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 beards.org. 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

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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 beards.org 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 http://www.beards.org.

{ 116 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Ced November 28, 2008 at 8:25 am

i wish i could grow my beard back for winter, but due to my job i cannot have a beard, but back when i was younger i would grow a beard every winter

2 Nesagwa November 28, 2008 at 8:27 am

Trimming your beard is like tending a Bonzai. You only need to take off a little at a time at odd intervals.

One thing I think a lot of people forget about is washing and conditioning your beard. It gets rid of the itching a lot of people complain about and helps avoid ingrown hairs and keep it shiny and smooth.

3 Bernie Franks November 28, 2008 at 9:42 am

Haha, yesterday everyone was commenting on how big my beard’s gotten. I grow it out every winter since I spent a lot of time walking around outside and it provides some nice warmth against the Illinois winter winds. I remember shaving it off one January after it having gotten frozen a number of time in the cold. Boy was that a shock!

4 Joseph November 28, 2008 at 9:45 am

Unfortunatly for my family we can’t grow beards only really hideous mustaches.

5 Keith November 28, 2008 at 11:18 am

My dad promised for years that he would never shave again after he retired. And he hasn’t. The dedication he has to that beard is amazing. At one point his doctor told him he needed to shave to make use of some machine for sleep apnea and he refused. The promise had been made, and even the fact he stopped breathing at night wouldn’t deter him from manly beardedness.

If I could get past how silly I look with facial hair I would love to forgo shaving. After about five days though I think I look silly. How do I move past that phase?

6 jefflo November 28, 2008 at 12:22 pm

Alas, I am genetically impaired! Manly beards are not my family’s forté.

7 Will November 28, 2008 at 2:21 pm

I love having a beard!

@Keith: give it a month! Five days isn’t nearly enough time to know what it’ll be like.

8 Will November 28, 2008 at 2:24 pm

I love my beard!

@Keith: five days isn’t nearly enough time to judge — give it a month! (And expect it to continue to become more full over the next year.)

9 luke November 28, 2008 at 5:53 pm

A beard is something you have to put up with if you’re lost in the woods for weeks, or if you’re a guy who gets ridiculous amounts of razor bumps from shaving (like some black dudes I’ve known).

Beards suck, plain and simple. I’ve grown a few so I know from whense I speak. My genetic heritage makes it easy for me grow a thick lustrous beard, but lets face it I’m not Santa Clause, Jesus or Zeus so what’s the point?

And I have to say, just based on my personal experience, dudes with the serial beard thing happening tend to be prickish. Just sayin…don’t say you haven’t noticed too. Here’s a list:

1. Commander Reiker – Prick
2. Charles Manson – Prick
3. that guy Anthony I work with – Prick
4. Saddam Hussein (after weeks in his hidey hole) – Prick
5. Wolf Blitzer – Prick
6. Axl Rose (occasionally) – Prick (always)
7. Kenny Logins – Prick
8. that guy from Iron and Wine – Prick
9. Paul McCartney (in the 70′s) – Prick (to this day)
…and the list goes on

Furthermore, women generally despise beards. And why not? Do you like a hairy twat? Would you like to find, say, some mashed potatos or BBQ sauce in there? Well, your beard is like that hairy twat with all that crap in it except its on your face. She loves kissing that. Sure she does…

Save the beard for when you’re old and allowed to be a prick all the time, for when the possibility of getting laid ever again is a cruel joke, and for when looking distinguished over actually being distinguished will have to do.

I thank you.

*the following people are excluded from the above scathing tyrade – Billy F. Gibbons, Dusty Hill and Frank Beard(!), God, Santa Clause, Zeus, Jesus, Kerry King and the Sea Captain from the Simpsons*

10 Andrew Conkling November 28, 2008 at 10:21 pm

I end up plucking stray hairs from around my beard (up on my cheeks and around my mouth). I used to feel a bit silly about it, but grooming a beard is a man’s work. :)

11 luke is a genius November 28, 2008 at 10:43 pm

*mantear*
I couldn’t believe how perfectly accurate that observation was. I know so many pricks with beards. I think modern U.S. society sort of makes fun of beards in general, so you better be _very_ confident in your skin (or beard-covered skin) to grow one out.

I could grow mine out fairly quickly, but like luke, I don’t see the point. It’s an image thing too. I’ve been clean shaken forever, except for a few odd years during adolescene, so I’m sticking with it.

12 Sean November 28, 2008 at 11:50 pm

@luke – That must be an american thing. I live up in the Frozen North (aka Canada), and everyone that I’ve met who has a beard has been a likeable guy.

Of course, I may be biased because I have a manly beard ( which I love and adore ). Part of the reason I like my beard so much is that I look much better with it, although that may just be because I’ve had one for about six years now ( since grade 11 ) and have no plans to shave it off.

And it’s not true about women not liking beards. All of my girlfriends have loved the beard ( something to play with and run their fingers through ), and I’ve gotten complements on the street from random people ( girls and guys alike ).

As far as having things stuck in there, yeah, that happens. But I take care when eating sticky food, or food with lots of sauce. After eating I wash up ( a little soap and water goes a long way ), which takes care of that problem. I rarely — if ever — have food stuck in my beard. Of course, shampoo-ing and conditioner-ing the beard when I shower helps keep the ‘cling level’ of my beard down, which is good, because I have fairly curly hair ( head and beard ).

