Growing, Trimming and Caring for Your Beard – Do It Right!: A man’s face is as versatile as a woman’s, only the defining features vary. Where a woman can use make-up to highlight an area of her face that she wants emphasized, like her eyes, lips, or brows, a man does not have the luxury of doing the same without facing some slight social stigma. He must then resort to other methods of elevating his aesthetic. Facial hair can be included in your everyday grooming routine easily and is not that much of a hassle. Styling your beard.
Ever seen a man with the perfect 5 o’ clock, and a smoulder in his eye? Or a man with a thick and tight full beard? Or even with a goatee for that matter? The images that you conjure up in your brain when you hear of men with facial hair are of dignified men of excellence. A beard can make or break a look – since facial hair take up more than 50% of the face, the beard or moustache (or beard and moustache combination) can be overwhelming to grow out. These styles only seem intimidating to recreate.
Men tend to care lesser about their hair and skin than they should. The myth that men have stronger or tougher skin and hair is improbable as this depends solely on genetic makeup and personal care. This article will show you the ins and outs of growing a beard, and caring for it right.
What it comes down to is the correct compartmentalization of the time it will take for you to go from one style of facial hair to another.
Early man needed his beard to keep him warm. The animalistic Neanderthal let his beard grow out and used it as a mane to scare away animals and potential predators. In the evolutionary phase of man, beard hair helped to filter out the dust and dirt which would have accumulated in his mouth. Now, with no need for warmth or intimidation, men associate beards with machismo and style.
Lore led p eople in the earlier times to view persons with extremely long beards as wise beings – case in point, the legendary wizard Merlin.
The Mesopotamians were known to style their beards in curls, and perms, while the Assyrians allegedly coloured their beards black. Persian settlers were known by their distinctive orange beards.
In Greece, as is represented by the various sculptures of the era, beards were kept curled and left to hang. These long beards were only ever chopped off. This went on until the great king Alexander realized that his soldiers’ beards posed an occupational hazard while fighting, and he ordered them all to be cleanly shaven.
Romans also preferred using razors to shave their faces as early as 616 BCE. Even Princes and Kings of England sported big moustaches and ridiculous pompadours until, again, this was outlawed by William, the first. This is when the evolution of beard styles really blew up.
In the 1600’s an artist by the name Sir Anthony Vandyke invented the Vandyke beard, which included portraits of aristocratic men with pointy beards. This pushed on the use of wax to style beards, using a comb or brush to guide the hair.
Since then, beard styles have been popularized by iconic men in history. In modern times, movie stars and fashion icons dictate what is in and what is out.
So, as a man looking to grow a beard, pick out a few styles that you think will suit you. Keep in mind the shape of your face, jawline, nose and other features while choosing the best beard style for your face. A good way to check what beard would look best on you, pick celebrities that bear semblance to you. Check out the styles most worn by them and then make your decision – these are usually stylist approved and can hardly go wrong.
#1: Oblong or Rectangular Face Shape
Celebrities: Celebrities like Idris Elba, Ben Affleck, Tom Cruise, Jake Gyllenhaal are known to have oblong faces.
Mutton Chops around the cheeks
Circle Beard and Horseshoe Moustache like Hulk Hogan
Chin Curtain, descending downwards with an extended goatee
#2: Oval Face Shape
Celebrities: Adam Levine, Ryan Gosling, Will Smith, Enrique Eglasias have oval faces, with tapering chins.
Goatee, kept cropped to the chin area only.
Lower Lip and Chinstrap which divide the face vertically
How to style a short beard
Full Circular Beard which is kept close to the neck
Extended Goatee, descending to the Adam’s apple
#3: Round Face Shape
Celebrities: Zach Effron, Justin Timberlake, Sebastian Stan, Leonardo DiCaprio have round faces.
Soul Patch – i.e. a strip of hair from the lower lip to the chin
#4: Square Face Shape
#5: Diamond Face Shape
Celebrities: Robert Pattinson, Jonny Depp, Elijah Wood
Widened around the cheekbones
Jawline and forehead symmetry
#6: Triangular Face Shape
Celebrities: Keith Urban, Sacha Baron Cohn
Larger jawline than cheekbones
#8: Heart Face Shape
Celebrities: Joseph Gordon Levitt, Nick Jonas
Rounded beards with clean edges
How long does it take to grow a beard?: On an average men experience up to 1.25 cm of hair growth on their faces per month. This statistic shows that even for the best of us, it will take necessarily one month for a beard to grow out. Many factors affect hair growth such as dietary and lifestyle choices and exposure to pollutants.
Hair has a life cycle which lasts for about 6-7 years. There are three cycles that ever hair goes through when growing. These are anagen – the growing phase lasting 7 years, catagen – a transitory phase where active hair growth stops and telogen– the period after three weeks of catagen, where the hair dies, and sheds.
All the hair on your face is in different phases of these cycles. This means that to get an even growth you will have to take some measures. This can mean making changes in the physical factors which affect growth.
Here is how you can grow your beard:
#1: Face Care:
Caring for the skin on your face is very important in order to achieve the best look. Inculcating a simple facial grooming routine in your daily schedule should be a priority. This schedule should include:
Cleaning and Exfoliating – use a cleanser to gently cleanse your skin once a day. Then, use a face wash or product which is marketed for men and wash with warm water. Exfoliate using natural materials like coarse sugar and honey packs, or sugar, fruit pulp and rock salt packs.
Manage Ingrowth – Ingrowth can crop up on the face due to incorrect shaving techniques or skin anomaly. Use the exfoliating agent to get rid of this.
