Beard Growing Basics
Few things can do more to improve a man’s looks than growing a full, even beard—instantly bringing to mind words like rugged, handsome, even virile. Still, it’s not easy for all men, which is why the question of how can I grow a good beard is asked so frequently. In reality, not all men possess the right genes to grow a grizzly, mountain man style beard, but most Western men can at least achieve enough facial growth to find a style that suits them.
However, long before you can start thinking about styling or trimming your beard, you first have to let it grow and thicken in the first place. In truth, growing a beard isn’t an easy task—it’s a process that takes time and patience, plus dealing with a heck of a lot of itching. Still, for those men who can see it through until the end, the result can be a full, manly beard that you can wear like a badge of honor.
If you’ve been asking yourself the question “How can I grow a good beard,” the answer couldn’t possibly be easier—stop shaving. It’s as simple as that, or almost. In truth, all men’s facial hair grows differently, but the only way to truly know what your beard will look like is to quit shaving. It might grow in uneven or patchy, but then again you might be lucky enough to see it begin to quickly approach epic beard proportions. The only way to know is to let it grow.
Don’t let yourself be fooled by the myth that shaving your beard will suddenly cause it to come in thicker or fuller, as it’s simply not true. After all, you’ve probably been shaving for most of your adult life, so nothing you do right now will make a difference—meaning that once you’ve made the decision to go down the path of bearded manliness, the only thing left to do is put away the razor and see where your facial hair future lies.
If you’ve never tried to grow a beard before, the process itself can be quite exciting—waking up each day to see how much new growth awaits you. The same can be true even if you’ve tried before in the past, but weren’t satisfied with the results, as facial hair continues to develop as a man ages, meaning there’s a pretty good chance your beard will come in much thicker than it did the last time you tried to grow one.
How to Grow an Even Beard
Again, for most men the answer to the question how to grow an even beard is time. Don’t let yourself be put off or get discouraged if your beard grows in uneven or patchy at first, as this is quite normal for most men. In most cases it will take at least 4 to 6 weeks of growth before you can accurately judge a beard’s quality, so all you can do is wait and see.
Of course, this doesn’t mean that your first patchy growth won’t be met with laughter or ridicule from your colleagues or make you the butt of your friends jokes, but if all goes well, you’ll be the one having the last laugh when you’re sporting the beard to end all beards. Still, if you’re feeling a bit self-conscious about your spotty early growth, you might want to consider starting to grow it while on vacation or when you’ve got a few days off of work to spare yourself some embarrassment. Even a week or two should be plenty of time for the hair to fill in enough to at least cover the most glaring patches.
How Can I Grow a Beard Without It Itching?
One common question many would-be bearded men ask is, “how to grow a good beard without it itching?” If you’ve ever gone for more than a few days without shaving, then you know just how itchy those first stages of facial hair growth can be. It’s at this point in the process that the hairs are at their thickest and stiffest (which helps to explain the myth of shaving making your beard thicker, as all new hairs start out thick before gradually thinning out as they grow longer), while your sensitive face will take time to adjust to the beard. This combination can be a nightmare during the first few weeks, causing some men such problems that they decide it’s not worth the itching and make the decision to shave it all off again.
Nonetheless, there is light at the end of the tunnel, as if you can get through these first weeks, the itching will gradually go away. Still, if the itching is driving you mad enough to consider giving up, there are a few tricks you can try that may help make life more bearable. One of the easiest and best things you can do is to make sure to wash the beard every day.
There are a number of products specially formulated to clean and condition men’s beards, but you can just as easily use the same shampoo you use on your head or a good face soap. Some people also recommend following up the wash by rubbing some conditioner into your beard to soften the hairs further. If simple soap and water isn’t doing the trick, you can also try rubbing some baby oil into your beard or invest in a good facial moisturizing lotion to try to stop the itching. We also have a list of tried, tested, and Prim&Prep approved beard oils and fantastic beard balms that can really do the trick.
How to Grow a Good Beard- Tips for Full, Healthy Facial Hair
If after a few weeks, your beard isn’t shaping up to be as thick or as full as you’d hoped, it’s not yet time to despair as there are a few lifestyle changes you can make that will improve the quality and quantity of your facial hair. For starters, both diet and exercise can play quite significant roles in improving or harming beard growth.
- Get Plenty of Protein. Eating a diet that is high in protein and healthy saturated fat (think lean meat, fish, nuts, eggs) can help improve hair growth. First, hairs are primarily made up of protein, so it makes sense that eating lots of it creates a strong foundation for hair growth. Not only that, but this type of diet also helps to boost testosterone levels. However, the problem here is that much of the chicken and beef on the market has quite high levels of estrogen, which can obviously have a counter effect. The best way to avoid this is to buy organic meat if possible, as this will be free from any hormones.
- Understand the Importance of Testosterone. Testosterone plays the most important role in turning boys into men and is basically the building block of those things we consider manly – increased size and strength compared to women, and let us not forget, facial hair. In the simplest of terms, the more testosterone you have, the more facial hair (not to mention other body hair) you’re likely to grow. Therefore, it stands to reason that anything you can do to increase your testosterone levels, the more you increase your chances of growing a good beard.
- Make Sure to Exercise. When it comes to boosting testosterone levels, exercise is by far the most effective method. By exercising for at least 30 minutes a day, preferably combining both cardio and strength training, you’ll not only improve your health, but also help your beard reach its full potential.
- Avoid Sugary Foods. Back to the topic of diet, try to avoid sugary foods as much as possible, as these are known to cause brittle or weak hair growth.
- Eat Lots of Dark, Leafy Greens. While sweets are bad for beards, vegetables can have the opposite effect. It’s recommended that you eat as many dark or leafy green vegetables as possible (think broccoli, kale, spinach, chard, arugula, asparagus, etc.). The reasoning behind this one is slightly more technical, but basically these vegetables help your body get rid of estrogen, which in turn helps balance your hormones.
As you can see, the question of how can I grow a good beard isn’t one that can be answered easily, as every man is different. However, if you’re willing to do a bit of work in changing your lifestyle, plus have the time and patience to overcome a few minor obstacles, growing a beard may just end up changing your life. (Not convinced? Just check out these beard success stories to see what a difference it can make.) So why not give it a try—let it grow out for a month or two and see what happens? After all, you can always shave it off at any time. Be sure to check out our posts on the best beard styles, best black men beard styles, how to maintain a beard, awesome infographic on what happens when you grow a beard, and other helpful articles.
Ben Rose is the founder and senior editor at Prim&Prep, the definitive guide to male grooming. He is a wet shaving expert and body grooming aficionado. His work has been featured on many other prominent publications including Good Men Project, Addicted to Success, Steven Aitchison, and Sharpologist.