Pic of said awesome beard for reference: http://flickr.com/photos/rebelcan/2306734448/in/set-72157603672892489/

13 NZR November 29, 2008 at 8:38 am

The men in my family can grow great beards and I have tried on occasion. MY wife doesn’t like it too much though and I still seem (at age 27) to have a plethora of blonde “little boy” whiskers that are interspersed on my beard.

Therefore, I usually go for the “weekend” shadow and then shave during the week.

14 amy demik November 29, 2008 at 10:30 am

Thanks a lot Brett….Ryan is determined to have a MANLY (if not THE Manliest) beard in town.
Is December “Clean Shaven Month”?????

15 Brett November 29, 2008 at 1:00 pm

@Amy-

I think Ryan has a decent shot of having THE manliest beard in town. I’m quite envious of it, as I’m sure many a man is. It’s a crime to put a razor to that manly masterpiece.

16 Art2Go November 30, 2008 at 3:01 pm

Tip from a seasonal gray beard:

Amazingly, aftershave lotion will stop the itching of a new growth, don’t shave!, just wash with shampoo & hot water then liberally apply some aqua-velva.

17 Bernie Franks November 30, 2008 at 3:58 pm

@luke – I don’t think I can take seriously any argument that cites Santa Claus, Zeus, Jesus, and cartoon characters as examples of “good people with beards.”

@Sean – I don’t know what bias against this beards these guys are seeing, but it surely isn’t an American thing. There’s a reason a lot of male actors in Hollywood are growing out beards, and it surely ain’t because they’re ugly or because women hate them.

18 Jones November 30, 2008 at 9:06 pm

Well, after a fairly disfiguring accident last january, where I tore open my lip pretty good, its been nigh on impossible for me to shave my upper lip without cutting myself. And because of the road rash on my face and jaw, i couldnt shave the rest of my face for about a month. And so began my bearding adventure. The ‘circle beard’ area, basicly teh goatee and mustache, came in fairly quickly, however, the mustache was still fairly light coloured. Now, 10 months later, the neck and the jaw has grown in, and the mustache has darkened. However the cheeks are still fairly sparse. As of this point in time, I am trimming once a week what ive got and shaving the cheeks and soulpatch area down to the ‘chin strap’. The sticking point for me is how to make this beard fit my haircut. Right now its decently longer than a buzz cut. I am considering moving to a fairly short buzzed head, as I figure it will compliment a shorter beard, which I prefer. My question to the teeming masses of this site is what do you think? Yes I know it was damn near an autobiography, but please consider my plight.

19 Matt December 1, 2008 at 8:57 am

@Bernie Franks:

There is a cultural bias against beards in American society, especially in professional settings. Actors and other celebrities do not have to play by these rules, which is why it’s “hip” or “edgy” to sport such a look in the entertainment business.

Many employers ban facial hair altogether, but more commonly the practice is to simply frown upon men who wear full beards, and to distrust them as “unconventional” or “subversive” and pass up these individuals for hiring and promotions. Goatees and conservative sideburns are typically less controversial, but full beards almost always are.

20 Matt December 1, 2008 at 9:02 am

@luke – According to myth, Zeus, taking the form of a swan, raped a woman in her sleep. Google “Leda and the Swan.”

21 luke December 1, 2008 at 9:47 am

My comments were meant to be funny, not to be taken seriously (obviously). However, I’m glad it was so convincing.
A career in politics or PR is sure to follow….haha.

22 CoffeeZombie December 1, 2008 at 12:54 pm

I, personally, have not met many (if any, I can’t recall) bearded men who were pricks.

Granted, my father has had a beard for as long as I can remember. I started growing one after graduating college and getting a “real job” (i.e., programming, as opposed to working at a fast food restaurant where I was admittedly subversive by growing chops…I don’t know how I got away with it, actually).

I decided to grow a full beard because I hate shaving. And regarding women and beards, all I know is that I shaved everything off once about a year ago and my then-fiancee (now wife) immediately said, “grow it back.”

The only downer is that, while she does want me to keep it nicely trimmed, she won’t let me go for the General Burnside (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ambrose_Burnside) look. :-(

23 Adam Snider December 1, 2008 at 1:44 pm

I think Luke was trying to be funny and, even though I disagree with his comments, I did think it was kind of funny. I mean, Commander Riker was a prick? I don’t think so. Haha!

I’m with Sean, though, every bearded guy I’ve met (again, up here in Canada) has been an awesome guy, with very rare exception. I think beards might be more common up here in the frozen north, too, since I know a fair number of guys who have them. These guys aren’t just artsy types, either. Many of them are highly successful professionals.

Sadly, many women aren’t fond of beards, but my girlfriend loves my beard and got quite annoyed when I decided to joke that I had shaved it off (obviously, this was on the phone, and not face-to-face).

24 rjay December 1, 2008 at 1:55 pm

I grew my beard when my work was taking me out of town for a week at a time, and I forgot to bring a razor along on one of those trips. After I got home, I decided to go ahead and let it keep growing for a while and see how I looked. That was over thirty years ago and I still have it.

