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A Scary, Hairy Beard Story

№220 ~29 minutes

In which Carlos Eriksson grows a beard for an entire year and documents his journey, week by itchy week.

The beard journey has ended.

Between 9th November 2014 to 8th November 2015 I decided to let both my hair and beard grow out.

It was quite a journey, from itching and beard dandruff to more itching and hair in my mouth, I discovered first hand that to keep a beard requires more maintenance than I had expected. I bought equipment like a fancy Italian scissor and oils and shampoos, all in the spirit of keeping my beard nice.

And whilst my journey may have ended you can still read it from start to finish. Every four weeks I posted a progress photo with a time-lapse crowning the final week.

Start | Week 1 | Week 2 | Week 3 | Week 4 | Week 5 | Week 6 | Week 7 | Week 8 | Week 9 | Week 10 | Week 11 | Week 12 | Week 13 | Week 14 | Week 15 | Week 16 | Week 17 | Week 18 | Week 19 | Week 20 | Week 21 | Week 22 | Week 23 | Week 24 | Week 25 | Week 26 | Week 27 | Week 28 | Week 29 | Week 30 | Week 31 | Week 32 | Week 33 | Week 34 | Week 35 | Week 36 | Week 37 | Week 38 | Week 39 | Week 40 | Week 41 | Week 42 | Week 43 | Week 44 | Week 45 | Week 46 | Week 47 | Week 48 | Week 49 | Week 50 | Week 51 | Week 52

Start

The date is 9th of November and I’m bored on a Sunday.

So bored, that I decide to grow a beard for a year. Up until this point in my life I’ve never really been unshaven for longer than two weeks and it’s never looked good.

I’ve also decided to give myself a head start, by not going completely clean shaven. It’s not like I’ve made some masochistic promise to start from zero anyway.

Week 1 - Itchy Bitchy Tiny Whiny

Oh God, this is so fucking itchy. Itchy when I wake up. Itchy when I go to sleep. I sure hope it’s doesn’t continue like this because that’s going to put the grizzly in Grizzly Carlos.

Oh no, the beard puns have already infected my brain.

Week 2 - Patchy But Promising

Well this sucks. Growing sucks. Nobody tells you how much the first weeks sucks.

I look like a homeless person, no offence to homeless people, with my patchy and uneven growth.

Here’s a joke I found, to cheer myself up.

Don’t listen to the naysayers. Anyone who says your beard makes you look homeless isn’t the kind of your person you want in your cardboard box anyway.

Week 3 - The Length of a Lifetime

This week was a lot easier than the last one. Maybe I’m growing used to the presence of my beard. Or maybe my sense of self-control has matured to a new level of—

“Nah, just kidding. Fuck you,” said the beard and starts itching at random intervals.

“Fucking beard.”

Week 4 - Being Beard-man

The itching has finally subsided for real.

But instead I now have to start dealing with the fact that, whatever I ate a few days ago is still lingering around my nostril area today.

Why doesn’t anyone tell you that your face will smell like old food?

Soon, I’ll have to adopt a secret identity so I can go, “Carlos? Who’s that? I’m Beard-man, a completely different person with no affiliation to this ‘Carlos’ you speak of.”

“That smell? Oh yeah, that’s me, Beard-man. Who definitely isn’t this ‘Carlos’ guy, who by the way sounds like he smells like strawberries, hopes and dreams.”

The beard growth after 4 weeks.
Sssh, don’t tell anyone that I’m Beard-man, I don’t want my arch-nemesis Cleen S Haven to find me.

Week 5 - Tee Tree Facial Wash

Right, that concludes week 5 and quite frankly, I’m still not sure about this beard thing. I know the plan is to grow my beard for a whole year but I still don’t feel like my beard can grow enough for me to accomplish that.

Another week before I make a final decision.

Well, I say final but actually I can still change my mind whenever.

On a more positive note though, I’ve discovered my wife’s Tee Tree Facial Wash with Exfoliating action and oh my lord it’s awesome. Not just the fact that my beard doesn’t smell like food any more but the scrubbing action. Oh, the scrubbing action.

