After a decade of unwavering popularity, beards are still very much on trend. As more men sport facial hair than ever before, the substantial full beard has become a status symbol and the ultimate fashion accessory. Big, burly beards are a sought after look, but when it comes to facial hair, no one style suits all. A carefully curated beard can help highlight your best features and ensure you look your best. Here, we'll help you work out the optimal beard styles for your face shape, as well as how to grow a long beard, trim and maintain it at its best.
How to grow a full beard
Step 1: Stop shaving & trimming for a while
Growing any big beard style takes time and patience. Mother Nature won’t get to work overnight, so perseverance is key to achieving the big beard of your dreams. Wondering how long a beard takes to grow? Genetics, testosterone levels and lifestyle choices all have a part to play. The average growth rate for hair is around half an inch per month, so a full beard could take anything from three months to a year, depending on what kind of style you want. Eating a balanced diet, exercising, getting enough sleep and good beard care can help your beard grow faster, thicker and longer. However, the best tip for how to grow a long beard might just be patience. Don’t give up too soon.
Step 2: Condition your long beard regularly with beard oil to keep it soft & thick
Most people use products such as moisturisers to replenish their skin, and facial hair requires similar care and attention. Beard hair is subject to damage from environmental factors just like your skin. You can make growing a full beard easier by making beard oil your new best friend. Although oiling your beard regularly won't accelerate the rate at which it grows, conditioning your long beard can help prevent breakage, making it appear thicker and healthier than without. Massage in beard oil every day to keep your facial hair soft, conditioned and naturally shiny.
Step 3: Use a beard brush to groom it daily
Daily grooming is essential to growing and maintaining a long beard that's striking for all the right reasons – especially if you’re trying to grow a bold and big beard style. A quality beard comb or beard brush can work wonders to help you look at your best during the tricky growing phase. Even when shaving and trimming your beard is off the cards, you'll still want to make sure it looks well groomed. Invest in a quality boar bristle beard brush and keep it with you to prevent your full beard from knotting or becoming matted during the day.
Step 4: While growing a full beard make sure to shave & trim edges for an even result
When growing a full beard, remember that it's a journey. You may have to suffer your facial hair looking a little patchy or wild for a while until you get your desired look. Once you have enough hair to cover your face, it will start to grow out in volume. Using a beard trimmer while your facial hair grows may sound counterproductive, but proper maintenance will keep your long beard orderly and give it an enviable shape. Try using the Braun Series 9 shaving machine to tidy up the beard edges and ensure clean, even lines across your face.
Step 5: Use a beard shampoo daily to ensure you keep it clean & fresh
If you're growing a long beard or a full beard, good hygiene and cleanliness is really important. Most people shampoo and condition the hair on their head daily, so washing your beard at least three times a week should become an essential part of your grooming routine. Using a tailored beard shampoo is advisable, as some formulas can strip your beard of its natural oils and cause the hair to become dry, wiry and brittle. This can result in dreaded split ends or bald patches. Exfoliating regularly and using beard shampoo will help lock moisture into the hair follicles, which will then stop your beard from becoming dry or itchy.
How to trim a long beard
Step 1: Use a beard comb to brush in the direction of the hair
A good beard comb usually has two functions: wide teeth to glide through the thicker parts of your beard, and smaller teeth to tame your moustache. Brush your long beard in the direction you want it to grow, which will help tame any stray hairs. Start from your neckline and work towards your jawline and chin, then move onto your cheeks, separating all the hairs so they lay flat on top of each other. Once you've brushed your beard into the style you want, finally fan your moustache out and away from your mouth.
Step 2: Shave and trim around the beard to create the desirable shape
Figuring out how to trim a long beard in a way that suits you is essential to ensuring it keeps looking good. First, take beard scissors and snip away any longer straggly hairs. This is particularly important for full beard styles, which can easily get out of hand. Even if you have a long beard, you'll want to keep the hair between your neckline and Adam's apple neat and short with an electric shaver. To locate the midpoint of your full beard, place two fingers above your Adam's apple and tilt your head back. Clip everything below this imaginary line, following the curve up to your ears. The best beard trimmers for long beards have multiple attachments to help you prune your neckline and cheeks into the shape you want.
Step 3: Find the most suitable long beard trimmer for you
If you're growing or maintaining a full beard, having the right tools to hand is essential. No tool is more important than your long beard trimmer. Finding the best device for you can feel like a daunting task at first, but the key is to select one that's especially designed for long beards. These kits have multiple trimmers, blades and comb attachments that make styling your facial hair easy.
