Beard Growing Stages: What You Should Know


Want to sport a mug rug but unsure what happens during the beard growing stages? Here’s what you can expect.

Beard Growing Stages
When they see my beard, guys often ask about the different beard growing stages I went through. Many of them tell me they tried to grow a beard, but when it got to week four (or week two, or week six), it looked crappy, so they shaved it off. Any guy who’s thinking of growing a beard but is unsure of what to expect, take heart: you’re not alone. Not by a long shot. Lots of guys aren’t sure what happens during the different growing stages. No matter what your beard aspirations are, you should know that the same issues come up for everybody at the various stages of growth. This is particularly true during the first few months.

After yet another guy had told me he’d been unhappy with his 4-week old beard so decided to shave it off, I had to act. So I put together this overview of what to expect at various beard growing stages. Check it out. If you want to grow a beard, it might give you the encouragement to press ahead when you hit a rough spot. And you will hit rough spots.

7 Epic Beard Growing Stages

Stage One – Start to 3 Weeks

Beard Growing Stages
Ah, the first few weeks. The stubble stage. Everybody looks good during the first few weeks. You’ll see yourself as the tussled, handsome, unshaven movie star. Oh sure, chief. Yes, of course. Tell me, in this alternate reality of yours, are you Robert Pattinson or Jason Statham? Signing autographs? A starlet on each arm? Nice.

For most guys, this is the beard-honeymoon period. No divorce on the horizon just yet. During this phase, every man just knows he will sport an epic, earth-shattering beard masterpiece.

At this point, the only fly in the beard oil is the itching. Heads up, dudes; itching is a universal but not insurmountable problem. All you need to do is get your hands on some good beard oil. I like this one because it’s all natural, does what it’s supposed to do and doesn’t break the bank.

The reason your little 2-week wanna-be is itchy is the sharp points on the end of the hair. You see, regardless of whether you last shaved with a safety razor, a disposable or an electric razor, you cut the ends of the hairs off at a sharp angle. Now those fine, pointed hairs are growing out and coming back to haunt you. Turning on their master, so to speak.

What your beard will look like: After the first week, you’ll have light stubble that will darken and thicken as you get into the third week. By the middle of the third week, it will start to look like a tiny mini beard. That’s when the trouble begins.

Your emotional state: You’ll be running on maximum, beard-crazed excitement.

Stage Two – 3 Weeks to 8 Weeks

Beard Growing Stages
This is the “Yikes! My beard looks like crap!” stage. You’re looking in the mirror all the time but not seeing anything good. It’s just a patchy, pathetic looking mess.

At this point, a lot of guys will attempt to trim their way out of what they see, but that rarely ends well. Other guys will throw up their hands in disgust and shave off their beard. That’s the divorce I foreshadowed earlier.

Warning: Do not, under any circumstances, attempt to trim or shave off your beard. Both of these acts are way too desperate and premature. You are not allowed to shave or trim your beard until the 4-month mark. Seriously, chief, just don’t. Trust me.

During this stage, besides continuing to use the beard oil, you should start using a good beard shampoo. Don’t think you can wash your beard with the same shampoo and conditioner you use on your head. Those products can contain harsh chemicals that will just mess up your beard and the delicate facial skin beneath.

You need to get yourself a good beard-specific shampoo like this one. I like this product because it’s made only for use on beards and contains all natural ingredients. And it doesn’t cost a fortune, like some others floating around.

What your beard will look like: Your little newbie-beard might look patchy and scraggly, with some bald spots. You’ll think it looks like a disaster because it likely does. But that’s completely normal for this stage. Listen up, my patchy-bearded friend; you have to bull your way through this period of beard-loathing. Things will get better, chief, I promise.

Your emotional state: You can plan on freaking out on a pretty regular basis. Why? Because you won’t be happy with your “beard” (and I use that term loosely).

Stage Three – 8 Weeks to 4 Months

Beard Growing Stages
At this stage, your mug rug will finally start to look like a real beard. You should not have trimmed your beard at all until you have reached the 4-month mark. It’s at this point that you’ll see it begin to fill in. See, I told you it would. It will also start to get some length to it.

By four months you have my permission to start trimming and styling your beard. But to do that, you’ll need a good trimmer like this one. I use it because it’s not too expensive and has a vacuum feature that keeps clippings out of the sink drain.

