Even though your Instagram feed is packed full of bearded dudes, beards have been popular amongst powerful men for ages. Charlie Chaplin, Abraham Lincoln and Charles Darwin are just a few historically influential men who wore their facial hair with pride. However, the recent resurgence of the beard can be attributed to the great beard boom of 2014. There’s no single event that triggered the explosion, but it was around this time that critics declared a period of peak beard and sounded the death knell on its rise. Lo and behold, beards aren’t going anywhere, and if you’re thinking about joining the legion of bearded men out there, there’s a few things you should know.
Some guys are lucky. They can sprout a full beard over the course of a single week – no problem. But most guys don’t have that kind of luck. Growing a beard is an arduous process that requires some patience. In the beginning, you’ll see stubble, which will likely grow in unevenly. It’ll take roughly 3-5 weeks before you start see any significant growth. During this time, you should use a beard brush to control the direction of your beard hair growth and help fill in any patchy spots.
Abstain from the urge to keep trimming down your beard every time you see some unsightly patches showing up. The repeated trims will keep you grounded at square one indefinitely. The only real way to fill those patches in is with time and continued growth.
As your beard grows in, you’ll probably notice a few issues, itchy beard being the most common. Once you inch a little bit past stubble, your face will feel like it’s covered in ants. Up until that point, your daily facial moisturizer was probably strong enough to keep your facial hair nice and soft. But the more it grows, the more reinforcement you need.
Your face is full of sebum glands which produce sebum, your skin’s natural oil. When you’re clean shaven, these glands have no problem naturally moisturizing your skin. But as your hair grows longer, those same glands now have double duty. They must keep your skin moisturized and also your new hair. The problem is that these glands don’t change size or produce more sebum to accommodate the new growth. That itchy feeling is a result of dryness. If you don’t use something stronger, you can end up with more serious problems.
Your dead skin cells will continue to shed but have nowhere to go. They’ll get stuck in your beard causing everything from flakes to acne to beard dandruff. This all sounds scary but there’s one easy way to avoid them – beard oil.
Beard oil is crafted from natural ingredients and essential oils to provide a deeper moisturizing process for your beard. It softens your beard hair, gives it a nice, natural shine and even encourages healthy growth. Not to mention, it helps moisturize the neglected skin underneath. You’ll only need a dime-sized amount each morning to keep things under control all day long.
Keep It Clean
You’d never go longer than a week without shampooing your hair, and your beard should be no exception to that rule. But don’t even think about lathering up your facial hair with Head N Shoulders. You need a specially formulated beard shampoo.
Regular shampoo is packed full of harmful chemicals that can wreak havoc on your beard hair and skin, leaving it dry and brittle. Your hair up top is thicker and more tolerant of strong cleansing solutions. Your scalp is tougher, and there are dozens more sebum glands up there to combat dryness. Your face is a different story. If you use regular shampoo for a weekly cleaning, you’ll end up with a dull beard that’s full of breakage and dead ends.
Instead, look to beard shampoo for a thorough clean each week. These shampoos, like your beard oil, are designed to help your beard hair. Also made from natural ingredients, they can dig deep to get rid of food particles, dust, dirt and grime without completely stripping your beard of its natural oil. When you’re just starting out, once a week is enough. When your beard starts to hang down to your chest, you should consider every other day.
Beard oil is great for moisturizing, but you might need another product to help with styling. As your beard grows in, you’ll need to decide what style works best for your face, how long you’ll want your beard to get. But one aspect that’s consistent across all beard styles is the need for beard balm. Beard balm works like a fine pomade, smoothing out the beard hair and making it easier to manipulate into the desired style.
Be sure to use a beard comb to aid in your styling. The comb is smaller than a regular comb and helps you evenly spread product through your beard. You won’t miss any spots, and you can untangle any pesky knots. Choose a beard comb made from horn or rubber. Plastic combs are cheap and cause breakage. Metal combs have poorly cut teeth while wooden combs need to be cleaned carefully to last for long periods of time.
Why You Should Grow a Beard
Now, you understand how to take care of a beard, but you should also understand why you need one. Studies have recently shown that beards aren’t just a cool fad. They can be the difference between singlehood and finding the woman of your dreams.
A 2008 study from Neave and Shields found that women viewed men with beards as more capable of long-term relationships. Smooth-faced men were seen as one-night stands or short-term flings. This beard might be the key to your future. So, taking care of it properly is all the more important.
On the surface, growing a beard seems like an obvious ploy at following a trend or even a carefree way to get out of your daily shave. But like all other truly masculine activities, growing a beard is an art – a skill that requires your attention to detail for the best results.