My dad, who had the testosterone-packed, extremely manly job of being a fighter pilot in the U.S. Air Force copied my example and grew his own beard out almost as soon as he retired from his 20-year stint and took up teaching college. And he’s had his beard for about 20 years now (and looks even more manly than he did as an active duty fighter pilot).

@luke – I must agree that you pointed out some pricks who have beards, but I know a lot more pricks who are clean shaven. Here’s the beginning of a list for you:

1. Dick Cheney – Prick
2. Tom Cruse – Prick
3. Axl Rose (usually) – Prick (always)
4. Donald Trump – Prick
5. Many guys I have worked with who shall remain nameless – Pricks
6. Steve Ballmer – Prick
7. Sylvester Stallone – Prick
8. Talking heads on TV – Pricks
9. Virtually every politician on earth – Pricks…
….ad infinitum

25 Jake December 1, 2008 at 5:29 pm

@Matt

It’s with just this problem in mind that I’ve interviewed for every job I’ve ever had with a freshly trimmed and cleaned-up beard. Maybe I’m paranoid, but I never want to get into a situation where my boss asks me to shave at work! I simply set (bearded) expectations early-on.

26 Wes December 1, 2008 at 10:41 pm

Interesting comments from all here …

For those who say they “can’t” grow a beard, this is not true in 99% of the cases I’ve encountered. Time and patience will get that face fur into fine shape. And maybe some Biotin for good measure … Exceptions go to my Native American friends, as they only seem to be able to pull off the mustache, and sometimes a goatee. Even then, something is better than nothing. The mustache is not to be feared, it is, in some ways, more manly than the beard.

As for women and beards … well, would you want to be with a woman that is so superficial a little facial hair is a no-no? Beyond that, when did you hand your scrotum over to the other side? Just curious … But seriously, any woman that’s not just into you for looks/money/pure vacuousness should be able to handle the man scruff. This is usually just an excuse from men who are scared to grow the beard for fear of rejection. Guess what … chicks don’t dig desperation to begin with.

Men with beards being pricks … well, as another commenter noted, there are plenty o’ bald faced assholes out there, too. They tend to come in all shapes and sizes.

The work thing is tough to get around, and I understand fully the desire to keep a roof over your head and food in your stomach. Pass granted, but in most work places a trim and neat beard is totally acceptable.

27 jamey r. December 2, 2008 at 11:43 am

@Adam Snider – Commander Richert was most certainly a prick! Totally a douche… That being said, I love a man with a beard. (But what do I know…I have a hairy twat.)

28 bill December 2, 2008 at 12:31 pm

I would have written this post like this:

“Stop shaving.”

So many words for one simple command. Jeezy.

29 Roger Imhada December 2, 2008 at 4:16 pm

I’ve had a full beard now for about six months. I trim up and shave the neck with a straight edge razor. That’s two manly things a beard and a straight edge. I love my beard, so manly.

30 Katja December 4, 2008 at 3:55 pm

All right, first of all – it’s spelled “Riker”. How hard is that? I guess there’s a lot of men out there who are threatened by the sight of another man in a beard. Personally, I think Jonathan Frakes (since I assume you’re talking about STTNG’s Commander Riker) looks a lot better with a beard due to the shape of his chin. I doubt it has much to do with the personality of his stage character.

Secondly, let me just say that speaking as a woman, the attractiveness of any given beard depends on certain factors:

1. Neatness counts. Whether long or short, beards should be well groomed. Just like the rest of you. This includes cleanliness, by the way.

2. Know your limits. If you’re not genetically blessed enough to produce a decent looking beard after giving it a fair try, accept your lot and move on.

3. Confidence counts. If you don’t feel confident in a beard, don’t wear one. You’ll look foolish because you feel foolish. Lack of confidence is definitely UNmanly.

I’ve dated ‘both sides’. Personally, I think a beard, well kept and on a reasonably well-boned face looks good and yes, manly. I’m fortunate to be married to a man who looks great with a beard. And while he’s in the habit of growing it out in the fall anyway, he indulges me by growing it out a little earlier so I can enjoy it longer.

31 Michael December 6, 2008 at 7:57 pm

Gentlemen:
I love my beard, I grow it every winter, then shave it come Easter. However, the Gentleman in the black hat above? Four words for ya.. “Y”… “M”… “C”.. .”A”…

And by the by, Gentlemen. Lets’ drop all the cursing. Makes us sound like teenagers, not Men.

32 Pat December 8, 2008 at 7:47 am

And remember Manuary is around the corner…every one must grow!

33 Jason Fowler December 9, 2008 at 6:26 am

If you want to see the manliest beard ever, look at the beard on the following page.

http://archives.sbts.edu/partner/Article_Display_Page/0,,PTID325566|CHID717902|CIID1992654,00.html

The fine beard picture there belongs to Basil Manly, Jr. Due to his last name, and the fine quality of his beard, he wins the Manly Beard award by default.

34 Ross December 9, 2008 at 9:05 am

Originally Posted By JosephUnfortunatly for my family we can’t grow beards only really hideous mustaches.

There’s no such thing as a hideous moustache!