You should use an electric trimmer to trim your beard, instead of scissors, to ensure your beard gets cut to a uniform length. Can’t do that with scissors.

That’s not to say you should never use scissors because you should. I use these scissors to trim difficult areas, like around my mouth, or to clip stray hairs. I like this pair because they’re inexpensive and do a good job.

If you haven’t been using your beard oil and beard shampoo like I told you to, your beard will be a dull, dry, scratchy mess. You should be using your beard oil every day, and shampooing it every second or third day. Doing this will keep your beard – and the skin underneath – moist.

You should also invest in a good beard brush if you haven’t already. The brush will help distribute the oil throughout your now-thicker beard. It will also keep your beard detangled and looking glossy and healthy.

I like this brush because I have a heavy beard and it keeps it detangled and feeling soft. But don’t forget, you have to brush it every day. Doing this will help your beard stay soft and supple. If you’re not sure which brush is right for your particular beard, here is an excellent beard brush guide to get you on the right track.

You should now also be using a beard comb to keep your beard clean throughout the day. It will also help clean out old beard oil and balm residues under the beard and exfoliate dead skin, which can cause itching.

What your beard will look like: Your 4-month-old beard will start to seem like a real beard. A lot of the earlier patchiness will have filled in, and it will be starting to show a substantial, masculine heft.

Your emotional state: By the 4-month mark you will start to feel somewhat optimistic. And you’ll be thinking that maybe, just maybe, you’re on your way to something epic.

Stage Four – 4 Months to 6 months

Beard Growing Stages
By now your beard is a no-shit, honest to God beard. At this point, it will be a big part of your life. You should start to eat a diet that promotes good beard health if you haven’t already.

Speaking of eating, you’ll notice that you’re eating in a way that takes your beard into consideration. You’ll need to exercise a lot of care and caution when eating different kinds of foods, from soup to pizza. Otherwise, you start looking like a shopping cart pushing dumpster diver. Unless you’re going for that look?

You should be washing your beard every day, or at least every other day at this point. A larger beard picks up lots of dust, grime and bacteria along with food particles. Walking around with crud in your beard is not only unhealthy but also a real turnoff to the people you might want to keep in your life.

It’s around this time that your beard growth starts becoming less noticeable. It’s easy to trim, and if you make a mistake, it’s no big deal to cover up. Besides trimming, you can start shaping it using a good beard balm like this one. Try this one if you haven’t started using a balm. I like it because it’s all natural and does a good job.

Your go-to moisturizer should still be your beard oil. But the balm will also have lots of natural oils and other ingredients to keep your beard healthy. As I mentioned earlier, beard balm is pomade that’s designed to help shape and style your beard.

For more info about how to use beard oil and beard balm, here’s good YouTube video starring Mr. Eric Bandholz, who explains the benefits of each.

What your beard will look like: By now the metamorphosis is complete, and there’s no doubt in anybody’s mind that you are sporting a real beard. When you look in the mirror, you see a masculine dude rocking a masculine beard. What more could you ask for, my friend?

Your emotional state: At six months you’re feeling damn good about yourself and your beard. You’ve had some ups and downs, but now you’re feeling…what? Maybe a little bit cocky? You have more self-confidence, and you’re digging the attention. Well done!

Stage Five – 6 Months to 9 months

Beard Growing Stages
When you’re sporting an 8 or 9-month beard, men will be showing you a lot more respect, and women will show a lot more attention. All this extra attention and respect, which may be new to you, will start to affect you. How? By giving you even more self-confidence. Both men and women will see you as masculine and powerful.

Hey, chief, are you telling me you don’t think people will see you this way? Really? If that’s the case, you should check out this scientific study conducted recently in Australia. It proves both men and women view bearded men as more masculine, virile and dominant than clean-shaven men.

It’s true. Women see a guy rocking a big-ass beard as exciting and sexy. Still not convinced? In this article, Ms. Gigi Engle, a writer for Elite Daily, explains how women view dudes with beards as hot and a turn-on. Want more proof? This Huffington Post article explains the perception that a man’s masculinity increases as his beard gets larger. What does it all mean? If you want women to see you as sexy and virile, grow a big-ass beard.

