How to Grow a Beard…Gracefully

Whether you're participating in No Shave November or just want to grow a beard for winter, there are a few things you can do to make the transition from baby-faced to rugged smoother and more enjoyable.

Growing a beard is one of the easiest things a man can do. However, doing so in a way that won't get you sent to the principal's, I mean, HR office is another matter.

The process of growing out your facial hair can either make you look like you've been on a week-long drinking binge and barely managed to drag yourself into work, or like a stately gentleman.

The photos above show my current beard success and my previous beard fail.  The guy on the left looks like he's up to something, while the guy on the right looks like someone you could trust with your finances.

DON'T be the guy on the left.

Now, how is it that one man gets reprimanded for skipping a shave or two while another guy in the same office is rocking a week or a month's worth of growth? Simple. The man with facial hair follows the four guidelines below.

1. Grow it out over a long weekend or vacation

Starting a few days before you leave will help you get ahead of the game a little. When you return to work after three or more days, you'll have something that resembles a beard and not just a lack of grooming.

Essentially, you'll have skipped showing your face at the office during the awkward scruffy stage.

2. Trim the neck and cheek line

I failed to do this the first time I grew a beard and as a result, it looked like I was being lazy rather than intentionally growing my facial hair.

I thought about shaving the whole thing off every single time I looked in the mirror.

This time around, I cleaned up the neck and cheek lines after a week and continue to do so every two days. As a result, no one has confused me for a homeless Santa.

Just make sure you're conservative with how much you take off – you don't want to butcher it and have to start all over again.

3. Don't forget about the hair up top

Another mistake I've made in the past. When your beard and hair are getting long at the same time, it looks like you're neglecting your appearance or secretly wishing it was the 1970s.

When your beard gets long and you keep up on your barber visits, the beard growth looks like a well-considered addition to your appearance.

4. Keep your outfits and grooming sharp

Especially in corporate America where facial hair is generally frowned upon. Keep HR off your trail by maintaining an impeccable appearance.

Maybe you've heard the phrase “the better you dress, the worse you can behave” in reference to parties and social events. Well, the same holds true for grooming. The better you dress, the more hair you can have on your face.

* IMPORTANT NOTE:  If after a week or so you find you're only rocking extremely patchy or wispy hair, you may need to abandon the campaign.

While it doesn't need to be perfect, you still need to determine that you can actually grow something resembling a beard.  Mother Nature can be cruel and not all men have the ability to grow full, fairly even facial hair.

If that's your situation, take heart.  You can still stand out in a crowd by owning a smooth shave throughout the holiday season (if you need assistance RE: smooth shave, see here).

All the best,


You Might Also Like


  • Reply
    Damian @ Dareandconquer
    February 28, 2015 at 11:55 am

    Completely different person. Really wow.

    • Reply
      February 28, 2015 at 5:45 pm

      Haha, I know. The first guy wants to steal your money and the second can help you make sound investments for a financially secure future. It’s a fact of life that people judge you based on your appearance.

  • Reply
    May 8, 2015 at 12:23 pm

    Hey Nate,

    Found your site from B&D. Really enjoying your content. Got a question for a future article or just to answer here, whichever you prefer.

    I have a low forehead regarding my hairline which makes combing my hair over nearly impossible. I either have to use a ludicrous amount of pomade to part it fully, leave it as is, or gel/pomade it up. Do you have any suggestions?

    • Reply
      May 9, 2015 at 2:45 am

      I’d have to see a photo to be sure, but I’d probably go for a natural look if styling is that much of a pain. Maybe some type of Cesar cut.

  • Reply
    May 9, 2015 at 11:59 am

    Found your site from B&D – you really did make a life transformation man!

    How long did it take you to grow out your beard to how it is on your about page? I’m trying to grow at the moment but it looks quite patchy after it reaches a certain length.

    • Reply
      May 9, 2015 at 12:28 pm

      I’ve trimmed my beard a few times so it’s hard to tell exactly, but that’s about 2-3 months. Trimming your beard helps it look fuller. What happens is that some hairs grow at different rates and others fall out. You’re left with a smaller percentage of longer hairs, creating a wispy profile. That’s why I trim it every month or so even if I want it to grow out. Good luck!

  • Reply
    How To Be Bald and Hot As Hell Like Kit Dale
    May 28, 2015 at 8:56 am

    […] a fact about beards. If grown correctly they can add a badass masculine element in your appearance. Beards are cool, make you look older […]

  • Reply
    Kit Dale Knows The Secret Of Being Bald & Looking Awesome
    July 14, 2015 at 8:49 pm

    […] a fact about beards. If grown correctly they can add a badass masculine element in your appearance. Beards are cool, make you look older […]

  • Reply
    November 13, 2015 at 7:56 pm

    Nate, great post! I just hit eight weeks on my beard and can’t wait until I get it to your current length. The only problem is that I have no idea how to trim and/or shape my beard to look like yours (the full version that it currently is). From the front, your beard looks round and full, yet from the side you have this great angle that appears to start from your Adam’s Apple and slant downward. Also, everything is neat, trimmed, and put together at the same time. Do you have any advice on how to achieve this look?

    Thanks, and keep posting!

    • Reply
      November 14, 2015 at 6:12 pm

      Nick, it sounds like you’re well on your way to growing a kick ass beard! I could try to describe how I shape it, but it requires a little more detail than I can provide here. I need to do an article/youtube video on how I trim my beard. Thanks for the motivation to get on that!

  • Reply
    March 7, 2016 at 5:16 am

    Thank you for inspiration! :) Seriously considering growing the beard and browsing your other beard articles. Have you discussed dyeing of the beard in any other articles? I am 40 yo, fit, and younger looking, but my facial hair is more salt than pepper (think George Clooney’s beard), and I believe it will make me look a lot older.

    • Reply
      March 7, 2016 at 5:28 am

      Go for it, MrJ! I haven’t discussed dyeing beards since that’s not something I do. I think salt and pepper beards look pretty awesome, though.

  • Reply
    How to Speak Your Way to the Answer (Full Color Friday) - Bold and Determined
    December 30, 2016 at 10:04 am

    […] on growing and maintaining a beard and how it affects your […]

  • Reply
    March 29, 2017 at 4:19 pm


    • Reply
      April 1, 2017 at 1:24 pm

      I don’t have one product that I use all the time, but you might want to check out Grandpa’s Pine Tar Shampoo. It smells like a campfire, is natural and leaves my hair feeling great.

  • Reply
    July 9, 2017 at 2:07 pm

    Nate, how do you deal with sunscreening the skin under the beard? Do you bother trying apply? Triming the neck and cheek lines has helped me stay clean.

    • Reply
      July 10, 2017 at 2:50 pm

      I used to apply sunscreen to my whole face when my beard was around 1/4” but don’t bother anymore. I haven’t had any issues with sunburn in three summers.

    Leave a Reply

    About Me

    Casual Style 101

    Free style guide