Ah, the 12mm beard. Masculine, striking, and yet surprisingly easy to maintain. It’s short enough to be considered a “short beard”, yet long enough to never be confused with stubble.
Its benefits are similar to those of most short beards. Relatively low maintenance requirements, versatility, and soft texture are usually emphasized.
However, the beard is long enough to require additional grooming habits, including brushing, oiling, and potentially balming. This is, of course, if you’re aiming for exceptional results (which you should be).
If all you’re looking for is a great 12mm beard trimmer, the Brio Beardscape will serve you well. Check it out on Amazon here. Premium ceramic blades, an exceptionally quiet yet powerful motor, and impressive battery life to boot. I’ll be talking more about it later.
But there are more pressing matters to discuss first. Like what it looks like, how long it takes to grow, and more.
As a bonus, I’ll briefly discuss a few great styles that work well with this length of facial hair.
If you’re interested, here’s an article listing my most recommended beard trimming and grooming products of the year.
Now, let’s get to it.
What Does A 12mm Beard Look Like?
It can be difficult to visualize without seeing it for yourself. The beard length is easy to sculpt into a variety of different styles – that’s one of its main benefits.
However, you can expect a classic 12mm beard to look like that.
It’s long enough to never be confused for scruff or stubble. For that reason, it’s a great length for men looking to make a statement.
Men who want to emphatically declare themselves as “bearded” without having to commit to a Gandalf-esque floor sweeper of a beard may find that 12mm may be the perfect short beard length.
How Long Does It Take To Grow A 12mm Beard?
Around 4 to 5 weeks. As I always say, every man’s rate of beard growth is different. It depends on various factors including genetics and nutrition.
But on average, you can expect it to take around this length of time for a man to grow 12mm worth of length.
It does take some patience, commitment, and determination. Although it may not seem like such a long time, many men give up prematurely due to frustration about their lack of progress.
Knowing how long it usually takes will help you overcome this frustration and push forward until you reach your desired threshold.
Beard growth takes time. Unfortunately, the rate of beard growth is one of those factors we have very little control over. What we do have control over is proper grooming.
This leads me to the next point quite nicely.
Important Factors To Consider
Before deciding to embark upon the pursuit of this short beard, there are certain factors to take into account.
They may not all be that important to you, but be aware of them at the very least.
1. It will require some additional grooming habits
As I mentioned at the very top, this beard length has the benefit of relatively low maintenance requirements. That’s when compared with longer beards.
But unlike stubble, short beards do require a bit of extra TLC. It isn’t enough to just trim, shave, and let it be.
12mm of facial hair is still fairly substantial. Without adequate grooming, it can get very untidy, very quickly.
But “grooming” is such a non-specific word. What exactly does it mean?
When it comes to beard care, I use the term to describe any maintenance requirement other than trimming and shaving.
Some examples include brushing, combing, balming, oiling, waxing, etc.
When it comes to the 12mm beard, I would focus on these ones; beard oil, beard brushing, and potentially beard balming.
It isn’t long enough to require combing. Plus, waxes and pomades might be overkill at this point.
Beard brushing is crucial once you get to around 4 weeks’ worth of growth. I always recommend starting to brush early. It trains the beard to grow in the desired directions and also re-distribute nourishing natural oils.
Beard oil is also a simple measure to incorporate into your routine. For a 12mm bead, 2 or 3 drops of beard oil should be enough.
Apply it before you brush your beard so those boar bristles can distribute it evenly throughout your beard; from the roots to the tips.
It gives the beard a nice, gentle shine while also thoroughly moisturizing the hair as well as the underlying skin. A beard that smells irresistible takes masculinity to debonair new heights.
Finally, consider some beard balm. Of course, this isn’t essential.
In fact, if you’ve just got a straightforward, classic 12mm beard with hair on the chin, cheeks, and mustache, you may not need it.
But if you were trying out a more complex style, or if you simply wanted to make sure those stray hairs stayed down, it may be worth trying. Unlike beard oil, beard balm has a level of hold. It’ll keep hairs in place.
It’s not as strong as wax, for instance, but it would be more than enough for a short beard.
As you can see, it doesn’t require much. However, these additional habits would be encouraged as a bare minimum.
2. It can be quite a patchy length
12mm is quite an “awkward” length. Unfortunately, it’s within a length range where a lot of promising beardsmen decide to throw in the towel.
The main issues here would be itchiness and patchiness.
There isn’t a whole lot to say about itching. Unfortunately, it happens – even at much shorter lengths.
Proper beard care as described above, as well as regularly moisturizing your facial skin should minimize it.
Patchiness is a villain that most bearded men will have to face at certain points.
12mm is a length at which patches become a little bit more obvious. It’s long enough for the discrepancy between thinner areas and thicker areas to become more noticeable.
However, it isn’t quite long enough for these thin areas to be “covered up” by longer hairs if you wanted them to.
The cheeks are a common culprit, with the chin and mustache areas often enjoying thicker growth.
If patchiness plagues your bearded existence, a simple solution might be to try out a style that excludes the patchy areas of your beard. For example, if you’ve got patchy cheeks, try a goatee with chinstrap.
Sometimes, the simplest solutions are the best.
Regularly brushing the beard will help to straighten, flatten, and unclump the hair. This should all help to minimize patchiness as well.
