Growing a beard is tough – there, we said it.
From actually producing the follicles to cultivating them into something approximating a style, every step of the beadsman’s journey presents persistent challenges. And that’s why so many men make terrible mistakes with their facial fuzz.
The cruel thing about beard mistakes is they’re very often unapparent to the poor sap who’s making them; every day you see someone wandering around with a neckline that’s too high, and think to yourself ‘how does he not see the problem?’
But the truth is, we’re all liable to make these mistakes – and there are absolutely tons of them!
So if you’ve ever had any doubts about how you should be managing your beard – if you’ve ever wondered ‘should I shave my neck when growing a beard?’ but had no real way of answering – we’ve got you covered.
In this article, we’re going to cover the 12 most common – and most disastrous – beard mistakes we see on a pretty much daily basis.
But not only that:
We’re also going to give you plenty of solid advice as to how to avoid these mistakes, or at least fix them once you’ve made them.
So without further ado, let’s jump right into the very most common mistake – impatience!
12 Common Beard Mistakes You Should Avoid at All Costs
1. Being Impatient
Too many men are under the impression that they simply aren’t capable of growing the kind of full, luscious beard that they desire. After a few months’ patchy growth, they get discouraged and defeated, chop the whole thing off, and pretend they never wanted a beard in the first place.
We get it: it’s frustrating.
But the truth is, you’re not alone.
The average beard growth is ½ an inch per month – hardly what you’d call fast. The speed at which you grow a beard depends on all sorts of factors, from your age to your genetics to the amount of testosterone in your system.
But even if you are on the slower side of things, there are plenty of things you can do to promote faster, thicker growth – from changing your diet and exercise routine to grabbing yourself some Minoxidil.
But the only thing you really need to avoid is impatience.
As the old saying goes, if something’s worth doing, it’s worth doing badly until you can do it well. And that’s definitely true of growing a beard: perseverance is always necessary, and if you can manage to stick with it, very few men truly ‘can’t’ grow a perfectly solid beard.
2. Careless trimming
Just like impatience, carelessness is a serious problem for many a beardsman.
Let’s be real:
Maintaining a really good beard does take time and effort. And for lots of us, that time is tough to find in our tight schedules.
That, however, is no excuse.
Maybe you’ve woken up and noticed a slight asymmetry in your sideburns; maybe you’ve got a couple of excess whiskers on your upper lip you want to get rid of. And you think, ‘oh, I’ll just have a quick trim and it’ll all be good’.
But the truth is, it won’t.
So many beard mistakes happen simply because a lack of care was taken in a relatively simple task – from accidentally shaving off the sideburns to leaving random patches in your cheeks.
The best way to avoid this is simply to put aside plenty of time every morning – even if you don’t need to shave every day – in order to correct any problems or do bits of detailing where necessary.
3. Using a shaver for everything
This is particularly pertinent for those who are prone to impatience or carelessness: using a shaver to try and get rid of outlying hairs.
While you might have a really great quality shaver – though that’s another point to discuss below! – you simply can’t rely on it for everything.
Getting a good pair of beard scissors will make little bits of upkeep like this way easier, and help avoid that horrible moment when you accidentally take off quite a bit more hair than intended…
The days of having to use one tool for everything are long over. It’s true that your electric shaver is great for trimming your beard when you’re in a hurry, but it’s not going to give you the precision and control that you need when it comes to shaping your beard.
The reason is that a shaver will cut at every angle, which can leave you with an uneven beard if you’re not careful.
4. Shaving too high on your neckline
We’ve all seen this one: the beard neckline that’s a touch too high and makes the man look utterly ludicrous.
The problem is, it makes sense that people do this: it seems like the ‘clean’ thing to do, to just ‘neaten up’ the inevitable growth on your neck.
At best, it looks a little shapeless; at worst, it’s like you don’t have a jaw.
One way to remedy this is to thin out the whole beard and start again; while not ideal, it will save you some real embarrassment.
To avoid it happening in the first place, you need to imagine a curved line between both of your ears – passing underneath your chin – and use it as a guide when figuring out where to stop trimming on the neckline.
5. Not learning the skills
Crafting yourself a beard that really suits you requires skill, and many simply never develop it.
This is a particularly common mistake for first-time beardsmen: not actually practicing the skills involved in maintaining a beard.
It’s all very well to assume you know what you’re doing with a razor. But the reality is, nobody is born able to beautifully detail or achieve an immaculately clean shave.
While it might seem silly or time-consuming, actually looking up proper techniques and practicing them will be about as good an investment as you can make.
The mistake here is really growing a beard without the ability to properly shape and style it; this leads to all sorts of unfortunate looks, where men who really ought to have a very carefully chosen beard just have a sort of wall of fuzz hanging off their face.
Though of course, which skills you need depends on what kind of equipment you use…
6. Using poor equipment
This is another rookie error: the assumption that tools don’t matter.
There is such a huge variety of products on the market, it can be completely paralyzing trying to figure out which ones are right for your needs, and which ones are best for your budget.
