Make The Commitment
It's important to realize that it takes some dedication to growing a beard especially during the early stages. You may become discouraged, frustrated and receive comments from friends and family. But, it's very rewarding and worth the effort
Your success in growing a beard depends in large part on your commitment and your genetic makeup. Some people are blessed with the ability to sprout a beard in a few short weeks while others may need to spend months to get the desired look. Unfortunately, there isn't much you can do in terms of genetics but with commitment you can stick through the challenging stages to see how things turn out. And, if it doesn't work out, you can shave it off in a few minutes.
So if you want to grow your beard make the commitment to yourself to stick with it for at least 8 weeks. This will give you enough time to grow out a decent beard, and for you to become accustomed to maintaining it.
Start Growing Your Beard
You can start your beard whenever works best for you. Some people choose to grow it out during the winter months. Others choose to begin growing their beard during vacation while away from work. Yet others choose to grow during football/hockey/baseball/soccer/lacrosse/etc season. Others do it to support national causes like Movember (prostate cancer research) or any other worthy charity. It really doesn't matter when you begin... just pick a date and stop shaving!
One of the biggest mistakes men make is attempting to shape/trim their beard too soon. It's best to allow 4 - 6 weeks of growth before attempting to shape the beard. Even if you're only planning to grow a goatee, chin curtain, or mustache it's best to store your razor and allow your facial hair to flourish.
Why grow out a full beard for the first four weeks?
- You can't determine how your beard will grow out and will likely trim too much off
- You may find that your beard fills out well in some areas and not so well in others
- You may like one style when clean shaven but an entirely different one with sufficient growth
All of these reasons can create an awkward looking beard that soon ends up in the bathroom sink.
You may experience itching and/or skin irritation during the growth process. This is a quite common for many guys and not something to be concerned with. There are many aftershave treatments that can help reduce irritation and also soften facial hair. Hair conditioner and lotions can also help to reduce itching. It's important to realize that the itching is only temporary and will eventually stop.
Shaping Your Beard
After the first month it's time to shape your beard. Sometimes it makes sense to locate a barber that is familiar with shaping beards. If that's not an option then there are two areas that you need to focus on:
Neck Line - Generally speaking you want the bottom of your beard to extend past your jaw bone by an inch or two. If you take two fingers and lay them against the bottom of your jaw bone, that is where your beard should end. In addition the back of the beard should extend straight down from the back of your sideburns.
Cheek Line: The rule of thumb is to leave the cheek line to grow naturally without shaping. Many beards have been ruined because men feel the compulsion to trim the cheek line. Don't do it!
Don't despair if you make a mistake trimming your beard! Simply let the area grow out without shaving and it will soon fill in again. If the mistake is pretty visible another option is to trim down the length of the hairs for your entire beard and begin growing again.
Maintaining Your Beard
There are only two things you need to maintain your beard:
- Beard trimmer - You'll probably be using this on a daily basis to maintain the shape of your beard. Most beard trimmers have different heads to control the length of your beard hair. In addition trimmers help to remove wild hairs that occasionally stick out at weird angles. It's best to go with a cordless unit as the cord can often times get in the way during trimming.
- Beard comb - These combs are different in that they are small and have a short distance between the teeth which make them perfect for managing your beard. Many of the beard trimmers include a basic comb with the kit.
The only other item you might want to consider are beard scissors. They are helpful to trim the occasional wild hair and also to ensure a straight cut at the edges of your beard.
For washing most guys will simply use the shampoo they're already using. Some prefer to use soap instead and it's really up to your preference. Drying your beard can be done by patting it dry with a towel, or letting it air dry which produces a more rugged look. Some products to manage out of control hair requires a blow dryer. Try each of the drying option to see which one looks the best on you.
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