November is upon us, which means fall beard growing season. Whether it’s No Shave November,Novembeard, or Movember, many men are putting down their razors and stepping up to grow a beard in four weeks. Here’s your guide to doing it in a hurry, and what to expect along the way.

While our personal genetic code and testosterone levels are the main ingredients in the beard recipe, there are a few things that you can do to help support increased growth. Here are 5 ways to support your new bearded lifestyle.

  1. Eat more protein and healthy fats. Time for some clean eating. Red meat, chicken, fish, and pork, are loaded with protein and help increase testosterone. Protein aids healthy hair growth because the basic structure in hair follicles is protein. There are eight amino acids that our bodies don’t produce naturally that need to come from high-protein foods. Eggs, dairy, soy, olive oil, avocados, nuts, and flax seed oil will also help.
  2. Increase your water intake. Water hydrates the body and helps regulate the circulatory system, which feeds the hair follicle and stimulates hair growth. So drink up, fella.
  3. Get more sleep. Only getting 5 hours of sleep a night decreases testosterone by 10% to 15%. You truly can snooze your way to a better beard. Which probably explains why Sleepy had the best beard in Snow White. Is it a coincidence that Dopey was the name given to the only non-beardy member of the group? Nope.
  4. Chill Bro. Stress is a testosterone killer.
  5. Take a multivitamin and biotin. This will help fill in some of the nutrition gaps if you aren’t eating as well as you should. Biotin claims to support hair and nail growth but the jury is out on it’s benefits, so you may want to read up on it. Although, I’ve used it and noticed increased growth.

Week One: First of all, congratulations are in order, you’ve decided to grow a beard you manly son-of-a-gun! This is the first day of the rest of your life! Well, for the month anyway. Your first step is to stop shaving. No trimming, no edging, no clean up. Just let it go baby. You need to get a sense of what is going to be a good beard shape for you before you edge it up in week three. Expect just scruff this week.

If you’ve never grown a beard you should prepare to be badgered and questioned by those around you. You will quickly tire of hearing “Are you growing a beard?” Just think of some snappy responses and keep growing. “I call it awesomeness escaping my face” works well, but I can’t claim it as my own.

The first week is all about skin care. Get rid of that commercial bar soap as it dries out your skin and is abrasive on your beard. Try our organic face and beard wash brick. Locally harvested goat’s milk from the Cliff Original family farm with organic oils clean your skin deeply and leave it silky soft. Oatmeal exfoliates and coconut oil helps moisturize. Natural clay elements help detox your skin, which if we’re being honest you probably could use.

Week Two: You’ve made it through your first week without trimming and you need to do the same this week. The bad news is that with heavier scruff comes the dreaded beard itch. Beard itch happens because the ends of new whiskers are sharp from your last razor shave. The ends will soften with time, so just power through it.

The good news is that you can now introduce beard oil every day. And you’re gonna love it. Not only will it soften your beard but it smells delightful. Beard oil hydrates and with sweet almond oil it helps you avoid beard dandruff. Vitamin E works as an antioxidant. Tree tree oil is a natural antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, and anti-bacterial, so it will help with ingrown hairs and irritation. I like that it makes my beard shiny.

Week Three: Hang in there. The honeymoon period might be wearing off and you might be thinking about throwing in the towel. This is what we call the awkward stage, between scruff and a beard. Man up and ignore those voices of self-doubt. You are probably getting some thicker areas and patchy spots. It’s not all growing evenly which makes you question your choice. Give it time fella, it’s all part of the process.

Now that you’ve had two weeks to survey your natural growing pattern, it’s time to grab that razor to clean up and define your cheek-line. A carefully executed neckline clean-up is probably in order as well. Better yet, go to a barber and have them edge it up with a straight razor. The hot towel, hot shave cream, and oil treatment feels like a million bucks. Alternatively, you could go full mountain man and just let it all go, but cleaning it up will help give it some shape and strengthen your resolve.

Your probably beardy enough to add beard balm now. Beard balm has many of the same healthy ingredients as beard oil, but also adds shea butter, coconut butter and beeswax. It allows you to style your beard, as well as seals in moisture. Apply daily and finish with beard oil.

Week Four: By the end of this week you should expect to have a full beard. Expect to stare at yourself in the mirror while admiring that manly mane. You can go to a barber for a clipper trim if you want to make it all one length or have him shape it a little. It’s a real beard now and you are probably glad you stayed with it. After all, you made it yourself, and there aren’t many things you can say that about these days.

Since hair typically grows a half an inch a month, a truly exceptional beard can be achieved if you can hang in there another two weeks. Of course, what’s the best way to grow an amazing November beard? Start it in October.