Contrary to popular belief, growing a thick, healthy beard takes a bit of effort on your part; it’s not something that happens automatically for most men. If you waste time implementing all the tips and tricks you’ve picked up over the years, you might be stuck with a beard that’s going nowhere slowly.

We understand that it can be difficult to differentiate fact from fiction, so we’ve compiled a list of some of the most common beard-growing myths and misconceptions.

MYTH 1: All facial hair grows at the same rate

A lot of men tend to worry or become self-conscious when various parts of their beard are growing at different rates, but this is not a cause for concern. It’s normal, not all facial hair grows at the same rate!

READ MORE: 5 things to eat to grow your beard

The notion that your beard should grow equally on all parts of the face is false. Your chin hairs can outgrow your cheek hairs, but at some point, and with enough patience and proper beard care, everything will come together.

MYTH 2: What your beard is in your 20s is what it will be for life  

The older a man gets, the more developed his beard will be. In fact, research has shown that most men see a peak in their beard growth and volume in their 30s and 40s. If your beard is not quite there in your 20s, don’t despair – there’s still a lot of hope.

MYTH 3: Shaving makes your beard grow more quickly and thicker

This is arguably the widest-spread myth about beard growth. It has been a source of hope for many men who have struggled to have what social media has termed a “connecting beard” and more so for men who have never had a beard at all. Some men will even go as far as shaving their hairless faces in an effort to invigorate and “awaken” the supposed beard-growing “gods” that live beneath the skin’s surface.

Sorry to break it to you gents, but this is a myth. The act of shaving does not have a physiological impact on beard density or rate of growth.

The reason the myth is so commonly believed is that after you shave, the thicker part of the beard’s hair follicle is exposed and the exposed follicle feels thicker – giving the illusion of greater density.

MYTH 4: Shaving against the grain will give you a smoother shave

While it may not always feel like it, shaving in the direction that your beard grows is the safest and most effective way to shave. Shaving any other way may damage the skin.

“Many men make the mistake of shaving in the opposite direction that the beard grows in, in an effort to get a closer shave.  But this leaves the skin vulnerable and prone to bumps and ingrown hairs,” Adrienne Cohen, founder of male grooming brand FINO Cosmetics, told us in a previous interview.

READ MORE: The three reasons why every man should be using a beard oil

“Admittedly, it might be difficult to shave the neck area in the direction that the hair grows in because they often grow in many different directions, but it’s about being sensitive and conscious when shaving that area,” she added.

MYTH 5: Beards are too hot for spring and summer

A lot of men would prefer to shave over the hot summer months because the common belief is that beards will make you feel hotter. But a non-aesthetic function of a beard is actually to protect the skin from the sun’s harmful UV rays, providing shade, if you like.

A study by the University of Southern Queensland found that a beard can substantially protect the skin from sun damage and can even reduce a man’s risk of contracting skin cancer.

All you need to maintain a healthy, thick and good-looking beard is to have a regular beard-care regimen. Click here for tips on how to grow a thicker and healthier beard.