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From teen beard to year beard!

Michael was just a youngster when he first appeared on All About BEARDS as a teenage beard grower. Over the years, Michael has remained firmly committed to the beard, especially the full beard. Throughout the bearded period of his life, Michael has regularly supplied photo updates, documenting his beard journey here on All About BEARDS.

In 2021, Michael achieved two significant beard milestones. First, he started off the year by hitting the mark of being bearded for half of his life. Today he’s been bearded longer than he was beardless. Now his “beard time” keeps getting longer while his beardless time remains fixed.

In the months leading up to this first 2021 milestone, Michael had another beard achievement in the works. Starting on July first of 2020, Michael began to let his full beard grow freely without trimming for the first time ever. His goal was to achieve a year’s worth of unrestrained beard growth, informally known as a “yeard”. Michael reached his “yeard” goal on July 1, 2021.

Scroll down to read more about Michael’s beard story and his two major beard-growing achievements in 2021. All photos appear courtesy of Michael.

Michael: from teen beard to year beard!
Michael started out as a teenage beard grower. He’s remained a dedicated full-time beard grower ever since. And this month he has completed his first year-beard or “yeard” growing achievement.

Early this year your birthday marked a milestone of being bearded now for half your life. How do you feel about achieving such a long time of being bearded?

Yes, this year is a true milestone in my beard growing “career”. Though I rarely think of it as one, I suppose that it is somewhat of an achievement to stay persistent and consistent for such a time period, never giving up, and staying on the chosen path. All in all, it feels great and I will definitely keep going.

Did you have a special celebration to mark the occasion?

No, I did not. Not being the extroverted type, I rarely celebrate personal events. And with the recent year being quite rough, I did not have any special celebrations of the occasion.

When you started growing your beard as a teenager did you ever expect that you would stay bearded for such a long time?

I never thought of it that long term, or to be frank, at all. But I am quite glad it came out like this.

What was it that kept you choosing to stay bearded all along the way?

Since day one, the beard felt as I believe it should feel for a man — as a natural and integral part of me, of one’s look, feel, and essence as a man. This, what has always kept me going, is that authentic feeling of my bearded self. I cannot imagine myself in any other way.

Michael's beard in August 2020
Michael started his “year beard” or “yeard” with his pre-existing beard. He simply decided to let the existing beard grow unrestrained and untrimmed for at least one year. Here you see his beard in late August 2020, nearly two months into the process.

What prompted you to go for the year beard, aka “yeard”?

Firstly, the name is awesome, I must say. And I was not aware of it being a “formal” thing in our community. Secondly, regarding the yeard itself, it came naturally along the way. I used to trim the beard a little, once every few weeks. But last summer and autumn were quite busy for me with various occurrences. So I just missed one trim, then another, and then one more… And I saw that it was good. So about three-to-four months in, I just kept going until making a conscious decision to continue doing so.

Michael's beard in late September 2020.
By late September 2020, Michael’s beard had reached this size.

Your year-beard policy has been to let your beard grow unrestrained, without any trimming whatsoever, except for the mustache. How do you like having your beard so much bigger and longer now?

I like it very much! Having the beard fuller, longer, thicker, and pretty much unrestrained gives one a great sense of freedom. I love both how it feels and looks.

Michael's beard in early October 2020.
This is was the state of Michael’s growing beard in early October 2020.

Has anything surprised you about the bigger beard experience?

I never thought a beard could get that tangled and intertwined, ha ha. Sometimes it feels like a dense, yet very soft, little forest or maybe a plant of sorts. Regardless of how one describes it, the realization that it is a living “thing” is quite nice. Another thing which I knew before but haven’t experienced much earlier in my beard growing career is how soft it gets when growing this big. The thought of it resembling a small pillow crossed my mind before, but after adopting a cat it has been proven correct.

Michael's beard at the end of October 2020.
Here is a look at Michael’s beard’s growth progress at the end of October 2020.

Have you been pressured by any others to trim back the bigger beard?

No, I have not been pressured. Though here and there I did (and occasionally do) hear a few questions such as, “Are you going to trim / shorten it back?” But all in all, reactions mostly range from obliviousness to support and even amazement.

Michael's beard at the end of November 2020.
Michael’s beard had reached this size by the end of November 2020. The size of his beard is accentuated here by the flared shape achieved by styling.

Has this new growing experience changed your view of bigger and longer beards?

This wonderful, ongoing experience has not changed my view on big and mighty beards, which has always been strictly positive. What was added is a personal perspective on the matter — now it is no longer just an aspiration but my daily reality.