Week 6 - 46 Weeks To Go

As I finish week 6 I’ve decided that I will in fact continue with this adventure.

I want to see what becomes of this beard of mine, will it suck indefinitely or will it not?

But the biggest contributor to this decision—and I’m not ashamed to admit it—was when my wife asked me if she had any say in this whole endeavour, to which I replied, “Of course”, and she told me that she thought that it actually suited me, which was not something she had anticipated.

So unless she’s blatantly lying to stroke my ego—which I hope she isn’t—that means I also have her blessing to continue this hairy journey of mine.

Week 7 - Halo Dick

Another week has gone by and as I exit week 7 I’m left with a feeling of surprise as I discover I can now put my own moustache in my mouth.

But I’m pretty sure I shouldn’t.

So, as I continue on my beard journey I now begin to look forward to week 13, which is allegedly supposed to be quite a doozy.

Until then, enjoy a little bit of Halo Dick.

Week 8 - Where No Beard Has Gone Before

For the first time since I started this experiment in facial hair growth, I have had to trim down the moustache a bit.

Some hairs were getting so long that they started crawling into my mouth, which of course, you already knew but then Rebecka told me that it also started crawling into her nose.

“Enough is enough,” I thought and took out the scissor to carefully trim down the bits that were getting long.

The beard growth after 8 weeks.
What? Is there something on my face?

Week 9 - With a Hint of Lemon

Last week I decided that this is the week I start to actually groom this ish-beard of mine. So first thing Monday morning I ordered a beard and moustache comb—which turned out to be the tiniest comb I’ve ever seen—and a teeny-weeny, 10 ml, bottle of Sicilian Lemon Beard Oil courtesy of The Bearded Man Company.

After I’ve run out of oil, which should still last me a good month, I thought I’d make my own instead. Cheaper in the long run and I get complete control over the scent.

Week 10 - A Man Bun Appears

I don’t really have anything interesting to write about this week. My beard keeps growing—too slowly if you ask me—but there’s isn’t much I can do about that.

The advice on the internet ranges from “Don’t masturbate to keep all your testosterone in your body” to “Buying suspicious ‘supplements’ for extra manly growth”.

For now, I’ve decided on neither and I’m settling for a disappointed growth instead.

On the other hand, this week I tried to tie a little man bun at the back of my head and well… it looked pretty ridiculous, so there’s always that.

Week 11 - When A Man Loves A Beard

Try to imagine what it might have sounded like if Percy Sledge had loved a beard, instead of a woman.

When a man loves a beard
Can’t keep his hands on nothin’ else
He’d trade the world
For the good comb an’ oil he’s found
If it is bad, he can’t see it
The beard can do no wrong
Turn his back on his best friend
If the douche puts it down

When a man loves a beard
Spend his very last dime
Trying to ex-foliate regularly
He’d give up all his comforts
And sleep out in the rain
As long as he could cover
The beard appropriately

When a man loves a beard
He gives it everything he’s got (yeah)
Trying to hold on
To those precious follicles
Beard please don’t treat me bad

When a man loves a beard
Deep down in his soul
It can bring him such masculinity
If he is playing a little football
Or other sports-related activities
The beard and him will kick some ass

Yes when a man loves a beard
I know exactly how he feels
‘Cause beard, beard, beard
I am a man
When a man loves a beard

Week 12 - A Time-Travelling Beard

Right. It’s been 12 weeks since I started this hairy, itchy journey of mine and since I’ve been posting a picture every 4 weeks I thought I could continue that tradition.

The beard growth after 12 weeks.
You can call me Mr. Husky MacMan.

For the next month we’re going to attempt to recreate the hardship, austerity and rationing of living during World War II. Which in any other case would also mean that I would shave everything away, because beards weren’t particularly fashionably during World War II.

But, because we’ve decided to cut ourselves some slack I’m keeping the beard. Besides, growing a beard for a year wouldn’t be so much fun if I cut it of after 12 weeks.