35 Chip December 11, 2008 at 7:44 am

Beard aficionados may be interested in this lovely poster of the beard hierarchy:
http://www.beardrevue.com/2008/12/heirarchy-of-beards.html
Sadly, I must forgo the seasonal beard this year…

36 Nigel December 11, 2008 at 9:04 am

Really enjoyed this beard feature. After 2 false starts, grew mine in 2005 and wouldn’t be without it now. To all out there that may be undecided, it’s the way forward.

37 Jay December 16, 2008 at 11:30 am

I haven’t shaved or trimmed my beard in 2 years and I have no plans to ever cut it. I want to see how long I can grow it. I get a lot of compliments on it now that it is about 8 inches long from both men and women. I think people really like the fact that I just don’t give a crap and let it grow.

38 fathersez December 21, 2008 at 5:20 am

I have kept a bead for the last 20 years, and would feel like a plucked chicken if I ever had to take it off. I intend to go off with my beard intact.

And I like to think that I am no “prick”…..just in case Luke is still keeping count.

Regards

39 Noxe December 22, 2008 at 1:05 pm

I am currently growing out my beard.

However, I have hair on my head that falls below my shoulders. I am a longhair.

I will join the longhair with the longbeard. Something about a manufactured hair cut and a long beard seems odd to my sense of style. A naturally balding man with a buzz cut, however, is old enough to pull off the beard/buzzcut look.

I think my long beard and long hair will look more natural and real. And I agree with the lady earlier: grooming and cleanliness are paramount, no matter how short or long your hair.

40 Peachfuzzjackson December 22, 2008 at 4:48 pm

man i fuckin wish i could grow a beard…or can I? What do you guys think. This is the situation, I’m 18 and i got pretty scimpy facial hair growin, i got a little bit of side burn stubble and thats from shaving very sparcingly throughout the years. I’m just wondering if i keep at shavin this peach fuzz will it eventualli evolve into a respect commanding man beard or what?

41 Christian January 7, 2009 at 1:10 am

The Hottest secret of growing beard that haven’t appeared online is
* Always rub hot drink on you beard
* Always Barb you beard.
* Always allow you girl to feel you beard

42 Tim Singleton January 8, 2009 at 6:18 am

Well, Luke, I am growing a beard and I don’t consider myself a prick. The amount of effort you have spent in nominating all the pricks in the world marks you as someone who is in his early teens, or stuck emotionally in his teens. I came on here to learn how to deal with the corners of my mouth and my beard and here you are, saying why I and everyone who grows a beard is a prick. I happen to know that many women love a man with a beard, LOL, mainly because women love men who are men.

‘Sides, all the pricks I know drive huge farm pickups with oversize knobbies even though they live in a subdivision and ain’t hit a true mudhole in ten years.

…but even all of those fellow are not pricks, they just like trucks.

Is there anyone who has problems with the corners of their mouths as their beard grows. or is this another one of those things you just have to get through til it get better.

PS My asian girlfriend loves my beard, LOL, and so do all her girlgriends.

43 Steven Copley January 10, 2009 at 2:45 pm

I’m sticking with my normal winter beard until at least May.

44 Average Joe February 3, 2009 at 9:23 pm

Have you ever noticed that people tend to like you best the way you are when they first met you?

That is, if you have a beard, and everyone knows you bearded, and you shave it off, almost all of them will immediately insist that you grow it back, because you look better with it.

But if you don’t have a beard, and people are used to knowing you clean shaven, and you grow one, most will tell you to shave it off because you look better without it.

Just an observation.

45 matt February 11, 2009 at 3:34 pm

I am worried about growing my beard for 2 reasons.

The hair on my cheek, closer to my eyes grows at about half the rate of the rest of my hair. it takes 2 days after a clean shave to notice it again, while the rest grows in within 24 hours.

two, I have very curly hair on my head, but I want to go for the organized beard look. Is there a product I can get to have my beard look less like Osama bin ladens while i grow it out?

I am starting my stint today and wont be trimming until March 18th. Wish me luck!

46 Big Al March 8, 2009 at 3:27 pm

I’ve been growing my beard for the past 6 weeks. The moustache, chin and throat area are pretty full, but the cheeks are sporadic to some degree -thick tuffs here, thin tuffs there. Just wondering if anyone else has had the same and how long it took to fill out on the cheeks.

I am thinking of getting it trimmed (groomed) at the end of this week as I start a new job, but by the same token I don’t want to ruin it.

Cheers :)

47 Scott March 12, 2009 at 12:40 pm

A man without a beard is very much like woman with one.

48 Tim Singleton March 22, 2009 at 11:29 am

Well, I shaved mine. I could not seem to find a method for dealing with the painful bumps that come up under the beard. Tried alcohol, witch hazel, shampoos….still no help. I even tried just digging them out thinking it was maybe an ingrown hair.

I suppose they are just part of the price of having a beard. I will try again next winter, maybe as I had lots of positive response on the thing.

Best of luck!

