Here you are at the beginning of December, with the foundations of a good beard (thanks to No Shave November) and two simple options: shave it all off or continue the beardsman’s journey, seeing where it takes you. We at Zeus might be partial to the second option.
But just how do you go from a month-old fledgling to a yeard? We break down the process for you, with trimming advice for each stage - because you should always give a damn about keeping your beard on point.
Month 1: Stubble
It’ll be hard to keep the ladies off you this month, since you’ll be spending it in a state of light to heavy stubble. According to a study published by the Journal of Evolutionary Biology, stubble was deemed the most attractive facial hair. (But - wait for it - full beards were deemed most attractive for women searching for long-term relationships.)
Find a quality beard oil in a scent you like, and begin daily application. While your skin may not itch yet, trust us - the beard oil will buffer you against the next few months, when itch becomes your beard’s greatest enemy.
Don’t go anywhere near that razor. Right now you want maximum growth with no setbacks.
Months 1 - 3: Itchiness, Redness, and Patchiness - AKA The True Test of a Beardsman
We’re giving it to you straight: these are the hardest three months of your beard growing journey. Your beard is coming in, but some areas are sprouting faster than others, causing patchiness. You might have a gap between where your moustache ends and where your cheek hair begins, or your right side is growing in thicker, making you look like the victim of a beard trimming fail. At this point you may receive negative comments about how it looks unkempt, and questions about what the hell is on your face.
Oh, and your beard will itch like mad, all the time. This is the point when a lot of yeards-in-the-making die. Just remember: this phase doesn’t last long and an epic beard is not far away.
But if you’re lamenting how all your hard work so far is being rewarded with god awful itch, redness, and irritation, here’s why: skin naturally produces sebum, an oil that protects your skin’s lipid layer and maintains moisture. As you grow beard hair, there comes a point when your skin can’t produce enough sebum to moisturize both skin and beard (see graph above). So your skin becomes tight and starts itching, while your beard begins to feel dry. Compounding these few weeks of horror is the fact that your hair is now long enough to curl back on itself and scratch your skin.
There’s a simple solution for these symptoms: develop a beard care routine consisting of beard oil, beard balm, and a beard comb or brush.
Beard oil instantly relieves itch by softening hair follicles and restoring moisture to beard and skin. Zeus Beard Oil also contains vitamin E to stimulate circulation (for faster beard growth) and grape seed oil, which has antiseptic, anti-acne, and anti-inflammatory properties. Use a beard comb or brush to evenly distribute the beard oil. None of these things are miracle workers, but they will take the edge off.
Apply beard balm last. Beard balm has many of the same ingredients as beard oil, but is wax-based for two reasons: 1. To seal in the moisturizing ingredients so your beard doesn’t dry out again, and 2. To offer a bit of hold and shine to tame frizz (which you’ll be grateful for in this awkward phase).
Your beard doesn’t quite look like what you had in mind, and you’re tempted to reign it in. A good cheek line and jawline trim is not a bad idea, but make sure to get it done professionally at the barbershop (especially if this is your first time growing a beard!). Once your barber has defined a shape, you can maintain it using scissors and a beard trimmer.
Months 3 - 6: Learning to Rock Your Newfound Beard
Some men only take a month or two to grow a full beard; for others it takes three to six months. Either way, by the end of your half year mark, your hair will have grown in enough to fill in patchy or bald spots, and your patience will be rewarded with a beard that’ll make your face proud. It’ll be clear that this is intentional, rather than the result of laziness. Coworkers will compliment your newfound statement of manhood, and strangers will admire. You're well on your way to a yeard!
You’ll start to see what the genetic lottery has given you. Ultimately, your genes determine the length, thickness, and color of your beard. If you’re still stuck with stubborn patchy spots, realize these may just be the cards you’ve been dealt, and there still options, like rocking a Van Dyke beard instead.
By now, your moustache has grown in and you’ll notice hairs curling up and into your mouth. You have two options: trim the ‘stache, or let it grow out in all its glory, with the aid of moustache wax.
Go for regular trims at your barbershop to reign in the shape and rid your beard of split ends.
6 - 12 months: Beard Badassery
You’ve hit your stride with your beard, resisting pressures to shave. Your beard is long and full and you look like the leader of your group of friends.
Now that you’ve got a sizable beard, daily maintenance with shampoo and conditioner is more important than ever.
Invest in a beard brush if you haven’t done so already. A beard brush penetrates the cavernous parts of your beard to extract dirt, grime, and last night’s pizza. Pair it with beard oil for a clean, nourished beard.
Continue regular trims with your barber and maintenance at home.
Month 12: Achievement Unlocked
Congratulations - you’ve reached peak beard badassery. You are the proud owner of a yeard, and not too many men can say that. Take a good, long look at your glorious mug in the mirror and bask in its glory.
To keep your beard exquisite, stay healthy: eat well, exercise, and destress however you need to. Learn more about how to grow your beard faster and thicker from the inside out here. Then go out and flaunt your yeard.
Regular trims ensure your beard looks good at any length.
- Learn how to care for your beard, and see it blossom (in the manliest way possible, of course). Read blogs like ours to learn why beard oils and supplements are important, and which brushes to use.
- Grow the beard you want to grow and are comfortable wearing. Your yeard may come under scrutiny by others or you may not feel you look your best in mountain man mode. If so, wear the beard length you like.
- You can stop trimming your neck line once your beard has grown to cover it up.