So, you’re either considering growing a beard or you’re in your first month of beard growth, that’s awesome! Whether or not you commit to keeping the beard, you’ve started a journey of self awareness and experimentation that most people don’t dare venture on. You’re about to learn a lot about your genetics, your personal tastes, style, and your values as you continue into the unknown of adopting a new look.
That may seem like a tall order for something that many people deem insignificant, but at Beardbrand we believe that personal growth extends beyond the beard. While facial hair is an awesome extension of a person’s identity, it’s the self awareness that facial hair growth encourages that leads to becoming a better person.
The first month of growth always comes with a few surprises, which is where we come in. We’ve put together this awesome guide to help you get through your first month no matter what those surprises are. You’ll be ahead of the curve when it comes to best products and best practices for getting through the first few weeks unscathed.
If you’re wondering what kind of beard you’re going to grow, well, there are no absolute ways to determine that until you actually do it. You’ve got an entire line of ancestors that play into how your beard’s going to come in. Even if you, your father, and grandfather all look alike, your own beard may come in radically differently than theirs. Which brings us to our first point…
Focus On What You Can Control
Your DNA contains the blueprint of your hair and beard growth, and there isn’t a whole lot you can do about that. Some guys can grow a thick, long beard but end up balding on top earlier than others. You may have a thick head of hair on top while your cheeks grow in on the sparser side. That’s life!
At Beardbrand we believe in embracing what you’ve got and owning it with confidence. Don’t let other people tell you what makes a man, or that bigger beards are better (or that shorter beards are). We’re dedicated to helping you groom with confidence, which means accepting the things you cannot change.
Your first month of growth isn’t always an accurate representation of your potential, either. Some parts of your beard could grow faster than others. If you’re younger, your hair may change in texture and volume as you age (Fun Fact - Facial hair can continue to change and develop well into your 30s). So if you’re feeling some panic in your first couple weeks of beard growth, just let it go and focus that energy into embracing your new path. You can’t change how your beard grows in, but you can make changes to your lifestyle and the grooming products you use in order to help encourage beard growth in healthy ways.
Scratching the Itch
One of the first things you’ll notice about growing in a new beard is the itchiness. There’s actually a reason for this! When you shave your facial hair, it creates a sharp tip on each hair that tickles the skin when it curls.
Another reason your new beard can get so itchy is that your skin needs help adjusting to the growth. Your skin may dry out before your oil production ramps up with your beard growth, which causes flakes and itching. This sensation can be a lot more distracting than you’d think depending on how curly your beard is so you’ll want to get ahead of that with the right products and practices.
We recommend investing in a beard oil or our Utility Balm. For guys that are really hairy and likely have curly facial hair, Utility Balm is your best bet. Keep your hair and skin soft with these conditioners to lessen the irritation your skin experiences with a newer beard. Additionally, the extra viscosity in Utility Balm can dull the sharp tip of your hair, which will make the itch less severe.
If you want to kick that care up a notch, start exfoliating your skin under your beard. Exfoliation is the process of gently scrubbing your skin to remove excess dead and dry skin cells. Doing this regularly will help combat the itch you’re experiencing and reduce the appearance of flakes on your beard and clothes.
Excessive Flaking and Itching
If you have excessive flaking and itching that you can't get under control, you may have seborrheic dermatitis. Seborrheic dermatitis is a skin condition that plenty of beardsmen have and treat with ease, but it won't go away unless you treat it correctly. The exact cause is unknown, but it basically means your skin is reactive and irritated in areas that produce a lot of sebum (the natural oil secreted by your skin). You could have seborrheic dermatitis if…
Your flakiness comes in waves with weather, medication or product changes, or stress
The flaky areas get sore or inflamed (think tender skin or sores)
The affected skin experiences burning sensations when washed or touched
Yellow scaly flakes are present
Symptoms do not respond to regular conditioning or exfoliating
If this is you - don't worry! Most cases can be treated with a shampoo like T-Gel. If your symptoms respond well to specialized shampoos, you'll just use it daily until the symptoms calm down, then just a couple times a week from there. Read this article for more helpful information on seborrheic dermatitis. If your skin doesn't respond to over the counter treatments, don't hesitate to see a medical professional. We're here to help you keep on growing, but don't wait to turn to an expert for advanced skin health questions if you need to.
If your beard is coming in patchy during your first month of growth, don’t panic or worry. That’s totally normal! Most all men have growth inconsistencies in their facial hair. As we mentioned above, sometimes those patches will fill in with time, patience, and age. Patches add character and a unique flavor to a beard, and should be owned accordingly.
If you’re not feeling great about your patches, it’s worth knowing that you notice those patches more than anyone else. They most likely don’t even appear visible to most people. If you’ve got more questions about beard patches, check out this article we put together on patchy beards to get them answered.
The Awkward Phase
The Awkward Phase is a stretch of time around 2 to 3 weeks of growth where your hair is significantly longer than stubble, but shorter than a typical beard. It’s still a bit itchy and it can be hard to style to your liking. Getting through this phase requires time, patience, and commitment. Until your hair is long enough to train and style, it’s going to be uncooperative. Accepting that ahead of time will make these couple of weeks a lot easier on you!
Our Youtube Coordinator and weekly host is growing a yeard (a year of beard growth) and documenting his thoughts and process every week of the way. He has a couple things to say about the awkward phase in the video below:
Shaving Your Neck Line
Shaving the neck line incorrectly is one of the most common beard mistakes that men make in their day to day grooming practices. We call it “The Creeping Neck Line” - a phenomenon that occurs when a guy unknowingly shaves his neck line a tiny bit further up his neck every time he grooms. Don’t fall into this trap! It can accentuate the soft fat under your neck (that all people have) in a way that makes some people self conscious. We want you feeling confident, so follow Eric’s video on how to determine your neck line properly:
The Wrap Up
We hope you found this article useful! Remember, the first month of growth is not at all indicative of the experience you’ll have growing out your beard for all the months that follow. If you’re feeling discouraged - stick with it and keep on growing. Even if it isn’t a look you end up adopting in the long term, you’ll have learned a lot about your own values and personal style from the journey. Keep on growing!