What’s it like to have a beard for more than ten years? Could you do it? Would you do it? Some guys give up on growing a beard after only a few days! Having a beard for ten years shows some serious beard dedication.
Valentin is a seriously-dedicated beard man. Up until 2009, he gained beard-growing experience by going through phases with and without his beard. Starting in August of 2009 with a completely shaved faced, Valentin grew his beard once again and has kept it ever since.
After Valentin reached the milestone of being bearded for a full decade, he reflected on his experience with us. We proudly salute Valentin for being continuously bearded since 2009 and for his tremendous dedication to the beard!
How do you feel about your current beard reaching its tenth anniversary?
These ten years passed very quickly. I have a stable feeling about the correctness of my choice. There was never a desire to shave off the beard. With the beard I feel very free and natural. I’m so used to it that being bearded is completely normal for me. I do not notice my beard in everyday life. It is as familiar as the hair on the head. I even forget that I have a beard, while someone, most often preschool children, will express their thoughts out loud about my beard. Men, with all their restraint, mostly express themselves emotionally, appreciating and admiring my beard. I always ask them why they don’t wear a beard.
Have you kept your beard about the same length and size for these ten years?
If you look at the photographs of this decade, you can see that for the first year or two, I wore a rather short beard. My barber once told me: “Why do you shave the lower part of the beard around your neck? Let the beard grow naturally. Then it will look more voluminous. The upper part of the beard hair will lean on the lower, and the beard will look bigger and more natural.” Then I looked at the photos, read the materials on your site, and realized that a full beard may not need a cheek line and neck line at all.
Following the advice of my barber, I stopped using scissors and a razor and decided to see what opportunities nature gave me, what a full beard would look like, and whether it suited me. I watched with interest the length of the hair of the beard and I liked it more and more. I discovered that I have a pretty good beard; it suits me. I don’t need to cut and shave it regularly. I just need to keep it clean and tidy.
I liked the full, big beard and realized that this beard is for me. At the same time I thought that I needed to determine my maximum size, the maximum size which would suit me. When the beard grew longer than twenty centimeters (7.9 inches), it seemed to me that the bottom of the beard became rarer, not clear, and not contrasting. I shortened my beard by six centimeters (2.4 inches) and went on a return trip: I allowed my beard to grow again freely without touching it with scissors or a trimmer. I called it “a return trip” or “a journey back through the world of beard”.
Has your beard gotten any thicker over the ten years?
Probably not. The unhindered and free growth of all the hair produces a larger volume for the size and shape of the beard. And the regular use of beard oil helps me to shape the larger volume of the beard. It seems bigger and bushier, which I like.
What have you learned about being bearded during this time?
I, myself, and people I know are so used to my bearded appearance that it does not raise questions. Being bearded has become an everyday state for me. I have no problems with it. Instead of daily morning shaving, I have a standard daily set of beard treatments that are very simple. Definitely I have learned that I will never shave my beard again.
Would you describe your beard grooming and maintenance routines?
To this question I have a very standard answer. It can be found both in your beard care tips and in other recommendations. Every one of us knows what kind of hair and skin he has. Depending on this, he selects shampoo or soap and the frequency of washing the beard. I wash my beard once a week with special beard soap. On the other days of the week I rinse my beard only with water during my morning shower. However, because the beard’s hair absorbs odors of the street very much, it becomes necessary to use soap again. In this case I use a neutral soap that is recommended for children. This soap doesn’t contain various additives that make hair dry, fragile, unruly. I tried various sorts of soap, but chose this kind.
After washing my beard, I usually wipe it with a towel, making light and slow movements from top to bottom. After that I put oil on my palms, rub it in my hair, and massage my skin. I comb the beard with a wide tooth comb from the top to the bottom. Gradually I use combs with smaller teeth. Combing is accompanied by stroking the hair with my hand. I give the desired shape to the beard and allow some time to dry the hair naturally. Sometimes when going out, I use hair wax for better fixation. However, when it is windy, it is impossible to keep my long beard in good order.
In your area, are beards seen more favorably now than ten years ago?
Yes, that’s for sure. The beard has become a fashion now in our country. Until 1700, all Russian men of different classes wore beards. Russian Tsar Peter I forcibly introduced beard shaving in Russia. Those who refused had to pay a large tax for the beard. And now the beard has returned to Russia again. In big cities, barbershops are opening one after another. Young guys, students, try to grow beards, which, due to their young age, are still growing poorly in the majority. But they want to have a big, full beard right away. So they ask with a melancholy voice how to grow a big beard. Some of them rub some ointments into their skin or take medications hoping to accelerate hair growth. I think that many guys from the younger generation will become bearded men for life.
Are beards now more common in the area where you live than they were ten years ago?
Probably in all countries, small towns remain more conservative, and are more adherents of old habits and traditions. But with the current means of communication, when television, the Internet, and mobile communications are available everywhere, it is difficult to isolate oneself from the world. In advertising, in television programs, we now see men with different types of beards. The men of our small town try to keep up with the times. On the streets I can see more and more bearded men. Maybe these are their first timid attempts, but over time they will wear beautiful beards.
Have you encouraged or inspired other men to grow their beards during this time?
Over the years, a lot of guys talked with me about beards, asked questions of interest to them, and asked me to be photographed with them. I think it did not go in vain. Even my grandson, two years ago, after leaving school and entering university, began to wear a beard. Now our family has two beards.
What is the best thing about being bearded for ten years?
Joyfully and gladly I have worn my beard all these ten years. It is a good feeling to be a bearded man. One man said after talking with me about beards that this is already my disease. I don’t know. Maybe it is. But it’s just a sweet illness.
How has the world of beards changed over this ten-year period?
In recent years, the situation with beard materials has dramatically changed. This is due to the fact that the beard has become a real fashion among the male population. There was a need for more information. As a response to this need, many new websites about beards have appeared on the Internet. The advantage of the beards.org site is its carefulness, deep insight into the problem, and a versatile approach. A lot of interesting and necessary material has been accumulated here.
There was a lack of good, high-quality beard photos before. But now, with the development of photographic equipment, the possibilities have become different, and people can take pictures everywhere. The quality of the photos is different, of course, but there are plenty of them to choose from. And most importantly, there are many men with handsome and diverse beards. What a variety of faces and beards: one is better than the other.
Probably the most acute hunger for inspirational beard visuals and information has already been satisfied. Now some other stage has come. Beards.org has accumulated a large amount of material here. On your site there are so many interviews in which the invaluable experience of different people is collected. They share their thoughts and problems, among which anyone can find answers to questions of interest. I remain a fan of your site. So I am happy to share with you the tenth anniversary of my beard.
All About BEARDS is pleased to count on Valentin as a long-term, loyal friend of the site. Be sure to also see Valentin’s beard feature.
Now it’s your turn to grow your beard for ten years and more!