Facial hair is as manly an accessory as any other. Beards, mustaches, goatees, what have you. Every man should at least have the option to sport a unique combination upon his ugly mug.

Alas, while I've been cursed with the need to shave every single day, I've never been able to grow a full enough beard or mustache to quiet the ridicule of my fellow man when I've tried.

So, here's my question: Do any of you have any tips for cultivating facial hair? I've heard so many suggestions (from shaving multiple times a day, to stopping entirely) that I've begun to write them all off as urban legends. I've ditched my electric Norelco in favor of the traditional wet shave, hoping that the raw manliness of the old-fashioned razor will scare the hairs right up out of their dormant follicles, but I don't know if there's anything to that, either.

WHAT SAY YOU?

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We actually had an article about this on the main site last year. Link.
I echo what Will says. I usually start my beards when I go camping for the weekend. I don't know why, it's just my style.

If you plan on growing a mustache, I'd recommend getting some good beard growth all around your face and then moving to the mustache. In my experience, when I go straight to the mustache while keeping the rest of my face clean shaven, there's a week or two my mustache is all thin and wispy. My friends and I call it the molester mustache. Yeah, it's a little tasteless, but Look at the mug shots of child molesters. It seems like everyone of them has that pre-pubescent mustache thing going on. I don't want to look like that, so I wait until my mustache is pretty thick before I shave my beard off.
"The beard is a gift and gifts differ among men. Those who have the... [AoM, "Growing a Manly Beard"]

RESPECT THE BEARD! I love it.

Thus far, the verdict appears to be: if you're capable of growing a beard, then abstaining from shaving is the only real step to growing a beard.

I've gone for a few months at a time leaving my chin alone, and the best I've ever accomplished is a sparse sprinkling of chin hairs. I hate to give up and admit to being one of "those with scant beard-growth potential," but it's sounding like it may be my only option. Especially since the alternative is a perpetual "molester mustache" (thanks for that, Brett).
EDIT:

Looks like I accidentally used the wrong HTML tag to italicize the quote in my last post, which resulted in cutting it off. Here's the full quote, just so you understand how awesome THE BEARD is...

"The beard is a gift and gifts differ among men. Those who have the gift of the beard should share that gift by growing the beard for all to see."
I spent most of my life having to shave clean every day. Now I have a goatee (or more correctly "goat fur" lol). It's rather easy, just stop shaving- no urban legands required- no other advice is worth it's water. When the scruff is long enough you can shape it however you want. Start with the full face beard, then if you want you can slice off bits. It's easier to remove what you don't want than it is to grow it.
I was always lucky to have speedy facial hair growth (and it's not just limited to the face). It is a burden to have to shave every morning, but the ability to grow a beard makes it worthwhile. I'm 21 and I have a full-beard, and I've groomed it in a way that appeals to the ladies. How did I do it? Stopped shaving and in two weeks it was there. Not everyone is so blessed.
Since about my sophomore year of high school, I have been able to grow a beard but was not allowed to have facial hair until I was a senior in high school. From that point, I have had facial hair (except for a short period of time after I dyed my goatee blue for Duke game ... yes, I was a Cameron Crazie)!

As far as growing it, I second the people who suggest that you should just let it grow. Unless you have very little facial hair, there will be a style that will suit your face.
Why weren't you allowed to grow a beard until Senior Year of HS?
I've had a beard once or twice, but my wife's not a big fan of the beard. Plus, after three or four days, the itching drives me to shave it off.
Brett,

Stop shaving for a while and let your beard grow as it will. As long as it doesn't look like the one worn by the Kenneth Branagh charater in Wild, Wild West, or as long as you don't look like ZZ Top reject, and as long as you keep it groomed, then it'll be fine.

No two beards are alike. If your's is a little unconventional, then so be it. Good grooming is the key.

The 19th century preacher C.S. Spurgeon said of growing a beard, "It's a habit, most natural, manly, Scriptural, and beneficial."
Dermatologists seem to agree that there is no "miracle method/tonic" that will cause your facial hair to grow any faster. When your mom said that it grows in thicker and darker after you shave, she was, at best, mis-informed. Wet shaving, although very manly, will actually make it take more time for your hair to grow back because of it being cut closer. The only way to get impressive facial hair is to stop shaving, have patience, ignore naysayers, and surround yourself with people who will cheer you on.

P.S. You've already found the last one.
Thanks for your input, Ryan.

The problem isn't so much the speed of growth but the patchy coverage. I actually have a spot directly under my chin about the size of a silver dollar that's entirely devoid of whiskers. No amount of patience seems to make that area grow in, which makes it pretty much impossible to grow a decent-looking beard.

At my age (26), I'm kind of thinking that I've reached the point where I need to toss in the towel and come to peace with the fact that I'm "one of those guys" who wasn't blessed with the ability to grow a full beard. I guess my posting here was a last-ditch effort to find out if there's anything I could be doing to stimulate facial hair growth from clear patches.

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