To beard or not to beard, that is the question. Many men nowadays are asking themselves if they want to try the bearded look. Some will jump right in, some won’t, and some will curiously start researching different beard lengths to see which will suit them best. This article is for that last person! We want to give you a cut and dry, no-nonsense, article that explains the different beard lengths and their inherent benefits and disadvantages.
We’ll be going over these main categories:
- Clean-Shaven (to establish a baseline)
- Stubble (0-3mm)
- Short Beard (4mm-15mm)
- Medium-Length Beard (16mm-7.5cm)
- Long Beard (7.5cm+)
So, before we begin, don’t forget that Volt has an awesome YouTube video on this same topic, you can watch it below or continue reading for the full info! And Subscribe to Volt by clicking HERE!
Chances are, you already know what it’s like to have a clean-shaven face. After all, most of us spend at least the first 16 years of our lives with one. It’s the most traditionally “polished” style, but also requires the highest maintenance and care to keep that way.
Here at Volt, we love our beards. So obviously we will suggest that every man should have one, even if only to try for some time. But, if you’re reading this article then you are most likely not interested in the clean-shaven look in the first place. So, let’s move onto something edgier!
Stubble is essentially the name for a short beard that hasn’t grown out long enough for the individual hairs to overlap each other. Skin is often still visible underneath stubble, and stubble can take anywhere from 1-7 days to grow uniformly (depending on genetics).
Stubble works amazingly well on men with baby faces as it breaks up the roundness and creates a more angular and defined look. Stubble was originally considered “dirty” and unkempt, but it has become a trendy and fashionable way to wear facial hair in a variety of situations and formalities.
Here’s an example, nowadays, anyone from corporate executives to lower-level employees can rock a stubble beard. Below are some cool images of ways to rock some stubble!
The benefit of a stubble beard is that it is remarkably easy to grow, and it comes quickly. The disadvantage is that patchy areas and spots in your beard become extremely noticeable with stubble. This is because the individual hairs have not grown long enough to overlap and cover these spots.
We always recommend letting your beard grow for at least a month without shaving, trimming, or clipping any part of it. This will allow you some time to see where your beard grows, how it grows, and which beard styles you can pull off.
Short Beard Length (4mm-15mm)
A short beard is an extremely popular and trendy beard style that occurs slightly past the stubble phase. With a short beard, your hair is overlapping minimally, but enough to cover most of the skin. Short beard styles are relatively low-maintenance and are generally what most men initially consider when first deciding to grow a beard.
All men can rock a short beard if genetics permit. Generally, short beards are great for a business professional look, and studies have even shown that men with beards have a higher earning average in service-based jobs due to the perceived trust that beards have on people. You can read more about that by clicking here.
Beards tend to grow at a rate of about .5 inches/month. This means that most men can grow a short beard within 10-30 days. Shorter beards are going to be a better fit for men who struggle with patchy areas or empty spots because longer hair can be used to cover the thinner areas.
To keep a short beard short (without having to shave) you’ll need to regularly trim with an electric shaver, preferably one with adjustable guards. Most men find that 10mm is a great place to keep a short beard without falling into stubble territory and without the beard getting too long to handle.
Check out these short beard styles.
Medium-Length Beard (16mm-7.5cm)
Medium-length beards are the tipping point at which you begin having to invest more time into maintaining your beard the way it is. A longer beard will inevitably have small discrepant hairs sticking out noticeably which need to be trimmed or controlled.
With a shorter beard, often all you need to maintain it are some trimmers. But with a longer beard, you’ll start needing specific products like balms, brushes, waxes, and oils to help style and control the beard hair after trimming. Put simply, shorter beard styles are less maintenance.
The key to rocking a medium-length beard is to keep it neat. Medium-length facial hair is all about coverage. If you’re lucky enough to be able to grow a beard evenly then you’ll love having a medium-length beard. Unfortunately, unlike a short beard style, you won’t be able to get away with having patches or thin areas.
Medium-length beards are amazing for defining certain areas of your face, like your chin and jawline. This gives your face a bold and strong look and, since longer beards can be shaped and molded, you can shape your beard to match your face shape for symmetry.
To grow a medium-length beard, you’ll likely have to wait between 1-2 months before the length becomes appropriate or ideal for this style. Keep in mind that, while you’re growing your beard, you should keep your neckline trimmed and occasionally cut away the stray hair that sticks out.
As your beard grows longer, you’ll likely want to trim your beard with the longest available guard that you have, paired with some scissors to use for detail work around your mustache or on flyways.
Check out these awesome medium-length beard ideas!
Long Beard (7.5cm+)
Before we head much further into long beard territory, let’s just get some preconceptions out of the way. Yes, you can have a “long” beard without looking like a fictional wizard. Yes, long beards are harder to take care of. And no, long beards are not just for bikers or philosophers.
Now that we got that out of the way, let’s talk about what a long beard is and how you can start rocking one!
The word “long” is completely relative. Long to me may not be long to you, etc. So, for the sake of simplicity, I consider a longer beard to be more than 7.5cm (around 3 inches). Of course, many beards go beyond that, but this is around the area where people wouldn’t normally consider a beard to be medium-length anymore.
To pull off a long beard, you’ll want to pay attention to your face shape, considering the length of the beard is going to affect the visual length of your face as well. Keep in mind that the long beard style simply hasn’t been appropriated into business or professional environments yet. This is to say that a longer beard style is still considered somewhat inappropriate for these settings.
It will take an average man about 6 months to grow a “longer” beard style when defined as greater than 3 inches of length. That being said, depending on your genetics it may take up to a year or so. After about a year of growing, most men hit a plateau and their beards won’t grow as quickly anymore.
At this point, your electric trimmer will only be used to clean up your neckline, cheek line, and potentially blend areas of your beard into thinner areas like sideburns for example. The rest of your beard will have to be maintained with scissors.
Here are some cool longer beards to aspire to.
Overall, the beard style that you choose is dependant entirely on the style you like and what you can realistically achieve with genetics and some help with good beard grooming products. Remember, a beard generally requires more maintenance the longer it gets, and you’ll need to keep up with the washing, grooming, and trimming aspect to really look your best all the time.
However, don’t let the maintenance of a beard frighten you away from growing one! Beards rock! And if you find a style you really enjoy, there’s no reason not to go for it.
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