Week 13 - The Hogan

So, is week 13 the doozy I was expecting?

Well, no. But as this stupid thing begins to fill in—fill out?—it’s looking less and less patchy, which is nice.

I told you I was going to let my hair grow out as well, didn’t I?

I’m going for that Jesus-y look but you can call me Carlos Christ.

Hulk Hogan and his beard
“Gaze into my beard brother,” Hulk repeated time after time.

Week 14 - Bored of the Beard

I’m so bored of this now. Not the beard-growing but the weekly updates—if you can call them that?—where I’m supposed to be insightful about growing a beard. Or something like that, to be honest with you, I’m not entirely sure what I’m supposed to be doing here.

Besides, there’s plenty of more eloquent people out there, making videos about their beards. Have you actually looked online? There’s a ridiculous amount of videos out there. And I thought I wouldn’t add myself to that mix.

Is there anything you’d like to me to talk about?

Week 15 - White All Over My Face

Even though we’re pretending it’s 1943 and we had agreed to postpone any shrove bun eating until after February, my wife still surprised me with making a few buns last Tuesday. Using our rations no less.

Needless to say, I slapped one into my face instantly, devouring it with gusto. It should come as no surprise that my beard is quite the whipped cream magnet and by the end of it I had to go and wash my entire face just to clean up.

Totally worth it.

Week 16 - My Sexy Face

So, as I finish the 16th week of growing a stupid beard I give you my best attempt at a sexy face. Not a funny one, no, we’ll have none of that shit. This is my genuine attempt at a sexy side-stare face. Is it good?

I’ll leave you to decide.

The beard growth after 16 weeks.
“How YOU doin’?” he said, trying to look sexy and suave despite not having washed his hair for at least a week.

Week 17 - 35 Weeks To Go

“When will this be over?” I ask as if I didn’t already know.

“In 35 weeks,” is the answer of course. Because 52 weeks is how long I decided to pursue this little endeavour of mine. An whilst my beard is, kind of, growing adequately, I’m very curious to see what will become of my hair.

Hair is meant to grow about 15 cm—6 inches—in a year, so hopefully it won’t look completely stupid in November.

Week 18 - A Beard Abroad

Feeling like my beard needed a vacation, I decided to take it abroad. Which is why this update comes from surprisingly sunny Finland, where I’ve treated my beard to a nice dose of beer, sauna, more beer and sleeping on an uncomfortable floor which has caused plenty of discomfort for my shoulder.

Or as I’d like to think it nowadays, I’m getting too bloody old for this shit.

Week 19 - Got Me a Beard

I think I need to trim back the moustache a little, every time I open my mouth the moustache sneaks in there.

Week 20 - The Arrival of Spring

The 20 week mark means it’s time for another picture. I have trouble telling the difference to be honest. I’ve trimmed down the moustache because the moustache-to-mouth ratio was just becoming ridiculous.

The beard growth after 20 weeks.
I sure hope it will even itself out one day.

Week 21 - Bring on the Wax

The time has come, the moustache must be kempt in its unruly ways and only one can still the raging beast within.

His name, is Percy. Percy Nobleman.

Nah, I’m just kidding. I have no idea of the moustache wax from Percy Nobleman is that good but I hear good thing—does it still count as hearing when you read it online?—and I’m going to give it a try.

The ‘stache will be kempt.

I’ll let you know if Percy was up to the task.

Week 22 - Stupid Beard

With half an hour to spare before the day is officially no more I’m filled with remorse over Past Carlos for deciding to update this stupid beard journal every week for 52 weeks.

Every bloody week.

God I hate Past Carlos, he’s such a dumb-ass.

Which is why this week I will feature one legitimate reason to shave my stupid beard, which I will then proceed to ignore completely;

No matter what they say, people think it’s dumb.

“I like your beard,” they said because they were being nice and the alternative was “Why the hell would you let pubes surround your mouth?” Everyone thinks your beard is dumb. They’ll never tell you. They value your feelings. I think you’re a twit. Legitimate Reasons to Shave Your Stupid Beard, BroBible

Week 23 - Too Tired

I’m sorry, but I’m too tired to write anything this weekend. I’m growing my beard though so that should still count for something.