#2: Body Care:
Along with taking care of your skin, you must nourish your body from the inside out. Hair which grows out of a healthy body looks more natural and thicker in density. Take the following steps to caring for your body to encourage hair growth.
Rest Well – Try to get a minimum of 6-8 hours of sleep. This is so that the dead or damaged skin cells can be replaced. Skin is likely to look more lifeless when you are lacking sleep.
Exercise – Exercising regularly causes the body to get rid of the toxins through sweating. This helps in the impurities below the surface of the face to exit the skin making it healthier for hair to grow.
Destress – A stressful body cannot sustain hair growth and causes loss of hair.
Sometimes the nutrition we get naturally is not enough and must be supplemented.
Vitamins and Supplements – To aid in hair growth, one is advised to eat more fresh fruits and vegetables. Vitamin B1, B6, and B12 and E are scientifically proven to help in hair growth. Increasing your protein intake by eating more meats, eggs, and fish has also proven to do the same.
#4: No Shaving:
The general rule of growing out a beard is to not shave – At all.
In the phases of hair growth on your face, you will often come to days where shaving off the residue of hair left will seem necessary. However, you must resist this urge and continue to care for your skin and hair to let it grow.
Shaving Does not Make the Beard Grow Faster – The notion that shaving often makes the hair grow faster is a myth and should not be paid heed to. If you intend to grow out your beard to more than a stubble, give it one month. If the aim is to have a medium length beard, two to three months should be appropriate; and for a long beard, a commitment of four months and up is necessary.
Set Goals – The best way to ensure that you do not shave it off is to set style goals for yourself. Prepare a list of styles which you would like to try at different phases of your beard’s growth. Use this as an opportunity to explore your personal style.
#5: Stiff Hair and Itchy Skin:
The best way to counter stiff hair is to make good use of beard oil. Beard oil is specially made to tone down the stiffness in beard hair and helps soften them to tameable condition. For itchy skin, moisturise the skin often, using hydrocortisone creams on the direction of your physician. Non medicated options to relieve itchiness of the skin when growing a beard are coconut oil, calamine lotions etc.
Often people trim their beards after washing. This may be preferable when trying to shave off the beard completely, but to simply trim a beard which is growing, you are advised to keep the beard dry for accuracy. Trimming dry beards provides more grounded reflections of how the look will finally manifest.
Comb – A thin toothed comb is best for beards.
Trimmer – Invest in a trimmer which comes with guards of different settings.
Razor – Use a sharp razor to avoid nicks and cuts.
Beard Oil/Serum – Invest in a beard oil or serum. This is a styling necessity, as well as a nutritional supplement to the beard.
Comb and Detangle: The first step is to comb through the beard with the thin toothed comb and untangle all knots. Start from the tail end of the beard and move upwards, untangling the knots as you go along. An untangled beard will be easier to trim, as the comb will also guide the hair to make the lengths even.
Trimmer: Use the trimmer first, to even out the lengths of hair on your face. Put on the guard sized 3-4 if you want to keep the hair on your beard longer. Remember, the smaller setting on the guard, the smaller the length will be when you trim. It is better to trim less than what you intended than to trim more.
Once the trimming is done, use the comb to comb out any loose hairs and remember to trim the sideburns as well.
How to beard
Fading the Outer Lines: If you are satisfied with the trimming, use the razor and shaving cream to shave your cheeks and neck in order to make even lines along the edges of the beard.
Use the shaving cream to make a barrier between the hair to be shaven and your beard. Use this as a guiding line, and shave along it, avoiding hasty strokes. When this is done, you should be left with a trimmed beard with clean edges and lines along the face.
Moustache: Using a precision scissor, cut along the lip line. Cut the hair lengths which exceed that line for a neat look.
Scissor Precision: You can also use a scissor to get any odd hair which is sticking out to achieve the look you want. This is easy when the hair is dry and makes for a neater and fresher finish.
Wash and Moisturise: Once you are done styling your beard, use warm water to wash your beard with beard shampoo, and conditioner. Then, pat dry and moisturise with beard oil.
To use beard oil, take a few drops into your palms and rub them together. Then, use your palms and fingers to comb through your beard and spread evenly.
Beard Care – Nourish and Maintain
To maintain your beard, here are some useful tips and tricks:
Coconut Oil – Use coconut oil to moisturise your beard. It is known to increase hair growth and intensify density. Apply oil in your beard ever night and let the oil soak in.
Beard Shampoo and Conditioner – Use specialized beard products meant for male facial hair. This is because these products are made especially with chemicals with work on this hair best. Conditioning after shampoo is of prime importance. Take a few drops of conditioner and apply in the beard. Leave this in for two minutes and then wash.
Beard Oil – Beard oil is often used as a leave-in conditioner as it has moisturising qualities. This makes the hair more manageable and eases the process of styling. Beard serum or oil contains mineral extracts which also help in hair growth.
Exfoliating face wash – An exfoliating face wash is an integral part of every shaving kit. The exfoliating agent removes dirt and impurities from the skin and removes ingrowth of hair.
Aftershave lotion – After shaving, you must use aftershave on the skin which has been shaven to help the pores close and avoid infection.
Trimming – Trim at least twice a week. This will keep the beard growing in a desirable shape. Trimming does not only include using a trimmer to your beard – it includes using scissors to remove outgrowths or cow licks. The thing to remember while trimming is that you are pruning your beard, not shearing it off.
Beard Wax – Styling your beard is impossible without using beard wax to shape it. Beard wax is made using beeswax and is an inexpensive styling tool. It is easily available in beauty or drug stores. Beard wax makes the beard hair look natural.