Growing a beard. It's as easy as 1, 2, 3.
How to grow a beard
The following information should help get you through the beard-growing process.
1. Commit to growing a beard
Growing a beard requires a commitment. The experience can even be a test of character as well as a surprising process of self-discovery. Do you have what it takes?
Why grow a beard? Logically, the question ought to be: Why NOT grow a beard? But shaving is the norm and letting the beard grow is the exception. So, it may require a bit of courage to take the decision to grow a beard. Once that decision is taken, it is easily reversed upon second thought. And another would-be beard disappears. When you see a man with a full-grown beard, you know he made the decision to be bearded and he had the determination to stick with it.
Whether or not you should grow a beard depends in large part on genetics. Beard growth is genetically determined and there is not much anyone can do other than to accept what they've been given. If you have developed enough facial hair to allow you to grow a beard, then you owe it to yourself to grow it out at least once during your lifetime -- even if only as an experiment. You may be so pleased with the results, even unexpectedly so, that you decide to keep the beard permanently.
Most importantly, the decision to grow, and subsequently keep, your beard is yours. The only opinion that really matters is yours. So, go for it! If you like it, keep it. If not, then shave it off. At the very least you will have given it a try and you'll know what it was like to grow your beard.
Make a commitment to grow your beard and stick with it. This is most important!
2. Stop shaving and start growing
- Consider starting your beard while on vacation. You'll be more relaxed about it while away from your job.
- Don't be overly concerned about other people's potential reactions to your new beard. If you have a good beard, most people will probably react favorably, possibly much more favorably than you would have ever anticipated. So relax and enjoy the experience.
- When starting to let your beard grow, just stop shaving -- completely. Do not shave at all for at least the first four weeks of growth. One of the most common errors is to attempt to start shaping or sculpting the beard too early in the process. Even if you are just planning to grow a "Van Dyke" or goatee, you should let everything grow for the first four weeks. WHY let your beard grow for four weeks before you start to shape it -- even if you are just growing a goatee? If you don't wait, you might cut off more than you really wanted. Also, you might not have thought about going for the striking effect of an oversized goatee. You can always trim it down to a smaller size later.
After four weeks, you can start shaping the beard. Usually,
you'll want to define a "neck line" along the bottom of your beard
around the neck. This is probably best done by a professional
barber or stylist. The hard part may be finding one who has a
lot of experience in beard styling.
To create proper neck and cheek lines for your beard, be sure to see:
- Generally the "cheek line", the upper limit of the beard on the cheeks, is best left natural. Some men butcher otherwise excellent beards by shaving the cheeks into strange shapes. Unless your beard appears to be starting just below your eyes, you probably are better off not shaving or sculpting the beard on your cheeks.
- If you mess up your new beard's neck line or cheek line, don't give up! Instead, see: Repairing a neck line or cheek line for your full beard
- Don't let itching deter you! If you experience itching, keep your skin clean by daily shampooing (with a gentle shampoo) and optionally using a conditioner. Your skin will eventually adjust to the new situation. Itching should be only a temporary phase. If you happen to need more relief, try applying some baby oil or moisturizing lotion to the areas that are itching. That should help to soothe your skin while you go through the transition.
- Don't give up! Set a target date. For example, give yourself a minimum of six weeks' growth before deciding to abandon your beard-growing effort. Commit to not shaving before that six weeks is up. When you've reached the six weeks date, then you can decide whether you want to continue with the beard or get rid of it.
3. Maintain your beard
- Invest in a beard trimmer and learn how to use it.
- Usually you should shampoo your beard with the same shampoo you already use for your head. Some may prefer to wash their beards with soap instead. You could try out soap and shampoo to see which you like best.
- Pat your beard gently dry with a towel. Blow drying is not usually necessary and is probably not recommended anyway.
- If you choose to get rid of your new beard, the easiest way to dispose of it is to use a beard trimmer or other hair clippers. Use the trimmer or clippers to trim away as much hair as possible. Follow that with a regular shave. Be extra careful.