Beard Growing 101

by Nicholas Karnaze August 30, 2013 1 Comment

How to grow a beard

I did it boys, I shaved my beard! I know, I know, I’m sure you are thinking why did I do that? Well, I did it for one simple reason: to remind myself what it’s like to grow a beard. In true Marine Corps fashion, I believe in leading from the front. I will not give advice unless it is fresh, valid, and true to form. I’ve had my beard for years. Time to refresh my memory on growing awesomeness.

Beards take time. Each man has a different beard disposition. Some will have a rock solid beard within a week (I have mine by 5pm that day), others will take several weeks…and some just weren’t meant to display badassness (judgment free zone). But there is only one way to find out!

So you have decided to grow a beard. Welcome to the Brotherhood

1. Beards take time. Most men require three to five weeks before you can truly understand how your beard will take shape. What does this mean? DO NOT trim/shape your beard prior to the three-week mark. I recommend waiting at least four weeks before shaping. If you trim too soon, your beard could become lopsided.

There is one caveat: Your beard should never connect with your chest hair. Trim that wildebeest. When first growing a beard I let it creep half way down my neck and then draw the line. Both beards and chest hair are independent signs of masculinity. Combining them does not make you more of a man. It makes you the Missing Link.

2. It will itch. Accept that reality, but do not fully accept it. Beard itch is one of the primary reasons I started stubble & ‘stache, and our flagship product does an excellent job of reducing it. Regardless of itch, stay strong. You will soon be a man amongst boys.

3. Time to shape up. After the waiting period, take a good, long look in the mirror and decide what you want your beard to look like. Do you want to go ZZ Top style? Are you more of a short beard guy? Or, do you prefer the stubble look? All are fine. What matters is that you select the look you feel most comfortable with. Once you see how your beard grows, you can start shaping. If you are going ZZ Top, trim your neck and let the rest of that beast run wild.
4. If you can, go to a quality barber who trims beards. They will show your beard the same love they show your glorious mane. Our faces have a multitude of indentations, protrusions and other natural forms that makes even trimming difficult. Your barber will trim the beard where it needs to be trimmed and leave alone those areas where it does not. At the end of service, your beard (and face) will be a shinning example of symmetry.

If a barber is not an option, get yourself a good beard trimmer, preferably one with metal guards. Start big. You can always trim more, but you will have to wait to grow it back. After the initial trim, look for areas that might need to be trimmed more. The goal is symmetry. Take your time.

5. How far should I let my beard grow down my neck? I like to end my beard about a half-inch below my jaw line. Rule of thumb: If keeping your beard short, when you smile your beard should never pull above your jaw line. If it does, you have stopped your beard short. Let the whiskers further down your neck grow. Depending on beard length, fade your beard as it grows down your neck. If you are going long, keep the length uniform.

Beard Care: Use a daily beard conditioner and face moisturizer. This will keep your beard soft and shiny while reducing itch, split ends and “beard-druff” all while promoting healthy skin. Apply twice a day after washing your face and beard.

When it's time to wash your beard, use a wash specially formulated for your face and beard. If that is not an option, use shampoo on your beard. Normal face wash can strip needed oils resulting in a dry, coarse beard.

Beard On




stubble & 'stache was founded by a former Marine Corps Special Operations Combat Veteran in memory of his fallen comrade. We donate a percentage of profits to organizations supporting those men and women suffering from the mental wounds sustained in combat.


Nicholas Karnaze
Nicholas Karnaze


Warfighter turned entrepreneur. Founder, stubble & 'stache. Grooming expert. Skincare nerd. Marine Corps combat veteran.

1 Response

Brian Hylander
Brian Hylander

August 10, 2017

Recently left active duty and looking to join the ranks of bearded gloriousness. First thing I typed was Beard 101 into Google and Bam!
Here I am. Great site and I’ll be diving in head first with your great advice and poking around to see what products can calm the itch. Shaving every day for nearly 8 years to suddenly not at all is a shock lol.
Semper Fi,
Brian Hylander

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