Deciding to grow out my beard for the first time, I did so blindly. With no friends or living relatives that had one, there was no one I could quiz about how to grow a beard. To begin with, laziness is why I started growing it out. Only after a while, did I enter into a conscious decision to grow a full beard. Here are 5 secrets you must know before growing a beard to help you out on your journey.
How to handle the Itch
Let us get one thing clear, if you are going to grow a beard, you will have to go through the itch phase. There is some good news. This phase is actually over sooner than you think. There are also ways to minimise the discomfort. This is one of the most common, if not the most common reason why men give up on the beard and never fulfil their beard destiny.
Keep your beard clean. Wash it in warm water every day using a beard wash specifically designed for beard care. Avoid using really hot water.
After cleaning use a good quality beard oil. Look for ones that contain jojoba or argan oil. This helps to replenish the natural oils and are antibacterial helping to avoid hair follicles getting infected.
Give your hair time to grow out beyond the follicles by avoiding shaving or trimming. When you shave, you leave a sharp edge on the end of each hair inside its follicle. This tiny tube contains and shields each hair.
When the hair grows out, this sharp edge can scratch the follicle, causing it to itch.
When growing out a beard after shaving for a long time, all of your follicles across your face can itch.
Trust the process
There will be times during the grow-out phase that you will want to run to the bathroom, grab your razor, and hack the thing off.
But I urge you to trust the process. There will be the itchy phase, and unless you are one of the lucky few (I like most was not), you will also go through the scruffy vagrant look. Everyone will make comments like “Why are you growing that thing? You look much better without it”. Or “you look like you’re homeless. shave it off, you scruffy got!”
This scruffy phase is often caused by the patch phase! The fact is that your facial hair grows at different rates. You have to give it time for these slower areas to catch up. By doing this, your beard will get fuller, but again unless you are one of the fortunate few, you’re going to have to go through this phase to get there.
Growing a beard is not the “lazy option”
When I first started growing my beard, it was because I could not be bothered to shave. I have almost always in my adult life had stubble, because I hated shaving. I was lazy.
Quickly I found out that beards need an enormous amount of care and attention. Unless you really are going for the vagrant look.
Unfortunately, beards are easy to get dirty (see next point) and therefore need to be kept clean. Then there is taking care of it with beard oils or balms to ensure the beard hair is well nourished and trimming your beard to ensure that it looks need and tidy. This is to avoid it going brittle, which can cause hair breakages, leaving you with an uneven, straggly, and unhealthy look.
Did I mention styling? I confess, I now spend more time getting ready to go out than my partner, with the brushing (with very particular brushes), blow drying and waxing.
But with that said, the critical difference, for me anyway, is that I want to spend this time and effort on my beard.
The perils of food and drink
It is an unfortunate fact of life that your magnificent beard is also a fantastic collector of crumbs and sauces. Without the proper cleaning they can, according to some reports, be more unhygienic than dog fur.
For drinks, I would suggest investing in an environmentally sustainable straw. Especially if you have a long moustache. I don’t do this as often as I should, sometimes with dire consequences. A beard acts like a sponge. When you laugh or speak you end up spraying what, or whoever is standing in front of you.
Foods that do not fit snuggly into your mouth can also be an issue. Think sandwiches, burgers or pizza. There are a few tactics I find useful. Use cutlery so you can cut food down to size. Alternatively, you might use your other hand to move the beard out of the way while you eat.
All that said, you will sometimes just enjoy your food, use a napkin and get to a basin as soon as possible to clean yourself up.
Everyone’s beard is different
The 5th of the 5 secrets you must know before growing a beard. Do not compare your facial hair with the chap living down the street, or that bloke you sometimes see at the barber. Comparing your facial hair to everyone else will set you up for dissatisfaction.
The fact is we all have different facial hair; some people will struggle to grow even the slightest stubble in a week, whereas others seem to skip a shave day and the next are sporting a beard.
If you’re anything like my brother in law, your best efforts will garner some patchy bum fluff, whilst others grow super dense beards.
When you begin your beard journey, dodge examining your beard’s length, the thickness, and consistency with anyone else, focus instead on what you can achieve.
And that’s it, 5 secrets you must know before growing a beard. I hope you found this useful. Take a look here to find out a bit more about me and what to expect in the coming months from this new beard blog.