The 5 Stages of Growing a Beard

Man brushing his beard.

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Did you know that a full beard can take two to four months to grow? That’s not too long in the grand scheme of things but, when you consider all the work that goes into maintaining facial hair, growing your beard can be a big commitment. You can simplify the beard growth process by breaking it down into five stages: stubble, patches, grooming, trimming and styling.

Keep reading to learn about what each of the beard growth stages entails, and how you can stimulate healthy growth, regardless of which one you’re in. 

Stage 1: Sexy Stubble 

Many men think of growing a beard as a form of art. After all, you can choose whatever style you want and switch it up whenever you please. Plus, you must imagine how your bear might take shape and work with what you have, which requires a fair bit of creativity. That’s why so many gentlemen start stage one with a blank canvas — a clean-shaven face. 

The first stage of beard growth can be frustrating for some. After a day or two, you’ll notice some stubble start to come in. Perhaps it grows thicker above your lip, on the sideburns and along your jawline. Whatever you do, don’t shave that stubble off. Leave it alone and embrace the five o’clock shadow. You have quite a few more weeks of growing to do before you can even think about taking a pair of trimmers to your hairs. 

Stage 2: Patchy and Itchy

Because beard hairs grow at different rates, you might notice patchy areas where some strands are taking longer to come in. During this stage, it can be incredibly tempting to throw in the towel and shave your stubble off completely, especially if you’re dealing with beard itch, too. This phenomenon starts around week two or three and lasts for a few days. 

If you can just make it through this stage, you’ll be rewarded with a thicker, fuller beard. Use a moisturizer to minimize the itch and stimulate growth. Drinking more water can also hydrate your hairs and prevent them from falling out or breaking, an issue that often contributes to patches and itchiness. 

Stage 3: Growth and Grooming

Starting at about week four, you’ll need to start grooming and styling your beard. Doing so will help your hairs grow in the right direction, boost hydration and help you maintain a healthy, well-kempt beard. Grooming is especially important as your beard continues to grow over the next month or two. Without a regular routine, you could easily be mistaken for a homeless man. 

Wash your beard every few days, using beard shampoo and conditioner to hydrate your hair. These products can also moisturize your skin and prevent flakiness. Apply beard oil to the ends of your beard to minimize breakage and keep strands soft to the touch. 

Stage 4: Trim-Worthy Whiskers 

Once you’re about 10 weeks into your beard growth journey, you’ll reach stage four: trim time. At this point, your beard is probably unruly and difficult to tame, so it’s best to seek out a talented barber for a tidy-up. 

Have them clean up the outline by shaping your cheeks, neck and jaw. They can also trim up strands hanging over your lips to keep your stache stays just as sleek as the rest of your facial hair. Of course, you can complete the entire process yourself, but you might want to hold off on self-styling until your beard is fully grown and you know how to achieve a particular look or cut. 

Stage 5: Full Beard Glory

You’re four to five months in and you’ve finally reached full beard glory. All the patchiness has disappeared, you no longer battle itchiness, and both hair and skin are healthy and hydrated. You’ve worked hard to grow and maintain your facial hair. Now, you’re a real man’s man, but the journey doesn’t end here. In fact, stage five lasts as long as you keep up with your whiskers and let them grow out.  

Along with the beard wash, oil and balm you should already be using, you can welcome new products into your daily routine. Use beard butter or wax to achieve different shapes, styles and textures. Brushes, combs and even hair ties can help you tame your mane and keep your beard looking sleek and stylish, too. The more you take care of your facial hair, the stronger and thicker it’ll grow.  

More Tips for Growing a Big, Burly Beard

While patience can certainly take you far on your beard growth journey, you can use a few tips and tricks to hasten the long, arduous process. First, make sure your diet is full of protein-rich foods like eggs, beans and nuts. Take supplements to boost vitamin intake and get plenty of sleep at night. Incorporating exercise into your daily routine can also increase blood flow to your face and promote hair growth. 

Ultimately, your progress starts and ends with you. If you invest in strong, healthy whiskers — and you have the genetics for it — the beard will come. You simply have to commit and see the stages of beard growth through. 

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