For some a beard is simply a fashion statement but for other men, a beard can be used to hide all sorts of facial features you don’t want on view such as scars, moles, darker skin patches or hyper-pigmentations. Whatever the reason most men have considered growing a beard at some point, not least because it cuts down on getting ready time each morning, but the big questions are – how do I grow a great beard and how do I keep it looking good?
How To Grow A Beard
If you’re going to have a beard these days it needs to look smart and a smart beard is achieved with the proper care regime.
You start with a shave. This may sound wrong, but it starts the process cleanly. Treat your skin to a moisturising and exfoliation session before any patchy growth or irritation can take hold. Although skin care is important when you’re growing a beard what you put in your body is just as important as what you put on it. If you have a poor diet and don’t exercise you’re likely to find your beard struggles to grow. Here’s what to do:
- Drop the pastries and start eating more protein and fresh leafy vegetables. Just like the hair on your head poor nutrition means you’ll get thin patchy growth and your beard won’t look up to par.
- You should also drink more water to help beard growth. Keratin hair cells are partially made from water so if you don’t drink enough of the wet stuff your beard is going to suffer.
- As well as eating and drinking well you should exercise to boost your beard growth. When blood is actively pumped around your body it delivers oxygen to the skin cells. Regular exercise invigorates a sluggish circulatory system and boosts healthy beard growth.
So now you’re growing the ultimate beard – how do you look after it?
Use a Beard Grooming Kit
Don’t even think about growing a beard without first buying a beard grooming kit. Grooming your beard might sound strange, but it does provide benefits. Firstly it smoothes out any tangles and gets hair growing in the same direction. Secondly it removes any detritus that may have ended up there and finally, it helps to evenly spread out any beard products you’ve used. A decent beard care kit will have all the tools you need to look sharp.
Be prepared for itchiness in the first few weeks. Your new beard is likely to trap sebum, skin particles, cells and dirt. Keep your beard clean with beard products, keep up that beard maintenance and the itchiness will pass. Itchiness usually lasts for the first few months of growth, so if you can get through that period you’ll be well on your way to a full thick beard.
After three months you should have a beard worth being proud of. If you haven’t been using the best beard care products, now is the time. A rough and grubby beard is not a look many men or women appreciate. A groomed, shaped and clean beard is the aim no matter whether you choose a closely cut beard or a full bushier style.
Once you’ve chosen your beard style you’ll need to keep it in good shape. You’re going to need a beard trimmer as part of your beard grooming kit. The neckline is often a place men struggle to maintain so here’s a tip - you shouldn’t shave a straight line under your chin, instead, you need to taper the beard down to a smooth finish on your neck. The upper cheeks need beard care too. Older men may find beard hairs creep upwards towards their eyes. You need to make sure any trimming here is soft and tapered because a harsh line will look out of place.
Wasihing Your Beard
Beard maintenance is critical for a well-groomed look and that starts with a thorough wash.
Using a beard wash and a conditioner as part of your beard grooming routine is essential because long hairs can become greasy, coarse and tangled. When you choose your beard wash make sure it's pH balanced and has no harsh chemicals. Standard hair shampoo won’t give your beard the best look because it can be too drying, so look for specific beard washes and choose a good one for optimal healthy results.
Beard washing is important, but you’ll only need a small pea-sized amount as a little goes a long way. Make sure you rinse your beard thoroughly after washing so residue doesn’t build up and cause greasiness or a dull and coarse hair shaft. After your beard has dried, brush it out as you prefer. Brushing your beard will help you spot straggly hairs or any sections that are uneven and need trimming so it’s an important step and shouldn’t be rushed.
After drying your beard you should pamper it with the best beard products for your skin and beard type as this will nourish, moisturise and enhance the colours. Good quality beard oil is the optimum way to pamper your skin and beard. Without beard oil, your beard is going to look dull, rough and unkempt so it’s well worth searching out the best oils.
Where To Buy Beard Oil
Beard moisturisers and oils are an essential part of a man’s beard grooming kit. The best beard growth oil is one that suits your individual hair type and length.
Beard oils combat brittleness which can be a problem in some men. Snapped beard hairs can leave your beard uneven and thin, but applying natural beard oil can make all the difference to its condition.
If you have a short beard style use a small amount and build up the amount as longer, thicker beards need more oil. Rub your palms together and spread the beard oil evenly through your beard growth so it coats all the hair. You should do this daily, but if you don’t like the shiny effect oil can give, apply your beard oil at night and a softener in the day so you get all the benefits.
The benefits of beard oil are:
- Itch Prevention – itchy beard growth can stop you growing a beard before you’ve properly begun. Beard oil can soothe the skin and stop you shaving it off.
- Beard dandruff - beards can shed dandruff, which is not a healthy look. Beard oil helps to maintain skin below the beard soothing and moisturising it to prevent flakes or patchiness.
- Beard appearance - the best beard oil will help style your beard. Beard hair is different to head hair. It’s wirier and stiffer which makes it harder to re-arrange. Beard oil keeps your beard supple and nourished so it behaves and looks smart.
- Beard Care - oil can speed up beard growth by maintaining optimum skin and beard health.
However, buying beard oil isn’t always straight forward because not all barbers and supermarkets stock them and if they do it’s likely they are brands with chemicals that could be too harsh. A way around this is to buy top quality beard oil online.
When you look for a beard oil online search out organic ingredients and avoid sulphates or parabens. Natural organic beard oils nourish your beard which brings out the colour, improves its texture, and protects it from the elements. Keep your eyes peeled for a pocket or bag-sized version too, so you can top up your beard maintenance during the day. Beards can go fuzzy in damp and humid conditions and they dry out in the sun, but applying a coat of beard oil during the working day can help keep your beard look and feeling its best all day long.
You’ll also want to search for a male fragrance too because the scent will be situated directly under your nose. If it’s too sweet, sickly or chemical-scented you won’t be able to escape without washing your beard clean.
When your beard has reached the desired length, you won’t be able to rest on your laurels. There is always work to be done!
You will need to trim, shape, wash and moisturise your beard frequently. If you can find a good local barber that can take care of the trimming then that’s the best course of action. If not, use a beard grooming kit and shape your beard with care. It is best to take a little off each time and don’t rush. Patience is a virtue – it took you months to grow a magnificent beard so don’t ruin it by trimming off too much.
Some men find that their beard grows well, but has patchy areas. If this happens you can still keep your beard if your overall look is sharp. A patchy groomed beard with a work suit can make a real statement, but if it’s very patchy and you want to encourage more growth to try combing it. Moving hairs in the right direction and encouraging them to grow straight can cover patches. Consistently washing, moisturising and oiling your beard will help, and you might also want to overhaul your diet to make sure you’re getting all the right nutrients too.
If the patches won't shift and you don’t like the look opt for a shorter less full-on beard as this will make patchy areas less noticeable.
Beards are always in fashion. Some men opt for a bold, full and bushy style whereas other men choose a close and flat style. Choose a style that suits your face and boosts your confidence. If you’re not sure, ask your barber for their opinion so you can be certain you’re rocking the right look.
If you fancy growing a beard, or you have a beard and want to smarten it up, the golden steps are:
- Invest in a great beard grooming kit
- Buy the best natural beard oil you can find
- Eat a healthy diet with plenty of water
Daily maintenance with beard essentials will ensure your beard is more Savile Row than caveman. Beards are for men who want to stand out, so make sure yours stands out for all the right reasons.