Congratulations. You have just made the best decision of your life – to grow a beard. Now all you have to do is sit back and let nature take its course.

That is true to a degree. Letting it grow is clearly a key part of it. But to grow a beard that turns heads, (and gets a serious amount of beard envy,) there is so much more than you can do.

This blog post will help if you’re growing a beard for the first time, if you’ve decided to give it another go after a failed first attempt or even if you have a beard already and just want to make it look even better.

Shave it all off

You probably didn’t expect this to be first on the list. I know it seems a little counter productive! But before you start thinking I’ve gone mad, let me explain.

Starting freshly shaved, is like an artist starting with a blank canvas.

It gives you the opportunity to see your hairless face one last time and a chance to choose the beard style that will suit your face the best as it grows. Even in the early stages, you will get a good idea of what will look good and what won’t.

As your face is bare, I would also take the opportunity to moisturise your face. This will help prepare your skin for beard growth and help sooth any irritations.

Have patience

You must have heard the saying, ‘Rome wasn’t built in a day.’ When it comes to beards this has never been more true.

Patience is definitely the key. A lot of people expect to wait a week and see Brian Blessed looking back at them, but this is just not the case.

What is important to remember, is that everyone’s facial hair grows at a different pace. You may not notice much change for the first week or so but given time, (I would recommend growing it for 3 months to see its full potential,) you will begin to see your beard take shape.

If you really can’t wait that long, there are beard supplements that experts have suggested can aid fast beard growth. However, I would steer clear of these products until you know for sure that you can’t grow a beard that you’re happy with naturally.

Choose your style

So hopefully you have let your beard grow out to a reasonable length. Now you’re ready to decide which style to go for.

The choices really are endless. From a goatee like Ali G, to a full on Brian Blessed, you will need to take your time in order to make the right decision. You don’t want to shave some of your beard off to create a goatee, only to realise that it doesn’t suit you at all!

Instead, take a look at the chart below from the guys at Real Men Real style. Although I’m sure that you will find many other beard styles out there, these ones are definitely the most popular.

men's beard guide

Choose one that suits the look you’re trying to go for. You should also consider how much time you’re willing to put into maintaining your beard, as the longer it gets, generally the more time you will need to spend on it, to keep it looking good.

Think about the shape of your face

When choosing your beard style, there is one more thing you need to think about. The shape of your face.

This is not something I ever considered when I first started growing a beard. All I thought about was not having a goatee as I would look too much like my Dad! No offence Dad…

So what type of beard will suit you the best? The below points will help you judge this:

Square face – Keep your hair fuller on the chin and shorter on the sides.

Round face – Grow your hair longer on the bottom and shorter on the sides.

Oblong or rectangular face – Keep the sides fuller and the bottom shorter.

Oval face – You’re lucky! You will pretty much suit any style of beard.

Use beard oil

kissmystache

Once your beard has grown to a certain length, you will need to start taking care of it properly. By that, I don’t mean just washing it every now and again with the shampoo that you use for your head hair.

Instead you should start using beard oil. Not only will it help your beard to look amazing, it will also stop the dreaded itch – one of the main reasons why men decide to shave their beard off.

For a more in depth look at beard oil and its benefits, have a read of my ultimate guide to beard oil.

Brush and comb it regularly

If you had told me years ago that I would be brushing and combing my beard everyday, I would have called you mad! I really wasn’t a fan of having my hair brushed back then.

How times change. I now carry a small brush, (a Murdock one to be precise,) which I use throughout the day to keep my beard looking neat and to try and ‘train’ the hairs to grow downwards.

Not only that, during the annoying itchy stage brushing helps immeasurably. Once you have applied your beard oil, brushing your beard allows it to reach your irritated skin beneath, helping to keep it moisturised.

Define your neckline

As I have said before, growing a beard that rocks isn’t just a case of letting it grow and that’s it. You also need to reach for your beard trimmer or razor and define your neckline.

Why you ask? Well unless you’re looking for the natural look or want to connect your beard to your chest hair, (yes really) creating a neckline helps to outline the bottom portion of your beard.

Now be warned, you do have to be careful when doing this. One wrong move and you’ll be looking at a misshaped beard and having to face the prospect of starting again.

The key mistake to avoid is trimming the neckline too high, as this can make you look like you have a double chin. Not cool!

Don’t ignore your moustache

Up to this point, we have focused on making your beard look its best. But what about the hairy bit that lives on top of your lip?

Unless you have decided to shave it off, (how could you!) you will also need to make sure your moustache is looking sharp.

This can be done by trimming it so it doesn’t go over your top lip. Alternatively, you can use moustache wax to style and train your hairs to grow outwards and away from your lip instead.

If you’re feeling particularly adventurous, you could even twist the hairs at each end of the moustache to create a dapper gent look. Just make sure that you get the monocle to go with it.

Ignore the haters

beard pride

Now this isn’t a tip like the others mentioned in this blog post, but it is still important.

At various points during the beard growing process you may encounter people who don’t like your beard as much as you do. Unbelievable right?!

They may call you scruffy. Or even worse, a terrorist! With comments like this coming thick and fast it might be tempting to give up and shave your beard off.

My advice? Fuck them. Excuse the bad language, but you should be proud of your new look. Some people might not like it, but beards are seriously popular.

Not only are there thousands of beard grooming product suppliers, bloggers and models, there is even a dating app for people who love beards, Bristlr.

So there you have it. If you have got any questions or want to share your beard growing story, feel free to comment below or email hello@niallsullivan.co.uk