Tim

49 Shane Long July 17, 2009 at 12:26 pm

I’ve had my beard since I moved back to Maine from Boston in October 2003. All of the men I worked with at the time had beards and my father and uncles all have, or often do, sport beards or mustaches. I was also a young looking 27 year old working with Vietnam veterans so I decided to try the beard to help me look more mature. I think it worked! I currently work in higher education where beards are not all that uncommon amoung the faculty and staff. My wife also really likes my beard and will make comments about it’s length or how I’ve shaped it since having a beard is not just an all or nothing thing, there are good beards and bad beards just like there are good and bad haircuts. I wouldn’t recommend that we all shave our heads just because there are a few bad haircuts out there so why would anyone advocate for no beards just beacuse there are a few bad ones out there? Overall I think that most men should grow a beard at least once in thier lifetime, it’s a right of passage or sign of manhood in many cultures and I think that it shoudl be in ours as well!

50 Hedgewolf August 9, 2009 at 10:15 am

@ Sean – excellent beard {:^)

I agree entirely – my beard and moustache combo are very popular with my friends. It’s well tended, frequently washed and displayed with great care…

http://i589.photobucket.com/albums/ss335/Hedgewolf71/Holiday%20Argeles/Copyof100_0484.jpg

And I don’t think THAT many people consider me to be a prick {:^D

51 k2000k August 27, 2009 at 3:56 pm

I think we are forgetting one of the most manly and fantastic individuals who ever lived had a beard. That’s right. Abraham Lincoln.

Think about it this way, Lincoln had been a chronic failure in many fields, business, law, politics,having lost races for the senate and vice presidency. But an obscure letter from a woman encouraged Lincoln to grow a bear and he would surely garner more votes because the wives would encourage their husbands to vote for such a man. Well he did grow that beard, and became the greatest president the United States has ever had.

Also to continue the prick list.

Bill Mahr, no beard, prick.
Rush Limbaugh, no beard, prick
Shawn Hannity, no beard, prick
Keith Obermann, no beard, prick
Michael Savage, beard, prick
Michael Moore, beard, prick

52 Andrew Hickey August 28, 2009 at 2:15 pm

Ha, I just wrote a blog about this very topic – how to grow a beard. Isn’t the fundamental idea behind growing a beard no more complicated than to stop shaving. I am a firm believer that you should let your beard grow however you want.

53 Tyler September 12, 2009 at 3:43 am

I have 54 days left in the military and I can’t wait until the day I can begin my beard anew. It has been so long since I have been able to make my own decisions regarding my own facial hair.

54 Mark September 24, 2009 at 3:32 am

It’s been already 2 yrs now that i’ve been trying to grow my beard but still no progress in it…
Now i desperately need your guidance….
so please someone help me to make it successful…

Mark
Thanx

55 Jimmy The Man September 26, 2009 at 1:15 pm

I was always told that shaving made your hair grow back faster and thicker and therefore to grow a beard quick ‘n thick, you had to constantly trim it.

56 Coach Adam October 7, 2009 at 6:33 pm

@Jimmy,
Unfortunately it is a common myth that trimming the beard makes it grow faster and thicker. I’m not sure where such reverse logic originated, but we bearded men are trying our best to stop the nonsense. The only magic ingredient to beard growing is patience. No patience, no beard.

If you are looking for motivation, sign up for my beard coaching course at http://beardcoach.com

57 Papou Paul October 18, 2009 at 9:45 pm

Had a beard since I was 16, for all but a couple years. Never trust the barber with your pride and joy unless you are very sure of his competence and your absolute ability to communicate your desires. Made that mistake once, and had to trim it all over down to about 1/4″ and start over. The beard trimmer is a great invention – barber scissors and a comb took forever.

58 Salman Khan November 3, 2009 at 6:08 am

Hi all,
Im fairly new to AOM, but ive read almost every article and I am loving it. This article reminds me of my Dad and Uncles.

Im 21 years old and have had a beard since I was 19. Everyone around me thinks im too young to have one but i see it as a pinnacle of manliness.

Many great men in history have had a beard. As a muslim, the beard in Islam is essential as many great prophets had one i.e Jesus, Moses, Abraham and (for the muslim) Muhammad (peace be on them all).

Keep up the great website.
From the UK

59 Robert November 17, 2009 at 3:49 pm

At 63 my facial hair has finally reached a color and texture suitable for a good looking beard. In years past I have grown it in the winter months and shaved it off for the summer months. No longer however. It’s looking to good. I keep it trimmed to my hair length to keep it even and neat. I like it, my wife likes it and that’s all that matters. I’ve been told my beard makes me look older. So whay? as I said, I’m 63. I’m completely comfortable with my beard. It’s white easy to clean and my grand kids love it…..

60 Rocco November 21, 2009 at 4:07 pm

Imagine for a moment what God looks like. You pictured a bearded man, right? Enough said.

61 Curry M. Mattson December 10, 2009 at 10:05 pm

as a wildland firefighter i usually grow some sort of short (read adolescence) facial hair every summer. i have always ended up clean shaving it come autumn, thinking that God and my finnish heritage skimped me on the zues/john muir-like facial growth. my beard continuity may still not be up to hollywood’s standard of a fashionable full face of hair, but hollywood be damned, it’s time! i, curry m. mattson, commit to six weeks of non-shaping and shaving! good luck to all who join myself and the elite MEN who grow a f(_)&%ing beard already!

