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Are Beards High Maintenance? Short vs Long Beard Maintenance

If you’re anything like us here at Volt, chances are you’re a busy working guy. Whether you’re dealing with work, school, family, friends, hobbies, etc. nowadays it seems we’re all running around like chickens with our heads cut off. And if there’s one thing you don’t want adding a pile of “to-dos” to the list, it’s your beard. Let’s talk about whether beards are high maintenance or not.

Many things in life are high maintenance; small dogs, expensive sports cars, etc. just to name a few. But, a beard shouldn’t be one of them. So, today, we’re going to discuss how much maintenance is required for a beard as determined by length.

For example, the amount of maintenance you’re going to need for a short beard is not the same as a medium or long beard, etc.

However, you might be surprised to learn what length of beard actually requires the most maintenance as opposed to the others, and I bet you can’t guess which one it is.

So, let’s begin by laying out the categories:

  • Clean-Shaven
  • Stubble (<.5″)
  • Short Beards (.5″-1″)
  • Medium Beards (1″-3″)
  • Long Beards (>3″)

And here is a total list of tools that we’ll be designating to each beard based on length and whether they should be part of that beard maintenance routine.

Beard Maintenance Tools:

We’ll talk about the necessary steps for taking care of each of these beards as well as the common beard tools and products you need to do so. At the end of this blog, you’ll know which beard is highest in maintenance and whether or not you should grow one depending on your tolerance level for the daily routine that comes with it.

So, let’s start with being clean-shaven.

Clean Shaven Beard Maintenance

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Yes, being clean shaven is a beard choice. That’s simply because having no beard is still a “beard choice.” However, the maintenance required to do so day in and day out puts the clean-shaven style ahead in terms of general maintenance, especially if you want to avoid “stubble” beard territory.

To avoid the stubbly look, you’ll have to shave once a day if not at least once every two days. There are pros and cons to this. The main pro being that each and every day is the same routine that goes without questioning.

The main con of shaving every day is that it’s a generally lengthy and cumbersome process for the sake of being clean shaven. Not only do you have to deal with razor burn, bumps, redness, cuts, burns, etc. but you constantly have to be buying razor blades, shaving cream or gel, and potentially aftershave.

Required Clean-Shaven Maintenance Tools:

  • Razors (every day)
  • Shaving Gel/Shaving Cream (every day)
  • Aftershave (every day).

For these reasons, and due to the negative impacts of shaving every day, we’d give the clean-shaven look a 5/10 on the “maintenance scale” with 10 being high maintenance and 1 being low maintenance.

Stubble Beard Maintenance

Beards And Age

Stubble is the beginning of every bearded man’s journey. Stubble is defined as the point after which the hair extends from the skin and before the hair reaches “short beard territory” etc.

A stubble beard is quick and easy to grow, and surprisingly low maintenance considering there is no diversity in overall length for you to manage between different areas of the beard.

Overall, to keep a stubble beard presentable, you’ll need a few things. Some hydration to keep the hair soft, occasional trimming to keep the stubble beard length that you like, and shaving the neckline and cheekline. That’s it.

At an average growth rate of .5 inches a month, a short beard (defined as hairs >.5″ long) comes after the 1-month mark. This means that before that point, you’ve got what is considered a stubble beard. This also means that you only have to trim your stubble beard back once every month at least.

Required Stubble Beard Tools:

  • Electric Trimmer/razor (once a month)
  • Razor (for shaving neckline and cheekline every day or every other day)
  • Beard Oil (everyday or every other day)

Because of the longer timeframe between trimming and oiling, and the ability to trim or shave a stubble beard quickly, we give the stubble beard a 3/10 on the “maintenance scale.”

Short Beard Maintenance

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We’ve defined a short beard as one greater than .5″ but less than 1″ long. Short beards take between 1 and 2 months to grow, but still require a good amount of maintenance to keep looking clean and presentable.

Shorter beards require a slight bit more maintenance than stubble beards do. This is because the extra length begins to present flyaway hairs, which are hairs that stick straight out despite the typical downwards pattern that beard hair grows. The extra length also requires beard wash to clean.

Having a beard also does tend to necessitate the need for some kind of cleaning product like a beard brush, which spreads oils evenly, exfoliates the skin, and clears away debris.

