Maybe you’ve always wanted to grow a beard but just weren’t quite sure how it would look on you. Maybe you’ve tried a couple times but abandoned the undertaking once things got itchy or appeared unruly.
If you work in a professional environment, or simply if you want to maintain a gentlemanly appearance, growing a beard can be a tricky process.
A smooth face is obviously acceptable in any professional environment today, but a well-trimmed and cared for beard can also be appropriate for just about any workplace.
The Problems Of Growing A Beard
So, How do you grow a beard?
- Obviously, you have to let it grow
- After a week, you may start to look like you’ve simply neglected your grooming.
- At about the same time, your face starts to itch, and the whole thing can feel completely foreign to habitual shavers
- That’s the point when most men go back to shaving, but wait! I’ll show you the benefits of a beard and explain how you grow one with ease.
Benefits of growing a beard
- Beards = Equalizer. Beards seem to be a great equalizer as far as age is concerned – they help you look older when you are young, and they make you look youthful when you are older.
- Projects Maturity & Experience. Younger men, especially those looking to climb the ranks amongst seasoned professionals, can benefit from growing a beard as it projects maturity and experience.
- Makes You Look Healthy & Trustworthy. Similar to having a full head of hair, growing a beard can signal vitality especially when you are older. A beard also projects warmth and trustworthiness. Many men in professions dealing with sensitive information and situations like doctors and therapists choose to grow beards to convey these traits to their clients.
- Makes you look like a leader. Ever sine I have had a beard, I experienced quite a few notable changes in my life. People look to me for leadership more often. I’m still the same man as I was before, but people just seem to see me as more responsible and a stronger leader.
- Great Conversation Starter. It’s also been a great conversation starter for me. Strangers come up to me to offer compliments and ask questions on a daily basis.
- You are Part of a Community. Similar to the way Jeep drivers feel compelled to wave as they pass each other on the street, bearded men nearly always give each other the nod of recognition. It’s extremely encouraging and entertaining to be part of the bearded brotherhood!
How To Grow A Beard
On a basic level, growing a beard is really very simple – you just stop shaving. But growing a beard in a way that’s comfortable and doesn’t interfere with your well-developed aesthetic can be tricky.
Here’s everything I’ve learned from a few subpar attempts and my more recent success in growing a full beard.
While I’ll mention a few tools, products, and trimming techniques in this article, stay tuned for a comprehensive follow-up article about the products you should take a look at and what to stay clear of.
- Prepare mentally & set a goal
If you’re used to shaving on a regular basis, seeing yourself with facial hair is going to look incredibly foreign. We identify our face as the center of ourselves and any drastic change is sure to be noticed. Aside from the psychological aspect, physically, it’s also going to feel entirely foreign.
During the early phase of beard growth, remind yourself that your goal isn’t to keep this awkward level of scruff, but to continue until you have the beard you’ve set out to grow.
It helps to gather a few photos of beards that you really like. Having a visual of your end goal can stop you from picking up the razor blade when you encounter an awkward part of the growing phase. You can also use the photos as guidance when your beard reaches its ultimate length, and you want to begin shaping, styling, and maintaining it.
Facial hair grows at a rate of about 1/2 ” / 1.25cm per month. A 1/4″ seems to be the length when facial hair starts being perceived as a beard. With that figure in mind, you can estimate that it’ll take about two weeks to reach the boundary of beard territory.
- Clean and Condition
Use a good Beard Oil to hydrate the beard and the skin beneath. This helps avoid having an itchy and flaky skin. It will keep your beard and skin soft and hydrated. Buy a Beard Oil that is silicone free, non-greasy, non-sticky and shouldn’t leave your beard with an appealing shine.
Wash the beard once every few days to keep it clean and moisturised. Do not use a shampoo as it may dry up the beard. Pick a good beard shampoo that sulphate and paraben free and is infused with oils. This will ensure the beard stays moisturised after the wash. Not washing the beard will cause the skin to feel itchy.
3. Visit your barber, often
It’s unavoidable – growing a beard can make you look unkempt unless you continue to pay special attention to all other aspects of your appearance.
When your hair gets longer, you start to look a bit like a male lion. While some may like it, it will be overkill for most men, and I usually find myself contemplating removing my beard altogether if I go more than three weeks without getting a haircut.
However, as soon as you walk out the barber shop door with a clean cut, your beard instantly looks like a thoughtful addition to your appearance, rather than a lack of grooming. At that point, you may get your second wind and decide to let your beard grow even longer.
- It will Help You Dress Better
The whole point of growing a beard, at least for style-minded men, is to have it as a well-considered addition to their overall aesthetic.
The formula is very simple. If you dress sloppily while growing a beard, the beard will magnify that. If you keep your dress sharp while growing a beard, it will act as a sharp addition to your look.
Before growing a beard, all I needed in the morning was a clean dress shirt to look halfway presentable. Now, before showering my beard is in complete disarray and I don’t have the liberty of running out for a coffee straight out of bed. My beard forces me to be even more diligent with my dressing and grooming routine, and it will be the same for you – a beard will help you to dress better.
- Establish your lines early & maintain often
One of the reasons most men throw in the towel during the early stages of beard growth (myself included…multiple times) is the dreaded neck-beard. Some guys are lucky and have a naturally high neck-line. But mine comes down past my Adam’s apple, and for many men, it goes even lower than that.
This area of the beard, along with the cheek line, can make or break a well-groomed look. One of the best things you can do to make your beard appear intentional is to establish a neck-line early. I would recommend that you start trimming your neck and cheek lines after the first or second week of growth. You’ll find that you instantly go from scruffy to bearded.