62 Travis January 28, 2010 at 3:33 am

This is great, What a place this site is! And what a great topic! I’ve had some form of facial hair since I was 14 and a freshman in HS. My face broke out from razor burn no matter what I tried, so my Mom of all people said “Well, Just stop shaving.” Going on 15 years now, and after cutting my long hair (genetics can be cruel, and I’m thinning up front at the ripe age of 29) and wearing a chin-only goatee that reached 6-9 inches for so long, I went back to my roots and started a beard. It’s so easy I wish I had started years ago. I just let the area between the ‘tee and the side burns start to fill in, then whacked everything down to a consistant length. It was patchy at best for awhile, but It’s coming in nice. And, people say I look younger; like I’m in my 20′s! So now I look my age I guess.

When I think of the men that were my model for manliness I think of my Dad, my Grandpa, and all our family’s friends, I realize that the things I found the most manly were big facial hair and a tatoo on the forearm. Only the toughest men had these. Someday my 2 year-old son will look at the bearded, tatooed men in his life and say, “Those are the men I will emulate, not that pansy-assed uncle of mine that couldn’t grow a decent set of sideburns let alone a presentable beard”

63 Michaelis Percussor January 29, 2010 at 4:17 pm

There are only two types of people who should be without a beard: Women and children.

64 hornswaggle March 11, 2010 at 9:30 pm

i would like to see one pf you guys call chuck norris a prick hehe

65 Master March 21, 2010 at 8:57 pm

beards: the power to rape feminists

66 PWJ May 9, 2010 at 5:42 pm

Hmmm yes, in response to that ‘prick’ business. Damn fine human beings with beards:

1. Abraham Lincoln
2. All members of The Band
3. Walt Whitman
4. Frank Zappa
5. The evil Spock
6. Thelonious Monk
(under-nose beard “mustache”)
7. Groucho Marx
8. Friedrich Niche
9. Theodore Roosevelt
10. Muddy Waters

Coincidence?

67 Joshua May 21, 2010 at 11:10 am

Every time is see the Lord of the Rings movies it makes me want to grow a beard. I am 33 and never have. I break at about 6 days. NO MORE! I am at 6 days and will be going to 6 full weeks to see what the result is. For at least 1 time in my life I will grow a beard for better or worse. I grow a killer mustache tho. My wife calls it the “porn stache”. Shes right about that. Looks like one of those porn stars from the 70 and 80s.HeHeHe

68 josh June 16, 2010 at 1:21 pm

I just had back surgery and grew a beard for .the first time in my life. my wife loves it and my nurses told me they loved it yesterday when I stopped in my office. Lets see what my patients say next week.

69 Henny bogan July 27, 2010 at 2:30 pm

Has anyone met any of these so called pricks and non-pricks? And by met I mean actual time spent being around them…. Everyone is, and is not a prick, at times.

70 Javagrendel August 12, 2010 at 4:49 pm

Just wanted to share that I’ve finally decided to stick out the 4-6 weeks it takes to grow a beard. I’ve tried several times in the past, but gave up after a couple of weeks of intense itching on my neck and face.

This time I decided to get some tips on growing a beard, and a quick google search later learned the following helpful tips:
1. All beards itch initially (I thought I was the only one). A 1% solution of hydrocortizone will help with the itching, if it’s truly intolerable.
2. You beard will soften eventually.
3. You have to grow it for at least a month.

By the time I’ve finished phase 1 – i.e. growing the beard, I’ll be celebrating the big four oh, and what better time to man up with a manly beard than your fortieth, right?

:-)

71 Andrew LaBrador August 16, 2010 at 11:34 am

I have had a beard for over two years before it was a trend. I grew it as a joke, that’s another story. I found that growing my beard was a process first you decide to do it, then once your facial hairs start growning you start in phases, such as, letting certain parts of your face grow out than gradually adding in the full beard. Your family and friends will hate it at first, but once you have a master’s beard everyone gets intimidated by it especially cleanly shaved men! It is an advantage. In a way, you are letting people know you are not a child but a Man!

To maintain your beard purchase a really good scissor. I trim my beard daily only to shape the edges and the chin area so not to have loose longer hairs sticking out. I also shave my neck and some face area with a straight razor to keep it clean looking.

Good luck.

72 John September 27, 2012 at 6:37 am

I am the youngest of five boys and at 41 years of age I still cannot grow a nice, full beard as it’s very splotchy on my jawline and different on each side which prevents me from just growing a strip at the upper or lower portion of my jawline on the sides so I’m pretty mush screwed there.
I think most guys, and most people in general want what we can’t have in many areas in life.
I have a great jawline and have been told by many family members and friends but I like to hunt and would love the extra camouflage a beard would offer not to mention extra warmth on those very cold hunts in the mountains in November.
I would jump at the chance to take pills to stimulate my hair folicles as long as I would not have adverse reactions and start growing hair where I don’t want it like on my forehead or my back..lol.
I really did not start shaving until my mid 30′s and I did not start shaving daily until my late 30′s.
I can grow facial hair fully on my whole face and neck except for those bald spots on my upper and lower jawline opposite on each side….very frustrating but my wife absolutely hates any facial hair….she said it pinches her and is a turn off but I still grow it out starting on Wednesday so that by Saturday I have enough facial hair to hide some white boy skin for the hunt.
I think it’s a vanity thing where we men just want to be manly to our full potential and a beard is the ultimate form of manliness, well at least to ourselves it is even if others think we look totally retarded….LOL.
I think a full beard would give me the ultimate look that I have always wanted as I have deep set blue eyes with high check bones and a strong jawline and with a beard I could have the lumberjack manly look to die for…..unfortunately I feel a bit bummed not being able to grow to my full potential.
I’ve even had a friend who is a Hollywood actor tell me to grow my beard out and take acting lessons and he could help me get some small manly man roles and see where it takes me.
Yes, this sounds a bit vein but I am only being honest and I’m sure I speak for many likewise men who,can’t grow to their full potential.
Then on the other hand, some mean that can grow thick, fast growing beards absolutely hate facial hair.
Man do I envy those guys who have that fast growing, full five o’clock shadow.
I guess if my wife hates it then I have to shave it off every Monday.
Gotta keep momma happy.

