Making the decision to grow a beard is not insignificant. As a matter of fact, it can be somewhat of a liberating experience.
The ability to engage in “beard farming” is a privilege that is reserved for the adult male species only, and for that reason alone, it should merit every man’s serious consideration at least one time in their life. In a world where gender ambiguity seems to be increasingly en vogue, a beard makes a bold statement of masculinity and manliness, qualities which seem to be sorely lacking in our modern society.
It can be surprisingly invigorating to let your whiskers have their way, because it takes a certain amount of “chutzpah” to grow a thick, full beard. You’re making a statement to the world that you’re not ashamed to let your manliness show, and anyone who doesn’t like it can go kick rocks.
What Are The Top 5 Reasons To Grow A Beard?
In addition to letting your masculinity shine through, there are several other great reasons to grow a beard. Below are some of the most prominent ones:
1. Growing a beard can be a surprisingly rewarding process of self-discovery
You may have never considered whether you would look good with facial hair or not. Therefore, growing a beard will show you a completely different side of yourself. Many men first attempt to grow their beards out for nothing more than an experiment, but they end up liking it so much that they are never seen without facial hair again. Growing a beard can help you explore a different aspect of your physical appearance, which can lead to a change of self-perception for many men.
2. You hate to shave
As simple as this sounds, it’s the absolute truth for tons of men out there. Some men absolutely hate slogging through the daily routine of shaving, so growing a beard is a way for them to escape the largely futile battle against those ever-insistent facial hairs.
3. It can give you a more distinguished look
A well-groomed beard can suggest quite a bit of sophistication and refinement. For some men, the difference between having a hairless face versus a bearded face means the difference between looking like a boy versus looking like a man. A beard lends a certain level of maturity and distinction to your look that you simply cannot get by any other means, including smoking a Calabash pipe.
4. For the most part, you instantly look cooler with a bearded face
f you’re not sure whether this is true or not, just “photoshop” a beard onto any clean-shaven man’s face, and you will instantly boost their coolness factor by a significant degree. If you already look cool, growing a beard will make you look even cooler. Heck, even George Clooney looks better with a beard.
5. Growing a beard is an exercise in patience and self-discipline
You will be surprised at how much growing a beard can challenge your patience levels and call upon your powers of self-discipline. It definitely requires commitment to grow a long beard, and it’s almost guaranteed that you’re going to have to get out of your comfort zone as well. As unsettling as this may be at first, it’s good for you. Nothing is worse than settling into a lifestyle of complacency. Growing a beard can “shake things up” enough to make you feel alive again. If you commit to the process of growing a long beard, you will experience quite a bit of self-growth along with your beard growth.
The Best Way To Grow A Long, Full And Thick Beard
So what is the best way to grow a long beard? Here are the basic steps you will need to take to achieve complete “beardtacular” status.
1. Make a commitment to grow your beard
Don’t be fooled into underestimating the importance of this step.
As mentioned earlier, growing a beard is going to try your patience in many different ways. You’re going to feel a little “out of control” of your appearance for a while, which is actually pretty scary for a lot of guys. You’re going to have to deal with some itching, and you’re going to have to get used to how the hairs press against your face when you’re sleeping at night. It’s the little things like this that many guys don’t take into consideration, and then when they really get into the “thick” of growing their beard (no pun intended), they start second-guessing their decision based on a little temporary discomfort.
Many times it’s not even so much that the beard-growing process is uncomfortable, but just the fact that it’s a departure from the norm can make it seem more bothersome than it actually is. This is where you will have to employ some serious fortitude, and stay determined to see your beard flourish instead of “caving and shaving”, as can often happen. If you commit to see the process through, you will feel a sense of accomplishment, and you’ll look cool as heck as well.
2. Don’t shave at all, and let your beard hairs grow
Simply put, growing a beard is actually more about what you don’t do than what you do.
If you’re going to commit to growing a long, thick, and full beard, you’re going to have to act like you don’t even own a razor or a pair of trimmers, and your facial hair is being left to its own self. The average time span needed to go from “baby face” to “rockin’ beard” will be about six weeks, so that means no shaving at all for about a month and a half.
Can you do this? Yes, you can! But as stated earlier, it will require commitment. This doesn’t mean that if you see a wild hair poking out in a strange direction, you can’t snip it off…by all means, do what you need to do in order to keep from looking like a complete vagabond. But the main point is to not engage in the regular routine of shaving for at least six weeks.
Here are my favorite 6 tips to keep in mind when trying to grow a beard:
Tip 1. If you feel a little uneasy about how you’re going to look to the general public, consider waiting until you have a span of time (e.g. a vacation) to begin the growing process. Just being away from the job and letting your hairs grow freely will help to relieve some of the stress associated with this new change.
Tip 2. Resist the urge to shape, form or sculpt your beard too early in the process. This can actually work against you later in the form of weird growth patterns. Try to go at least four solid weeks without doing any shaving at all, whatsoever. Once you have a good amount of hair to work with (which typically takes about four weeks), you can then concern yourself with shaping the beard and so forth. It’s better to trim away excess growth later than it is to prematurely shave away your hair during the growing process. You want to have a good idea of exactly what you’ll be working with before making any shaping or sculpting decisions.