You should be using a full range of beard-specific products at this point. These include oils, shampoos, conditioners, balm and a good beard brush and comb. Through trial and error you’ll now have a good idea of which products work for you and which don’t.

What your beard will look like: You are now wearing a beard that will blow in the wind. Seriously. Your beard will have plenty of heft and substance. Any patchy bald areas have pretty well filled in by now, and you’ve learned how to deal with any remaining problem areas without freaking out.

Your emotional state: At nine months you’re calm, cool and collected. You never sweat the small stuff. Nothing ever ruffles your cool. You have a newfound sense of self-confidence. In other words, you’re Don Draper with a beard.

Stage Six – 9 Months to a Yeard (12 months)

Beard Growing Stages
Your beard has become a big, gnarly, swaggering, badass bullhorn of a statement. What’s it saying? “Step aside, lads, the man is in the house.” This thing kicks ass, takes names and screams swag.

When you walk into a room full of people, the conversation dies away as everyone stops to check you out. Your big-ass beard gives you an aura of authority and mystery that compels people to pay attention to you.

Why’s that, you ask? Because the beard itself, independent of you, broadcasts something primal, sexy and menacing. That’s the potent mojo power of your Yeard.

Respect much? Are you kidding? Hell, even I’ll start calling you “sir” while fighting the urge to snap a salute. With a Yeard, I absolutely, positively guarantee that you will get loads of compliments and admiring glances from both men and women.

You’ll be that sexy, mysterious, unconventional dude who knows how to rock some serious style. You’ll be the guy the movie stars want to emulate. Don Draper will ask if you’d please come to work at Sterling-Cooper. As his boss.

Cool as it is, keeping your Yeard in its sweet spot will mean ongoing work. You’ll need to use your grooming products on a consistent basis. You’ll be brushing and combing it daily and keeping it well-dosed with beard oil and balm to help it look its best.

What your beard will look like: Like it should have its own entourage. It is big, bold and beautiful. You will finally have the beard you’ve dreamt of since you first picked up a razor and started shaving. Your beard will speak volumes about you as a man.

Your emotional state: Emotional state? What the hell? You don’t need no stinking emotional state. You stand tall and walk the walk. That’s the closest you ever get to a damn “emotional state.”

Stage Seven – Beyond the Yeard

What lies beyond the Yeard? Plenty of beard styles, as it turns out. Here are some you can shoot for if you decide to press ahead with your beard-growing adventure.

The Gnarly – 12 to 24 Months

Beard Growing Stages
This is a solid beard for guys who would like to sport a large, bullish style, yet still wear a trimmed beard. This is a broad, thick and long full beard. Give it a trim after it has grown down to about 6-9 inches below your mouth. You should plan on it taking another 6 to 12 months of growth beyond your Yeard.

The Majestic – 24 to 48 Months
Beard Growing Stages
Beard Growing Stages | Photo Credit:

This is a beard that lives up to its name. This beard is way bigger than the Gnarly and is worn only by serious, black-diamond beardsmen. It’s the height of a full, robust beard. The Majestic grows free, with only rare trimming. The danger with this beard? It can lure the owner madly on to the final beard: The Terminal.

Beard Growing Stages
Beard Growing Stages | Photo Credit: Pinterest – Wild West Beards
The Terminal – 48 Months to the Rest of Your Life

The Terminal is the holy grail of beards. For the hardcore, triple-black-diamond, American Astronaut beardsmen only. You will boldly go where few others have dared to tread. This is beardom’s final frontier and makes a mockery of all other beards.

The Terminal is the beard you grow forever and never trim. Sooner or later genetics will draw the brakes and your beard just won’t grow any longer. Some men have truly gargantuan Terminals. The longest, biggest bad boy hit over 17 feet.


That wraps up our tour of the various beard growing stages. As you can see, there’s a lot to learn about these stages. That goes not only for growing the beard, but also for how you’ll feel about your beard, and yourself, during the process.

I hope this post has been helpful and given you some idea of what to expect as you grow out your beard.

Let me know what you think of this post in the comments section below. And if it was helpful, don’t forget to share it with your friends.

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Ryan Snider is a writer by day and an avid reader by night. He loves to take his motorcycle out for a ride and let his beard get some much needed fresh air. As a bald man he has some interesting insight into growing beard hair as that's all he can grow on his head.