Believe it or not, it’s actually a thing for men to plan out their beards and understanding beard growth stages is going to help you and your beard grooming.
We're also here to break the news that not all of you will be able to grow the full beard you think you should be able to or that you want to. Beard growth depends on your hair, which depends on your body’s genetics and for some of you, it’s just not meant to be. Unfortunately, some men just struggle to do so and no amount of research about how to grow a beard will help.
This is why assessing your beard at the different stages of growth is also important. Some of you might be able to make it all the way and become the cause of what others call beard envy. You might even be able to braid it and look all Viking-like. Others might try it out and decide they want to stay in stage 1 or stage 3 and never go beyond. Some will try and decide, “Nope. Back to the smooth, baby-bottom face for me.”
It’s ultimately your face and your choice—isn’t that nice?
To get us started, we’ve identified 5 stages of beard growth:
- Short beard
- Growth, groom, shape
- Decision time
Before we dive into the details, we also want to note that these stages are going to have a different timeline for everyone based on the type of hair you have, but we'll try to give estimates.
Stubble, aka the itchy phase (but also the sexy phase)
If you start with a smooth shave, you'll have anywhere from a few hours (it’s called a 5 o’clock shadow for a reason) to a few days before the stubble really takes hold. It depends on how fast your beard grows. But if you’re committed to a beard, you won’t be keeping things smooth and as the stubble breaks through, it’s going to itch.
How long does the itching last? For most guys, it lasts 1 to 3 days and the beard will be starting to exit the stubble phase by the end of a week or two. Again, there’s a lot of variability here. During this phase, your beard doesn’t need much maintenance. Just take care of your itchy-but-sexy face and you’ll be fine. And a totally informal (as in, we just asked a few peeps) survey says that a LOT of significant others like this look.
Patchy, but still somehow itchy
A misconception about beards is that the hair grows evenly across all points of the jaw. Most fully grown-out beards have patchy spots, but the rest of the hair covers them. This is the phase where all the patches show and need time to cover up. This is also the phase where we highly suggest investing in a beard brush and beard products like oil or gel and keeping up with general beard care. The patchy phase will last anywhere from 1 to 4 weeks.
Some guys blaze through the patchy phase quickly. Others have to deal with this for a month. It can be a real test of your beard commitment, but if you style the beard and groom it where necessary, it helps a lot.
Short beard phase
After about a month, it’s time to assess and keep training. At this point, your beard is long enough to grab and tug. Your mustache is probably getting into your mouth (unless you trim it). You have a beard. The question is where you go from here.
At a minimum, you should train the beard. Use your trimmer to delineate between your real beard and your neck beard (that should be much less prominent). Think about the style of beard you want and how long you’re planning to grow this thing out.
Growth, groom, shape phase
This phase is really the pivotal phase and ultimately determines what type of beard you want. This is also a repeat and reassess phase and can take a varying amount of time.
During this phase, you're still letting your beard grow, but you're continuing to trim, shape, and train the beard hair to go in the direction you want. You’re also figuring out how bushy you can go. Your face shape should inform your beard style. People with a rounder face tend to be able to pull off a bushier, rounder beard and might go a little longer. People with a more angular face tend to opt for the square-cut jaw beard and stay shorter.
This is also the point where you might want to ask other people for their opinion. You might love your new look, but you could also be completely looking over those patchy areas that aren’t quite ever going to grow in. People might encourage you to let it grow a little longer while others might say trim it down and keep a shorter beard.
This brings us to the final phase of beard growth.
At this point in the cycle, you're now close to 2 months into your new beard experiment and it’s time to make a choice. Do you like your beard? Do other people like your beard? Do you want to keep growing? Do you want to start trimming? Does your beard make you want to start a bluegrass band? Or are you done? So many questions.
Regardless of what you decide, having the correct beard trimming tools like The Beard Hedger™ and investing in beard care products is highly recommended. This gives your hair and the skin buried beneath your beard much-needed hydration and added nutrients. You'll also have a lot more hair to wash, so we always recommend a good quality beard shampoo. Beard on, friends!
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