The 10mm beard lies firmly within “short beard territory”, after having crossed the border from stubble several weeks beforehand.
It’s a beard length that’s fairly straightforward to keep neat but has a tendency to grow unruly in men who neglect their grooming duties.
I’ll be discussing everything you should know about this beard length if you’re thinking of adopting it. What it looks like, how long it takes to get there, how to trim it, and more.
The trimmer I’ll be recommending for the 10mm beard is, once again, the Brio Beardscape. It’s a favorite of mine due to its lightweight design, quiet motor, and exceptional versatility. More on that later, but you can check it out on Amazon by clicking here.
It’s a beard length you’ve most likely come across time and time again, whether or not you’ve realized it. Some beards were no doubt better groomed and maintained than others.
Without further ado, let’s make sure you’ve got the know-how to remain a cut above the rest.
Also, if you’d like to know my most recommended beard trimming and grooming products of the year, check this article out.
What Does A 10mm Beard Look Like?
Being able to estimate a man’s beard length (including your own) can be difficult. The main reason for this is that the hair within a beard often varies in length, either by design or by nature.
Several styles incorporate different beard lengths in different areas of the beard.
Some choose to keep certain areas of the beard longer than others to make them look thicker.
For instance, the common problem of patchy cheeks is often attempted to fix with this technique.
Of course, there are also hairs at different stages of the growth cycle, which is why you may frustratingly see clusters of hairs that stick out from the rest.
What you want to be able to recognize is when yours or when someone else’s is on average around the 10mm mark. Use the photograph below as a reference.
Try to ingrain it into your mind as an example of a man that on average has a beard length of 10mm.
Of course, the easiest way to be certain that your beard is 10mm is to trim it to that length. I’ll come on to that part soon enough.
How Long Does It Take To Grow A 10mm Beard?
Around 4 weeks. In reality, one man’s rate of beard growth differs from another. It may take you longer, or shorter than this.
But again, the average time is what we’re talking about here.
If you’re looking to maintain a 10mm beard, there’s an important point to be made here. You’ll need to grow it out for longer before trimming down to 10mm.
In other words, to be sure you’ve surpassed 10mm before trimming down to 10mm, grow it out for around 5-6 weeks to be certain.
This way, you can confidently attach that size guard and be pretty sure you there’s enough there to trim down to 10mm.
If you start trimming and you don’t seem to be catching any hairs, don’t panic. You just need to give it a little more time to reach the 10mm threshold.
Is The 10mm Beard For You?
We’ve talked about what it looks like and how long it may take to get there. But the question is, is it for you?
When contemplating this decision, it’s important to consider two factors.
1. It can be quite an “awkward” length
What I mean is that it lies within quite an awkward stage of growth. It’s a length at which many men, unknowingly, tend to quit on their beards.
One reason for this is that at this length, patchiness can become more prominent.
There’s often a sweet spot at the border between stubble and short beard (around 5-6mm) after around 2 weeks of growth. At this length, men often find that the patchiness of short stubble tends to become less noticeable.
But grow it out just a couple of millimeters longer, and patchiness increases in prominence again. This is usually because variation in length is more noticeable, as longer hairs are sat next to relatively short hairs or even bare skin.
This is a common complaint at the 10mm mark. Not for everyone, but for a significant proportion of men.
Another common complaint at this beard length is itching. As the beard hair grows longer, clumping and tangling become more of an issue. More hairs stick out from the rest, again due to variation in length.
The frustrating thing is this. At 10mm, the beard isn’t long enough for gravity to work its magic and flatten things out. You’ll have more hairs facing different directions, sticking out, tangling, and prickling against the skin.
But this brings me on to the next point you need to consider.
2. Proper grooming is essential at this length
The “awkwardness” of this length can be helped. The problem is, too many men reach for the razor before trying to.
At this length, just letting it be can be a fatal error. It is long enough to require proper grooming. By “proper grooming”, I don’t just mean washing.
Without appropriate care, the itchiness and patchiness will be more likely to get to you. Also, at this length, a badly-groomed beard can look very untidy indeed.
Excellent first-time purchases at this length would be a good quality boar bristle beard brush and some beard oil.
The benefits of beard brushing are far-reaching, and the benefits of starting early are even more so. The main one is that you train the beard hairs to grow in the direction you want, so over time, you’ll need to do it less to keep it looking neat.
Beard oil will nourish and moisturize the hair shafts, as well as the skin underneath. This helps to reduce the itchiness, and also gives the beard a nice, mild shine.
Benefits Of The 10mm Beard
We’ve talked about a couple of reasons to be cautious. Now let’s talk about why this length may be for you.
1. It’s still short enough to be considered “versatile”
I’m treading carefully here. I’ve had medium to long beards before, and I’d always considered them versatile as well.
But I’d be kidding myself if I was to think that every length and style of facial hair would be accepted in every context. For instance, it’s unlikely that a Ducktail would be welcomed in the military or an investment bank.
The 10mm beard, on the other hand, is still short enough to skate through without drawing too much attention to itself.
This is definitely the case when it’s well-groomed as well.
Having said that, it’s still long enough to be considered a beard and for you to be considered a bearded man. That was always important to me.
2. There are enough styles to choose from
When you get to the 10mm mark, there are more options available to you. The pickings are still pretty slim, but that’s OK. There is enough hair there to experiment with.
Whether it’s a Van Dyke, a Short Boxed, or some Friendly Mutton Chops, there is enough there to work with.
