It’s a question for the ages: how long does it take to grow a beard? The answer, unfortunately, depends largely on genetics. For those boasting with follicle coverage as patchy as the mobile signal at your parents’ house, amassing impressive facial hair can be a bit of a slog. Professional beard styles.
It shouldn’t be – in theory, if you want to grow a beard, you just 'grow a beard’, right?
As Luke Davies, barber at Ruffians, points out, it’s not quite that simple. “I used to grow my beard long but it was never strong on the sides,” he says. “The chin and moustache were always the strongest points.”
Like it or not, it takes patience to cultivate a full, soft, healthy beard, so you need to be committed. Follow our beard growth tips, push past the difficult two-week stage, and by week six you’ll have facial fuzz you can be proud of.
Think of it like a training plan for your face – one we’ve mapped out for you below, no PT required…
How to Grow a Beard
Then, choose a time when the straggly stage of your beard's growth coincides with a holiday from work, so that you can ride out the homeless Ian Beale phase away from the eyes of your colleagues.
Use a facial scrub to clean the skin underneath and remove dead cells (which will help prevent beard dandruff ) and continue to use it weekly, even once your beard has started getting thick.
Facial hair styles
Growing a Beard: Patchy Growth
Before you reach for the razor, take a moment to reflect. Are you still within the parameters of the notoriously patchy first month? If so, have patience. Beard hairs grow thick and wild, and given half a chance, they’ll soon gloss over the areas where coverage might be a little lacking.
Still set on a trim? It isn’t generally recommended, but Davies says if you’re having trouble with patchy growth, try shaving that particular area against the grain. “If you do that, it’s likely that the hairs will grow back thicker because of the angle you cut it at.”
There’s nothing wrong with using different razor grades on different parts of your face to help even things out. “A colleague of mine gets his beard trimmed to different lengths all the time because different areas need different lengths,” he says. “Persevere and other hair will overlap the weak ones but bear in mind it’s better to have that done professionally.”
Growing a Beard: The Shape
Consider which beard styles flatter the shape of your face. You need to complement rather than mirror your features: if you have an oblong noggin – think Peter Crouch – an extended goatee will only emphasise that. It’s better suited to a wide, square face: think Frank Lampard.
A good beard will help to make your face more symmetrical, which in turn will make you appear better looking. In order to do that, the beard should help create an oval shape. Generally speaking, if your face is on the square side, growing your beard longer (like Jason Momoa) will help balance that out. Similarly, if you have a narrow face, a bushy beard will help create an oval.
“Again, speak to a barber about this,” says Davies. “They can advise you on how best to get the shape you're after.”
Growing a Beard: The Skin Underneath
Just because you can’t see it anymore, growing a beard doesn’t mean you should neglect the skin underneath. In fact, the healthier your skin, the better your beard will look, says Davies.
“Use a facial scrub for when your beard is shorter to scrub the skin,” he explains. “As it gets longer, get your fingertips in between the hairs to get to the skin in the shower. Then brush it when you get out of the shower and towel dry it.”
And if your beard starts to become uncomfortable, Davies urges you not to scratch the itch. Instead, condition your bristles with beard oil, balm or cream. Not only will you keep flyaway hairs in slick formation, but when the time comes to shave it all off, doing so will be almost effortless. Almost.
Don’t fancy splashing cash on posh tinctures? Consider raiding your kitchen cupboards instead. “Use argan or coconut oil on it overnight to soften it as the hairs come through and eventually you’ll get to a stage where it becomes more comfortable.”
Growing a Beard: Maintenance
After a rather intense few years where the men of Britain looked like they were auditioning for ‘Hagrid: The College Years’, Davies says that “shorter, well-kept beards are becoming more popular.” That’s good news for those who can’t grow thick beards but it will require more maintenance.
It will take between four and six weeks before your beard has really kicked in, so keep going for at least a month. “ Maintain the beard, jawline and top lip every two weeks,” he says. “Ideally, you should seek professional help to do this, but in the meantime, make sure you brush it daily.”
Beard styles for oval face
And if you don't want to seek professional help, use a beard trimmer with a guard on it to ensure an even finish when you trim it, taking extra care around the mouth and moustache. In particular, comb your moustache hair down over your lip and use a pair of scissors to trim it back. And remember, you can always cut it shorter, so start with a longer grade and work down.
Keeping your neck and cheek lines neat will mark the difference between ‘overslept all week and forgot to shave’ and ‘I’m growing a serious beard’.