The mistake is just saying ‘screw it’ and deciding to stick with simple, ineffective tools that don’t cost much but which you don’t have to think too much about.
Apart from being less effective, bad quality equipment tends to get damaged and decay more quickly and makes the whole experience of looking after your beard far less pleasant.
Finding good quality reviews will help you whittle down your search and understand exactly what it is you need and how much you ought to be paying for it.
And having the right equipment will totally transform your beard routine.
7. Not brushing/combing it
Brushing your beard is not simply about keeping it neat.
But that assumption leads a ton of men to just ignore the need for brushing and assume their ‘wild’ look doesn’t need it.
I’ll let you in on a secret: even men who want that ‘unkempt’ look need to brush their beards.
You need to make sure you have the right comb for your needs, and that might be a small investment.
But it will be worth it: brushing helps train your hairs to grow downwards, making the beard easier to maintain. And it helps combat dandruff and general uncleanliness.
But perhaps most pertinently, it really helps evenly distribute and make the most of your beard oil…
8. Not using beard oil
Like having the right equipment, having the right care products is also essential. And perhaps even more easily and commonly overlooked.
Beard oil – when applied daily – helps keep the skin underneath your beard clean and moisturized; improve the appearance of your beard to make it shiny and healthy-looking; makes it easier to shave and maintain; and reduces itchiness and irritation to almost zero.
However, many men seem to think beard oil is an optional add on – or worse, a con!
The mistake here is really assuming that your beard is fine by itself, and doesn’t need any support or maintenance beyond your shaving routine. And that’s a real killer because the skin beneath your beard is just as important as the beard itself…
9. Thinking about your beard as independent
One of the easiest mistakes to make is thinking of your beard as somehow independent from the rest of your aesthetic.
Plenty of men put tons of thought into their beard and how to cultivate it correctly, but never actually realize that their beard totally doesn’t gel with their hair, or their facial shape, or their clothes.
People don’t atomize your appearance – they experience you as a complete package. And therefore you’ve got to take into consideration everything you’re presenting.
Too many men have great beards with completely uncomplimentary hair cut; plenty have wild, hipster beards with a vaguely corporate aesthetic.
There are absolutely no rights and wrongs – it’s just important not to have a total mismatch going on.
Getting advice here is crucial: ask your friends whether they think your beard really matches the rest of your look.
You’ll be able to tell what they think just from their reaction.
10. Washing incorrectly
There really is nothing more important than hygiene. Yet many budding beardsmen seem to think their beard is not part of that equation.
We’ve all seen men with great, well style beards which, despite the evident effort to detail and shape them, just look kind of gross.
And while some claim that this is intentional, that it’s ‘part of their look’, it’s hard to really believe any man wants to look unclean. You might as well leave food crumbs in it…
Washing your beard is especially important if you spend a lot of time exercising or working outside. But even if you’re stuck inside all day every day, your beard will still accumulate dirt, grease, and all the rest.
Now, many men make the related mistake of washing their beards with normal hair shampoo.
The problem there is that the shampoo tends to strip the beard of its natural oils, leaving the underlying skin irritable and itchy.
11. Neglecting the mustache
The mustache, for many, is the least glamorous facet of facial hair.
While many a man has rocked an exceptional ‘tache…
Plenty more have inflicted unholy monstrosities on us with their upper lip fuzz..
Because of this, many men simply overlook the mustache entirely, focusing on their beard and just sort of matching their ‘tache to that.
This is a mistake, because the mustache actually offers a range of possibilities to add a little extra subtly and style to your beard.
At the very least, it ought to be considered a key part of the day-to-day styling and maintaining of your beard.
But ideally, men should really be utilizing their mustaches in fun and interesting ways.
That is, as long as it suits them to do so…
12. Pretending to be someone you’re not
Great grooming is all about accentuating your strongest features.
But too often, men style their beards as if they wish they were someone else.
Now, there’s nothing wrong with trying to reinvent yourself or experiment with your style. The problem comes when it seems like your beard is doing the heavy lifting, and nothing else about you is changing with it.
With such a huge variety of beards to choose from, there is always going to be a beard which suits your specific features and your specific personality.
When you find the beard that does fit who you really are, it will always look better and more naturally than whatever trendy style you’ve decided to emulate.
Ultimately, grooming should be a way of embracing and enjoying who you are, not masking it. So rather than thinking that a beard is some kind of man makeup that will hide who you really are, you need to focus on finding a style that allows you to channel the best aspects of yourself.
So there we have it: the 12 biggest beard mistakes we see people making.
Of course, this isn’t an exhaustive list: we’re sure plenty of you have your own pet peeves, and we’d love to hear about them below.
What beard mistakes have you made in your journey to become a true beardsman? What advice would you give your younger, less beardy self? And how do you make sure you avoid these mistakes in your own life?
Let us know in the comments below, and please feel free to send this article over to anyone you know who could use a little help avoiding the pitfalls of beard-dom.