Any man who chooses to keep a beard can very well be expressing his desire to be different. In fact, having a beard these days is more of a fashion statement. Sure, most men don’t care enough to follow trends set by male movie stars with their full beards to goatees to moustache trims. But really, the experience of growing a beard is more of a test of character in itself. Whatever your reasons for growing and/or grooming a beard, you already know that keeping one requires a great deal of commitment. So what are the best ways to go about it?
Beard Growing 101
It goes without saying that you need to first grow a beard before you can even think about maintaining one. As such, knowing how to grow your facial hair is important. It’s hard to accept this fact, but not all men can grow a beard. Your genes pretty much determine whether this is possible or not. For those who are genetically blessed and have what it takes to grow a beard, there are a few dos and don’ts that you must keep in mind so that the entire process becomes a success. Here are the most important tips to keep in mind during your beard-growing process:
1. Ditch the Razor and Stop Shaving
If you want your beard to grow, simply stop shaving and let your facial hair grow to a sizable length before having it shaped or trimmed. Shaving frequently will not help your facial hair to grow faster or thicker. This is an urban myth that will only derail your beard-growing process. Trimming too early is also another mistake most rookies make. Even if you want to keep your beard short, letting it grow a few inches long before trimming it makes more sense than shaving your beard as it grows. If you don’t wait, you might cut off more than you really wanted and this could take weeks or even months to fix.
2. Overcome the Itchiness
After a good and close shave, the skin on your cheeks, chin, and upper lip will usually feel nice and smooth. A couple of weeks later, the short, spiky hairs start growing and the itching begins. That’s when most men shave. So if you experience itching, don’t give in. Just stick it out because this is usually a temporary side effect of shaving. You can sooth the discomfort by applying a gentle moisturizing lotion to the affected areas. Your facial skin will eventually adjust as your beard grows longer.
3. Promote Healthy Hair Growth
Eating healthy can help your beard grow faster. Studies have shown that certain nutrients help to promote the healthy development of hair. Biotin, for instance, a B complex vitamin, has been found to be a great nutrient for boosting hair growth. If you want to grow a beard quickly, you should include foods that are rich in this nutrient in your diet.
4. Avoid Stress and Get Enough Sleep
Some research findings suggest that stress and lack of sleep can interfere with normal body functions, including hair growth. If you’re trying to grow a beard, it’s best to get adequate sleep and avoid stressful situations. The health benefits of adopting these two practices ultimately stretch beyond helping you to grow a great looking beard.
The great thing about letting a beard grow longer than you normally would is that this allows you to experiment with different looks. You can choose to keep your entire facial hair for a full beard, maintain clean shaven sides and cheeks, or go for the wild long goatee.
Finally, keep in mind that beards take some time to grow. Exercising a little patience will, therefore, be required. Once your facial hair has grown to a sizable length, you can have it shaped, and styling beards are something best done by a professional barber. It will be much easier to maintain your beard at home after it has been professionally shaped or styled.
Everything You Need to Know About Beard Grooming
Beards don’t take care of themselves once fully grown. They need some upkeep, which is something that most men prefer to do on their own.
Fortunately, grooming a beard is not a skill that can only be mastered by a professional barber. In fact, it’s fairly easy to do once you know how to go about it. But first of all, it’s important to have the right tools if you’re going to be trimming your own beard. At the very least, you’ll need the following items in your grooming toolkit:
Beard Trimming Tools
- Scissors: You should preferably get a pair of professional barber scissors.
- Beard trimmer: There are many types of beard trimmers out there, from those that run on batteries to rechargeable and cordless models. Shop around to find one that is suitable for your budget and needs.
- Fine and wide toothed-comb: These are must-have essentials for trimming and maintaining bushy beards and the moustache.
- Get a good mirror: A hinged design in particular that allows you to sit between two mirrors that face each other is a great choice. This will enable you to get nice side views of your facial hair when shaving.
General Beard Trimming Tips
Some men prefer to keep facial hair short and close to the face while others fancy a full-grown bushy beard. However, there is a fine line between a handsome and creepy look. No matter what length of facial hair you want to keep, the trick is to maintain the beard in a way that it does not look too unkempt.
1. Never Trim Your Beard When It’s Wet
Unless you want to shave everything with a razor, it’s never a good idea to wet your beard when trimming it. Water straightens hair thus making it look longer. For this reason, you might find that too much was cut off after the moustache or beard dries.