A closer look at Michael's beard at the end of November 2020.
Here is a closer look at Michael’s bigger beard by the end of November 2020.

What’s the best thing about the year-beard journey so far?

I think that the process itself, the coming of the beard, rejoices as much as the result, which is by far not even final. Seeing the beard getting fuller and more voluminous by the month warms a man’s heart…

This angle gives an appreciation of the new size of Michael's beard.
From this angle, the bigger volume of Michael’s beard is readily apparent. This view also shows off the height of his beard’s natural cheek line.

What are your beard plans now that you’ve reached your year-beard goal?

Keep growing it! I probably will trim a bit once in a while to keep things symmetrical, but nothing drastic, definitely.

Year-beard achievement day: Michael on July 1, 2021.
Year-beard achievement day: Here is Michael on July 1, 2021 with a full year’s worth of unrestrained growth added to his original beard.

Do you recommend that other men give the year beard a go?

Yes, very much so! I believe that every bearded man should give it a go, and see the full potential of their beard revealed before their own eyes.

Wider yeard: Michael's year-beard groomed for a wider appearance.
Here is Michael’s year-beard groomed to present a wider appearance.

How do you feel about having achieved your yeard?

It feels wonderful to achieve this important landmark, which I believe every dedicated beard grower should try at least once during their lives.I think such a trial of sorts is a real test of disciple, dedication, and firmness of character. It teaches calmness of mind and the ability to do what you wish, despite what anybody else might consider “right”. You should definitely give it a try!

Closer view of Michael's new yeard.
This is a closer look at Michael’s newly-achieved “year beard” or “yeard”. It’s been quite a journey from his original start as a young teenage beard grower.

Be sure to also see:

Valentin: Continuously Bearded For More Than Ten Years

What’s it like to have a beard for more than ten years? Could you do it? Would you do it? Some guys give up on growing a beard after only a few days! Having a beard for ten years shows some serious beard dedication.

Valentin is a seriously-dedicated beard man.  Up until 2009, he gained beard-growing experience by going through phases with and without his beard.  Starting in August of 2009 with a completely shaved faced, Valentin grew his beard once again and has kept it ever since.

After Valentin reached the milestone of being bearded for a full decade, he reflected on his experience with us.  We proudly salute Valentin for being continuously bearded since 2009 and for his tremendous dedication to the beard!

How do you feel about your current beard reaching its tenth anniversary?

These ten years passed very quickly. I have a stable feeling about the correctness of my choice. There was never a desire to shave off the beard. With the beard I feel very free and natural. I’m so used to it that being bearded is completely normal for me. I do not notice my beard in everyday life. It is as familiar as the hair on the head. I even forget that I have a beard, while someone, most often preschool children, will express their thoughts out loud about my beard. Men, with all their restraint, mostly express themselves emotionally, appreciating and admiring my beard. I always ask them why they don’t wear a beard.

Valentin: ten years of beard!
Here we see how Valentin went from a shaved face to a big beard and achieved a full decade of being bearded.

Have you kept your beard about the same length and size for these ten years?

If you look at the photographs of this decade, you can see that for the first year or two, I wore a rather short beard. My barber once told me: “Why do you shave the lower part of the beard around your neck?  Let the beard grow naturally. Then it will look more voluminous.  The upper part of the beard hair will lean on the lower, and the beard will look bigger and more natural.” Then I looked at the photos, read the materials on your site, and realized that a full beard may not need a cheek line and neck line at all.

Following the advice of my barber, I stopped using scissors and a razor and decided to see what opportunities nature gave me, what a full beard would look like, and whether it suited me. I watched with interest the length of the hair of the beard and I liked it more and more. I discovered that I have a pretty good beard; it suits me. I don’t need to cut and shave it regularly. I just need to keep it clean and tidy.

I liked the full, big beard and realized that this beard is for me. At the same time I thought that I needed to determine my maximum size, the maximum size which would suit me. When the beard grew longer than twenty centimeters (7.9 inches), it seemed to me that the bottom of the beard became rarer, not clear, and not contrasting. I shortened my beard by six centimeters (2.4 inches) and went on a return trip:  I allowed my beard to grow again freely without touching it with scissors or a trimmer. I called it “a return trip” or “a journey back through the world of beard”.

Has your beard gotten any thicker over the ten years?

Probably not. The unhindered and free growth of all the hair produces a larger volume for the size and shape of the beard.  And the regular use of beard oil helps me to shape the larger volume of the beard.  It seems bigger and bushier, which I like.