Depending on the type for beard hair you have, you may or may not have to deal with flyaways all that much in a short beard. For example, people with straight beard hairs typically don’t have this problem in a short beard, while people with curly beard hairs often do.

These flyaways just add another step to the maintenance routine, selectively trimming them off with scissors or electric shaver, which doesn’t have to be done all that often. All other aspects of short beard maintenance are the same as with stubble beards.

Required Short Beard Tools

  • Beard Wash (Every 2-3 days)
  • Electric Trimmer/razor (once every 2 weeks)
  • Razor (for shaving neckline and cheekline every day or every other day)
  • Beard Oil (everyday or every other day)
  • Beard Brush (everyday or every other day)
  • Scissors/Electric Trimmer (for trimming down flyaways every week)

Due to the increased timeframe between beard trims, and because of the extra step in managing flyaways, we’d give a short beard  a 5/10 on the “maintenance scale.”

Medium Beard Maintenance

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Now, we’re starting to get into beards with a good amount of maintenance that may be overwhelming to certain people. In fact, medium beards require the MOST maintenance of all beard lengths. Here’s why:

Medium beards not only need to be trimmed, but also shaped. This is because the hair is long enough to not follow the natural shape of your face, and can become messy very easily. However, the beard is not long enough to completely cover your neck, meaning you’ll need to continue shaving your neckline and cheekline as before.

Medium beards also suffer the most from flyaways, because the hairs become longer, yet not long enough for the weight of the hair to pull them downwards in line with the rest, like longer beards do. Meaning you will need some specialty products just to help keep your beard in shape and the hairs in line.

Medium beards are long enough to suffer from tangles, making a beard comb a valuable and necessary commodity.

Medium beards naturally require hydration and health products like beard oil, but also styling products like beard and mustache wax in order to keep the beard presentable for a longer amount of time.

Overall, medium length beards by far require the most maintenance in order to keep them looking and feeling awesome. This may or may not deter you, and we don’t think it should, because a medium beard, when done well, arguably looks the sharpest in our opinion.

Required Medium Beard Tools

  • Beard Wash (Every 2-3 days)
  • Electric Trimmer/razor (for trimming and shaping, once every 2 weeks)
  • Razor (for shaving neckline and cheekline every day or every other day)
  • Beard Oil (everyday or every other day)
  • Beard Brush (everyday or every other day)
  • Beard Comb (Everyday)
  • Beard Balm/Beard and Mustache Wax (everyday)
  • Scissors/Electric Trimmer (for trimming down flyaways every week)

Due to the increased tools and products necessary and the increased responsibility of trimming and shaping a beard, we’d give the medium beard an 8/10 on the beard “maintenance scale.”

Long Beard Maintenance

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Long beards are an interesting case. You may think that a long beard would have been the most maintenance, but surprisingly, this isn’t true.

You see, long beards have the length to weigh down much of the hair, meaning that flyaways are a more rare occurence. Long beards are also long enough to cover your neck, meaning you don’t have as much regular shaving to do to keep things looking neat.

Long beards still have the length needed to require combing and brushing though. So keep that in mind.

Really, the only extra bit of maintenance a long beard requires is more time for washing and conditioning. The long beard may require more overall products, and more time to devote to the use of those products.

Required Long Beard Tools

  • Beard Wash (Every 2-3 days)
  • Electric Trimmer/razor (for trimming, however often you need)
  • Razor (for shaving cheekline every day or every other day)
  • Beard Oil (everyday or every other day)
  • Beard Brush (everyday or every other day)
  • Beard Comb (Everyday)
  • OPTIONAL Beard Balm/Beard and Mustache Wax (however often you need)
  • Scissors/Electric Trimmer (for trimming down flyaways every 2-3 weeks)

Due to the decreased worry about flyaways and the decreased responsibility with shaving a neckline and constant beard shaping, we’d rate a long beard a 7/10 on the beard “maintenance scale.”

Overall, that’s it. By now, you should recognize which beards are high maintenance, low maintenance, or anything in between. To summarize, medium beards require the most maintenance because they require shaving, trimming, shaping, hydrating and styling to keep sharp. Whereas most other beards only require some of those things.

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