If you’re growing a beard, you may be asking how long it takes to grow a good one. If you have a full beard already, you could be asking how long you should let it get before you start trimming it. What’s the right length for your beard to let it grow freely?
From Clooney to Lumberjack
You start with that five-day growth you’ve cultivated with a trimmer like Braun’s BT5260 Beard Trimmer but decided on a more hirsute look, so you want to grow it out. Most men will need at least two months to grow a full beard, though some could take as long as six months to achieve fullness with no patches or wispy areas.
How Long It Can Get
You may be hoping for a Rip van Winkle. Genetics will need to be on your side for that to happen. The way facial hair grows is due to the three different phases each follicle goes through.
While the hair follicle is pumping out new hair at a rate of about one-half of an inch per month, your beard is getting longer. The anagen stage is the longest of the follicle’s life.
Next is the catagen stage, which is the shortest and is analogous to a man’s retirement– everything slows down.
Telogen lasts a couple of months, and this is when the follicle eventually dies and gets replaced by new growth. Wondering why long beard hairs are shedding, seemingly on their own? This is why.
The advantage here is that you can use those shed hairs to gauge how long your beard can grow. If you are consistently shedding hairs that are 8” long, the chances are good that 8” will be the maximum length you’ll get.
How Long Should You Let Your Beard Grow?
So many variables will go into this decision, so it’s difficult to come up with one answer. Your style, willingness to perform upkeep (daily, in some cases), and even your genetics will play roles in your decision as to how long to grow your beard.
A good approach is to start with a short beard and see how it works for you. Then again, if you know you want to try a long beard (and you know you can pull it off), go for it. Otherwise, here are things to keep in mind.
Facial Hair Growth
If your facial hair grows slowly or is patchy, a longer beard is not for you. There are beard growth products like Beard Grow XL Facial Hair Supplement that purport to help your beard grow a bit fuller, but DNA is DNA, and there’s only so much you can do before butting up against its limitations.
If you are a three-button suit kind of guy, a short beard is for you, and maybe a medium-length beard will work, but chances are, a long beard will seem out of place on you. Perhaps you don’t care about that, and if so, more power to you. It’s worth considering what someone like your significant other might think, too. After all, she’s the one who has to look at it and kiss you through it.
Sadly, this is a genuine concern for many men. There are jobs out there that prohibit beards, and there are places that will frown on longer beards. There are also practical things to think about. If you are a server in a restaurant, you probably can’t get away with a long, flowing beard while you are carrying plates of food and serving them to diners.
The longer your beard gets, the more you will have to pay attention to it. If you’re the kind of guy who doesn’t mind adding extra time to your morning routine to accommodate beard maintenance, then a longer beard won’t complicate things for you.
Most men run a trimmer with a short (maybe 2.5mm) guard over their stubble beards once every 7 to 10 days. Since many women like the stubble look, and it’s the lowest-maintenance beard you can have, many men opt for this. Also, patchiness isn’t much of an issue.
A short, full beard needs trimming every couple of weeks (more if your beard grows faster than average). Start with a trimmer like Remington’s Crafter beard trimmer and a longer guard so you don’t cut anything too short. Depending on your face shape, you will want to use shorter (probably no shorter than 10mm) guards in different places to shape your beard just right. Short beards need maintenance, too, with something like Beard Guyz Beard Serum, a leave-in product that will help the hair in your beard stay healthy.
Put away the trimmers and start using scissors. Once you have a medium-length beard, you’ve had a beard long enough to know the contours of your face and how they dictate the shape of your beard. Conditioning your beard becomes a necessity once you leave the short beard stage. Viking Revolution has a whole line of beard products, so you might start with something like their Beard Wash & Beard Conditioner Set, but there are lots out there to choose from.
Washing, conditioning, straightening, and brushing are necessary to make a long beard look good. You’ll only use trimmers to clean up your cheeks and neckline, and scissors are for evening up the bottom. You’ll spend the most time with what you can find in Tame’s Easy Glide Beard Straightener Essentials Kit, which will give you a straightening comb, beard soap and balm, and a few other helpful goodies.