Tip 3. Try to leave the cheek line hairs (i.e. the hair that defines the upper limit of your beard on your cheeks) as natural as possible. This can be difficult for many guys to do, because many of us can have problems leaving well enough alone. Unfortunately, this tendency can lead some guys to shave or shape their cheek line hairs into odd configurations that simply look unnatural. Unless you have a “wolfman” trait that causes your beard hairs to grow up to the bottom of your eyes, it is a safer bet to refrain from trying to sculpt or shave your cheek line hairs. Again, if you see a “lone ranger” hair growing in an area that looks completely out of place, feel free to cut it off. We’re more concerned about the overall look than obsessing over a couple of individual hairs.
Tip 4. After about four weeks into the growing process, you can start working on shaping the neckline of your beard. This requires a pretty good eye for detail and symmetry, so if you have doubts about whether you should give it a shot, you may want to visit a barber to keep everything on point.
Tip 5. Accept the reality that there will be some itching to deal with. This phase of the beard growth process is only temporary, so do your best to not get discouraged. Use a gentle shampoo on your beard every day in order to tone down the itching. Keep in mind that your skin is getting accustomed to actually allowing your facial hair to grow. If you have some particularly itchy areas, consider applying baby oil, aloe vera gel, or a moisturizing lotion on those areas to keep the itching at bay.
Tip 6. Once you’ve put in a good six weeks’ worth of beard growing, you should have a very good idea of what you’re working with. At this point, you can decide if you want to continue growing your beard, or if you want to go ahead to the next step of shaping and styling your beard.
3. Choose a beard style that makes sense for your particular hair growth pattern
Perhaps the biggest determining factor as to what type of beard style you should choose will be the natural growth pattern of your beard.
Although the objective here is to grow a long beard, you have to respect the forces of nature. Simply put, you have to play the hand that nature has in-store for you, and make the best of the beard growth that you have. Don’t try to force a style that simply can’t work, or would require people to use too much of their imagination in order to connect the dots.
There is no beard-length-to-manliness ratio; in other words, if you find that you simply cannot grow much beard hair, don’t think that you are any less masculine because of it. Some guys can grow a little, some guys can grow a lot. Your job is to work with what you have and make the best of it.
Amongst others, the most popular types of beard shaping that you’ll end up exploiting include:
How Long Do I Grow My Beard?
How long you decide to grow your beard is a very personal decision, but the main premise is to identify a beard length that will give your face a sense of proportional awesomeness.
For many men, this can mean a beard that extends about 2 to 3 inches below their chin. Others take it even a step further by growing a beard that reaches down to their collarbone. If you’re looking to grow a long, thick and full beard, you’re going to have to consider how to properly keep the cheek and mustache hairs trimmed in order to maintain a balanced look for the entire beard. For the sake of keeping your self-confidence intact, it is always best to choose a beard length that gives your face a proportionally correct look. Whatever length that nature and your self-confidence will allow you to wear, that’s what you should do.
The 4 Stages of Beard Growth
Growing a beard is not an overnight affair, so it’s good to have an idea of what kind of phases you will go through during the process. Here’s a quick summary:
1 to 2 weeks: Hair growing in unfamiliar places. Potentially uneven growth patterns at first. Periodic bouts with itching. Possible self-doubt about the whole “I’m growing a beard” thing.
2 to 4 weeks: Hair starts to grow into a more cohesive pattern. Cheek hairs in particular begin to really take shape. More than likely less itching by this time, but greater awareness of facial hair present.
4 to 6 weeks: You should have a good amount of “foliage” by this time. Beard will take the shape that it will most likely keep, so from this point it’s a matter of shaping up what nature has given you.
Beyond 6 weeks: You’re a beard growing ninja. No one can refute the awesomeness of your facial hair.
3 Handy Tips on Growing A Beard
Now that you have a good idea of what it will take to grow a long, thick and full beard, here are some extra tips to keep in mind to help you along in your beard growing journey.
Keep in mind that a healthy overall body will produce healthy hair growth. Jack Passion, the 2007 and 2009 World Beard and Moustache Champion (yes, there is such a thing), states that one of the best things you can do to promote excellent beard growth is to exercise regularly and take nutritional supplements such as B complex vitamins and fish oil.
1. Beard oil can do wonders for making your beard feel more soft and supple during the growing process. In addition, a beard that is soft to the touch carries the important side benefit of driving the ladies wild.
2. Purchase a beard trimmer and learn how to use it well. This will save you money in the long run, and it will give you a sense of self-empowerment. You will be in control of your beard’s destiny, which feels good.
3. Shampoo your beard on a regular basis, with the same shampoo that you use for the hair on your head. This will keep it clean, healthy and smelling nice. When it comes to drying your beard, a towel is sufficient; no need to take out the blow dryer.
So now that you have everything you need to grow a nice, long and healthy beard, get to it! Use the tips and suggestions listed above to achieve full-on facial hair glory.