Week 24 - Beard 2.0

For the first few months of this beard journey I would look myself in the mirror and not quite recognise the face that stared back at me.

But slowly, as time went by, the face staring back at me begun to look like mine.

And now, I can’t imagine what I would look like without a beard which is going to make it very interesting once I shave again. Until them though, here’s the progress report for my 24th week.

The beard growth after 24 weeks.
The inner woodsman emerges.

Week 25 - Summer Beard

My first and, really, only thought, was that, “Is my beard gonna get really hot this summer? Damn it.”

Which wasn’t something I had thought about before watching this video.

Week 26 - 180 Days of Beard

Drum roll please.

Today is a historic day. A glorious day, one might even say. But then again, those who say that may—but probably not—have a tendency to exaggerate.

Today, as I reach this of most glorious milestone, I am humbled and grateful as I gaze upon this visage of mine.

6 months with the beard that I’m inclined to still refer to as, “a stupid beard”. I’d like to say that time flies, but there’s been weeks when I’ve looked at myself and thought, “Why?”

The answer many times been a boring, “Well, you’ve made it this far.”

I have now officially reached the halfway mark of this beard journey and what a journey it has been so far.

Just another 6 months to go then, I guess.

Week 27 - Noodle Bowl

Someday, someday. And it will be glorious.

Using a beard as a noodle bowl.
Noodle bowl baby.

Week 28 - Hungover Beard

So yeah, being hungover isn’t very fun in itself. But as it turns out, it’s even worse when you have a beard.

Just like whenever you eat something your beard takes a toll charge for things entering your mouth, it also takes a charge for things exiting your mouth.

You probably see where this is going so I’m gonna stop here and leave the rest to your imagination.

Week 29 - Penance Carlos

I realised today that I didn’t include a picture of my beard progress last Sunday, even though it was time for it.

Imagine my shame and humiliation when I realised this.

No, really, I want you to imagine it.

Are you imagining it?

Good.

As penance for this oversight, I’m going to make an effort to include a picture every Sunday until Week 32, which is when the next one would be due regardless.

Week 30 - Lumbersexual

I would tell you all about how much I suffered, paying my penance by dressing up for the picture below if it hadn’t been for the fact that I had enjoyed it more than I probably should have.

So, apparently there’s this thing called, “Lumbersexual.”

Yeah, I’m not kidding, feel free to do an internet search using your favourite search engine of choice to verify these outrageous claims I’m making.

Don’t worry, I’ll wait.

Good, you’re back. See, I told you.

And now that we have that out of the way: This is my sexy lumberjack face.

Carlos Eriksson dressed as a lumbersexual and posing next to a tree holding a faxe card board axe.
Now there’s phrase you don’t hear especially often.

Week 31 - Elvis Beardsley

From sexy lumberjacks to Elvis Presley impersonations, I’m on fire this week.

“Goosebumps,” is the word that comes to mind, to describe my likeness to the late cultural icon more commonly known as, “The King of Rock and Roll.”

Carlos Eriksson dresses up his beard to look like Elvis Presley by sticking adhesive wiggly eyes onto his beard.
Let’s rock, everybody, let’s rock. Everybody in the whole cell block, was dancin’ to the Jailhouse Rock.

Mr. Presley is probably turning in his grave as I use his likeness for a cheap joke.

Week 32 - Midsummer Beard

This weekend we celebrated Midsummer—the pagan celebration of summer solstice—and what better picture to epitomize this holiday than this one.

As the expression goes in Swedish, Glad midsommar.

The beard growth after 32 weeks.
Små grodorna, små grodorna är lustiga att se...

Week 33 - What A Guys Facial Hair Means

As we all know, just like you can tell a lot about a guy from his feet size—yeah, that’s a penis joke—you can tell just as much from a guy’s beard—like his penis size.

I’m joking, I’m joking.

