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Primer: How To Grow And Maintain A Beard

There are a few things we think every man should do at least once in his lifetime, like catching a fish, learning how to use a firearm, building a campfire, etc. There’s one, however, that seems fairly simple, straightforward, and commonplace, but – in reality – is a lot harder to get right than you might think. We mean, of course, growing a beard.

You might think that growing a beard is something that you just do, but there are a lot more subtleties, skills, and even gear you need to do it the right way. That is, unless you want to look like someone who lives in a tiny cabin in the woods writing manifestos. Growing it is actually one of the smaller parts of the job. The other bits – like keeping a healthy lifestyle and regular maintenance – require a bit more attention and care. With that in mind, we’ve put together the following guide that will help any man learn how to grow and maintain a beard.

Slow Growing

The Waiting Game

Let’s say, for the sake of argument, that you’ve never tried to grow out your facial hair before. Well, then you’re probably in for a bit of a rude awakening when you do, because we can pretty much guarantee that it’s going to take a lot more time and patience than you might think.The number one truth about growing a beard is that it is going to take a while. The number one truth about growing a beard is that it is going to take a while. Even if you’ve got Sasquatch-level beard volume, length is still going to have you watching the clock.

There’s also a secondary downside to growing a beard for the first time or after having been clean-shaven for a long period: itch. Facial hair is itchy – and for several reasons. For starters, it’s more coarse than just about all other hair on your body (which can be scratchy on its own), but shaving your beard hair also causes the tips of the hair to become sharp and can irritate your skin. Furthermore, the natural oils produced by your beard follicles could result in other skin issues, such as acne – but over-washing will make your skin dry out and flake like the dandruff on your head.

Even if you take perfectly good care of your skin and hair, you could still run into any and all of these problems. But, outside of proper maintenance and care (which we will go into a bit further into this article), the only thing you’ll be able to do about it is wait. It can be frustrating at times, but giving up is only going to put you right back at the beginning. Give it time and you can either get used to nagging issues – and treat them as best you can – or you will get used to them. Either way, it promises to be a bit of a test.

Keep Up Your Health

Vegetables, Vitamins, & Minerals

A lot of your ability to grow a beard is going to be dependent upon genetics. Unfortunately, that’s the sad truth. But, barring the fact that you cannot rewrite your genetic code, there are still several things you can do to give yourself an edge when it comes to achieving your facial hair goals. For instance, eating foods that boost your testosterone – like tuna, egg yolks, avocado, cuts of beef, pomegranates, and things high in probiotics – have been shown to help with beard growth. The same goes for foods rich in biotin (a water-soluble vitamin B) – like eggs, nuts, legumes, whole grains, etc. There are also a few other non-food items that will generally make growing your beard easier and potentially give your hair a boost. They are as follows:

Virilitas Beard & Hair Growth Support

For all intents and purposes, Virilitas is a multivitamin for your beard. It’s extremely high in vitamin B (like the biotin-rich foods mentioned above) and is actually loaded with quite a few other things that have been shown to help with hair growth, beard thickness/fullness, and follicle strength. Just make sure to check that whatever other vitamins or supplements you are already taking don’t have a lot of overlap with these, because overloading on anything can end up being bad for your overall health. And while it’s hard to say with 100% certainty that this supplement will work, it also comes with a 100% satisfaction guarantee. So, if you’re not happy with the results, you can get your money back.

Purchase: $25

Beardbrand Spiced Citrus Beard Oil

If you’re growing out anything more than a couple days of stubble, you should invest in some beard oil. This stuff will keep your locks looking and feeling fresh, can help to strengthen them and allow them to resist breakage, and will go a long way toward keeping your skin healthy beneath. Just remember to avoid anything with chemicals and/or alcohol – as it can dry out your skin and hair, making your beard a good deal more brittle and prone to breakage and/or falling out. This one, from Beardbrand, is an excellent option and has the added benefit of smelling like citrus, clove, and vanilla.

