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Beard Care 101: How to grow a healthy beard and manage it?

Beards are no longer the preserve of old men and hippies. Men’s beards are big news and they’re trendier than ever. About 52% men in the UK sport a beard and 39% feel more attractive with a beard. In fact, 7% of men even associate their beard with their success at work. If you are reading this, you either have are looking for beard grooming tips or want to know of ways to grow a beard so keep reading.

Different beard grooming styles

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 beard grooming 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. Here are some beard grooming styles that are trending in the UK:

  • Full beard - Christian Grey aka Jamie Dornan sported this beard and made it an overnight trend. It also remains the most popular style in the UK.
  • Goatee - This is style associated with villains, rockstars or anyone with a rebellious streak and is quite popular among youngsters. Hair on the chin below the lip and a moustache make up the goatee.
  • Extended Goatee - Ben Affleck sports the extended goatee with finesse. The beard extends on the chin and is accompanied by a moustache in most cases.
  • Half beard - Or also known as the short beard, it is a trimmed down version of the full beard with the hair growing just a little above the chin area.
  • Chin curtain - This one circles the chin without a moustache of goatee.
  • Balbo - This one doesn’t have sideburns and the moustache is usually floating, not connected to the chin hair, like the one Robert Downey Jr dons.
  • Mutton Chops - Think about Wolverine and you will know what beard style we are talking about. Long sideburns connect to the moustache with little or no hair on the chin.

Patchy Beard

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, try combing it. Moving hair in the right direction and encouraging straight beard growth can cover patches. Consistently washing, moisturising and oiling can promote beard care and grooming, 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.

Beard Care

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, at 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 make beard grow?

Studies indicate that it takes 67 days to grow what men consider a perfect 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 and aids beard growth. Treat your skin to a moisturising and exfoliation session before any patchy growth or irritation can take hold. Although skin care is important during beard growth, 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 yourself struggling with beard growth. Here’s what to do:

  • Drop the pastries and start eating more protein and fresh leafy vegetables. Poor nutrition means you’ll get thin patchy growth and your beard won’t look up to the mark.
  • You should also drink more water as it is important for beard care. Keratin hair cells are partially made from water, so if you don’t stay hydrated your beard is going to suffer.
  • Along with proper diet and enough liquids, 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 a healthy looking beard.

So now that you’re growing the ultimate beard – how do you look after it?

All you need to know about Beard Grooming

Men sported beards a few decades back too, but what is different is the attention to grooming and the way women are welcoming it now. Men with beards or a desire to grow one are experimenting with different types of beard grooming products to get the perfect facial hair. There was also a time when the beard acted as a contraceptive as most women were strictly against feeling the prick of the beard during intimacy. However, thanks to the beard grooming products, men are now able to tame their mane and keep it soft to avoid any discomfort to their partners.

Here are a few steps you need to take to keep your beard groomed:

Washing Your Beard

Beard care and 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 hair 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 care 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 hair or any sections that are uneven and need trimming so it’s an important step in beard care and shouldn’t be rushed.
  • After drying your beard you should pamper it with the best beard care 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.

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, beard grooming products remove any detritus that may have ended up there and finally, it helps to evenly spread out any beard care products you’ve used. A decent beard care kit will have all the tools you need to help you 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 care products; keep up that beard grooming 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 grooming 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 hair 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.

Beard Maintenance

When your beard has reached the desired length, you won’t be able to rest on your laurels. There is always more work to be done when it comes to beard grooming!

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!

The Final Word

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. The appropriate beard grooming routine and the right beard grooming products will ensure your mane suits your face and makes a statement.