A journey to a new frontier is about to begin for you. Are you excited? We are. Growing a beard for the first time, you get to embark on a quest that many men before you have throughout millions of years of human history.
This is the day you take the first step to join the epic fraternity of beards. What an exciting moment that’s also so chock full of questions!
Fortunately, The Gentleman’s Playbook is here to assist you with The Beard Playbook, our comprehensive Playbook on everything regarding your beard.
In The Beard Playbook Part 1 introduction, we went over a lot of general information on beard growth and covered how to grow a beard. This is Section 2 of Part 1 – What to Expect When Growing a Beard for the First Time.
What to Expect When Growing a Beard for the First Time
When it comes to this new adventure you’re about to begin, you may be asking yourself, “What do I need to know about growing a beard for the first time?”
There are a lot of things you should know about growing a beard for the first time that we will cover in detail. Some of these topics and questions we will answer are:
- How Long Does it Take to Grow a Beard for the First Time?
- Beard Itchiness
- Beard Patchiness
- Ingrown Hairs
- Sores Under Beard
- Dry Skin Under Beard
On top of that, we will also cover a simple and effective daily beard care routine you can follow to ensure stable, pain-free growth for your first beard.
We don’t stop there – we will also answer some general frequently asked questions we have received concerning growing a beard for the first time.
How long does it take to grow a beard for the first time?
The burning question – how long will your first beard take to grow?
There is not a one-size-fits-all answer to this. A rough average for beard growth speed is about a half-inch of growth per month. Some factors come into play on whether you get to that half-inch per month of growth.
Some factors that can cause your beard to fall below that average are primarily:
- Being Younger (such as teenagers still going through puberty)
- Hormonal Imbalances (such as low testosterone)
- Genetics (does your family have trouble growing facial hair)
Fortunately, even if you don’t reach that lofty 1/2 inch of beard growth every month, all it means is that you have to wait a little longer for your beard to reach your desired length. This brings us to the next consideration when figuring out how long it takes to grow a beard for the first time.
How long it takes to grow a beard for the first time is also strongly dependent on what kind of a beard you want! If you want a clean, stubbled look, it may only take a few weeks. If you want a thick, luxurious lumberjack-style mane that goes down to your chest, it could take years.
At The Gentleman’s Playbook, we break down beard growth into stages. Here’s a brief of the Beard Growth Stages we outlined in Part 1, Section 3 of The Beard Playbook:
- Stubble – Occurs over weeks 1-3.
- Patchy – Occurs over weeks 3-6 (or longer).
- Foundational – Happens after 2-3 months of beard growth.
- Medium Beard – Occurs after 3-6 months of beard growth.
- Long Beard Plus – This is where the legends are made.
- Maintenance – The Final Stage of beard growth is Maintenance.
Is the First Time Growing a Beard the Hardest?
A lot of men will argue that the first time growing a beard is the hardest. This answer is mostly accurate.
We say mostly because many times, a man’s first beard is grown during their teenage years, which is a difficult time to grow a great-looking beard.
If you are a man who’s in his mid-20s or older and you’ve always shaved your beard and stubble when it showed up, you may find growing a beard for the first time to be a pretty easy experience.
As with most things regarding the human body and beard growth, the appropriate answer is: it depends.
You May Experience Beard Itch
Another issue you may run into when growing a beard for the first time is your new beard being itchy. This is perfectly normal, and by following the daily beard routine outlined later in this article, you’ll be able to mitigate most causes of beard itch.
Especially when you’ve kept yourself clean-shaven, you may experience itchy sensations in your beard as your facial hair exits your skin early in the beard growth process. Again, using our daily beard care routine will mitigate this very easily.
Also, using a calming beard moisturizer can help ensure you don’t experience much beard irritation when you’re growing your first beard.
We’ve had many young men ask us, “does an itchy beard mean it’s growing?” In most cases, yes, itchiness does mean your beard is growing; we think the right way to ask this question would be, “is itchiness a part of the beard growth process?” The answer to that question would still be a resounding yes!
Another way to make sure you don’t experience beard itch when growing a beard for the first time is to shave properly. Avoid multi-blade mass-marketed razors and opt for a single-blade safety razor, such as the ones we outline in our article, The Best Safety Razors to Get that Perfect Shave.
When you use a mass-marketed multi-blade razor, the blades pull the hair slightly outward from the skin, then chop it with the next blades, causing the cut hair to retract underneath the skin, increasing the odds of beard itch when it grows back or even ingrown hairs.
A safety razor is an old-school shaving method similar to shaving with a straight-edge razor, and cuts the facial hair at skin level, meaning there’s much less likelihood of itching or ingrown hairs when your facial hair grows back out.
A Patchy Beard is Normal
Patchiness when growing a beard for the first time is normal and to be expected. It can be reduced and the timeline of patchiness shortened by using quality beard oils and following a simple daily beard care routine. Keep reading or scroll to the bottom of this page to see our recommendation for daily beard care maintenance!
