Men grow beards, always have, always will. Some appear to do it with effortless ease, while for others it may be more of a struggle. Some men are blessed with super beard growing genes, while others struggle with patchy beards or other beard growing issues.
However, regardless of your ability to grow a beard, if you’ve decided it’s time to attempt your first, here are the five steps you should follow to give it the best chance possible of reaching its full potential.
Just let it grow
One of the biggest mistakes beginners make when growing a beard for the first time is to try and cut and shape it too early. The best thing you can do is just let it grow naturally; don’t cut, shape or style it until you got some length and can see how your beard develops. Set a commitment period of time, say six weeks for example, and let nothing stand in your way to achieving that goal. You are going to experience beard itch as the whiskers that you’ve been shaving into a sharp edge curl and grow back towards your face. As they hit the face you’ll experience a certain level of discomfort, and this is the time when most men crack and shave their beards. This period will only last from a few days to a week at most, so get yourself mentally ready for this time and just get through it.
Make the style call
As has already been mentioned, the speed of growth varies from man to man; however, there will come a time when you’ll get a good idea of what sort of beard you’ll be able to grow. If, after a month you’ve got a full, thick beard then congratulations, you’ve hit the beard-growing jackpot. Your options for the style of beard you can grow will be extensive. If, on the other hand, you’ve got bald or sparse patches mixed in with significant beard growth, your options are more limited. You can always go the Keanu Reeves route and ignore those patchy areas and grow your beard out, but unless you also look like Keanu Reeves this can be a mistake. However, no matter how your beard grows, the type of hair you can grow, or the shape of your face, there will always be styles to suit you once all of these considerations are factored into your final decision.
Take care of your beard
Throughout the beard growing process, and long after you’ve achieved your style goal and move into the maintenance phase, you simply must take care of it with a range of products. These include:
- Beard trimmer, scissors and comb – It’s a great idea, particularly in the early stages of growing and maintaining your first beard, to visit a barber every 2-3 weeks to get it styled and learn what’s required to keep a great beard. But you still need to keep it in shape in between, and these three tools are the bare minimum to snip away any stray hairs while maintaining a uniform length.
- Beard shampoo and conditioner – Under no circumstances should you use shampoo and conditioner designed for head hair. It will dry your skin and clog your pores causing more problems than you need. Get a good quality beard shampoo and conditioner and use it every few days to remove dirt, dead skin cells and other unwanted foreign objects.
- Beard oil or balm – Applying beard oil or beard balm must become part of your every day grooming routine. It will moisturize your beard while adding weight, sheen and a pleasant scent. Get one of each in the beginning, use them both and decide which one you like better.
- Beard brush – As soon as you have any length in your beard, you need to start brushing it once a day. This will train the hairs to grow in the desired direction and give it shape and style while removing any tangles. It also feels awesome!
However, while these are essential items that you simply can’t do without if you’re going to grow and maintain an awesome beard, there are other tools of the trade that will come in very handy.
- Safety razor or straight razor and shaving cream – Depending on the style you’re going for, there will probably be areas that need to be shaved. For example, if you have a patchy beard so have decided to grow a goatee, you’ll need to shave your cheeks, jaw line and part of your neck. If you’ve gone for a full beard, you still may need to shave stray hairs above the natural beard line of the cheek, and below the Adam’s Apple on your neck.
- Moustache wax – If your beard includes a styled moustache, you’ll need some wax to mould it into the look you’re going for.
Go and see a barber
You’ve never grown a beard before, right? So there’s no shame in going to see a barber for a while to get you started. Professional athletes still have coaches, Fortune 500 company CEOs still have business advisers, and some of the world’s best beardsmen still go to the barber. Once you’ve got some length in your beard, head to a quality barber for a good education as well as your first styling. That way, not only will you walk out confident in your beard style, but also armed with plenty of information you have either already discovered online and has been reaffirmed, beard growing myths you thought were true get busted, or new information you didn’t already know. Some questions you can ask include:
- What styles best suit my beard hair type and face shape?
- How do I use the essential beard products I need (found above) to maintain the health of my beard?
- How do I take care of my beard tools – scissors, trimmer, razors, etc.?
- What direction do my hairs grow in the various parts of my beard, and how do I shave them correctly?
- What is the best place to shave my neckline to suit my face and beard style?
- How often should I see a barber for a professional cut and style?
These are just a few of the questions you can ask, but there are many more. Just explain that you’re a beard growing newbie and you need some advice. If your barber is any good, he’ll offer plenty of great advice without trying to sell you one of everything he has in the shop.
Ignore the naysayers
Along the way you’re going to get a few wisecracks from family, friends, work colleagues and even complete strangers. Just like dealing with beard itch during the first week or two, you need to treat these comments with the contempt they deserve by ignoring them. In no time at all you’ll be sporting an awesome beard, which will take less time than you think, and you’ll find those negative comments will be replaced with compliments and envy.
Every man should attempt to grow a beard at least once in his life, and truth be told, it’s a lot easier than you may think. Yes, it requires regular maintenance and effort, and you’ll find yourself fighting the urge to shave it off when it starts itching or someone makes a cutting remark, but the feeling you’ll experience when you’ve grown the beard of your dreams will make the effort completely worthwhile.