Step 4: Trim your sideburns & cheeks
Defining your sideburns and cheek line is really important to achieving a striking full beard look. These finishing touches can take you from scruffy to sophisticated in a matter of minutes. A softer, natural look requires less upkeep and can make your beard and face look bigger. A neater, more defined cheek line can help you create the illusion of strong facial angles and edges. Start by creating a line from your sideburn to the corner of your mouth. If your face is round, contour a straight cheek line to provide definition. If your face is long or angular, a curved beard cheek line can soften the contours of your face, giving you a friendlier appearance.
Step 5: Trim your moustache
Whether you want a soft or defined long beard, your moustache will require some precise upkeep. Simply comb your moustache hair over your lip and trim with scissors or a beard trimmer. You may find that you need to clip and maintain your moustache more frequently than the rest of your facial hair. If you'd like to make a statement, try trimming the moustache so that it’s a bit shorter than the beard. You can even curl it up with some beard wax for dramatic effect. The result will be the perfect companion to your long beard style.
Step 6: Shape your long beard according to preference
Not all beards are created equal, and it is important to work out the shape that suits you best. You can trim the lines of your beard to balance out your facial features, or throw the rulebook out the window and go for a style that makes a real statement. In terms of general advice on how to shape a long beard, you’ll find that thicker, fuller facial hair can help fill out a thin face. The reverse is also true – a long beard that’s clearly defined at the jawline can help slim a fuller face. Muttonchops can balance out a long face. Faded sideburns and a sharp outline create a smart impression, while a natural ‘woodsman’ style is great for making a bold impact.
Step 7: Use scissors to ensure you get every last stray
Quality scissors are a key part of every beard-owners kit. It may seem old fashioned compared to a top-of-the-range long beard trimmer, but scissors are a useful additional tool for those looking to maintain a natural look, and for those looking to prune every last stray hair into place. Whether your beard is close-trimmed or bushy, don't overdo it with the scissors. Make quick, light cuts at the tips to ensure it stays big and beautiful.
Step 8: Moisturise with beard oil and beard cream
While trimming your long beard regularly is important, adequate aftercare is also vital to keep your facial hair looking its best. Make sure you keep your newly pruned beard healthy by replenishing moisture after each trim. Work in a few drops of beard oil and massage into the entire area to help stimulate hair growth. For a heroic-looking beard, invest in some beard cream, wax or balm to keep your style polished and tidy all day long.
Step 9: Make sure you repeat trim every 3-5 days to maintain desirable length
How often you trim your beard comes down to personal preference, but to maintain good shape and thickness, try to trim it every five days. If you have a full beard style with more detail, you may find trimming every other day works best. Whenever you trim your beard, make sure you are not in a rush or mistakes may happen. Most people find it easier to shape their facial hair in the evening after a shower or bath, when they're more relaxed.
Most popular long beard styles
Style 1: The hipster beard
The bold and thick hipster beard is a perennial favourite style of the modern-day 'beard boom'. This distinctive designer full beard style is characterised by a carefully trimmed handlebar moustache, and is usually combined with a sharp, conservative haircut for a statement-making look. The contemporary hipster beard look can be compared to a well-groomed lumberjack or woodsman.
Style 2: The Viking beard
A wild and busy Viking beard is a big, bold choice that portrays strength of character. This tough look is not for the faint of heart. It takes a great deal of patience and precision to grow this type of beard to the upper chest, but the results are well worth it. For a classic Viking beard style, let the hair grow wild and free, then trim into a squarish block that's even all the way through. While light trimming is essential, ensure your Viking beard is connected all the way up to the sideburns to keep it authentic.
Style 3: The long goatee beard
The long goatee beard is one of the most rebellious and trendy styles to choose, synonymous with rock stars and biker communities. More recently a favourite of Idris Elba and Brad Pitt, this is the perfect long beard style for most face shapes. The long goatee beard works well for men who want to show off a voluminous amount of facial hair. To achieve this look, there is no limit to how long your beard can be; you just need to make sure the chin hair is immaculately pointed at the bottom. Use a precision trimmer to create the goatee outline around your chin and fix in place with beard wax.
Style 4: The braided beard
The braided beard has grown in popularity in recent years, and is born of the Viking beard trend. Just as the fierce Vikings would plait their long beard into a single braid or ponytail before going to war, many facial hair enthusiasts choose to grow their beard to a minimum of four inches to achieve this striking look. Beard oil is essential for creating a beautiful braid for your beard. Separate into three equal size sections and braid (not too tightly), securing the end with a little beard wax.
Style 5: The big bushy beard
When it comes to natural big beard styles, there's a fine line between good and bad. Popular in the '60s and '70s, the laid back big bushy beard can be an amazing classic look today given proper care. Just as there is a difference between a stylish bedhead hairstyle and unkempt hair, there is a difference between a beautiful big bushy beard and a neglected one. Out of all beard styles, this is the one in most need of occasional trimming with scissors to keep it looking its best. Use a beard comb to brush through any knots and tangles, and beard oil or beard cream to keep the hair in tip-top condition.