Purchase: $25

Grave Before Shave Beard Wash

As the name might suggest, this shampoo is to be used as a regular ritual in your facial hair care regimen and is focused on those who wish to keep their facial hair for as long as possible. It’s specifically designed to keep your hair hydrated and healthy and – because it is infused with argan oil – it is particularly good for your beard. Although, it certainly works for all the hair on your head, as well. If you’re not ready for a dedicated beard wash, however, you can certainly use normal head hair shampoo and conditioner, but we still suggest you opt for something with natural ingredients and, if you are using a shampoo or conditioner that you wouldn’t also put on your beard, you probably shouldn’t be using it at all.

Purchase: $13

Woodsman Mustache Wax

Okay, so this is actually more of a maintenance tool than something to help you grow a healthy beard, but the idea behind it will go a long way toward letting you tame any unruly curls, giving you the patience necessary toward growing out your best beard.. Mustache wax (which can be used on your beard hair all the same) is excellent when it comes to getting your facial hair in line and keeping it there. And it’s a good deal better for the health of your hair – so long as you use an all-natural one – than things like hairspray, gel, or any other chemical-based hair product. Just try to use it sparingly, as it can be difficult to get back out of your beard without also stripping the moisture from the surrounding hair.

Purchase: $14

Regular Maintenance

Cut, Trim, Shape, Etc.

The most time consuming part of any kind of facial hair is the regular maintenance it requires. As mentioned before, nobody has to groom their beard, but you’ll look an awful lot like a crazed feral Yeti if you don’t. And while that might work for some people, most guys that we know want at least some measure of sharpness to their appearance. And that means you’re going to have to bone up on your brushing, trimming, and shaving skills.

Grably No. 15 Beard Comb

Daily brushing should absolutely be a part of your beard maintenance routine. One, because it’s a good way to make sure that you look relatively presentable at any given time. And two, because it can actually help tame your ornery follicles over time. Yes, if you consistently comb your beard, it will actually serve to help keep it in line a bit and help keep you from over-trimming any unruly curls. This beard comb is extra special, because it’s actually made out of old vinyl music records – giving it a little extra dash of cool.

Purchase: $11

Sanguine Professional Mustache Scissors

Growing a full beard also means growing out your mustache. And the mustache is going to absolutely require more frequent maintenance because it will quickly grow long enough to get in your mouth and, by proxy, in your food. And nobody likes a mustache full of crumbs. You’ll want to be sure to use scissors in tandem with your comb, lest you trim a stray hair only to find another one on a later day. If you’re going for a clean ‘stache, you’ll want to comb your hair downward with a slight lean toward the corners of your mouth. Then, simply clip the hair along your lip line. If you want handlebars, you can follow the same basic steps, but leave the hair in the corners a bit longer and wax it together. You can also use the scissors to trim stray beard hairs, but you should be a lot more discerning and careful in doing so, because you might end up cutting your beard a bit patchy and uneven. Still, clipping a random stray here and there is a good way to keep things in order.

Purchase: $25

Dovo Carbon Steel Straight Razor

Nobody likes a neck beard. Nobody. Not the people that have them and certainly not anybody else. As such, you should keep the hair on your neck as orderly as possible. For that, we suggest learning how to use a straight razor. You can, however, get the job done all the same with a safety razor or even a disposable – if you’re brave and unconcerned enough with overall quality. The way in which you shave your neck hair will also vary depending on what kind of beard you have. For instance, something a little closer cropped might require you to shave along your jawline, whereas a great big bushy beard – in order to have the right volume by length – will call for your beard line to fall a little closer to your neck down your chin. Feel free to experiment with this a bit here and there and pick whatever feels best for you.

Purchase: $90

Philips Norelco BeardTrimmer 7300

Of course, if you just want to get the job done quickly and with as little fuss as possible, you can always invest in an electric trimmer. They are not nearly as precise as a hand-trim or one done by a barber, but a good enough electric beard trimmer can get you by in the day-to-day. Still, you’ll want to invest of something of decent quality, or else you could end up halfway through a trim only to find that your device is jammed up and/or the motor has died. This Philips Norelco BeardTrimmer 7300 is basically the best of the best. Just remember: don’t take too much off of either side or you could end up having to shave off your beard entirely or walk around with an uneven one for however long it takes for it to grow back so you might give it another try. As with every other method, patience is key to getting it right.

Purchase: $179

How To Shave With A Straight Razor

Whether you just need to trim your neck hair or you want the baby-smoothest cheeks in all the land, your best bet is in learning how to shave with a straight razor.