A full beard is the quintessential family of beard styles. As the name suggests, they can be recognised by their fullness in the sense that none of the facial hair is shaved off, overly contoured, or groomed.
In this guide, you will learn all about full beards as well as how to trim one into the style that best suits your face shape:
- What Is A Full Beard?
- What Is A Natural Beard?
- Bardholz Beards
- What Is A Garibaldi Beard?
- What Is A Verdi Beard?
- How To Grow A Full Beard
- How To Trim A Full Beard
- Full Beard Care
- Will Full Beard Suit My Face Shape?
Simply use the links above to jump ahead.
The famed Full beard is the modern icon of virility and masculinity. Epic beards have been a statement of power since the rule of Merovingian kings and Charlemagne’s coronation by the Pope.
At the turn of the 21st Century, the Full beard’s renaissance was initially shrugged off as a mere trend. Yet it is here to stay.
Unlike its contemporaries, the Full beard is void of any contouring save for neatening the hairline’s natural growth. Growing a Full beard takes commitment, resolve and above all, patience.
Nevertheless, the journey is one of self-discovery and the destination is a bold beard that exudes masculinity and self-confidence. However, there are some that don’t see a journey’s end but lavish in the never-ending adventure of surpassing the boundaries of their beard growth.
Unlocking the secrets of beard growth may seem elusive to many men but it is something that every man should at least try once in his lifetime.
What Is A Natural Full Beard?
The natural style is the most typical and vanilla variant of the Full beard family. However, vanilla certainly does not imply a lack of complexity. Those who claim otherwise have yet to try fresh Madagascan vanilla!
A natural Full beard can be defined as any beard that is at least 1 month old. However, most Full beards that are referred to as such usually consist of at least 3 months of growth.
The natural beard features only subtle styling. The Sideburns can be trimmed slightly to provide a fade between the hair and beard. The moustache usually blends into the rest of the beard with no major sculpting or styling. The beard’s hairline features clean but not overly preened contours to emphasis its natural yet clean appearance.
An important factor in the natural Full beard is a strong emphasis in restrained length. The cheeks, jaw and chin are left to grow long to around 2 inches (5 cm) below the chin. The beard’s length is brushed down and then trimmed and smoothly sculpted to form a rounded and clean finish.
Although it is probably one of the more modest Full beard styles, it is by no means any less bold. Natural full beards are probably the most compliant with workplace regulations. Nevertheless, even if beards are becoming more accepted, conservative environments may require you to run it passed a manager before growing.
Finally, the natural Full beard is also an ideal stepping stone to more elaborate styles. The wearer can enjoy the benefits of growing a beard, garnering the sufficient length and invest the time to learn their growth patterns. When the beard has reached its peak, it will be ready for new ways of styling
What Is A Bandholz Beard?
The Bandholz owes its name to acclaimed founder of Beardbrand and facial hair pioneer, Eric Bandholz. It’s a remarkable head-turner, which features impressive length and a distinctive style.
Bandholz is said to be growing his beard since 2011 and through the process of self-discovery, left the corporate world to pursue the beardsman’s dream.
A full beard style as rich in volume as it is in texture, the Bandholz requires six month’s growth at the very least as well as considerable patience and dedication. Men seeking to acquire the Bandholz should refrain any trimming aside from the cheek and necklines.
Even the moustache is left to grow naturally, which is then brushed to the sides to add texture. The moustache is a distinctive element, which acts as a primary layer over the beard. It hangs wide and partly conceals the mouth to resemble a Hungarian moustache.
Very little sculpting is undertaken once the beard achieves the desired length. The volume is brushed down into a rounded finish and stray hairs are sparingly trimmed away with scissors.
Nevertheless, grooming is absolutely vital to maintain a healthy Bandholz beard. The beard should be treated like head hair with regular brushing, shampooing and obligatory conditioning.
Omitting conditioner will cause the beard to dry out as shampoo strips it of its natural oils. Conditioner provides nourishment and should even be followed by the use of specialised beard oils. After all, even if the Bandholz is an expression of a man’s inner beast, it’s a dignified statement.
What Is A Garibaldi Beard?
Like the Balbo, the Garibaldi is named after a renowned and flamboyant Italian. Giuseppe Garibaldi was a 19th Century military general and politician. He commanded and fought in a number of military campaigns that would eventually lead to the Italian unification. He garnered a reputation at home and abroad after leading guerilla rebellions in South America.
His fame earned a number of homages. English football team Nottingham Forest based their uniform designs on his Redshirt volunteers. Furthermore, the Rugby Six Nations have played for the Giuseppe Garibaldi Trophy since 2007 and one of the UK’s oldest biscuits are named after him.
However, the most fitting tribute is the legendary thick full beard style that carries his name to this day. The Full Garibaldi beard features a combination between short length and high volume. Like the Bandholz, the moustache is grown naturally and brushed to the sides like an English moustache.
Nevertheless, this style requires just as much time to grow as a Natural Full beard. Although shorter in appearance, the volume consists of length at the front compacted into a rounded finish. This is no more than 5 inches (12 cm) long.