Are you looking in the mirror at your beard and wondering, “will my patchy beard fill in?” If that sounds like you, we are excited to let you know that YES, it will fill in, but it will just take time. Keep waiting, keep growing. If you give in and shave during this phase, you’ll never reach that beard of your dreams!
You May Get Ingrown Hairs
Ingrown hairs are a common occurrence when facial hair begins to grow. It’s usually a result of hair that doesn’t exit the skin correctly. When it doesn’t exit properly, the hair will continue to grow under the skin and then need to be pried out carefully with a pair of tweezers.
A way to avoid ingrown hairs is to make sure you shave with a safety razor as mentioned earlier in this breakdown on growing a beard for the first time.
Getting Sores Under Your Beard
Sometimes you’ll also experience sores under your beard. When this happens, it could be caused by a number of variables.
Hygiene, sleeping position, facial hair thickness, and more can all be factors that contribute to developing sores under your beard.
Check out our extensive article called Sores Under Your Beard and How to Get Rid of Them to troubleshoot and resolve any beard sores you may develop during your first beard growth journey.
Dealing With Dry Skin Under Beard
Another common issue from first-time beard growth is dealing with dry skin under the beard. Luckily, by using beard oils and appropriate conditioners and moisturizers, you can mostly keep this problem from ever occurring.
Beard oil will keep your skin and beard moisturized and healthy, plus it can help with speeding up growth. Keep on reading to see how we integrate beard oil into our first-time beard growth routine.
We also have a great, extensive article that goes in-depth on getting rid of dry skin under the beard.
Beard Smell or Stink
Beards are interesting things. They are an ecosystem in their own right, rich with bacteria and microbes. Some of these are healthy and good, others are bad guys that may cause issues.
If you’re experiencing a smelly beard, it could be due to one of these:
- Poor Beard Hygiene
- Drooling While Sleeping
In most cases, upping your beard hygiene game will improve any stinky beard issues you run into.
Further Reading: 6 Reasons Your Beard Smells Bad and How to Fix It
General Beard Pain
Lastly, if you’re growing a beard for the first time, you may just experience random discomfort or general beard pain. This is quite common.
Most beard pain can be resolved with great hygiene, diet, and facial hair care routines, such as the routine outlined below. If you feel your beard pain is not easing up and that nothing is helping, we suggest seeking a professional dermatologist to help determine what the root cause of your beard pain is!
Daily Routine for Growing a Beard for the First Time
When growing a beard for the first time, you want to have a solid beard care routine in place. Follow the routine below daily, even when you don’t have much facial hair yet.
This routine will help you make sure your first beard grows with minimal patchiness, itchiness, or soreness. It will also help increase your beard’s growth speed and thickness.
Wash & Condition Properly
Every day when you shower, wash and condition your beard.
Do NOT use hair shampoo or hair conditioner – use a wash and conditioner that was formulated for beards specifically. Something like the beard washes offered by Viking Revolution would be great.
The linked beard wash and conditioner is a peppermint and eucalyptus oil-infused set that also uses argan and jojoba oil. Peppermint is known to help stimulate blood capillaries in your skin, which promotes beard growth. Eucalyptus is refreshing and cleansing and argan and jojoba oils blend well with the skin, keeping it moisturized but not oily or clogged.
Apply Beard Oil
After your shower and properly drying your beard (or face if you’re just starting), apply some beard oil.
For beards that are short still, two drops of beard oil are enough. Once you’re at a quarter to a half-inch of length and beyond, start using 4-5 drops.
Simply place the drops into your palm, rub your hands together, and then gently run your fingers and palms through your beard, working the beard oil into all your facial hair.
If you just started growing, rub the drops into the skin where you want your beard to grow. It will keep the foundation for your facial hair healthy and help prevent patchiness and itchiness as your beard begins to grow.
Brush or Comb
When you have some length to your first beard, you can use a wide-toothed wooden comb to comb it after applying your beard oil. This will work out any tangles and keep your beard looking neat.
The last thing you want is an unruly beard!
How long should I let my beard grow before I trim it?
Deciding when you should trim your beard is ultimately up to you! We all have different goals when it comes to our beard length.
Our advice is to grow your beard to a point where it’s a little bit longer than you want it to be. This is when you can trim it down to the desired length, that way all of the hair is uniform and neat.
Some men will have to trim weekly to keep their beards at the desired length, others may only need to shave monthly.
Should I shave my neck when growing a beard for the first time?
Even though you’re growing a beard for the first time, you’ll still need to do some shaving. Places you want to keep shaved are your neck, facial hair line on the cheek, and around your lips. Use a safety razor to prevent ingrown hairs from developing.
For the most part, you just want to keep yourself from growing a neckbeard, keep your lips visible, and keep the hairline on your cheeks looking groomed.
Time to Grow a Beard for the First Time!
Now you have all the info you’ll ever need when it comes to growing a beard for the first time! We hope you have a great journey ahead of you when it comes to beard growth.
Bookmark this page to come back to any time you run into a problem when growing your first beard, and don’t forget to check out the rest of The Beard Playbook by The Gentleman’s Playbook.
This article is Section 2 of The Beard Playbook: Part 1.