Growing a beard is considered by many as one of the true tests of manhood. Having sported a pretty damn fine beard for several years, I’ve often found myself being asked for tips to successfully grow a beard by both friends and also strangers. Here is the best advice I can offer to those wanting to enter the realms of bearded brotherhood:
Growing a Beard Takes Patience:
Almost every guy has tried to embark on growing a beard at some point. Success isn’t usually down to genetics, it comes down to perseverance. Beards do get itchy. Then they get better. Push through! A little self-control at this stage will go a long way. Find some way of distracting yourself…I personally found chewing gum helpful. I think the jaw movement required helped with the itchy side of things.
What type of Beard?
First, decide whether you are going for the short, trimmed beard (picture Ryan Gosling or George Clooney) or the full length bushranger, biker style look. When left untouched for twelve months, such a mane is sometimes referred to as a ‘yeard’. The reason I suggest having an end goal in mind is because once you get past the itchy stage, you will notice your beard starting to look a little messy. If you are going for the shorter style, it’s a good idea to give it a little trim now. If your ultimate goal is for full face lengthy locks, resist the urge and ride it out. Aim to wait a month before touching your beard. It will give your more room for error when you take to that thing with a razor. Beard Moisturiser: I’ve met blokes who skip this step as they think it undermines the manliness of growing a beard. Ignore them. Your beard baby needs a little tender loving care at this stage, so swallow your testosterone and get yourself some beard oil or balm. Wash your face with a gentle soap, preferably free of parabens and sodium laurel sulphate and avoid products that contain alcohol. (I mean avoid putting them on your skin – there is no need to abstain from a glass of Jamesons.)
Learn how to trim your Beard Properly:
Take a minute to figure out what you’re doing before you trim it for the first time. If you screw it up, you’ll leave yourself looking like a Lego pirate and ditch the whole project. There are countless videos available on YouTube, so study up before you go making any changes.
Love your Beard:
Some guys seem to think having a beard will be easier than having to shave every day. Truth is, your beard will need shampooing, just like the rest of your hair, plus a daily wash with plain water. Rub a little beard oil through each day to keep it from getting too dry and wiry. For longer beards, buy a specific comb and only ever trim with scissors.
Feed your Beard:
If your beard is languishing, take a look at your diet. Foods high in iron, zinc, magnesium and Vitamin B6 are a good starting point. Think leafy greens, good quality red meat, broccoli and seafood. Healthy fats will also provide nourishment such as avocado, nuts and olive oil. There are beard-specific vitamins available on the market as well.
Back your Beard:
Let’s face it, not everyone is a fan of a furry face. You are going to get comments from people who prefer your face in all its’ prepubescent plainness and if you let those comments get to you then you’ll end up caving to the pressure. The only person whose comments it might be worth noting are the one who hops between the sheets with you each night, for purely selfish reasons. If your partner isn’t a fan, try explaining that this is something you’ve always wanted to try and ask for at least six months to explore how it will grow and leave it up for discussion at the end of that time. Chances are, she’ll get used to it and might even like the way it can tickle between the thighs. (wink, wink)
At the end of the day, growing a beard isn’t rocket science, but it does take a little planning, patience and love. I hope these tips will help in your endeavour to achieve your unshaven haven.