There are two kinds of men: the bearded and the beardless. Don’t believe me? Take a trip to East London. Beards have risen in popularity over the years and rightly so. We’ve all wondered what we’d look like with one, thanks to people like David Beckham, Brad Pitt and George Clooney. The rugged gentleman is a universal symbol of charm, charisma and manliness. Who wouldn’t want in on that action? Whether you’re going for the stubble, goatee or cult-favourite lumberjack beard, this guide has all the answers for maintaining healthy growth, softness and a full silhouette
Growing a beard is an art, science and mathematical formula all in one. So before you get down to business, it’s important to identify your face shape and know which beard style will flatter it. At The Guy Bible, we understand that all face types should be celebrated for their uniqueness. While we believe that this is an important detail, we still encourage you to grow your beard to your own liking.
For those with an oblong face, a long, narrow beard will draw attention to that fact. On the other hand, you can complement the shape through a wide silhouette by growing a beard with fuller sides and trimming loose hairs under the chin. Another example is with a wide, square face, where trimmed sides and a full-patch chin will soften the jawline. Triangular-shaped beards such as goatees are more suited to a round face, where you trim the beard short on the cheeks and long on the chin. An oval-shaped face will benefit from a squared beard with clean lines to give the perception of a fuller face. Lastly, for those with a triangular-shaped face, generous volume on the top, such as a moustache, with a short beard will flatter the silhouette.
Starting Your Beard Growing Journey
Before you start, give yourself a clean cut. I know what you’re thinking: “The whole point is to grow your beard, not shave it!” But according to expert barbers, this is great for stimulating hair follicles, reducing ingrown hairs and preparing the surface for less itch once the growing process gets underway. This is especially true for those with sensitive skin. Consider these pre-shave treatments before you christen your jawline:
- Bulldog Original Shave Oil – a great, all-round product that softens the stubble and prevents razor burns by lubricating the skin
- The Art of Shaving Pre-Shave Oil – one of the biggest names in men’s grooming, this oil is infused with sandalwood, lavender and lemon to instil a luxurious feeling
- Proraso Pre-Shave Cream – blended with menthol and eucalyptus, this pre-shave cream cools down sensitive skin
Massage these into the skin to help the hairs stand up for a closer shave. Shave with the grain, slowly and smoothly for an even shave. Once done, rinse and rehydrate the skin with a moisturiser best suited to your skin. Here are a few options:
- Bulldog Original Aftershave Balm – representing the best value for money, this balm is great for normal to dry skin
- Origins Fire Fighter® – made from a herbal mix of eucalyptus and peppermint, this lotion invigorates the skin and keeps the oiliness under control
- Aesop Moroccan Neroli Post-Shave Lotion – boosted with botanical oils including sandalwood, this lotion soothes and hydrates sensitive skin
Styling your beard
Now you’re ready for the growing stage. This is the most difficult part but sticking through it reaps huge rewards. For newbies, the first month is the hardest due to itchiness; however, this is an easy fix with a stubble balm. Another product that soothes irritated skin is beard oil. This helps to stimulate the skin underneath the beard once it gets lengthy and keeps it moisturised. It also keeps your beard smelling fragrant. I’m sure we’ve all heard our bearded friends rave on about how essential it is! Choose from these options:
- Kiehl’s Nourishing Beard Grooming Oil – this aromatic oil softens coarse hair and is blended with salicylic acid to exfoliate the skin underneath
- Murdock London Beard Oil – derived from 100% natural oils including apricot kernel, jojoba, macadamia, olive and sunflower oil, this beard oil adds volume to the hair by stimulating the cuticles
- Tom Ford Conditioning Beard Oil – famous for his own grooming regime, Tom Ford’s beard oil is a lightweight blend of almond, grapeseed and jojoba oil that softens and nourishes
Growing your beard isn’t as simple as letting yourself go. You have to take charge! Trimming is an important part of this. Once you reach this stage (usually after two months), focus on the neck area. Here’s a neat trick: Use two fingers to draw an imaginary line that starts from behind the ears and meets above the Adam’s apple. Everything below that line needs to be shaved to create a defined neckline. Within minutes, your beard will go from scruffy to rugged.
Another important area to focus on while trimming is the cheek line; however, this is down to personal preference. For most men, they take a little longer to come through so give them time before you start to trim – about three to four months. Once they begin to sprout, the rule of thumb is to trim it higher than you think it needs to be to avoid giving yourself a chinstrap. Even if you accidentally trim one side lower than the other, match it and then regrow – there’s no need to panic. Beard-stencilling tools are also available to produce straighter lines.
Maintaining Your Beard
By now, your beard should really be taking shape. Once this happens, aim to shampoo and condition every two days to retain moisture and softness. Also, don’t be shy! Give your beard a good ol’ massage to stimulate the hair follicles underneath. It’s also a good habit to brush or comb your beard after you get out of the shower, as the steam helps to soften and detangle the hairs. They also distribute natural oils evenly and exfoliate the underlying skin. There are additional oils, creams and balms that can be used to control your mane and smooth it into shape.
Naturally, hair requires upkeep so be sure to trim any wiry, scraggly offshoots every two weeks. Treat it like a presidential routine!
Most importantly, have patience! Beards aren’t all stubble. On average, a beard grows half an inch per month. So quick maths: that’s two to four months to grow a full beard – trims not included. There might be a few rough patches during the two to six-week interval but that’s part of the teething process. In fact, patchy beards are the norm! Look at it like this. There are five growth areas: the moustache, the soul patch (underneath the lip), the goatee, sideburns and the neck. The likelihood that they’ll all grow simultaneously even is slim. Furthermore, neck hair tends to grow the fastest and longest out of all five.
Age and genetics also play a role. While some can grow a suave handlebar moustache, others only manage a painter’s brush. There are ways to boost hair growth such as exercise and eating food rich in protein, zinc, biotin, iron and calcium; however, the most important thing is to love your beard for what it is. Your beard is beautiful and it’s yours! Work with what you have.
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