Many teenage boys dream of growing a beard. Michael did not have to wait long for the opportunity. He was already growing a slight mustache at twelve and a small beard at thirteen. He soon became a full-fledged teenage beard grower. And he’s been a dedicated beard grower ever since. Michael has learned a lot about the experience of growing a beard and being bearded during this time.
Naturally, Michael’s beard has matured substantially, growing stronger and stronger since those early teenage years. He has experimented with a variety of beard styles over the years. Yet he always comes back to the full beard. During all of this time, Michael regularly has supplied all about beards with beard updates, documenting many of the changes in his beard over the years. You can see these in Michael’s extensive beard photo album.
Michael’s first appearance on all about beards came in August 2006 with his beard success story. We followed up with a special update to celebrate Michael’s beard’s fifth anniversary in 2010. Today in January 2019, let’s check in with Michael to see how he and his beard are doing after all these bearded years.
This month your beard reaches its fourteenth anniversary. How do you feel about being bearded for that many years?
Wow… it has been a long time! …so long that I have even forgotten that I was beardless for about half of my years walking the face of the earth. I guess the beard is such an integral part of who I am.
During this time, what’s the longest amount of time you ever went without your beard?
The longest I can remember is about a week several years ago, when I tried out sporting nothing more than a couple of sideburns. Besides that, it can be about a day when switching beard styles, but never longer than that.
Has your view of being bearded changed much over these years?
I think that the only thing that changed over time is not thinking about it. At all. It’s just a part of who I am, and one gets used to that.
Would you consider your beard to be an asset?
Yes, definitely. For me, it is a part of what makes a man…well, a man.
Has your beard ever caused you any problems?
I remember that during high school it was pretty unusual to see a guy with a full beard walking down the hall, as most boys could not grow one, and the few who could mostly conformed to the beardless “standard” common in modern society. So there were some attempts at ridicule. But those were always fruitless endeavors.
Above is a selection of photos of Michael’s beard from 2015 up to the end of January 2019. Click on any of the photos to view a larger version.
What are your thoughts on the state of beards in the world today versus when you first grew your beard as a young teen?
I believe that much progress has been made during the last five years or so. Fashion is circular, as the saying goes, and so it seems to be with beards as well.
I believe that it is easier for a guy to go bearded today compared to fifteen years ago — beards are much more accepted by mainstream society, appear in cinema, TV etc., with many celebrities appearing on and off screen bearded. Personally, I also see many more bearded men, especially young men, around nowadays.
Do you still intend to remain bearded from now on?
Yes, definitely, with not a trace of doubt!
Has the full beard remained your favorite beard to grow?
Yes. Most of the changes to my beard during the last few years were the length and width of my beard. But I don’t remember any times changing the style to something else.
What’s your beard grooming and maintenance routine?
There isn’t much of a routine, to be honest. What I usually do is shave the neck once every two weeks (more or less) to have a more well defined neck line, and trim a little here and there to get a more balanced look, maybe once every 4-6 weeks.
Do you have any helpful hints on beard growing and grooming that others might not know?
A good beard trimmer which can also be used as a shaver and has a variety of guards is a bearded man’s best friend. Such a device (my choice is the Remington Alpha series) can be used both for daily or weekly maintenance and for changing beard styles when one desires to do so.
Another thing I discovered over the years is that for a balanced look one can use a “gradation” of guards when trimming the beard. Use a certain guard / length setting for the sides of your beard; a little shorter, the next guard down for the chin; and another setting lower for the neck. Having the lower part of the beard be as long as the parts higher up can sometimes create a “bottom heavy” look that not everybody wishes to have, or at least not at all times. If that’s you, give this a try. For example: My trimmer goes in 3mm steps. So at times I use 18mm for the sides of the beard, 15mm for the chin, and 12mm for the neck.
What would you say to other men to encourage them to grow their beards?
Just do it! …as the Nike commercial goes. You might love the way you look with a beard, or with a certain style of beard. You might not. But you can never know unless you try for yourself.
Two things are of utmost importance: patience and resilience. Growing a good beard takes weeks to months. So there is no use in hurrying… It won’t grow any faster. Be resilient and dedicated. Humans are creatures of habit. So at first the change might be frowned upon by others (although some will be supportive, for sure). But don’t let this discourage you, as the reward is worth the risk.
Worst case scenario? You don’t like it or don’t wish to keep it. Then, a few minutes in the bathroom and you are done. Yet you now know yourself a little bit better. And that experience is priceless.
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