Of course I’m joking—everyone knows you determine someone’s penis size if his index finger is longer than his ring finger.

Ba dum tss!

But getting back to guys and their beards—who better to present us with all the different things facial hair means than the always hilarious Jenna Marbles.

I made up the finger-to-penis correlation by the way, there’s no scientific explanation behind it.

Week 34 - If Beards Were Babies

“Can I touch it?” he said with a cautious face.

Week 35 - Penis beard

Did you know?

Some people say that beards are like pubic hair for your face.

Well, they’re wrong.

Pubes are like beards for your penis.

Week 36 - Queen Charlamaine E

Ever wondered what you might look like in different kinds of makeup?

Yeah, me too.

Now, thanks to the wonders of technology and specifically an app called YouCam Makeup you can.

Amazing, isn’t it?!

Yeah, I thought so too.

The beard growth after 36 weeks.
You can call me, “Queen Charlamaine E.”

Well, one thing is for certain, if I was a drag queen I would be;

  1. Spectacular
  2. Rather be caught dead before looking like the picture above. I’d like to think I have a better sense of style.

Week 37 - 15 Weeks To Go

With only 15 weeks to go now, I’m beginning to see the end of this journey of mine. A part of me now begins to questions whether I should shave off the beard or keep it once I’m done.

The answer of course is that I don’t know but hopefully by November I will.

After 37 weeks though, I can confidently say that I have almost no side burn growth. Which is super-annoying.

Week 38 - Badass Movie Mustaches and Beards

My mom’s here and I don’t have as much time to write about my glorious beard.

Here’s some badass mustaches and beards that sadly aren’t mine.

Week 39 - Fantasies

This week has been the first in quite a while where I’ve walked around and fantasized about shaving my beard. The end is nigh and the great shave awaits.

When I do finally shave I thought I might live-stream it with Periscope, because I thought it could be interesting to watch as I go through the various stages of shaving funny mustaches on myself, like a Hitler-mustache.

Week 40 - Carlos Nobleman’s Beard Wash

Another 4 weeks have gone by since I last posted a photo of massively masculine beard-growth so it’s—you guessed it—time for another photo.

After this one, there’s only going to be 2 more photos before the final Week 52 image—which will hopefully be a time-lapse.

The beard growth after 40 weeks.
I know, my beard is pretty awesome.

Week 41 - Itchy Bitchy Hairy Scary

Beard dandruff.

It’s a real—first world—problem that I’m forced to face more often than I’d like to.

So as my beard has grown, so has my skin problems and let me tell you, it’s pretty fucking annoying.

I have a shampoo that’s meant to be gentle on the beard, and a comb to brush it with. I try not to scratch it but it’s so itchy.

I should probably moisturise my skin as well but I’m not really sure what kind of moisturiser I should have. As I’m sure you can imagine, this is a new territory for me.

And whilst I’m quickly approaching the end of this beard journey I would like my skin underneath to look maintained afterwards.

Week 42 - 10

The official countdown begins now.

With only 10 weeks to go I’m trying to imagine myself without a beard but it’s quite difficult, that’s how used to it I’ve gotten.

But, mark my words, the razor blade will come out and the beard is going. And so is the hair.

The hair is going first, because I want to see what I look like with short hair and a beard.

But as part of my shaving process, I really want to try out different beard and moustache styles. And instead of just shaving different styles in one go I want to try them out a little more.

So I plan on spending the last month progressively making my beard smaller by shaving it into different styles, ending it all with a clean shave.

To make it fun for you, yes you, I figured I would post all of the different styles as I try them out which means there’s going to be more than just the 2 remaining photos I had originally envisioned.

I’m still making a time-lapse for week 52 because who doesn’t like a time-lapse?

Week 43 - 9

The countdown continues.

Yesterday was World Beard Day, who knew?

I, curiously, did most definitely not know. If I had known, I might have posted a picture of myself and my beard.

Instead I’m sitting here, deciding between a Van Dyke or a Fu Manchu.

