Growing a Manly Beard

by Brett & Kate McKay on November 28, 2008 · 117 comments

in Dress & Grooming, Hair

Editor’s Note: This is a guest post from Steve Wilson, the author of Make sure to check out his manly site! It inspired me to grow my first beard this month.

Growing a beard is an affirmation of manliness and masculinity. The beard itself is a physical characteristic that separates men from boys, girls, and women. In a culture that has downplayed good old-fashioned masculinity, growing a beard shows that you are not afraid of being a manly man. You can reclaim an aspect of manliness that is too often lost by growing a beard.

How to Grow a Beard

Go ahead. Break free from the shaving trap and grow a beard. If you are ready to step up to the challenge of growing a beard, it is time to start growing. The key to a successful beard-growing effort is commitment. Just make a decision to grow a beard and stick with it. Do not be swayed by naysayers or lapses in your own confidence. Do not let a transient period of itching send you running for the razor. Just make a commitment to grow the beard and stick with it. Make it non-negotiable and always remember that. It helps to set a commitment date. Be sure that you allow yourself at least six weeks. Then, stick to your resolution not to cave and shave prior to your commitment date.

It can often be helpful to choose a bearded role model to serve as a source of inspiration while growing your beard. This could be someone you know or it could be a famous or historic bearded figure. While growing your beard, if at any time your commitment and confidence falter, just remember your bearded role model and realize that he successfully grew his beard and realize that you can, too.

Self-consciousness is often heightened during the initial beard-growing phase. Do not worry about it! Man up! Be proud that you are asserting your right to grow a beard for all to see. If self-consciousness is tough for you, try starting the beard while away on a vacation or holiday break. When you return to your regular environment, remember your commitment. Do not be shaken by the reactions of others. After all, it is your decision, not theirs. It also helps to take positive comments as supportive statements while disregarding negative comments as being irrelevant.

Picking a Beard Style

You will likely wonder which style of beard will best suit you. There is no need to make a hasty decision. You might think that you should find out what the latest fashion trends are and make your choice of beard style accordingly. Forget that. Growing a beard should never be about fashion. Growing a beard is about being yourself. It is about being a man. Grow the beard that you want without giving fashion any thought.

There will be one controlling factor in selecting the proper beard style for you. That would be genetics and the amount and configuration of beard development you have been dealt. The main rule here is to make the best of what you have. While a beard is definitely a manly thing, the ability to grow a beard varies widely among men. Some men have abundant and profuse beard growth, while others have little or even none. Most men find themselves somewhere in between. Those with scant beard-growth potential are no less manly. Let me be clear about that. The amazing variability in beard-growing ability is just one of the mysteries of the beard. The beard is a gift and gifts differ among men. Those who have the gift of the beard should share that gift by growing the beard for all to see.

For those who are physically able, I highly recommend growing the full beard. The full beard is the classic style, the iconic beard image. If you cannot produce the full beard, choose a style that makes the best use of your beard-growth pattern, be it the goatee, the chin curtain, the chin strip, or another variation.

Whichever beard style you choose, be sure not to make the most common mistake in beard-growing: premature shaping. For most beginning beard growers, it is preferable just to stop shaving altogether and let everything grow for the first four weeks or so. For many, the scruffy look during this period is too hard to bear and they yield to the temptation to clean up the look by defining a shape to the beard. The trouble is that early attempts at shaping frequently result in too much of the beard being taken off — going too high up for the neck line or going down too low on the cheek line. The resulting awkwardly-shaped beard usually does not look right and often gets discarded as a failed attempt at growing a beard. If you really cannot afford to stick it out and avoid premature shaping, at least approach your shaping effort with the objective of taking off too little rather than too much.

Itch Relief

Many a new beard has been sacrificed for the desire for relief from itching. Do not let itching deny you your beard! After being accustomed to shaving for so long, the growth of a beard presents your skin with a new environment. Sometimes it causes a period of itchiness. Do not give up because of this. Keep growing, knowing that the itchiness should pass as your skin gets used to the presence of your beard. Remember your commitment! Meanwhile, you can soothe your itchy skin with a moisturizing lotion or other skin-care products that are used to relieve itching.

