lumberjack beardsman

So you’re thinking of growing a beard, but aren’t exactly sure how it takes place – what are the phases that the beard follicles go through – and what types of “beard stages” can you expect during the first months of your facial hair journey?

No worries. All of those questions will be answered below in great detail.

We go through the natural human facial hair growth pattern that your follicles follow, all the way from the anagen growth phase into the telogen resting phase…

…And once you understand the nuances, we will give some good examples of what stages of beard growth you can expect from your first months of beardsmanship.

Let’s get at it. ↓

The Phases of Facial Hair Strand Growth from the Follicle

human beard growth example

Although your androgenic beard hairs differ from the light vellus hairs (you can also have a vellus beard) on top your head in terms of what actually makes them grow, their growth cycle is still exactly the same.

The Anagen Phase

During the active growth phase – otherwise known as; the anagen phase, the root keeps continuously dividing, which causes the hair strands to grow longer and longer.

In fact, it often takes 2-6 years until this phase ends and the hair follicle starts its natural “rotation”.

The Catagen Phase

The transitional catagen phase is the shortest one in the rotation, lasting usually just 1-2 weeks.

During this stage, the hair strand is separated from the follicle and attached to the skin. The blood supply to the hair strand also stops completely.

The Telogen Phase

During the telogen phase, the hair stays intact in the skin for 2-4 months, while the follicle is already returning back to the anagen phase and starts generating a new strand of hair through the same “tunnel” the previous hair strand was coming out of.

The new incoming hair strand naturally pushes the old hair out of the skin and eventually causes it to fall off, thus; completing the human hair growth cycle.

Your body is constantly churning through these three phases, which is why you will shed hair on a daily basis, usually anything between 1 to 100 strands per day.

The Four Stages of Beard Growth

If you’re going to grow your first beard, below are four of the key stages to expect…

Beard Stage #1: The Stubble

man with stubbleThis is the stage you’re in at weeks 1-2 of your beard growth.

It’s when you most likely start to notice a heavy-stubble forming. and your facial hair style will fall into the category of either short, medium, or long stubble.

You can also start seeing the areas where your facial hair will grow from, and be able to identify parts that will likely end up patchier than others.

If you manage to cover your full facial hair area in a stubble, then consider yourself lucky, as you will be surely growing something majestic in the upcoming weeks.

If however, you see some serious bald spots that will likely end up in patchy growth later down the line, then feel free to take a look at this article on fixing a patchy beard naturally.

Some men like to keep their facial hair at this stage year round, which is not a bad option, considering that heavy-stubbled men were rated as most attractive by women in a recent study.

Beard Stage #2: The Itch Begins

man with short beard and winter hatDuring the weeks 2-5 of your beard growth process, the itch usually sets in.

This is where most men give up, as your beard is likely not looking too good yet, and you are starting to suffer from the horrible itching of the face, termed as “the beard itch

Good news is that like most things in life, the itch is temporary.

Moreover, you can reduce and even completely remove the itchiness with proper beard care routine, such as using beard oil, exfoliating the face, getting a quality beard brush, and using some really good beard wash.

Your beard may also grow really uneven, usually getting longer on the mustache and chin area and growing slower on the cheeks.

The uneven growth is natural and has a lot to do with the fact that your cheeks have less blood flow than the chin and upper lip do. I want to say that you shouldn’t be trimming yet. Chances are that you accidentally trim too much and give up on the whole process.

Stick trough this rough patch (pun intended) and glory awaits.

Beard Stage #3: Looking Unkempt

short bearded man smoking a cigaretteDuring the weeks 5-8 of your beard growth, your beard will start getting bushier and bushier, and you may even look a bit hobo-ish.

That’s OK. It’s all part of the progress and a good test of patience.

If you can’t make it through a few weeks of looking bit unkempt, then you likely don’t deserve a beard in the first place.

Depending on your growth rate, you may slowly start to trim and groom the beard a little bit, but don’t get into any craziness yet.

It’s best to keep at cleaning the neckline and maybe evening up the length a bit. Remember that some of the facial hair strands are growing in slower than others, and your beard has not reached its full thickness yet, even though it begins to look longer now.

Beard Stage #4: It’s a Real Beard

man with full beard outsideCongratulations! After 8 weeks, you should be rocking a real beard.

This is the time to start getting serious with the grooming and styling.

I highly recommend you to read through this long article of the best and most important beard & mustache grooming tips for starters.

Then familiarize yourself with the 10 best beard products.

You should be giving your beard the best care you possibly can; after all, it’s a neat trophy to show that you have the patience and the potential to rock a full face of fur.

If you’re at this stage and think your beard just doesn’t really look as it should (as in it has patches and the cheeks aren’t growing well) then, by all means, read through our article on 9 ways to stimulate beard growth naturally.

It’s not a typical article of that nature, there are some actual scientifically proven methods that do work (not the usual just drink water and eat protein broscience).

Conclusion on Beard Stages

The human beard growth phases include:

The anagen (growth phase), the catagen (transition phase), and the telogen (resting phase), after which everything starts again from the beginning and keeps repeating.

And the common beard growth stages include:

  • Weeks 1-2: The stubble stage.
  • Weeks 2-5: The itchy stage.
  • Weeks 5-8: The “unkempt” stage.
  • Weeks 8 →: The “it’s a real beard” stage

Thanks for reading. Now go make those whiskers grow!

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Ali Kuoppala is the founder of Beard Resource. He has authored and co-authored multiple men's health books and focuses on uncovering the methods of optimizing hormonal health & beard growth. To date, his articles on various websites have been read more than 15-million times.

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