So one day you’re walking down the road and think to yourself… “I should grow a beard”. It might be as simple as that or, a very attractive woman gives you a not-so-subtle hint that only bearded men are worth her time. Whatever your reason, this guide will help you navigate the surprisingly unknown waters of cultivating a solid beard that’s worthy of women’s attention and mens respect.
This, like all great journeys requires the proper equipment so we’re ready to take on the challenges ahead. Let’s cover some basic items for controlling our unruly hair. Taking into account quality, price & importance, these are the best overall items for those new to the beard game.
A small & medium comb set to accommodate the different scenarios of maintenance, from trimming to styling.
A soft bristle brush with a solid handle is what you want here. Great for finishing most beard styles and taming stubborn hairs.
Aim for stainless steel & sharp. No need to spend more than $10 bucks for a great pair of scissors.
An all-in-one beard trimmer that comes complete with nearly everything you might need to maintain & style a beard well. Look for ones with multiple height blade-guards.
It’s worth the investment to get yourself a professional grade hair trimmer for clean lines, speed and a professional look.
The only way to get a barbershop fresh look at home. This takes some time and patience but, pays off.
Begin by growing a stubble beard and using the clippers or trimmers to keep the edges cleanly shaped until there’s enough hair to reach your lowest clipper guards height. After keeping the hair at that height for around two weeks, switch to the second highest guard for another two weeks. Continue growing and incrementally raising the clipper guards until you reach the highest size. Using this process builds a solid beard layer, while allowing for enough time to fill in patches and learn the particular oddities of your specific growth patterns.
During this growth phase, it’s important to make use of specific beard care products to create that spectacular look and feel. You’ll need a beard; wash, conditioner & balm. Extra emphasis on the “beard” part because using any wash or conditioner is better than nothing, but a beard specific product is designed to handle the particularly rough and course facial hair. What does a beard balm do? It keeps the hairs moisturized and healthy with a nutrient dense crème that adds volume, making your beard appear thicker.
As the length of your hair begins to reach the largest clipper size, its time to begin trimming everything to fit your face shape. If you haven’t chosen a beard style based on your face shape, check out this article which covers in-depth how to do just that.
Start by trimming the areas around where you want continued growth to occur. For example, if you want to achieve a full beard, keep the sides short and the chin long until the hair reaches the desired height. To create a more impactful look, contrast areas of clean-shaven skin on the cheeks & neck, with sharp edges and fades.
Inevitably, you’ll encounter some parts of your beard that don’t grow in perfectly. Every guy has areas of the face that grow unevenly, patchy or in different directions. These issues are best dealt with during the first growth stage using the various clipper guards. If there’s spaces that simply don’t grow hair, then style around it. This might mean lowering a line or changing the entire look altogether. Don’t stress too much over issues like these, as they become the details which make your beard unique.
While working through the challenges of shaping & trimming your own beard, you’ll discover two common barriers that pop up. The first being how to shave your own beard? The best system to use is a three-panel mirror that allows easy visibility of all sides of your face, helping to keep your lines symmetrical and proportionate. The second barrier is getting your trimmers to deliver a clean line when cutting. Many clippers work well out-of-the box, but with some fine tuning, can cut amazingly crisp lines while extending the life of the device. Look up tutorials on how to “zero gap” and sharpen your clippers.
Once you hit the three-month mark, you’ve now committed to the beard lifestyle. This is when you’ll begin to notice a slow down in growth. It’s at this point that diet, beard care products and lifestyle become very important. Everyone has their own ultra particular dietary needs, so take these suggestions and make them your own. Simply add remove or skip anything that might be a problem for you.
Keratin is a protein that’s naturally found in the body and in a handful of earth-grown foods. You can also find it as a supplement. Research which form is right for you as this will aid in growing a seriously strong beard. Focusing on strength, another natural way to increase hair growth is by boosting testosterone through good old fashioned weight lifting. This is a proven way to raise “T” levels, increasing the strength of your body and beard.
Next you’ll need to establish a daily process that effectively incorporates beard care products like the wash, conditioner and balm mentioned before. Your daily ritual might look like this; trimming and shaping first thing in the morning, showering with the beard wash & conditioner. Then, styling with the balm before heading out the door. Just be sure to have patience and continue fine tuning your daily process until you really make it your own.
There might come a time when you become too comfortable with your daily ritual, and accidentally trim off too much or shave out a chunk. When that happens it’s normal to start having thoughts of committing “beardicide”, wanting to shave the whole thing off to start over. Don’t give up, instead become familiar with the technique of “fading”. Fading will allow you to blend damaged areas to subtly grow them back into proper place.
Bad habits can also lead to small catastrophes too. Scratching and twisting your beard hairs might feel sort of soothing, but will leave bald patches wherever you fiddle around. Try to avoid catching your beard in stuff too, like zipping it in a jacket…that hurts.
After living the bearded life long enough, you’ll truly begin to appreciate small luxuries like; hot towels, warm lather, straight razors and cigars. Try exploring the different aspects of beard culture while enjoying the newfound attention that comes along with it.