How To Care for a Beard

As your beard grows into a real beard, you will need to learn how to care for your beard. Many guys take charge of their own beard maintenance, not trusting the care of their beards to anyone else. It can be tough these days to find a barber who really knows his stuff when it comes to beard trimming. If you cannot find a barber who is sufficiently trustworthy to trim your beard, buy a beard trimmer and learn to use it. Most men find that maintaining a beard is much easier than daily shaving.

Growing a beard is an adventure that can be a surprising process of self-discovery. And it certainly is a manly thing to do. It’s even manlier to grow a beard and keep it. A recent comment sent in to puts it nicely: “Beards are just the best way to live life.” For all the information, support, and inspiration that you might need to make your beard-growing adventure a success, visit

{ 116 comments… read them below or add one }

101 JayFaber November 1, 2013 at 2:23 pm

All I have to say is Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, and Chuck Norris.

102 Mark November 6, 2013 at 4:25 am

I did not know that many people give up simply because of the itch :).

103 Olivier November 11, 2013 at 3:06 pm

Go beard or go home!

104 W. van Geest November 22, 2013 at 2:34 pm

As a european, it is already quite hard to grow a beard. But the itch is killing me! I’m sticking to my beardgrowth though, even though it makes me look like an angry leprachaun. (It’s red, and look incredibly like the beard leprachaun’s wear.)

105 Sebidee December 1, 2013 at 3:09 pm

I believe every woman looks better with long hair. They same can be said about men, they always look better with some kind of beard.

106 Stephen December 4, 2013 at 4:26 pm

At 42 years old, I finally manned up in November and began growing mine. It takes a while to get used to the look, but I feel a lot more manly. My wife thought she would hate it, but she has a new appreciation for the whiskers.

107 Boyd Yazdani December 8, 2013 at 1:54 am

I really like youtube but it surely does have some bad things on it. Like with illegal material and things.

108 Sonny Bolin December 10, 2013 at 6:48 pm

I’d hope that I am healthy in both mind, body, and spirit. I might love to travel the globe with my family members. That would be beautiful.

109 Jason December 31, 2013 at 9:16 am

What can I do about the patchiness of my beard?

110 December 31, 2013 at 3:59 pm

Consider rephrasing:

“You can reclaim an aspect of manliness that is too often
lost by growing a beard.”

111 Gabriel Mylin December 31, 2013 at 4:02 pm

Love this:

“Grow the beard that you want without giving fashion any thought.”

112 Ryan February 12, 2014 at 2:51 pm

In a world where men seem to be getting more and more feminine, I think those of us who choose to represent the face fur are simply performing our civic duty! Long live masculinity.

113 shane February 27, 2014 at 10:49 am

Been growing my beard on and off for the past few years I’m committied to it now ,my only problem is the girl friend she can’t stand it I wonder how long it would be by now if I didn’t shave it all those times for her

114 Camilo March 9, 2014 at 9:54 pm

Have grow my beard fully for the first time in my life. It’s quite life changing. I’m actually glad that it’s a full and strong one.

To those that are in the itch phase now: I shampoo the crap out of it. I prefer “head & shoulders: Old Spice”. Keeps me clean and my woman loves that bearded look and the manly smell.

My comrades in the beard, I wish you good luck and keep being manly!!

115 Nerdslayer March 26, 2014 at 9:44 am

Recently, I shaved my beard to welcome the increasing rays of the Spring sunshine. I have done this now for ten years. I start growing my beard on the first day of Autumn and maintain it through the Winter until Spring arrives. During the Spring and Summer I either maintain a clean shaven look or grow a goatee. But it’s interesting how people react to the change. My wife appreciates the clean shaven look but my sons prefer to the beard. Either way, I’m grateful to have a job and a family that likes my beard.

116 Karen Rabena March 26, 2014 at 4:03 pm

Thank god you answered that issue and included sex appeal as well. Nice job. I’d say men can go with or without as long as it’s trimmed appropriately. Too much looks like you’re hiding something like a second chin or stomach. Possibly you were on a trip to the North Pole. Even Tom Hanks didn’t pull of the huge beard thing.

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