About 6 years ago I took the plunge. I hung up my razor and decided to grow a beard. I remember it well because, although I’d attempted it before and failed (usually due to the itching that it caused or protests from my wife), this time I did it for charity. This came with a commitment not to shave for at least a month. People had sponsored me. There was no backing out.
Fast-forward to now, I still have a beard and my wife prefers it! I’ve spent quite a bit of time learning about how to maintain it too. Sometimes people ask me questions about how I look after it so I thought I’d share a few tips I’ve picked up, just in case anyone’s interested in growing themselves some face fuzz.
It takes time. This is obvious, but I always say you have to set yourself a minimum growth of 4 weeks (with the ideal being 6 to 8 weeks) before you really know what having a proper beard looks like. You’re unlikely to look your best after a week or so of not shaving, and this is when most men give up, but perseverance is the key.
You can’t defy biology. Again, fairly obvious, but your beard will take as long as it takes to grow, and will grow how it grows. But! Eating healthily, exercising, getting plenty of sleep, taking a good multi vitamin, etc…things that are good for you can only be good for your beard.
It’s likely to itch…but this will pass. When I started growing a beard, the itch drove me crazy! You can minimise this by using a bit of beard oil to soften the hair, but, ultimately, the itchy phase will pass. Stick with it!
Get a decent neck line. One thing I see quite a bit is people growing a beard who shave their neck-line too high. Some even take it up onto their face. If this is the look you’re going for, then fair enough, but a good neckline can make your beard look great. If you haven’t done this before, I highly recommend getting a barber to do it for you and then you maintain it.
Washing it. The hair on your face isn’t the same as the hair on your head. I tend to use a specifically designed beard wash rather than shampoo or shower gel, and I’ve also been advised against using conditioner. Some people recommend not washing it every day, but I guess this depends on factors like skin type.
Beard oil. I use this pretty much every day as I have quite dry skin. It softens the hair and acts like the skin’s natural oils. I put it on when my beard is still a little bit damp (towel dried after a shower) so it retains a bit of moisture, and try and get it onto the skin underneath. Another tip is shake it up! The majority of beard oil is carrier oils. Things like jojoba, or argan oil. The rest, a very small amount, is the scent. When it settles, it can separate, so, unless it states not to on the bottle, shake it first.
My favourite beard oil at the moment has to be the one shown above, from Percy Nobleman. It has a great scent and leaves my beard soft – click the image to view at amazon.co.uk (please be aware that I am part of the ‘ Amazon Associate’ programme, but only recommend this as it’s something that I use).
Hands off. Easier said than done, I know…especially when stroking it seems to help the thinking process (I’m sure this is true!), but try not to play with your beard too much. It will dry the hair out and dirty hands will mean a dirty beard.
Wax. I don’t use this too often, but this stuff can be great when you’re in the mid stages of growing a beard. It tames the frizz and is preferable to trimming.
Trimming. I use a very sharp pair of hairdressing scissors that I keep specifically for this purpose, but try to keep trimming to an absolute minimum. I also use a beard trimmer on my neck and cheeks. I never EVER cut my beard or moustache when it’s wet. How it looks when its wet is very unlikely to be how it looks dry.
Youtube. There are probably hundreds if not thousands of videos on growing a beard on there. If you’ve got the time and the inclination, I recommend having a look around.
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Do you have any great beard tips you’d like to share? Leave a comment: