How to Fix Your Scraggly Beard


So you’ve been trying to grow a beard for a few weeks, to no avail. When you look in the mirror, you see a scruffy beard mess, like a mangy lion cub instead of a full mane. Should you just give up, or is there something you can do to make your beard look fuller and less haggard?  

Scraggly Beard | Image via Popsugar
Scraggly Beard | Image via Popsugar

Reasons for a Scraggly Beard

The causes of a scraggly beard may not be all your fault. There can be several reasons for a thin or patchy beard.

  • Stress: Are you constantly on the go and worried? The body can handle only so much tension until it starts to wear itself down. The continual effects of mental stress appear in physical changes such as loss and grating of hair, including facial hair. If your stress causes you to lose sleep, that is even worse. When the body fails to rest, it cannot repair itself. This impairs mental abilities and immunities. So get some sleep; your beard will thank you! 
  • Genetics: Simply put, some men just do not have a firm biological basis for facial hair. The genetic structure sets the amount of hair, and the male hormone testosterone encourages the growth of that body hair. But even with normal hormone levels, a beard may just remain out of reach. If that’s the case, don’t despair–at least you gave it a try.
  • Skin Disorders: A skin condition called alopecia causes bald spots of varying sizes on the skin. These can appear on the head and along the neck as well as in the beard line. Spots from alopecia may come and go due to the body’s overburdened immune system. If you have continual or recurring bald patches, consult a dermatologist. 
  • Diet: A good diet can help build up a scraggly beard. Fast food does not feed your follicles well. Instead, choose a diet full of protein, fresh fruit, and vegetables. How will this help? Some tests have shown that biotin, or Vitamin B6, found in high protein foods, such as nuts and meat, can help maintain healthy nail and hair growth. The vitamin C found in fruit can help give immune support and cell growth too. 

Treatment for a Scraggly Beard

Let It Go

Whatever the reason for a scraggly beard, there are treatments you can try to make it more complete. But you have to be willing to set realistic goals. When struggling with a scraggly beard, first consider expectations. How long is your final desired beard? If needed, are you willing to grow a shorter beard or stubble instead of a full beard?

In order to find your follicular potential, you have to experiment. This means growing out the scraggly hair as much as possible to discover the optimum length of beard you can create. (Note: You may want to attempt this endeavor over a vacation or long holiday; otherwise, you may scare away pets and loved ones). After letting it go for a week or so, you may be tempted to shave because the hair looks so scruffy and scraggly, but don’t give in. After all, it’s taken this long to grow your current beard, so why ruin it? Like your parents said, patience is a virtue.

After your facial hair has grown as long as you can tolerate, examine the results. Are there still spots of missing or thinning hair patches underneath the current crop of beard hairs? Does your dream beard outweigh the reality of your current results? If so, then you may have to trim the hairs down to a more manageable mane. Instead of a Viking beard, you might want to select a goatee or close-trimmed beard that may suit your face type better.

Make a Plan

Once you have chosen an appropriate beard type, you will need to make a plan on how to achieve it. This endeavor will take time, dedication, and likely some new tools as well. Fixing a scraggly beard will involve washing, trimming, brushing, moisturizing, and overall loving of your beard.

  1. First, wash your face and beard to get rid of any dirt or dry skin. A good soap and conditioner can make a difference. While you can use regular shampoo, it is better to choose a formula specifically designed for facial hair. Some stylists recommend using this every day, but others say only a few times a week because the hair may dry out.
  2. After shampooing, apply a moisturizing beard oil to loosen the pores and prepares them to open up. Massaging the follicles with hot water lets them open up even more. 

Trim the Scraggle

Now that the hair patches have grown and covered the face sufficiently, consider trimming. Select a trimmer that is easy to hold and does not pull on the hair. Get one that has adjustable guard comb lengths that make it easier, and safer, to trim your beard. A trimmer with a vacuum suction can help with sucking up the leftover hairs too.

If you are going for a trim beard that covers the jawline, start trimming with a #3 guard (or higher) by moving it slowly over the face in the direction of the grain. This way you can still go shorter if desired. Take your time to avoid a messy job. You don’t want to be hasty and waste all the time you have spent growing the hair! After cutting, examine the area. Is it an even thickness? If dents still exist, use a smaller guard. A trim beard may be a better style for patchy or scraggly hair.

Another way to make your beard look more complete is to establish a secure neckline. Shaping the jawline and shaving any hair high on the cheek will give a cleaner look and hide patches. Taper hair under the jaw so that the neck is visible. This creates a distinction between the beard and the rest of the face. A shaved neck below the Adam’s apple can make a beard appear fuller. Some stylists suggest up to an inch before the Adam’s apple in order to make a more distinctive contrast. 

The Best Friend of the Scraggly Beard

Perhaps the best tool of a scraggly beard owner is a beard brush. You can find them online or in many barber shops. A brush can tame the stray strands of hair and smooth out thinning patches. Move the brush over the hair and against the grain to cover the bald spots. This isn’t just a “comb-over” like head hair. Rather, since facial hair is thick, it can maintain its shape longer than head hair. So the hair will learn to move in the direction you comb it. 

By brushing daily, the hair will begin to move in the ways you want. Eventually, some bare spots will fill in. To make the effect stick, you will need to reinforce it with some wax and oil. Adding oil to your beard will let it be smoothed over and give the appearance of being fuller.

Finish It Off

After you have shaved, oiled, and brushed the beard, put in some stay-in conditioner in the form of beard balm. This will help soften the beard by hydrating it so that the hair ends do not become brittle and dry. Beard balm also helps the new beard maintain its shape. This is important for a scraggly beard because you want to be sure the low spots are covered sufficiently. Altogether, conditioner balm makes the beard able to be shaped into place.

All Fixed Up

With some work, a scraggly beard can be made into something you feel confident to wear. The sparse parts can be covered, thanks to a dedicated routine with a brush and some beard balm. You can face trimming with the knowledge that you can keep hair in control and at an even level. Your struggle from a scraggly beard can be won.

Let us know: Do you have a scraggly beard? How did you fix it? What other recommendations can we give guys with this problem? Feel free to share pictures of your beard before and after fixing it.


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Mr. Wood has been growing a beard since he could first sprout facial hair. He lives with his wife, two boys and a mentally unstable dog. He loves to be outdoors and thinks that the best stories start with "Here, hold my beer..."