your hair-growing happens overnight.
That’s when cellular turnover is at its peak.
Now, if you don’t give your body enough time to go through the sleeping motions, your hair won’t grow as efficiently as it should.
So, there goes your chance to grow a full, lush beard!
But, that’s not all. Research shows that poor sleeping habits could result in reduced blood flow – which means fewer nutrients will reach your hair follicles and, as a result, your hair growth cycle will be disrupted.
So, make sure you get a good night’s sleep (7-8 hours), and rest assured nature has your back.
Hit the Gym
Let’s be honest: Lacing up your sneakers and hitting the weight room doesn’t exactly scream “hair growth” to you, now does it?
Well, according to this study, it should as strength training can significantly increase a guy’s testosterone (T) and dihydrotestosterone (DHT) levels.
Wait, what do these hormones have to do with hair growth?
In recent years, experts have discovered that testosterone prepares your hair follicles for growth while DHT is the one that promotes the actual hair growth.
So, in a way, these two hormones can increase your chances of sporting a beard.
But, hey, that doesn’t mean boosting your T levels can help you overcome your poor hair growth genetics.
It just means that you may see a small change in hair growth, which could be distinct enough to fill in those patches.
Take Care of the Skin Underneath
So, here’s a fun fact: hair grows out of small (almost tiny) pockets in your skin which are known as follicles.
Underneath them, there is a small gland, a.k.a. the sebaceous gland, which lubricates the hair as it sprouts from the follicle and prevents it from hurting your skin.
Now, if for some reason, the pockets or the glands are damaged and can’t perform to the fullest (say, due to dryness or excess oil and debris), the hair won’t be able to grow out of the follicles properly, leaving them hairless.
And that’s where you (or better yet, your skincare routine) step in.
By keeping your skin moisturized, you enable the follicles to function properly and keep that beard growing.
So, make sure you use a moisturizer 2-3 times a week (if not daily) and don’t wash your face every once in a while.
You see, frequent rinses could strip your skin off of its natural oils and result in flaky, itchy skin.
Also, avoid steaming hot baths as piping hot water could dry out your skin, making it feel irritated and dry.
Take Your Face Shape into Account
Ask any barber about the “Face Shape vs. Beard Style” conundrum, and you’ll get the same answer:
“Go with whatever style you like, as long as it makes your face look oval.”
The idea behind this principle is that oval-shaped heads are symmetrical.
So, shaping your beard in a certain way can help you create the illusion of such shape.
With that in mind, here’s a quick guide on how to choose a beard style based on your face shape:
Combining the benefits of the round and square faces, this shape is compatible with pretty much any beard style in the book.
So, all you have to do is let your scruff grow and maintain it as it grows. #LuckySOB
In this case, your job is to keep your head from looking like a ball.
To do that, accentuate your chin by trimming the sides (see: cheekbones) and letting the bottom of your beard grow long.
For guys with rectangular faces, the goal is to draw attention away from the head’s length.
One way to do that is to make it look wider by growing hair higher up the cheeks and filling the area around your jawline.
Guys with triangular faces have prominent chins.
So, what you need to do here is direct all attention to the upper part of the face, perhaps with the help of a “beard-stache” (that’s a mustache/beard hybrid).
Also, make sure to keep your cheeks as clean as possible.
With a broad jawline being the main issue here, a square face beard should be all about lengthening the chin.
So, create a round-ish edge at the bottom of your beard by keeping your chin hair fuller and trimming the area around the cheeks.
Guys with a heart face shape are known for their weak jawlines.
Luckily, all they have to do to mask their small chin is to grow more facial hair at the bottom of their beards and add more depth with a long mustache.
Make Neckline Cleanups a Priority
It’s one thing to let your beard grow but another to let it take over your face.
To avoid looking like a mountain man on a really bad day, make sure you trim the area around your neckline at least once a week.
You’ve never done this before?
Just set your clippers two settings below your beard length, place 1-2 fingers above your Adam’s apple (depending on your personal preference), and buzz all stray hairs from behind your ears and jaws until you reach the point near your fingers.
FYI, this is your neckline, and it’s an imaginary U-shaped line that’s connecting your two ears and stands right above your Adam’s apple.
PS: Even if it seems like too much work at first, things will be much easier once your beard grows out.
Trim it As it Grows
One thing you should know about your beard (and that applies to all guys out there) is that not all hairs grow at the same rate.
That said, things can go from sexy to fugly in a matter of days unless you trim those whiskers as they grow.
Note, though, that your goal during these first few weeks isn’t to layer your beard and do what a barber does, but instead shape your scruff and spare yourself the awkward in-between stages until it grows fully.
But, how can you do that without looking like a goofball?
Well, once your beard starts looking full in the cheeks and chin, take a small beard comb and brush all hairs against the grain.
You’ll see that some of them stand out – those are the ones that grew a bit faster than the rest.
Now, using a pair of trimming scissors, cut them in a way so that they’re even with the rest.
And that’s all you have to do during the first few weeks until your beard is fully grown.
Brush it Out
Are you looking for a natural way to boost your beard’s growth?
Then, brushing your mane at the end of each day is just the thing for you.
You see, this trick allows you to distribute your skin’s naturally occurring oils all over your beard.
As a result, your hairs are more nourished and less fragile – which means you’ll have less split ends and breakage, and, thus, a healthier, denser beard.
Plus, brushing your face feels a lot like massaging it, which could improve your blood circulation.
FYI, the more blood flows to your follicles, the more nutrients it gets to jump-start your hair growth.
And yes, this isn’t like one of those life-changing tips that promise to grow your scruff 8 inches overnight (ahem, sarcasm!).
But if you make a habit out of it, it will make a difference down the line.
While this list of must-dos may show otherwise, I have to admit: Letting my scruff grow as nature intended was one of the easiest things I’ve done in my life.
In fact, besides the occasional trimmings, there was nothing on this list that required superhuman skills to accomplish.
So, if you’re hesitant about making this step, I’m telling you: You got this!
Now, I want to hear your thoughts.
Do you have any other tips on how to grow a full beard?