Styling should remain natural with tidy growth, which displays a wavy or curly groomed finish. As the hair grows out, it naturally tapers under the jawline, which makes it easier to shape. It can be advantageous to those seeking a bold beard style but don’t want the length of a typical Full beard.
What Is A Verdi Beard?
An exception to the rule, the Verdi features a styled moustache disconnected from the rest of the beard. This Full beard style has also distanced itself from its namesake, another Italian, Giuseppe Verdi. Giuseppe Verdi was an Opera composer during the 19th Century who supported the Risorgimento unification movement in his music.
However, unlike Garibaldi, he did not fully integrate himself with popular movements. Instead, he sought to establish himself as a landowner and manage his estate.
Interestingly, Giuseppe Verdi himself a beard style that bore a closer resemblance to a Garibaldi full beard. However, the beard style that bears his name has evolved to conceptualise the large whiskers into a stylised English moustache.
The Verdi is shorter at no more than 4 inches (10 cm) in length. Volume is controlled with a neater, upturned and rounded finish that is combed into place. Its distinctive appearance makes it difficult to achieve without regular grooming and trimming to maintain its shape.
Furthermore, the moustache is treated as an entirely separate entity. Therefore, the points between the corner of the mouth and the chin require regular shaving to avoid appearing untidy. The moustache also requires styling and waxing on a daily basis.
Nevertheless, it’s a distinctive and sophisticated beard that exudes intellect and poise. It’s perfect for the forward fashion and avant-garde gentleman who wishes to distinguish himself from his entourage.
How To Grow a Full Beard
To begin, a budding beardsman will only require patience. The first few weeks may seem like a daunting undertaking initially, especially if aiming for a long beard. However, it’s a worthwhile investment.
After two weeks, the facial hair will grow out into stubble and it will encounter an itchy period. The irritation can be soothed with moisturiser or even the early use of beard balm. As it transitions into a full beard, the itchiness will subside but the facial hair may appear scruffy.
Many men may encounter the overwhelming temptation to remove it at this point. Hold fast and you will overcome it.
After about 4 weeks, the full beard will begin to take form. It is at this moment that you will be aware of your growth’s surface limitations. The beard may appear somewhat unkempt with odd stray hairs appearing above the cheeks and under the neck. Throughout this period, you can satisfy the urge to clean up the cheek line and neckline.
If your hairstyle sports a Fade or Undercut, feel free to trim the Sideburns so it’s coherent with the rest. However, your barber will usually do this for you. If you are happy with the length, you can trim the rest of the beard to be uniform. However, if you wish to continue growing, content yourself with only tidying the contours for now.
How To Trim A Full Beard
Once the Full beard arrives between 2 to 3 months of growth, you will be able to begin styling by sculpting its form. We offer a general yet basic overview of trimming a beard in our main beard guide. However, we’ll provide a more specific guide for full beards here.
You will need to invest in a few handy tools before proceeding:
If you’re missing any of the above, simply use the links to see our recommendations. Don’t worry, the links open on new tabs so you won’t lose your progress here. Your arsenal depends on your intended results. For instance, scissors provide precision and control while trimmers are much faster and convenient to use.
To trim a full beard, simply use the following steps:
- Make sure the beard is clean and dry after a shower.
- Brush the beard downwards into the desired shape.
- Clean up the cheek lines with a shavette or razor.
- Brush the beard under the chain against the grain.
- Clean up the neckline with a razor.
- Brush the beard back into the desired shape.
- Trim using clippers if you want to remove a lot of material.
- Adjust the pressure or guards if you wish to create gradients.
- Use scissors to remove stray hairs.
- Brush frequently to check for stray hairs.
Overall, you should concentrate mostly on how the beard appears at the front and to the sides. If the beard is to continue growing, the view from the bottom requires little attention. Perhaps you’re aiming for a year-old beard or “Yeard”?
Finally, you may find it easier if a barber trims your beard the first time before you begin maintaining it. However, only let a qualified barber that specialises in facial hair touch your beard! We have been let down many times by regular hairdressers who have offered to touch up our beards only to ruin weeks or even months of progress!
Long Term Beard Care
At 4 weeks and beyond, a few toiletries such as beard oils and a beard brush become essential. Like head hair, dry beards are much more difficult to manage and become wiry. Both beard balm and oil will nourish the beard and keep it healthy.
Brushes specifically for beards have softer and denser bristles, which make them more efficient. Furthermore, the face’s skin is more sensitive than the scalp so a beard brush will be soothing rather than irritating.
Genetics are unfortunately a barrier to some who wish to grow a Full beard. They may encounter patchy hair growth with bare areas that reveal skin on the cheeks. Sadly, there are no secret potions that can change this and there is little evidence to support hormonal supplements.
Use what you have to your advantage. There are a number of alternative beard styles that can be adopted to enjoy the privileges if beardom.