2. Use a Comb and Scissors to Tame a Bushy Beard
Running a wide-toothed comb through your overgrown beard in the direction that your hair is growing will free it from tangles. What’s more, using a comb and a pair of scissors is recommended if you want to keep a bushy yet well-trimmed beard. To get an even level, cut the hair that is outside of the comb. For the moustache, use a fine-toothed comb and start from the middle while trimming slowly toward the sides of your mouth. When trimming the rest of the beard, use a wide-toothed comb and start from the ear as you proceed with trimming down to the jaw and chin. Next, repeat this step on the other side. Using a comb and scissors will take some practice to perfect but it can help you avoid cutting too much hair by accident.
3. Make Use of Adjustable Beard Trimmers
Most beard trimmers come with an adjustable trimming guide. This function allows you to control how close the rotating razors can shave. All you have to do is adjust the beard trimmer to the desired level. But before you perform any major hair surgery on your beard, make sure you check the instructions that that come with your trimmer’s user manual for precise details on how to operate the trimming guide. Remember that when trying to maintain a good looking beard, it’s always better to make an error by not cutting enough rather than having too much off. With that in mind, play it safe by adjusting the trimming guide to a longer length until you have fully mastered how to use your trimmer.
4. Shape Your Beard Outline
A shaped beard should have a well-defined outline, and a trimmer is a perfect tool for this job. With the adjustable trimming guide, it’s now easier and faster to shave a fine line along the neck, cheek, chin, and moustache area. When dealing with stray hairs, use a razor instead of plucking them out.
Cheek and Neck Line Trimming Guide
When it comes to grooming a beard, the technique used to trim the neck and cheek lines differs. The following tips, however, will help you trim your beard the right way and achieve your desired look.
1. Cheek Line Trimming Tips
The cheek line is a very important part of your beard’s shape. For a natural full beard look, you need to keep the cheek line well defined. Unless you have excessive facial hair that goes all the way below your eyes, the cheek line is one of the easiest parts of a beard to maintain. In most cases, it’s just a matter of removing odd strands of hair that grow out of place. A razor can easily shave off those stray hairs to help you maintain a natural looking cheek line.
Some people choose to shave off the sidebands and cheek areas completely to maintain a moustache and goatee style beard or simple chin strap. If you choose to go with these looks, then you don’t have to worry about trimming the cheek line.
2. Neck Line Trimming Tips
The area where your head meets with the neck is your beard’s neckline. Cutting the hair along that line too high up can make you look as though you have a double chin. On the other hand, neglecting stray hairs that extend from the neckline to the point where they become long enough to reach the long strands on your chest hair can leave you with a sloppy and unprofessional look. The key to trimming your beard’s neckline is to ensure that the outline is well defined and no stray strands have been left to overgrow.
Best Ways to Keep Your Beard Clean and in Good Condition
Apart from trimming, it’s also important to keep your beard clean and in excellent condition. If you have a long beard, food and dust can easily get trapped in the hair. Since this can be unhygienic, you’ll need to spend time maintaining the cleanliness of your beard. The following simple tips will help you to keep your beard clean and tidy.
- It’s not uncommon for food to find its way into a fully grown beard when the entire area surrounding the mouth is covered with hair. However, you can keep food out of your beard by taking small bites and wiping your face with a napkin when eating.
- As a general rule, beards should be shampooed regularly. Shampooing your beard at least once a week is safe as this will not strip away natural oils from the facial hairs. Use mild shampoo since it is easier on the skin. Remember also to rinse thoroughly after washing your beard with shampoo to prevent the facial hair from flaking.
- You can use a conditioner more often than a shampoo. This will help to keep your facial hair soft and prevent entanglement for longer beards.
If you have chosen to grow a beard, it’s important to know the best ways to maintain it. While some men prefer the rugged and wild look of simply not shaving, at the end of the day, well-maintained facial hair will earn a man good compliments from women and even fellow men. To enjoy this pleasure, you should come up with a regular beard maintenance routine. This can be achieved by following these simple steps.
- Wash your beard daily to rid it of dust or dirt
- Apply some hair conditioner every day to nourish and keep your beard soft
- For full beards, run a fine-toothed comb through the moustache and a wide-toothed combed through the rest of your facial hair
- Shampoo the beard a few times in a week
- Trim facial hair every so often to maintain the length of your beard
Lastly, keep in mind that maintaining a good looking beard requires the right tools. Therefore, make sure to buy a good quality trimmer as well as some scissors, combs, and a mirror to provide the best care and grooming for your beard.