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Austin, TX
USA

(512) 730-1815

Craft men's grooming products for the every man. We carry beard oil, beard balm, mustache wax, and solid cologne handmade with organic carrier oils, butters, and waxes and the highest quality therapeutic-grade essential oils along with beard combs, and apparel.

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What should I expect when I grow my beard, mustache, or goatee?

Peter Polito

I have had a beard for a long time. Suffice it to say, when I first started with bearding  Ask Jeeves was as en-vogue as Google. Now, many, many years later there is a glut of information. Just googling “beards” will yield tens of thousands of pages on the matter. However, most of these pages are either littered with incomplete information or focused more on selling you something than passing along the information you seek. Here, we aim to fix that. Below we explain the nuts and bolts of beard growth. We’ll focus on a) what is happening b) how the different beard growth phases vary from person to person, c) some challenges that are likely to arise, and d) how to handle these challenges.

At the highest level

Treat your beard with quality products, recognize that everyone and every beard is different, will grow differently and at different rates, as your beard surpasses 1" invest in a quality non-plastic beard comb, and don't be afraid to trim your beard, even if your goal is length.

Stage 1: beard whiskers

whats happening

If there is one stage that halts the beard neophyte in their tracks its this one. The last time you shave (and every time) your razor makes a diagonal cut across the hair follicle. Because your beard follicles are much thicker than your hair follicle this creates basically a semi-rigid spear. During the first few days to weeks these dagger-like beard hairs are doing a few things: Stabbing, stretching, and irritating. As you move your head and neck around the sharp edge of your follicle is literally poking your neck. The combination of the sharp hair and rigidity of the follicle is not only going to irritate you but that someone that trying to get close to you. 

Additionally, your pore is being stretched ever so slightly by the protruding follicle. this can lead to additional irritation and it also increases the surface area by which you can lose “moisture.” Moisture in this term is not strictly water but also naturally produced oils that keep our skin comfortable and not dry.

When all is said and done this is often the most uncomfortable stage and because it happens so early, it often leads folks to stop growing heir beard.  

everyone is different 

Depending on your rate of hair growth, this stage will last 1-3 weeks. The degree of irritation you feel will depend on how thick your beard follicles are, how much your skin drys out, and (most importantly) what you do to keep these issues from arising in the first place.

At this stage your beard will be at its thinnest, it doesn’t mean it will stay this way but everyone is different and the old adage, ‘you won’t know till you know’ holds true.  

what you should be doing

If you know you are going to grow a beard, plan ahead and prepare. Using any facial moisturizer ahead of time will help your skin be better prepared to handle the stretching, stabbing, and poking it is about to endure. Better yet, address the skin AND hair by applying a beard oil with something for your skin (eg jojoba) and something for your follicles (eg sweet almond oil). This will keep the skin pliable and the hair more flexible. If you’re growing your beard on a whim, start in with the beard oil once the irritation hits. A quality beard oil will provide both instant relief and with daily use, a long term solution.

If you are a 5 o’clock shadow bearder, after trimming your whiskers with a beard trimmer the follicle shouldn’t be quite as pointy (trimmers aren’t quite as preode and so the follicle isn’t as sharp). 

Stage 2: beard growing and Thickening

whats happening

This is the exciting phase. For the bearded neophyte this is when you get a glimpse of what is possible. For the experienced beardsmen making another go, this is when they’ve got "their beard back." During the growing and thickening phase your beard or ‘stache is doing just that. This is also the phase where most people reach their preferred beard length, which based on my completely unscientific estimate is about 1”—long enough to be a legitimate beard, short enough to not disrupt your consumption of chips and queso.

everyone is different

The primary difference from person to person is going to be just how thick the beard is and how quickly it grows in. These are things you don't have a whole lot of control over, you've just got to let things progress.

what you should be doing

Feed your beard & feed your skin. During this phase your skin will be more prone to drying out, so applying beard oil and/or balm daily is going to help keep your skin quite comfortable. This is also the phase where you will see the effects of daily beard oil and balm use (if you've been using it). If you and a buddy grew beards side by side and one of you used oil and balm and the other used nothing, the difference would be striking. The beard that's been taken care of will have a natural shine that makes it pop, the natural color will shine through—this is especially evident for those with brown beards with a smattering of red—and the beard will feel different. The organic almond oil will have softened the beard substantially, this will be noticeable to both you and whomever you let get close to you.

Finally, this is where you should be looking out for a quality barber that knows how to handle a beard. More on that in the next stage.

Stage 3: Achieving your desired beard length

whats happening

This is where your patience pays off. Your beard, 'stache, or goatee continues on its' methodical mission to make you ruggedly handsome. 

everyone is different

Again, the variation from person to person comes down to thickness and growth rate. For the thinner/slower beard growers, this is where patience is a necessity. For the thicker/quicker guys this is where improper care will start to be problematic as the presence of wiry, damaged, dry beard hair and skin will be given a megaphone. Of course, if you've followed our advice, your facial hair is looking pretty damn good about now.

what you should be doing

Get a quality beard comb. Stay away from plastic—the sharp edges created by the molding process can strip, strain, and tear your beard hair. Never comb it when it is real wet as it is more prone to breaking. 

NEVER underestimate the effect of a quality beard trim. Not only does beard growth rate vary from person to person, but it can vary across your face. To this day, the whiskers just below my nose are still 0.5" long. The tendency here is to forgo trimming out of the vision of achieving the beard of your dreams. But take our advice, a quality barber and a pair of quality shears will shape your facial hair to accentuate the shape of your face and really make your beard pop. This is especially wise for those with thinner or 'straggly' beards. A good trim will give the appearance of a fuller beard. A good rule of thumb is, if at the bottom of your beard you can see through the lower 0.5-1.0", trim it. 

And as always, keep up your daily oil and balm use to keep your skin and beard healthy. You'll find that at this stage its harder to apply your products to the base of your beard hair but keep at it, your beard will thank you and everyone will notice!