A bearded journey can be filled with frustration, often because it can be tough to know what to expect and what’s “normal” at any point in time. Here’s everything you need to know about the 4-week beard.
What it looks like, how long it’ll grow, how to maintain it, and more.
Let’s get to it.
What Does 4-Week Beard Growth Look Like?
The average 4-week beard will look like this:
But notice how I said “average”. Some will grow more and some will grow less, as people vary so widely in their rate of growth.
However, most people will have a beard that resembles something like the picture above after 4 weeks of growth – assuming you’re starting with a clean-shaven face.
A common problem people find after 4 weeks of growth is patchiness.
While some might be lucky enough to not have it, many do and find it a hurdle that’s tough to jump over. In fact, it’s a common reason for people giving up and reaching for their trimmer.
Unfortunately, at the 4-week mark, hairs often appear as though they’re growing in a variety of different directions.
In addition, there will be parts of the beard that just haven’t kept up in terms of growth yet.
However, it’s important to not let this put you off.
While it may seem like a long period of growth, it’s still pretty early in the bearded journey.
The best thing you can do is simply give it more time.
How Long Does A Beard Grow In 4 Weeks?
After 4 weeks of growth, you can expect the average beard to have grown approximately half an inch.
A common rule-of-thumb that people use is that facial hair tends to grow at a rate of around half an inch per month.
After 4 weeks (i.e 1 month), half an inch is a pretty reasonable estimate for this reason.
However, don’t be discouraged if you fall a couple of millimeters short of this. As I said earlier, people vary widely in terms of how fast or how slow their beard grows.
The beard is so short at this point that trying to measure it using a tape measure or ruler would be pretty pointless in any case.
The best thing to do at this point is to not fret over the number of millimeters a beard has grown and to just give it more time before coming to any conclusions.
One thing to note about the 4-week beard is that it’s a notoriously itchy stage of growth.
It’s at a typically awkward stage where facial hair gets long enough to benefit from some maintenance such as oiling and brushing. I’ll talk more about maintenance later on.
But the length it usually achieves by this point (i.e half an inch) can be itchy regardless of how much you try to maintain it.
It may seem like a losing battle at this point – patchiness, itchiness – quitting can seem like the easiest option.
But it’s important to try and push through. Just note that it’s common for people to struggle at the 4-week mark and sometimes you may even see some improvement after just 2 or 3 more weeks.
What Is The 4 Week Beard Rule?
The “4-week beard rule” states that you shouldn’t attempt to trim your beard until after a full 4 weeks of growth.
This is surprisingly difficult to do, especially if it’s your first time growing a real beard.
The main reason it can be tough is due to the patchiness and itchiness I described above. You feel as though you want to neaten up the borders or snip away at flyaways to try and improve things.
However, in general, it’s best to avoid any form of trimming until after the 4-week mark if you’re looking to grow your beard out even longer.
The most you should be doing at the 4-week mark would be keeping the neckline tidy. Doing so isn’t essential so early on, but it may make you feel a little more presentable. Little things like this can make this notoriously awkward phase a little more bearable.
However, if you’re simply looking to maintain a beard at the 4-week length (i.e half an inch) without any intention of growing it out even longer, trimming and maintenance become essential.
How To Trim And Maintain A 4 Week Beard: Tips
A “permanent” 4-week beard can look great, but given the known issues of patchiness and itchiness people can struggle with at this point, there are certain tips that can really help.
If your main objective is to grow a beard longer than a 4-week beard, ignore all of these tips except for neckline maintenance maybe. Just let it grow longer and worry about trimming later.
If you want a permanent 4-week beard, however, these tips should see you through.
1. Trim Every Few 4 or 5 days
In order to maintain a 4-week beard, you’ll need a beard trimmer capable of trimming down to half an inch because this is the average length you’d expect.
This amounts to approximately 12 to 13mm in length.
It’s important to note that not all beard trimmers will come with a length guard for trimming down to these lengths, so it’s important to ensure that yours does before you buy it.
If you’ve already got a beard trimmer and don’t have a length guard for either of these lengths, don’t worry about it. Just trim down to the length nearest to this instead.
If you find that trimming down to the 4-week mark leads to too “unnatural” of an appearance, simply snipping flyaways with a pair of beard scissors would be a much better option.
But how often should you trim?
Well, the good thing about the 4-week beard is that it’s long enough for a couple of millimeters’ growth here or there to not look too messy or noticeable.
You could go without trimming for 4 or 5 days and get away with it.
However, you may want to shave your neck stubble and define your neckline more frequently than this if you want to keep things looking neat.
2. Define The Borders
By “borders”, I mean the neckline and the cheek lines.
The neckline is where your neck hair meets your neck skin. A poorly defined neckline will lead to neck hair.
This is never a desirable look, especially when the beard hair is pretty short as it is with the 4-week beard because the neck hair is clearly visible.
There are plenty of detailed tutorials on defining beard necklines online. But, in short, the main objective is to make sure it’s well-defined and set at the right level.
A high neckline can be just as bad as the dreaded neckbeard. High necklines are those that lie too close to the jawline and in extreme cases even slightly above it – especially when viewed while the mouth is open.
Ultimately, the neckline should lie approximately one to two (maximum) finger-widths above the Adam’s Apple before roughly following the angle of the jawline to either side.
It should maintain that minimum distance away from the jawline from one end of the neckline to the other, no matter what.
But it can still follow the angle of the jawline to get an aesthetically pleasing shape.
3. Start Beard Brushing
Beard brushing has great benefits but it’s something that many people delay for way too long.
Once you’ve got around 3 or 4 weeks of growth, it’s usually time to start brushing that beard.
One of the benefits is that it starts to train the beard to grow in your desired direction. With the 4-week mark being a phase where it can be tough to keep hairs lying straight and flat, a daily brush can start to work it the way you want it.
It can also distribute natural sebum so that it doesn’t accumulate and cause a greasy appearance. Instead, it’ll redistribute the sebum across the entire 4-week beard and also from root to tip.
This will give it a nice and natural sheen instead of a greasy appearance. Some might even find that this, in itself, will reduce the appearance of patchiness.
2 Week Vs 4 Week Beard: A Comparison
A 2-week beard will usually be around 7 to 8mm long, while a 4-week beard will usually be around half an inch long.
Here’s a picture of what you should expect from a 2-week beard:
As you can see, it really only amounts to a little more than heavy stubble. In many ways, it’s at the border between a “stubble beard” and a “short beard”.
I’ve written more extensively about the 2-week beard if you’re interested.
But the main differences between the 2-week beard and the 4-week beard are the levels of patchiness and itchiness you should expect.
After 2 weeks, the beard isn’t usually long enough for patchiness to really become obvious. It can sometimes feel itchy but isn’t usually as itchy as a 4-week beard.
The 2-week beard is also too short for the benefits of beard brushing to really be relevant, unlike the 4-week beard.
Overall, people seem to cope better with a 2-week beard than they do with a 4-week beard, mainly because of the patchiness and itchiness you often get with the latter.
There you have it. Hopefully, everything you could want to know about the 4-week beard.
What it looks like, how long it can grow, and more.