73 Felix October 21, 2012 at 1:57 pm

Great tips, thanks!

74 Nobeard October 30, 2012 at 9:13 am

is there a way to grow a beard? im Fu**ing asian and i want to grow a beard but my genes arent capable of doing that.. argh

75 Ali November 17, 2012 at 11:33 am

I’ve been growing my beard for 6 weeks now, and I am really beginning to love it. I have been trimming my tache regularly (just to keep it from curling into my mouth), and admittedly I did shape by beard incorrectly 3 weeks ago (I have since grown back the hair on my neck and cheeks and hope I can recover to full bearded glory). I have a question about beard trimming:
My girlfriend works at a pharmacy, and brought home an adjustable electric hair trimmer. It’s max length was 2cm, which my beard has recently exceeded (when pulled straight). I thought about it, and decided I would not want to my limit my beard to 2cm, I want to go longer. However, I would like to even it out a bit: some hairs are growing much faster than others and have begun to fly-away. I have considered trimming them myself, but since my aborted shaping, have decided to avoid self-maintenance. Is 6 weeks to early to visit a barber and ask for a beard trim?

76 YourBenevolentBeardBenefactor November 21, 2012 at 7:29 am

awesome, informative article, and just like any great ideal put into motion it meets its naysayers in the comments section. Well, to hell with that I say, not This Man.. Oh no sir, many of these jackanapes, these scoundrels, these fiends who prey on human spirit dont realize the true gift of the beard; never will. But I, my good sir did a four year stretch in the Navy shaving daily, Nothing else could make you truly comprehend the final gift given to man before he deteriorates to nothingness. It is a long lasting blessing, it conveys strength, virility und power! Let no man speak ill of the beard without first having gone forcibly without from the moment he fully blossoms until four years three weeks and one day after the parcel has been received, as all Important things and revelations- On The Chin.
God Bless The Beard,
AMEN

77 Rob November 25, 2012 at 11:14 pm

Any one else find it funny that the guy saying people with beards tend to be pricks is the only guy here being a prick. :) Something tells us all that he has some kind of deficiency and the fact that he is searching the internet for info about beards makes me believe that a beard is out of his reach leading to his lack of self confidence. Good luck in learning to be honest with yourself Luke, as soon as you do, your life will become a much better place for you and the ones around you.

78 Cyrax November 30, 2012 at 10:06 pm

My chin bears the mantle of an imposing Scottish/Persian beard.

79 Josh December 22, 2012 at 12:08 am

I, unfortunately due to genetics, cannot grow a beard. I have quite the beard-envy.

80 Richard January 3, 2013 at 7:47 pm

I started shaving my head when I began to go bald – I could handle going from light brown to grey, but refuse to do the combover, so off it came. At the same time I let the beard grow a bit for the first time ever – and whaddayaknow, it grew white on the chin, bright ginger on the ‘stache. I grow it out until my wife refuses to kiss me. Currently working on a red handlebar mustache over a white goatee for a Steampunk event in May 2013.

81 joe January 6, 2013 at 9:58 pm

my beard tends to grow any any direction it wants to! Any tips on getting a more even look with my beard, oh and I’m also trying to to the a yeard

82 Shadowfrosty January 10, 2013 at 11:51 am

Hello everyone, i am just 17 years old …. and i proudly want to say that i love my beard.

83 Martyn w January 10, 2013 at 6:19 pm

Im lucky that my after my father I have coarse black facial hair..however there are a few spots where my adolescent achne ( im now 32) have damaged the skin not allowing the full spread..
I do however leave my stubble for a while so Im thinking whith a little more cutting the hair may be encouraged to grow more….
If anything the itiching is the main prob and the complaints from female family members that its not right….TSK!!!
Im balding so my hair all one length looks good for me..but im gonna try a full on beard soon!

Thanks..great site!

84 Alex is Gettin' Muttonchops January 22, 2013 at 11:53 pm

I decided to grow my chops back out to their former glory. They make me look older, so I don’t get carded at the bar (teeheehee) and I just felt… SEXY with my awesome chops. Also growing a goatee, too. And to Luke’s haters… Y’all need to quit. That comment was in 2008… And he said he was goofing… Also in 2008. Roll one up and calm down.

85 Rick January 23, 2013 at 7:11 am

Some helpful advice: trim you beard as you grow it to reduce itching and irritation.

I grew a beard last November and the second week was hell. This January I grew a new beard but this time I trimmed my stubble with my Wahl clippers as soon as it was long enough to trim (after about one week for most of my face and a few days later for the slower growing patches). It made a huge difference. I was still a bit itchy (maybe 15% as itchy as my November grow) but didn’t suffer through the painful inflammation.