What have you learned about being bearded during this time?

I, myself, and people I know are so used to my bearded appearance that it does not raise questions. Being bearded has become an everyday state for me. I have no problems with it. Instead of daily morning shaving, I have a standard daily set of beard treatments that are very simple. Definitely I have learned that I will never shave my beard again.

Valentin with his granddaughter: more than ten years of beard!
Valentin’s lovely granddaughter is a talented photographer. She happily serves as her grandfather’s official beard photographer!

Would you describe your beard grooming and maintenance routines?

To this question I have a very standard answer. It can be found both in your beard care tips and in other recommendations. Every one of us knows what kind of hair and skin he has. Depending on this, he selects shampoo or soap and the frequency of washing the beard. I wash my beard once a week with special beard soap. On the other days of the week I rinse my beard only with water during my morning shower. However, because the beard’s hair absorbs odors of the street very much, it becomes necessary to use soap again. In this case I use a neutral soap that is recommended for children. This soap doesn’t contain various additives that make hair dry, fragile, unruly. I tried various sorts of soap, but chose this kind.

After washing my beard, I usually wipe it with a towel, making light and slow movements from top to bottom. After that I put oil on my palms, rub it in my hair, and massage my skin. I comb the beard with a wide tooth comb from the top to the bottom. Gradually I use combs with smaller teeth. Combing is accompanied by stroking the hair with my hand. I give the desired shape to the beard and allow some time to dry the hair naturally. Sometimes when going out, I use hair wax for better fixation. However, when it is windy, it is impossible to keep my long beard in good order.

In your area, are beards seen more favorably now than ten years ago?

Yes, that’s for sure. The beard has become a fashion now in our country. Until 1700, all Russian men of different classes wore beards. Russian Tsar Peter I forcibly introduced beard shaving in Russia. Those who refused had to pay a large tax for the beard. And now the beard has returned to Russia again. In big cities, barbershops are opening one after another. Young guys, students, try to grow beards, which, due to their young age, are still growing poorly in the majority. But they want to have a big, full beard right away.  So they ask with a melancholy voice how to grow a big beard. Some of them rub some ointments into their skin or take medications hoping to accelerate hair growth. I think that many guys from the younger generation will become bearded men for life.

Are beards now more common in the area where you live than they were ten years ago?

Probably in all countries, small towns remain more conservative, and are more adherents of old habits and traditions. But with the current means of communication, when television, the Internet, and mobile communications are available everywhere, it is difficult to isolate oneself from the world. In advertising, in television programs, we now see men with different types of beards. The men of our small town try to keep up with the times. On the streets I can see more and more bearded men. Maybe these are their first timid attempts, but over time they will wear beautiful beards.

Have you encouraged or inspired other men to grow their beards during this time?

Over the years, a lot of guys talked with me about beards, asked questions of interest to them, and asked me to be photographed with them. I think it did not go in vain. Even my grandson, two years ago, after leaving school and entering university, began to wear a beard. Now our family has two beards.

What is the best thing about being bearded for ten years?

Joyfully and gladly I have worn my beard all these ten years.  It is a good feeling to be a bearded man. One man said after talking with me about beards that this is already my disease. I don’t know. Maybe it is.  But it’s just a sweet illness.

How has the world of beards changed over this ten-year period?

In recent years, the situation with beard materials has dramatically changed. This is due to the fact that the beard has become a real fashion among the male population. There was a need for more information. As a response to this need, many new websites about beards have appeared on the Internet. The advantage of  the beards.org site is its carefulness, deep insight into the problem, and a versatile approach. A lot of interesting and necessary material has been accumulated here.

There was a lack of good, high-quality beard photos before.  But now, with the development of photographic equipment, the possibilities have become different, and people can take pictures everywhere. The quality of the photos is different, of course, but there are plenty of them to choose from. And most importantly, there are many men with handsome and diverse beards. What a variety of faces and beards: one is better than the other.

Probably the most acute hunger for inspirational beard visuals and information has already been satisfied.  Now some other stage has come. Beards.org has accumulated a large amount of material here. On your site there are so many interviews in which the invaluable experience of different people is collected. They share their thoughts and problems, among which anyone can find answers to questions of interest. I remain a fan of your site. So I am happy to share with you the tenth anniversary of my beard.

Valentin: more than ten years of beard!

All About BEARDS is pleased to count on Valentin as a long-term, loyal friend of the site. Be sure to also see Valentin’s beard feature.

Now it’s your turn to grow your beard for ten years and more!