man with awkward beard

You decided to start growing out your beard, and everything seems to be going according to the plan…

First you go through the three lengths of stubble (the light stubble, medium stubble, and heavy stubble) which all happens during the first two weeks of beard growth.

But then something happens. Your facial hair doesn’t look quite as good anymore. It’s not stubble anymore, but it’s not a beard either.

What’s going on?

Well, my friend, you have just entered the awkward beard phase. This is the point where most newbie beard growers give up, and the point where your facial hair will probably look the worst it will ever look.

So buckle up and get ready to learn everything there is to know about the awkward beard growth phase.

What Exactly is the Awkward Beard

facial hair going through the awkward phase

The awkward stage of beard growth is the the short stretch of time that comes after the first two weeks of growing your beard and before the first month of beard growth.

It’s the point where your facial hair is long enough to not be a stubble anymore, but still short enough to not categorize as any style of beard.

The term “awkward beard” simply means that your beard is incredibly awkward and odd looking at this stage, as it will be hard to determine whether you have a stubble or if you’re trying to go for a beard.

It’s also during this awkward phase that your beard will look as patchy as it ever will, since you still have such a short beard that a lot of the skin is showing through, and some of the slow growing beard hairs haven’t even surfaced yet.

If you can grow a thick beard with good coverage, then it’s possible that you never have to deal with the awkward beard phases at all, although this is pretty rare and most men will at one point or another take a look at the mirror and think “man, my beard sucks today!”.

Depending on your genetics and beard growth rate, there can be multiple awkward phases in your beard growth journey, but most commonly this term refers to the odd-looking uneven growth that takes place during the weeks two to four of growing your beard.

How Long Does it Take Before My Beard Looks Good?

great beard

You can’t really expect a beard to look good after just a few weeks of growth.

During the first weeks of beard growth, your facial hair is slowly filling in, with some of the sleeper hairs still remaining stagnant and some of the faster growing ones getting unnaturally long, which makes your scraggly beard look uneven and patchy.

In other words, it looks awkward.

Usually the most troublesome area is the patchy mustache, which can look really out of place during the first weeks of growth as the hair will be so short that it won’t lay properly against the upper lip, instead it just sort of sticks straight out and looks weird.

Typically it will take anywhere from two months of beard growth to six months of beard growth before your facial hair will finally look like a real beard.

Of course the time it takes will vary greatly from person to person, as there are big differences between beard growth rates and the coverage from man to man.

How to Get Over the Awkward Beard Phase

Resist the Urge to Trim and Shape the Beard too Early

man trimming a short beard

When you enter the awkward beard growth phase, you will hate your beard.

Naturally, this will lead to urges of trimming and shaping the beard, maybe it looks so bad that you will want to completely shave your face.

I’m here to tell you that you should lay down the trimmer and razor, and just remain patient at least until the second month of beard of your beard journey.

Why?

Simply because you don’t have any clue yet what your beard will really look like. Even the best beards look weird during the awkward stage, and few weeks of growing a beard is not nearly enough to give you any hints about what’s coming.

So make a pact with yourself to not trim or shape your beard at all before you reach the two month mark. Just be strong and stick through this odd patch (no pun intended) of growth.

To be honest, it doesn’t even require any mental strength to do this.

I mean you just have to not shave or trim your face for 60 days, how hard can that be?

After you’ve made it through the awkward phase, if your beard still looks really bad and not like a proper beard, then you might start thinking whether it’s worth growing it out for any longer – or if you should just stick to a shorter style or stubble.

Use Beard Oil, the Itching is Part of the Awkward Stage

man applying beard oil to cheeks

It’s around the time of the awkward phase when your beard will get itchy (as if things weren’t bad enough already).

What causes the itchiness on most men, is that the short beard hairs will start to curl up against the skin, and the tips of the facial hair will push and scratch against it, causing itchiness and redness.

You can easily remedy this itch by using a small amount of either beard oil or a lotion-based beard moisturizer.

There are those men who never have to struggle with beard itch.Typically they are the guys who have super straight and thin beards though, so I wouldn’t call them lucky, as their beards likely won’t look as good as thicker itchier beards do when they’re grown longer.

Get Over the Jokes and Comments Made about your Beard

man points and laughs

As you can expect, and awkward beard will get a lot of negative attention.

Likely a lot of the people in your life (relatives, friends, co-workers, etc) will make remarks about your beard during the first few weeks – and a lot of them have to do with the fact that you should probably be shaving it off.

If you belong to a group of guys who make lighthearted jokes about each others appearance, then it’s only a matter of time before you will be called a “pube beard“.

The key to getting over this type of negative remarks about your facial hair is not to take them too seriously.

While there may be some people that are genuinely so toxic that they must constantly make fun of your newfound facial hair, most people who tell you to shave or something, are probably just making a lighthearted joke.

It’s up to you, how you react to it. The only thing that can make your awkward beard even more awkward, is if you can’ take a joke about it.

Some Beard Styling Products & Tools Can Be Helpful

beard styling product

The awkward beard likes to stick straight out, especially if its on the thicker side, and this can look pretty odd.

You can try using some beard wax to make your beard lay flat against the skin, and if that doesn’t do the trick, then know that there are also some beard straighteners which are designed for short facial hair

The third option that can make your awkward beard look better is to use a blow drier on the beard after the shower, albeit this isn’t the most effective way of making facial hair lay flat against the skin and definitely isn’t the fastest either.

Personally I would just wait it out though. Short beard hairs are notoriously difficult to tame and manage, no matter what tricks you try to do.

Stop Focusing On your Beard and Do Something Else Instead

men playing pool

At the end of the day, the awkward beard will keep looking more and more awkward if you keep staring at it from the mirror and constantly worrying about how others might feel about it.

So stop focusing so much on your facial hair and try to focus on something else. I’m sure there are more important things in your life than worrying about the current state of your facial hair.

Also stop comparing your beard to other beards. There will always be beards that look better – even during the awkward phase – as yours, and comparing yourself to these will only make you feel bad about your own journey.

Since the quarantine means that a lot of us are shelled inside for the unforeseeable future, there has never been a better time to grow your beard out.

Who cares about your awkward stage if they’re not even there to see it taking place?

Conclusion

The awkward beard phase is the phase of beard growth that takes place after two weeks and before one month of growing your facial hair.

It’s at this point when your facial hair will look out of place, super patchy, and awkward. It’s also too long to be a stubble but too short to be a proper beard, which also contributes to its awkwardness.

The key to making it through this short period of time is just to be patient and stick to your beard growth goal.

Don’t care about any remarks or jokes about your facial hair and make sure to not trim or shape yours too soon. Let nature do its thing, and you will be rocking a great looking beard after a few months.

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Ali is a published author and a beard grooming expert. To this date, his articles have been read more than 15-million times on various sites, and he has helped thousands of men make their beards look better and grow thicker. His work has been featured and cited in Seeker, Wikihow, GQ, TED, and Buzzfeed.

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