86 stephen February 14, 2013 at 6:50 am

I would like to know the exact area that is called “beard” and what is head hair?

I am in a competition and i am accused of trimming due to a recent hair cut that has encroached into my side burns.

much money is on stake and I still want in on the bet! Evidence is necessary for my case, cheers.

87 Paul February 14, 2013 at 1:23 pm

New to this site, must say I do enjoy it though. I am 41yrs of age and am about 3mos. into the first ever full beard, and love it!! problem is it seems to have stopped getting longer. Its a good full beard just does not seem to be getting longer. I have had a goatee for many many years and it does the same thing, gets to a point and just does not get longer. so…. question is, is there any thing I can do to help it get some lenght to it?? heard alot about Biotin(spelling??) and some other vitamins. any help would be greatly appreciated.

88 Paul February 14, 2013 at 1:26 pm

oh and anyone ever tried prenatal vitamins for their manly bearded faces?? if so good results??

89 Karry March 15, 2013 at 1:31 pm

@Luke I think your observation is brilliant, I hope you don’t mind if I share with my friends?

90 goatman March 15, 2013 at 11:56 pm

What’s up fellow beard growers I’m 26 have had a goatee since i was about 15 I’m currently close to 6months in to my first real beard. Topically only growing a month or two. I recently told my wife of 7years not shaving till i get my Harley. This site is awesome i really felt like i was alone but now no im not. Question is I’ve got a growing receding hair line you no the pointy bangs look should i just go ahead and shave my head. when weather breaks of course. lol

91 james March 21, 2013 at 11:11 pm

I love my beard never grew a beard in my life and iam 35 I could have had a beard when I was 17 I had the genes but never did for 18 yrs final I started growing a beard and I feel a strange spirtual power I never felt before people look at me like iam a man aswell feel better then I have ever I don’t understand what is happen too me but I feel like I can move the world see what happens James Paul

92 Joe April 13, 2013 at 2:39 pm

@Luke

Your observations are accurate, but your conclusion is wrong. You talk about unkempt, ungroomed, unclean beards. Of COURSE women don’t like those. No one does. That isn’t limited to beards. No one likes head hair, or any body hair that is filthy and stinky and never washed or groomed.

When a beard is taken care of, it is a thing of beauty and I assure you–women love it. A woman likes a man who takes care of himself. Whether the beard is there or not doesn’t change that.

But don’t blame the beard.

93 Ralle April 25, 2013 at 7:46 pm

I have decided to not shave my face until January 1st 2014.
It is now part of my Religion if I am asked to shave.

94 konur June 8, 2013 at 9:34 am

hi, i’m 16 n’ really want a beard. i hav the fastest growing hair in my year but it wont grow either side of my mouth and just under my chin. grrr. does anyone know if hair growing stuff actually works?

95 nasser July 26, 2013 at 10:58 am

I am growing a beard and I just shaved a little in the uppermost part of my cheek which is near the eyes. Everyone said that you shouldn’t shave for a month and I have been growing it for only two week now. Should I have done that? The thing is that I didn’t had as much hair there compared to the rest of my face and my mom was getting annoyed about seeing straned of hair and wanted to start keeping it shaped.

96 Zack August 12, 2013 at 4:51 am

Thank you very much, you have inspired me to give it a go. I’m gonna stick it out, and give myself 6 weeks. I have only ever went the whole month of November without shaving. It didn’t chateau like I wanted it to, but I’m sure if I give it more time and dedication I could have a nice bushy, manly beard. I will keep you posted and hopefully have a picture to show in the coming weeks. Thank you, again for the inspiration.

97 Kenneth W. September 18, 2013 at 5:37 am

I am 23 years old. I’ve not shaved in 3 months. It is the patchiest, most pitiful bit of scraggle I’ve ever seen on anyone who didn’t have androgenetic alopecia. It grows mostly black along the side with bits of brown and mostly blonde and reddish hairs around my mouth. I was thinking about maybe giving Rogain a try and getting an electric trimmer so I could keep it relatively trimmed in spots I might be able to salvage. It’s a complete mess. I couldn’t help but read the article and think… none of this is happening. haha. Interesting read nonetheless.

98 James Baggett September 18, 2013 at 12:45 pm

I grew out my facial hair back in the fall of 2011 for a Halloween look (muttonchops for Sabretooth from the X-Men) and decided a few months later to take a crack at growing a full-beard. I’ve experimented with it several times including shaving it off, wearing a handle-bar mustache (my wife forbids that from happening), and just growing a Rodin-esque beard the semester prior to graduating college. Ironically I’ve been in several galleries in beards.org. Now I’m growing my beard back but keeping it neat so I can find work, also shaving is a pain in this Caribbean heat.

99 necrobutcher October 17, 2013 at 11:15 pm

I’m 19 now and desperate in growing beards, hairs but the problem is my beard at right side is thicker whereas left is thin . This is not just the matter. I don’t have hair in middle of chin. Though i’m not shaving left part beard.

100 James in Boise October 28, 2013 at 10:01 am

There are two types of people in the world: Men with beards, and Women.

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