But there’s a high chance you may just want a classic, no-nonsense beard without the frills. This is also completely fine. But if ever came a day where you wanted to try something a little more adventurous, just know that the option is available to you at this beard length.
The Trimmer You Should Use For The 10mm Beard
This is a tough question to answer because there are several excellent beard trimmers on the market right now.
But the first point to address is that at this length, I’d still advise a beard trimmer over clippers. The narrower blades of a trimmer give you more control when it comes to styling.
They can also cut closer to the skin in areas such as beneath your neckline and above your cheek line. This will keep it neat, and also make it easier for you to shave these areas afterward if you wish to.
Plus, there just isn’t enough hair there to justify using a set of clippers.
Another point is that the best trimmers on the market at the moment don’t come with a “10mm size guard”. It isn’t a particularly common length to trim to.
The Brio Beardscape. Its powerful motor, beautiful LCD and unique ceramic blades have always treated me well.
If you’re interested, click here to check it out on Amazon.
It comes with a 9mm size guard, which is close enough in my opinion. In fact, in a way its perfect. It’ll grow out to 10mm within a day or two of trimming and look more natural than a freshly trimmed beard.
How To Grow, Trim And Maintain A Classic 10mm Beard
This is a simple, step-by-step tutorial on how to achieve a classic 10mm beard. It consists of hair on the chin, cheeks, and mustache. Nothing fancy, but boy can it look stylish.
The main area to focus on is keeping it neat. The beard should look even, but natural and the borders should be well-defined with minimal stray hairs outside them.
Even if you’re going for a different style, the principles in this tutorial will almost certainly apply to you as well.
I think it’s safe to assume you’ll want an even-looking beard, with neatly defined borders, regardless of the style you’re going for.
1. Grow it out
Like I mentioned earlier before you can trim down to this length, you need to go beyond it first.
In general, 4 weeks is how long it’ll take you to reach the 10mm mark. But 6 weeks is a safe bet. At this point, you can be pretty sure you’ll be catching hairs when you go for the trim.
2. Trim down to 10mm
Or nearly 10mm. As I said, it’s quite likely you won’t have an exact 10mm size available with your trimmer. But that’s OK.
As long as you can get near enough, it’ll all be fine. But trim shorter as opposed to longer if you can. This way you’ll grow into the 10mm mark.
So trim it all down. Here are some tips:
- Beard hair notoriously grows in multiple different directions, so vary the angle you trim to maximize the number of hairs you catch. Trim up, down, left and right, all over your beard.
- I generally start with the chin and mustache because these are the thicker areas. Sometimes I keep the cheek hairs a little longer to make the beard look more even overall.
- Keep the skin taut as you trim it to make it easier to catch the trickier hairs. It also minimizes the risk of nicks and cuts.
- The area immediately under the jawline can be difficult. What I usually do is gently pull my lower cheeks upwards so these hairs come into view. It makes them so much easier to trim.
3. Define the neckline and cheek line
There are two main borders you should aim to keep neat, particularly when the beard is short. These are the neckline and the cheek line.
The neckline is the border between the beard and the neck skin. The cheek line is the border between the beard ad the cheek skin.
The reason it’s more important to keep these borders (particularly the neckline) more neat at shorter lengths is that there isn’t a long fore beard to hide any stray stubble on the neck, for instance.
Neck stubble can look very shabby indeed. It has no redeeming qualities and there aren’t many contexts in which it could ever be considered acceptable.
You should aim to have a well-defined neckline that is not too high and not too low. Once you’ve defined this line, aim to have no neck hair beneath it.
Here’s what you do:
- Place your second and third fingers horizontally above your Adam’s Apple. Make a mental note of the point just above the top finger. This point will be the lowest point of the neckline.
- Visualize a U-shaped curve from earlobe to earlobe, passing through this magical point you’ve just plotted.
- Slant the curve slightly upwards in either direction so that it roughly follows the angle of the jawline. This keeps it looking natural, and also defines the jawline nicely.
- This is the line you want to trim. Using the naked blade of your beard trimmer, outline this line you’ve just plotted out in your head. Then, trim everything beneath it as close to the skin as you can get.
- After this, I’d advise that you shave over it with a razor or electric shaver. This ensures that you get as close a shave as possible beneath the neckline.
Following these steps gives you a very neat looking neckline with a gloriously well-kempt neck.
When it comes to the cheek line, keep it simple.
Although there shouldn’t really be a hard-and-fast rule, a good guide would be to visualize a line running from the corner of the sideburn to the corner of the mouth.
But simply trimming this line may be unnatural for your specific beard. It’s usually best to just follow the path of your natural cheek line, and just trim and shave any hairs that lie above it.
This keeps it looking neat and well-defined.
Please don’t forget. Part of the reason I love having a beard is that I don’t have to incessantly shave, irritating and drying out my skin.
But I regularly shave outside the borders of the beard to keep it looking neat. Because of this, my neck skin and cheek skin do tend to become irritated.
The best remedy for this is to moisturize as soon as you’ve shaved. Keeping the skin well-nourished is actually one of the most important aspects of facial hair grooming.
So there you have it. That’s pretty much everything you could possibly want to know about the 10mm beard length.
Although it isn’t perfect, I’m a huge fan of this length. I actually adopted it myself for quite a long time.
When trimmed and groomed properly there aren’t many contexts in which it wouldn’t look good. But the core principles of beard grooming – brushing, oiling, and so on, are definitely important at this length.
Try the length out for yourself. Who knows, you may just love it.