Facial Hair FAQ

Medically Reviewed by Renee A. Alli, MD on March 24, 2024
5 min read

Are you starting to get a little fuzz above your lip and on your chin? Or maybe a faint beard is forming along your jawline? 

We've got answers to your questions about the hair on your face.

First of all, that isn't true. Girls do have hair that grows on their face. But it's very faint and usually not noticeable until later in life.

In teenage boys, facial hair grows thick and darkens because of the effect of testosterone. That's the male sex hormone.

When boys enter puberty, their testicles begin producing more testosterone. It's responsible for many of the changes your body goes through. Getting a beard is one of the changes brought about by this hormone.

Getting hair on your face is one of the last changes of puberty. On average, boys start noticing hair on their face around age 15 or 16.

Exactly when the changes of puberty occur can vary a lot. And how fast the changes occur can also vary. 

Genetics plays a large role: If your father has a lot of hair on his face, you might, too. Some boys start growing a beard very early in their teenage years. Others don't notice a beard starting until they are much older.

So if the guys you know have whiskers, while you barely have any fuzz on your cheek, there's probably nothing wrong with you. Your beard will start growing soon enough.

No. Just like all guys aren't the same height, the amount of facial hair varies from one guy to the next. That's because the amount of hair you have, how dark or light it is, and where it grows on your face, is largely controlled by your genes.

That doesn't mean your beard will necessarily look like your dad's. What it does mean is that somewhere in your family tree, there are men whose beards followed a pattern like yours.

And it may take a while before you know what that pattern is. Usually, though, by the time guys are in their late teens or early 20s, the pattern of their beard are set.

Not necessarily. It may be a couple of years before you really feel the need to shave.

Deciding when to start shaving is based on how your facial hair makes you feel. The time to consider shaving is when it starts to bother you or makes you feel self-conscious about your appearance.

That depends on how fast your beard grows and how dark it is. For some guys, shaving once every few weeks is fine at first. Other guys shave maybe once every three or four days.

As you get older and your beard gets fuller, you'll feel the need to shave a little more often.

No, your beard won't get thicker by shaving more. So you should base your decision on how often to shave on how you want to look.

That's up to you. Some guys prefer an electric razor because it's easier and usually faster to use. All you need to do is press the shaver to your face and move it around in the area you want to shave. On the other hand, a razor blade will give you a closer and cleaner shave (but you need to pay more attention, as it's easy to get nicked).

When you shave you should pull the razor in the direction your beard grows. This lets the blade glide more easily. It will give you a smoother and more even shave.

You can get a sense of what direction your beard grows by feeling your face with your fingers.

Then follow these steps to a smooth shave:

  • Wet your beard with warm water. This softens the hairs and makes them easier to cut.
  • Put a shaving gel or cream -- not soap -- on your face. Squirt the gel onto your fingertips and apply it evenly over the entire area you are shaving. It should make a lather.
  • Start by shaving the sides of your face.
  • Use short, slow strokes.
  • Avoid going back over the area you've already shaved. Going back can scrape the skin and cause razor burn.
  • Rinse the blade under running water after every two or three strokes.
  • Shave the area under your chin and at the top of your neck last.
  • After you're done, rinse your face with cold water to soothe the skin. Some people apply an aftershave lotion or balm to calm irritation and prevent infection.

You need to be sure the blade you use is sharp and clean. If you use a dull blade it can lead to:

  • an uneven shave
  • redness and blotches
  • patches of unshaved hair
  • scraped-off patches of skin

Dirty razor blades can irritate the skin and cause infections. So always rinse the blade well after shaving. Never borrow someone else's used razor.

Here's how to get the best results with the least amount of irritation:

  • Change the blade or use a new disposable razor after every five to seven shaves.
  • Razors with two or more blades give the smoothest shaves.
  • Razors that have a moveable head make it easier for you to follow the shape of your face as you shave.

Razor burn is a skin irritation. It can be caused by:

  • Shaving without water.
  • Shaving without shaving gel or cream.
  • Using a dull blade.
  • Shaving against the direction the hair is growing.
  • Applying a heavily perfumed aftershave if you have very sensitive skin.

The best way to treat razor burn is to wait an extra day -- or even an extra week -- before your next shave. That gives your skin a chance to heal.

It's normal to cut or nick your face from time to time.

If you cut your face every time you shave, though, you are probably using too much pressure. Or it may be time to change your blade.

When you cut yourself while shaving, use a clean tissue or cloth and apply direct pressure to stop the bleeding.

Yes. But you may have to be patient if you want to grow one. Depending on how thick your facial hair is, it could take up to two or three months before a beard grows in fully.