If you’ve come this far yet realise that the beard simply isn’t for you or you’re not happy with the result, that’s okay. We’re not here to persuade you to grow one. However, just think about it beforehand or consider seeing a barber to work on it.
Remember that you made a commitment to get this far. You may even more disappointed once you’re staring at your bare face again after a clean shave. If you want to learn more about beard growth and care, click here to read our full guide.
Will A Full Beard Suit My Face Shape?
A fantastic feature of full beards is that they can be essentially worn by any face shape. Instead, it’s the way that you still it that will decide whether it complements your features or not. Therefore, we will now suggest how you try to style a full beard in order to optimise its appearance.
We’ve listed 7 unique face shapes, which can be used to asses how well a particular style will suit you. To make the most of the following section, identify your face shape beforehand.
Oval Face Shapes
Oval shaped faces have no particular prerequisites when it comes to their facial hair so they have the freedom to experiment without taking much into consideration. Furthermore, Oval faces could sculpt a thick full beard to feature harder contours and texture in order to render their faces squarer. However, this is far from obligatory.
Square Face Shapes
Square shaped faces have a rare luxury in being able to enjoy a variety of beard styles without encountering too many pitfalls. Our only recommendation is to respect the hair growth’s natural cheek line as too low may make them appear gaunt.
Heart Face Shapes
Heart shaped faces can use full beard styles really well to render their faces more angular. The bulk of a thick full beard can be grown to build out a weak chin and widen the jawline.
Triangle Face Shapes
Conversely, Triangle is a face shape that can use long beard styles to conceal its jawline. Building considerable volume in their beards with emphasis on the cheeks can redistribute the width higher on their face. The use of a large moustache such as on the Garibaldi or the Bandholz can add further emphasis on the cheekbones.
Diamond Face Shapes
Diamond face shapes can use the volume of the thick full beard to create bulk and fill out their hollow cheeks. Furthermore, they can take advantage of hair growth to provide a sense of interesting layering between their cheekbones and the beard. This can be honed to either soften or sharpen features as desired.
Oblong Face Shapes
Oblong faces can exploit beard growth to conceal their larger than average face length. By creating volume yet keeping the beard relatively short in length, the face appears wider. Furthermore, the bottom can be squared off to give an angular finish.
Round Face Shapes
Finally, Round face shapes probably benefit the most from long Full beards. Full beards generally level the playing field for all face shapes. Consequently, a Round faced man can quickly find himself playing by the same rules as an Oval shape.
Round faces are recommended, however, to box off the beard for a squarer finish, which avoids regressing back to their original shape.
Now that you have read about how to grow a full beard, check out some of our related guides:
I was struggling to trim my full beard without taking off too much. I think I may follow your advice and get a professional to do it first!
Always the best way when starting off. There’s nothing worse than patiently growing it out for months then screwing it up on its first proper trim.
There is something worse, actually. Growing your beard for months only to have a professional butcher it LOL. Half the barbers out there don’t know what they’re doing. Do research before you choose someone.
This is very true and you make a solid point! I once had to shave off my 6-month beard because a barber ruined it. It’s important to opt for one that does specialise in beards.
Awesome content we see where my Beard Journey takes me.
Delighted that it’s helpful for you!
Trim my own beard. Trimmed, shaped and styled twice in 3 years. I have a long full beard and only use clippers on it.
Great to hear. Thanks for the feedback. I’m sure other budding beard growers will be interested to hear this.
Will a Bandholz beard suit a round face? You guys say that big moustaches have an adverse effect on round faces in your moustache guides but I have a feeling that it would suit me personally.
That’s if there’s just a moustache on its own. If a beard accompanies it, that offsets the adverse effects of the moustache.
Awesome post! It maintains you to look good whatever face shapes you have! This is so helpful to know how to trim and style your beard based on your type of face shape. Thank you!
Well I’ve obviously been over-trimming my 5 mo old (WFH/COVID solidarity) beard, with a 16 mm guard. It’s actually easier to trim stray hairs with a 4 mm guard, pointing it so the teeth just barely touch the surface contour I want. My question is where to establish the cheek edge. Worried it’ll look too severe too low where it’s uniformly thick.
Indeed, you should not be applying any pressure at all when trimming a beard. Since you can feel what you’re doing, I’ve had many slips when trimming my full beard, which is always frustrating. I don’t use a guard and just do it visually in a way that looks like the trimmer is hovering over the beard rather than doing anything at all.
Yours is a challenging question! It’s best to follow the beard’s natural shape. If it will look severely too low, you can always taper what’s left so it blends in better with the rest. It’s not an easy job but it’s doable!
All the best,
I am glad that you shared this article. I appreciate it a lot because I was able to gain lot of information. Moreover, it is worth to read.
Good to hear!
Starting to grow my beard, it’s been since Christmas day 2020, so only just over 2 months old. It’s looking a bit shaggy, should I get it trimmed sooner or wait until 3 months? Thanks.
That’s entirely up to you. If you wait a little longer, you’ll have more to work with. However, if it’s pretty plentiful now, you can always neaten it up in the style you’re aiming to develop.
All the best,