Beards have become surprisingly popular in the past five years. What was once seen as unkempt, lazy, and unprofessional, is now seen as a sign of manliness, maturity, and surprisingly, boyfriend material. Growing a beard is no longer seen as neglect for cleanliness and presentation, but is now seen as a skill that men possess. And the longer and more impressive the beard, the bigger of an achievement it is.
The fascination with bushy, manly beards is starting to wane, but beard culture is still a big thing, and if you can grow one (and enjoy having one), you should give it a try. And if you can’t, it’s not the end of the world. Sure, you’ll have men with marvelous beards giving you a hard time, but no more than clean-shaven men telling you your beard is unnecessary and unprofessional.
We’ve put together a complete guide on how to start growing your beard, how to maintain it properly, and how to make it look damned good. It isn’t as simple as just letting it grow. You need to know how to crop your beard, take care of it, and style it, so you don’t look like a well dressed homeless man (or be instantly branded a hipster).
The Early Stages
The first and most important piece of advice we can give you is to just be patient. Going from completely clean-shaven to having even a semi-full beard typically takes most men at least a month. You just have to power through those early days of having an itchy, patchy face.
If you aren’t sure if you can grow a full beard, test the waters. Grow your facial hair out for a few weeks. If you are noticing some patches that aren’t growing in so well, maybe shave and try again later. Eventually, you’ll have a nice, even growth all over. This is when you can confidently start growing your beard.
Once you’re confident that you have an even enough growth to grow a full beard, begin the process. Again, patience is very important here. You have to resist the urge to shave, or to trim too much. Going from a smooth, clean-shaven face to a wild, sometimes uncomfortable beard can be a difficult transition. But the payoff is worth it.
In the early stages (the first week or two), your face is going to itch a lot. Just power through it. Your face is likely pretty dry where hair is growing. To mitigate this, use some of our Jack Earl Co. beard oil. Your skin (and your sanity) will thank you for it.
Maintaining the Beard
Now that you’re working with a mostly full beard, you need to know how to maintain it. Don’t let it get gross. As your beard is growing, regularly brush it to make sure all the hair is growing in the same direction. This will help you avoid having a wild and unkempt beard, which can take away from the mature, refined look a beard can give you.
Clean your beard regularly. It’s hair, and it can get dirty. You wouldn’t tell someone you don’t wash the hair on you head, would you? No, that’s disgusting. You should be washing your beard almost as often as you wash your hair, which is about twice a week. Washing it every day can strip it of its natural oils. Shampoo and conditioner for that bad boy. Buy some beard wash, and oil it afterward, if you prefer. Your beard can get a lot of dirt trapped under it. And unlike your head, your beard is right next to you nose and mouth. Let that sink in for a moment.
Cropping your beard is very important. The term “neck beard” has caused a lot of trouble for bearded men, as it has stigmatized any hair on the neck. But a nice, full beard will typically go a couple inches past your chin. Ideally, you would want it to sort of fade out. You don’t want a visible line where your beard ends. It looks weird. A beard trimmer is essential for this.
Your beard shouldn’t have an equal length all over. You generally want the hair on your cheeks shorter than the hair on your chin. As for the mustache, if you want an impressive one, grow it out. But you can also keep this as long, or a little longer than the hair on your cheeks. It doesn’t have to be super long to complement the rest of your beard.
For Those Who Can’t…
It’s ok. You don’t have to have a beard to be considered a real man. In fact, the clean-shaven look never went out of style, and it’s still a great look for a lot of people. If you really want some facial hair, see if you can grow a mustache or a goatee. But remember: just because you can grow a beard, mustache, or goatee, doesn’t mean you should. Try it out, see what you think, what others think, and decide if you would look better with a clean-shaven face.
We understand that society can be harsh on a “baby-faced” man. If you are absolutely desperate to grow a beard, keep in mind that some people just can’t.
If you can’t grow a beard, it’s not because you’re doing anything wrong. It has to do with science and your genes. The way facial hair grows has to do with how your body reacts to testosterone. Your genes may dictate that your body isn’t as sensitive to testosterone, and so you won’t be able to grow as much facial hair.
However, there are countless myths about how you can force a beard to grow, but many of these are just that: myths.
The most common myth is that shaving more regularly makes your hair come in thicker every time. This is false. If you really want a beard, shaving is literally the opposite of what you want to do. There are multivitamins and natural growth oils that can help your facial hair grow. The results are sometimes questionable, but if you do your research, these may be worth trying out.
This next one isn’t so much of a myth as it is just… not worth it. Some men take hormones or drugs that are meant to stimulate facial hair growth. These can have unpleasant side-effects, and you’re going against nature for something that isn’t really that important. Be careful, and consult a physician before trying this.
So if you think you’re ready to start growing your beard, this is everything you need to know. And you can start right now. Just remember that you won’t see results for a few weeks, and your own patience and determination is the real test.