Finally, an unclean and sweaty beard is more likely to tangle and clump up. This will, of course, make it look patchier still.
Washing your beard with water only is a very reasonable alternative.
Ultimately, there are things that can be done. Try not to let itchiness or patchiness stifle your short-bearded dreams. Push through, and find a solution.
If you really can’t find a reasonable solution, try growing the beard out just a little bit longer to see if that patchiness fills itself out.
3. Defining the neckline is crucial
A short beard doesn’t have the benefit of being able to cover the neck. The neck is still very much on show unlike with beards where long chin hair is able to hide it.
Allowing neck hair to run wild is a definite no-no. When all you’ve got is 12mm worth of length, neck stubble will be very much on show. This could look wild, unruly, and untidy.
The worst is when that neck hair starts to crawl towards your chest hair, almost trying to merge with it. Avoid this at all costs.
Defining a solid neckline, for that reason, is absolutely essential.
Trim a neckline that isn’t too high and isn’t too low. Allow it to roughly follow the angle of your jawline, and have its lowest point be two finger-widths above the Adam’s Apple.
That should ensure that it isn’t trimmed too high.
Benefits Of The 12mm Beard
These benefits aren’t specific to the 12mm beard, as they’re shared among lengths within this “short beard” range.
1. It’s quite soft to touch
One of the downsides of stubble is that it can feel like sandpaper against the skin, especially when it’s particularly short.
Although there are things that can be tried to soften stubble, the most effective way to do it is to simply grow it a little bit longer.
The first person to complain of coarse or rough facial hair is usually your partner.
There isn’t really a good way to console a partner complaining of stubble rash due to those sharp bristles mercilessly rubbing against their face.
The simplest way to soften facial hair is to simply grow it a little bit longer. As the strands of hair get longer, the edges will round out and it will feel soft to touch.
One of the beauties of short beards is that they’ve passed the prickly phase and if groomed properly can feel very comfortable to touch.
Other softening tactics you can deploy include regularly brushing to distribute that natural sebum oil. Beard oil will also help too due to its moisturizing properties.
2. It’s versatile
I mean this in two ways. One is that it can be sculpted into a number of different styles – there’s just enough hair in order to do this.
Another is that this length would be considered “acceptable” in a number of different contexts. Whether it’s a wedding or a job interview, you’ll probably be alright.
Of course, some workplaces may not be as welcoming. For instance, a corporate office might prefer freshly shaven or light stubble at most.
In addition, the military is generally quite clear about what they’ll accept. ¼ to ⅛ inch of facial hair is usually all that they would tolerate.
But for the most part, the 12mm beard is still short enough to be considered very versatile indeed.
Ultimately, the opinions of other people shouldn’t really matter to you too much. But at the end of the day, sometimes, you may need to make sure your beard is “OK”.
The Best 12mm Beard Trimmer
Although there are quite a few good ones out there, The Brio Beardscape is fantastic for this length range.
Its key features include premium ceramic blades and a wide range of length settings. Yes, this includes a 12mm attachment guard.
It also has a powerful, yet surprisingly quiet motor with five adjustable speed settings ranging between 5000 to 7000 RPM.
I don’t want this to sound too much like a sales pitch, because this post is intended to be informational. But you can check it out on Amazon here if you’re interested.
3 Styles You Can Try Out With 12mm Of Facial Hair
Don’t get me wrong – there are many, many styles you can try out. But these three are extremely popular and worth trying out.
1. The Short Boxed Beard
A simple, straightforward style with hair on the chin, cheeks, and mustache. The lower corner of the sideburn is connected to the mustache by a well-defined cheek line.
The neckline is also well-defined and neck stubble is meticulously removed.
As you can see, this style certainly isn’t rocket science. It’s also incredibly versatile and easy to maintain.
It has the added benefit of contouring the most defining features of a man’s face – the cheekbones and the jawline.
2. The Goatee
This style is definitely universal. It would be hard to find a country in the world where you wouldn’t be destined to see it on a daily basis.
A goatee traditionally only referred to tufts of hair on the chin, but since the 90s its modern definition often includes a mustache as well.
The chin beard and mustache may be connected to encircle the mouth, or they may not.
Ultimately, the only rule that must be followed is that there cannot be any hair on the cheeks. If there’s hair on the cheeks, it isn’t a goatee.
3. The Van Dyke
This should always be considered a variant of the goatee, because there is hair on the chin but not on the cheeks. The mustache and chin beard are disconnected.
But there are a couple of distinguishing features that differentiate it from your classic disconnected goatee shape. I go into these in more detail in this article on the goatee vs the Van Dyke.
But in short, the Van Dyke usually includes a handlebar mustache (curled at the tips) and a chin beard that’s shaped into a downward-facing triangle.
You may not always have both of these features, but you’ll always find at least one. If you don’t have either, what you’re looking at can really only be described as a generic “disconnected goatee” style.
The 12mm beard is an exceedingly popular choice for men who want to opt for the middle ground. Stubble just won’t cut it, and long beard styles are often too much of a hassle.
Short beard styles are also great for men looking to “test the waters” before diving full-on into a longer length.
Hopefully, you’ve found this guide helpful. You’ve learned what it looks like and what it could do for you.
I’ve listed a few popular styles you could try out, but trust me – there are many, many more. At this length, versatility is definitely a key feature.