I knew the full beard trend was exploding when my 16-year old cousin tried to grow one. He came to me moping that he couldn't grow a full beard like some other guy at school. This post on how to style thin beard is for him and anyone else who wants a solid scruff but lacks the genes of a lumberjack.
What is the problem with patchy beard anyway? It is not what you think. Many guys look at their stubble in the mirror, rub it with their fingers and decide that they have spots where their beard doesn't grow. This maybe the case with some but in most cases beard patches appear because the hair in those spots doesn't grow as fast.
Regardless of the reason for the patches the question how to style thin beard remains. Instead of hating your uneven beard growth, embrace it and make the best of it. Here are some steps you can take to style your thin beard into a fuller looking one.
Let It Grow
As I mentioned earlier patchy beard is a result of hair growing unevenly. These slower growing hairs create visible patches.
Patchy beard is not unique only to guys with thin beards. It's universal. I have a medium-to-thick beard and I often notice some hairs longer than others. I also find certain spots where my hair growth is thinner. If I spend enough time over-analyzing each strand of hair, I'll convince myself that I have a patchy problem. I know this, so I don't.
Knowing what causes the patchy beard look, makes it easy to act. The first step to resolving the problem is to grow your beard out. This is easier said than done.
Many guys let their beard grow for a couple of weeks and when they see the uneven growth they get frustrated and shave the whole thing off. Instead of throwing your hands up in dispair, let your beard grow. If your beard grows naturally slower, give it its time. It may take a month to several months to get a good length but what you will notice is that some of the patches fill in.
The other benefit of letting your beard grow out is that you can easily see the growth pattern. In the majority of cases your beard will grow faster and thicker on your chin, mustache and along your jaw line. As a teenager these are the areas where your facial hair started appearing first.
When you've gotten sufficient beard growth you may notice that in some areas your beard is longer (most likely chin and jaw) and in other areas it is shorter (usually cheeks and neck). Now it's time to even things out.
Even It Out
After you've grown it out your beard probably looks messy and unkempt. It doesn't look good but we'll fix it in a moment.
The way to style thin beard is to even all hairs out. Start by combing your beard, so that all hairs fall into place. Just by combing it you will notice that your beard doesn't look as patchy.
Get a beard trimmer and setting it on a medium to long length to trim all areas. The idea is your beard to look the same length all around. Most hair length will come off the places where your beard is the longest. As you even your beard hair out, you'll notice that it looks neater and cleaner. You'll see things are starting to take shape.
A caution on trimming: an old barber's joke is that they can take hair off but they can't put it back on. The same is true for beard. When you do your first trimming pass start with a high setting. You don't want to cut off too much hair. The point is not for your beard to be short but even.
Comb and Outline
Combing your beard is key to making it look more consistent and, hence, fuller. You might think that it's pointless to comb your two strands of hair but trust me: it makes a difference. Get a beard brush like Beard Deluxe, which sells for about $10 on Amazon. Brushing your beard even if it is thin would give it neat, well-cared-for look and some luster.
As you take a long hard look, you'll notice that here and there you may have random hairs. You may also notice that your beard growth line is uneven. To deal with this issue, you will have to outline your beard. If you have very thin beard, you can use your trimmer with not adjustment on or you can use your razor.
When it comes to outlining (and pretty much to anything else) a single blade double edge razor would give you the most precision. Okay, it's really the straight razor that is the most precise tool but using it requires a special skill and practice, so I'd skip it for now.
If you haven't used a double edge safety razor before, check this article out: The 5 Best Safety Razors for Beginners.
When you outline your beard the key thing is to make your face look symmetrical. Dating back to Ancient Greeks the Western aesthetic standards for beauty were defined by symmetry. We find symmetrical and even arrangement beautiful, especially when it comes to body and face.
Even if you have visible patches in your beard as long as it is outlined symmetrically it will look great.
Thin Beard Styles
There are tons of thin beard styles to choose from. Some are better than others and some you should outright avoid. I personally favour styles that are more natural looking. Luckily, the recent beard trend emphasizes beard styles that look natural. Maybe even too natural.
I'd be amiss to say that the chinstrap, virtually in all its forms and shapes, is something you should avoid like the plague. Yes, it is a style that works for thin beard but its baggage as a symbol of douchebaggery is not worth sporting it.
Here are some cool beard styles that work especially well for thin beard.
What Not to Do When You Style Thin Beard
When it comes to styling thin beard there is some good and some awfully bad advice out there. Here are some of the recommendations I found that you should avoid.
Using Beard Fillers
Some sources advise filling out beard patches with a dye spray for beard. This is the equivalent of how some old people dye their mustache in copper red just for it to grow out half white two days later. Filler sprays make your beard look bad, it doesn't work and God forbid someone actually kisses your face.
Using Rogaine or Other Hair Growth Treatments
I've heard some guys use Rogaine on their face to make it grow thicker hair. Even if it works (I'm skeptical), once you stop using it, the results will be gone too. I'm not a fan of using drugs and chemicals when it is not really needed. Growing more hair is not really needed when your thin beard can look sexy and masculine.
Rocking a Chinstrap and Other Beard Styles with Questionable Reputation
Your beard style says a lot about you and the choices you make in life. Whether we like it or not, people pre-judge us based on our looks. What beard style you pick depends on your lifestyle. There are some styles you should think about twice.
It used to be popular in the early 2000's and I admit, I used to rock it back then too. Now, the chinstrap is at best out of fashion. Thanks to The Jersey Shore and some avid imitators, the chinstrap symbolizes all that is wrong with American men culture. I strongly recommend you avoid it unless you are casting for a reality TV show.
The horseshoe mustache can give you a masculine, rugged look that will match perfectly your biker leathers. I'm all for this style if it is done right. If you want to do it, stick to the classics. Any ridiculous freestyles on the horseshoe should never appear on your face.
Beard Figures and Other Patterns
Ludacris had a period when he rocked perfectly shaped triangle sideburns. It looked cool on him but then he is Ludacris. Almost anything looks cool on him. He is also an entertainer I get why he would wear such a beard.
When it comes to your beard, stay away from stylistic stunts. They rarely work out and even then they raise more questions than you might have good answers for.
Just Letting It Grow
Letting your beard grow out is one thing. Letting it take over your face like weeds is a different story. You want to keep your beard neat and clean, so regular trimming and maintenance is a must. If nothing else, at least those around you won't be weary you might ask them for change.
You may not have a lumberjack mane but there are many way to style thin beard. The key phrase here is to style it. I hope this guide to styling patchy beard helps you get the most out of your facial hair. You've got a trick of your own? Share it in the comments below. We always love hearing from you.