all about beards is happy to present Chris in our featured beards section. Following numerous submissions to our beards of the world gallery throughout 2007, Chris kindly agreed to graduate to the site’s featured beards section. His beard feature and photo album are illustrated with photos taken during a photo shoot exclusively for beards.org. More photos will be added in further updates. All photos are subject to the site’s conditions of use.
Scroll down to read the story of Chris’ excellent beard. Also, be sure to visit Chris’ photo album.
What do you think of beards?
I love beards. They convey masculinity, confidence, ruggedness, and an appreciation for nature. When you think about it, many conservationists have had beards — John Muir, Henry David Thoreau, Ansel Adams to name a few. I also associate beards with inquisitiveness, a characteristic I value.
Why do you grow your beard now?
I was a kid in the ’70s and beards were big back then. The men of that era seemed more relaxed, carefree, and apt to express their individualism. When I see young and older men sporting beards today, it reminds me that the positive personas and lifestyles of past eras endure. I am proud to carry forward the tradition of the beard.
Did you ever want to grow a beard before you were old enough to grow one? If so, do you remember at how old you were when you first knew that you someday wanted to grow a beard?
Not that I recall. I tried beards in my twenties. But I didn’t keep beards for too long. I can’t remember specifically why I got rid of my beards in the past other than that I probably felt a little unkempt and may have caved in to peer pressure. Many of my friends and acquaintances tell me that I have a nice face and ask why would I want to cover it up? They slightly outnumber the folks
who say, “great beard” or “cool facial hair.”
Did any family members, other relatives, or friends or acquaintances have a beard when you were growing up? If so, did that have any influence on you?
My male relatives, including my father, sported beards at some point. There is something nostalgic and heartening about emulating the look of the ’70s. It brings back good childhood memories. When I get my head shaved and look at myself in the mirror with the full beard and freshly shaved head, I remind myself of my father. That is comforting. He’ll always be with me.
What motivated you to grow your beard for the first time?
I don’t remember. In my twenties, I was probably just trying different facial hair configurations. As I mentioned, it didn’t last. One of my trademarks is to change my facial hair. Being a moderately hairy guy, my hair grows pretty fast.
How did you feel about the way that your first beard turned out?
This time around (I began growing my beard in February 2007), I remember being eager for it to grow fuller and longer. I remember wishing that it grew higher on my cheeks. As a consolation, I don’t trim the hairs that do grow on my cheeks. It gives an illusion of a fuller beard, which I think is a handsome style. The wavy nature of my hair seems to limit me to a certain length. I try to keep the wild hairs on the sides of my face trimmed so I don’t look too scraggly. I do like the current length. I’d love to grow it longer down my chin, maybe even a couple of inches below my chin, but I’m not sure I can pull that off, given how my hair has a mind of its own and starts pointing off in crazy directions. For my job, I have to maintain a somewhat neat appearance. I envy guys who have curly or kinkier beard hair as they seem to have more control over the way their beards lay against their faces and chins. Early on in my beard growth, I noticed guys on the train and around town with nice full beards. Seeing them and some of the men on beards.org helped keep me motivated to grow my beard longer.
You’ve grown the full beard. How did you select that style? What’s your opinion on the full beard versus other beard styles? Have you ever grown any other beard style, such as the goatee?
I find the full beard to be the most handsome style. Don’t get me wrong. Neatly trimmed beards are nice, too. Heck, any facial hair is better than no facial hair. But there’s something free and wild and masculine about a full beard.
Has your full beard had any effect on your self-confidence or how you see yourself? Has it had any other effect on your personality?
Yes, in addition to weightlifting, growing my beard has raised my self confidence, that and growing older and going through the ups and downs of life. I am reminded however that appearance only goes so far, and confidence has to come from within. I like the man in the mirror, inside and out. My beard is a signpost in my development.
How have people reacted to your beard?
Mostly positively. The early naysayers, most of them have come around.
Have you thought about whether you intend to stay bearded permanently or just occasionally?
Oh yes. One of my tactics in the past for pulling myself out of a funk was to change my facial hair or the way I wear my hair. There was something liberating about altering my look… reinvention… metamorphosis, saying goodbye to the old and welcome to what the future holds. I guess it was comparable to a snake shedding its old skin, although perhaps a snake isn’t the best
analogy. I think you get my drift. But this time, I’m wondering if I am going to be a permanent beard wearer? The idea is appealing. It could be my trademark for years to come. But I also want to allow myself the flexibility to change my look and grow the beard back if I want. Right now, I’m committed to keeping it for the foreseeable future.
What’s the best thing about having a beard?
The feel of it. It’s there when I go to bed and there when I wake up. My cat likes to rub his face in it, which feels good. One guy on here likened his beard to a friend or a pet. He said, “We make a good couple.” That made me chuckle because I can relate. When other things aren’t going right in my life — finances, my health, work, or a relationship — my beard is consistently
here. I may have a bad beard day, but the next day, after a snip here and there with the scissors, I’m back to a good beard day.
What do you like best about your beard?
It sets me apart.
What have you learned from your beard-growing experience?
Growing a beard takes a lot of patience and commitment. It’s harder than just not shaving. I had to get through those days and weeks of doubting that I would reach my beard goal. I still am striving for it to be a little longer below my chin. I like the look of a long, narrow beard as opposed to it making my face look wider. We’ll see if I can achieve that look without looking scraggly. Trimming my beard is hard. I always worry that I’m trimming too much and stunting its potential. The mustache is the toughest because I’m afraid of trimming it crooked. I’m kind of a perfectionist. I want the perfect full beard but I’ve learned a beard is going to do what it wants to do and there’s not much you can do to control it. I mean I could
shape it close to my face but that’s not the look I’m trying to achieve. I have a number of gray hairs that have sprouted throughout my beard, most prominently on the front of my chin. I have no plans to pluck the grays or dye my beard. The grays are a symbol of my maturity and life experience right there front and center guiding me.
Would you recommend to other guys that they grow full beards?
Be patient and brush off the naysayers. Even if you think your hair isn’t thick enough, give it a whirl. You’d be surprised after time how you can achieve a fuller look. Comb it regularly. I shampoo mine every day. I also use a plastic scalp brush to scrub the skin beneath the beard. This shampoo/exfoliation followed by conditioning seems to help control any skin flaking. You can also see a dermatologist if you have serious skin flaking. If you don’t trust yourself to trim it, go to a barber who respects beards, respects his clients’ wishes, and knows his or her way with a beard trimmer.
What do you think about being featured on beards.org?
It’s a real shot in the arm. I’ve been a fan of the site for 2-3 years. I appreciate the hard work Steve puts into keeping the site fresh, fun and informative. I’m honored to be among the men featured on the beards.org.
Click on the image above to go to Chris’ photo album.
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