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How to Grow a Beard as Asian without minoxidil

When I was young, I was far away from wearing a mustache, and a beard would be impossible. Not just because of my friends´environment, but also because as an Asian, facial hair is not our strongest feature. 

However, growing older and changing your mind on many things in life, I started to grow and wear a beard. It is not easy, and tried to find a lot of information on the web, but very little is available, besides the marketing materials from Philips and Braun and many more, that may look like growing a beard was that easy. 

Growing beard asian

Slowly starting

I just want to share my journey how I grew a beard and share information as many ask me if this is something genetically or just a way of shaving. I thought I was never to wear a beard, but now I get many compliments how good it looks on me. 

I started obviously slowly with a period where I could grow my facial hair. The 2 weeks holiday was perfect for that: no colleagues or friends asking me if I was trying to change my looks  or trying to give me advice. And if it does not work after 2 weeks, I could still decide to shave it all off as nothing happened. 

3 Days beard for Asians?

One of the problems is that much on the internet is tuned for people who are not Asian. A 3 days unshaven non-Asian person could look great as where with an Asian it may look strange with just a few long hairs in some spots. That is why I had trouble finding the best guidance for this. 

Facial hair growth and density

The best advice is to grow it for at least 10 days without touching, facial hair grows approximately 0.4 mm per day. It does not matter if you have a lot of facial hair or little, the hair grows with that speed. 

What is different though is the density of the facial hair. And many Asians have that problem. It is not that difficult to grow a mustache for many. The hair density is high there, and the same applies to the chin. But when it comes to the cheeks, the density has significantly dropped. 

That is where guidance needs to come in how to shave and to be honest, there is not a lot of information I could find on that. Had to experiment, but practice helped a lot. 

What is the key to grow a beard

The method behind growing a beard is to shave the facial hair with different lengths. Shave it shorter where density is high, such as above the chin. And shave it longer where only few hair reside. 

Still easier said than done. I started from a baby face where missing one day shaving does not really matter.

After letting it go after a few days, it slowly came on. 

How to shave a 3 days beard for Asians

There are number of different areas in the facial hair area:
  1. Mustache, above the lip, this is where typically the density is highest and easiest to grow.
  2. Below the lip, above the jaw: this area has lower density, but still easier to grow than other parts of face
  3. Cheeks, sides of face, this is where hair density is lowest.
  4. Below Chin, above neck,
  5. Chin to Neck, the line between the vertical neck and horizontal chin
  6. Throat or neck, an area difficult to reach. 
The guidance is to shave each of these areas with different length, where you have highest density shorter and lower density longer.

To start with a so called 3 days beard, you would shave:
  1. Mustache       3mm
  2. Below the lip   5mm
  3. Cheeks            6mm
  4. Below Chin      5mm 
  5. Chin to Neck   3mm (transition horizontal to vertical)
  6. Throat or neck  0mm

It would be like this:

The result is like this: 

It is thin, not a full beard, but keeps its posture as a bit "rougher". It is just between where people would ask you if you "are you trying to grow a beard" instead of "did you forget to shave".

There are 2 areas that are a clean shave (0 mm). The vertical part of the neck or throat. You would always shave the throat area (vertical area) with a normal shaving machine and keep a nice clean line between under chin (horizontal area) and the neck (vertical area). Sometimes you may want to use an intermediate (3 mm) to make it less rigid the transition from beard to clean shave. 

The other part is on the cheek. Some prefer to shave it in a very strict line, but that only works if you have high density. it would not work for people with less density on the cheeks. the alternative is to grow it, but just cut the hairs which are too high on the cheek and really outside the beard area.

Week´s Beard

I used to wear the "3 day beard" for a while, but decided to grow it longer. To grow and shave it longer, I used the following: 
  1. Mustache      4mm
  2. Below the lip   6mm
  3. Cheeks           9mm
  4. Below Chin     4mm 
  5. Chin to Neck  3mm (transition horizontal to vertical)
  6. Throat or neck 0mm

The result is as following:
This is slightly fuller and looks as a clean look. 

Fuller beard for Asian

Later I even went for a slightly fuller beard: 
  1. Mustache      4mm
  2. Below the lip   9mm
  3. Cheeks           12mm
  4. Below Chin     7mm 
  5. Chin to Neck  4mm (transition horizontal to vertical)
  6. Throat or neck 0mm
The result is as following:

and looks like this:
 and from the side: 

As you can see this gives the fullest beard. The cheeks are covered with longer facial hair and even though its density is lower, it covers well.

When best and how often shave

The beginner´s mistake is to trim a beard after a shower. A wet beard is more difficult to trim than a dry beard as the hairs do not jump up. Best is to do the beard trimming the night before with a dry beard for best results. For the clean shave (0 mm), that needs to be done daily to keep it nice and clean and can be done also in the evenings or in the mornings. The 0 mm is best done with a normal shaving machine and not a trimmer to get a clean result and most likely is done with a wet skin.   

You need to let the beard give some time to grow every time. Every 2nd day is good to trim it again and leave it for the weekend with some rest. So Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday evenings are perfect to trim the beard. 

Also, when trimming the beard, do not push too much the machine. The trimmer has already special combs that keeps the distance right. Just a moderate pressure is enough just as pushing your finger on the table without feeling pain.

One other point here is that to find your style you can cut the beard just that the hair does not curl up and stays straight. It helps to comb it regularly with a fine comb and to put a bit of wax in it to keep it straightened. 

In other posts:
we  dive into beard trimmers and shavers.