EDIT

I decided this wasn’t enough, so here a video where “Woman Say What They Secretly Thing About Beards.”

Enjoy.

Week 44 - 8

After a long weekend of camping in the woods and doing a talk on the cost of ignoring accessibility I’m ridiculously tired. Or, “knackered,” as they English might say.

But nonetheless, the countdown continues and with only 8 more weeks to go this is getting—at least for me—as exciting as it was when I first started this beard growing journey.

The beard growth after 44 weeks.
I’m ridiculously tired.

Week 45 - 7

Looking back at the people who have commented on my beard I’m left with a very simple conclusion; Not nearly as many women—as one might think—actually like beards.

Now, you could argue that I should have known this going into this endeavour but I never imagined I would receive as many compliments as I have… from men.

I can’t actually remember a single woman, including my wife, stopping just to tell me what an awesome beard I have. But again, plenty of men did.

And don’t get me wrong, I’ve appreciated every single compliment and it’s not like this is a cry for more. I just find it fascinating that all the positive attention has been from men.

One woman even said, as she saw my beard for the first time, “What happened to your face?”

Good times.

Week 46 - Good Times, Goodbye Hair

As some of you might have already seen previews of in my instagram photos, the hair was the first thing to go.

After that, it was the sideburns—almost non-existent anyway.

The beard growth after 46 weeks.
Oh God, what have I done?

Week 47 - Bzzz

Another week goes by and it’s time to trim down the beard to a more manageable length.

This week I’m going for a Van Dyke with connected moustache.

The beard growth after 47 weeks.
Well, that’s not so bad.

Week 48 - Close Enough

The took out the scissor and the trimmer and in my mind I was going for a Chin Puff with disconnected Handlebar.

But after looking at it for a solid minute or two I realised that what I actually have is a Chin Puff with a short Fu Manchu.

Close enough.

The beard growth after 48 weeks.
Great Scott what I have done to my face?

Week 49 - In Honour of Zappa

Realising my error last week it only took me another two minutes to take the scissor out and turn my Fu Manchu into a disconnected Handlebar. And everything felt right with the world again.

But that was last week and today we’re moving on to the next thing on the list; The Zappa, named after the man who wore it better than I ever will. Frank you beautiful bastard.

The beard growth after 49 weeks.
Rest in peace you eccentric genius.

Week 50 - Policemen And Paedophiles

What are we left with, if we remove the Soul Patch and trim away the hanging bits of the moustache?

The Copstash Standard of course, made famous by law enforcement officers and men with candy.

The beard growth after 50 weeks.
Do you know why I pulled you over, son? Because I have candy.

Week 51 - It Was Bound To Happen

There’s only so many places you can go after the Copstash Standard.

It’s either the Pencil moustache, AKA the John Waters or the Toothbrush moustache, AKA the Hitler.

I doubt any man has ever shaved away their moustache without trying on the infamous Toothbrush moustache for size. And in that respect I’m no different than anyone else.

We’re almost at the end of my journey now. Next week isn’t going to be with a photo of a silly moustache at all but instead a time-lapse showing the entire journey I’ve made.

After that, that’s it though.

The beard growth after 51 weeks.
Männer Abgeordnete des Deutschen Reichstages!

Week 52 - The End

It has been quite a journey; From itching and beard dandruff to more itching and hair in my mouth, I have discovered first hand that keeping a beard requires more maintenance than I would had expected.

I’ve bought equipment like fancy Italian scissors and oils and shampoos, all in the spirit of keeping my beard nice.

Towards the end, as was always the plan, I’ve had some fun with my facial hair, shaving it off progressively and giving myself a good month to get used to what my face looks like again in the process.

Would I ever have a beard again?

Maybe.

But if I did, I think I would keep it somewhere between a 12 and 16 week length because I liked how that looked and felt the most.

I would leave you with some parting words of wisdom but Present Carlos, whilst not as stupid as Past Carlos, knows he still has much to learn.

Which means, I guess, this is the end. All that’s left now is the time lapse I promised. Enjoy!

The end.

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