Though some say the beard has its days numbered, you would never guess it by the growing number of men who seem to be embracing their hirsuteness. Yet, for all the love you may feel for your beard, there is a certain amount of maintenance required so you don’t appear to have stumbled out of the forest after twenty years.
For men who think sporting a beard is simply letting the hair on their face grow, there are lessons to be learned from veteran beard-wearers. Also, the longer the beard, the more care is required for those around you to embrace your furry face.
“I always suggest, if you’re going to go for a new beard, grow it over the Christmas break or your holidays”, Dan explains. “Don’t try and do it when you’ve got an important meeting in three weeks time," says Dan Gregory, Founder and Creative Director of Man Made London to GQ. “Find an image online or on Instagram or a Tumblr or some feed you’ve seen, and take a picture. It’s like going to the gym, if you haven’t got a goal in mind then you’re just going for the sake of going.”
In the beginning, growing a beard is a matter of patience until you have something to work with. Once, you’ve achieved full bushiness, you will want to follow these five essential grooming tips.
Befriend Your Barber
Growing a beard is much like growing out your hair. If you don’t make a standing appointment with your barber, you’ll get split ends, which will give you a scraggly, untamed look. That may be great if you’re a contestant on Survivor but it won’t be a big hit at the office. In fact, split ends will stunt the growth of your beard, while a regular trim will keep your face follicles fresh and healthy.
Nurture Your Beard, Day And Night
Because your beard covers part of your face, you may think it's no longer important to moisturize, when in fact the opposite is true. After showering, your pores will open up, which will allow you to properly hydrate and condition your face and beard. By following a strict moisturizing regimen in the morning and at night, your beard will feel fuller, stronger, shinier, and ready to take on the world.
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Keep It Clean
Given its location on your face, your beard can be a trap for all kinds of residue, from crumbs and food particles to mucus and dirt. Therefore, to keep your facial hair sightly and strokable, wash it frequently. Do, however, be gentle. Avoid soaps or shampoos with silicones and chemical surfactants, and stick to natural cleansers with oils.
“Make sure the skin is clean, otherwise you can end up with beardruff [beard dandruff]”, says Dylan MacGreggor, a barber at Gents of London. “Your skin will go dry and start to go flaky or scaly. I’m an Aussie so I use a face wash brand called Neutrimetics, but Dove is a really good brand for face wash too."
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Switch Up Your Regimen In Summer
Though most barbers recommend beard oil to keep your facial hair smooth and shiny, some advise using a beard cream in the summer months. Because your face tends to sweat more in summer, your beard may become itchy and uncomfortable. By using a beard cream rich with shea butter to soothe your skin, an organic aloe to freshen your beard and essential lime oil to break down dirt in the summer, you can comfortably sport your beard year-round.
“Most [beard oils] are made from a carrier oil and another oil, typically seed or grain, so flaxseed or canola or rapeseed, something like that," MacGreggor says. "The Bearded Bastard do a nice Woodsman beard oil, with a nice woody scent to it. It’s also going to help with styling. It’s not going to give you a lot of hold but it’s just going to keep it in place.”
Exercise Your Beard
Because your hair is a reflection of your physical fitness, it is important to think of your beard as an extension of your body’s health. By massaging and combing it daily, you’ll improve circulation around your hair follicles and tame wiry hairs. Also, eating properly and drinking lots of water will avoid scraggly and patchy beards by delivering sufficient nutrients and fluids to your face and by extension to your beard.
"The condition of your facial hair directly corresponds to the health of your body," says Jim White, an American Dietetic Association spokesperson. "The same nutrients that have a positive effect on our heart and other major organs also benefit our skin and hair."
The most essential vitamin nutrients to maintain beard health, include, vitamin A and beta-carotene, which maintain and repair skin tissue, enabling better hair growth; vitamins C and E, which support the production of sebum, which lubricates and moisturize hairs; vitamins B6 and B12, which promote new hair growth and prevent hair loss, and omega-3 fatty acids, which protect from dryness and brittleness.