Friends! I got many questions lately about how to grow & maintain a beard. I’ve been fully growing my beard for about 2 years now with occasionally trimming it every 4 weeks — Let’s talk about what I learned.
Rules for growing a beard
1. The first rule is to just leave the fucking beard alone!
If you’re planning to grow one, don’t overthink it and just let it go! Don’t shave, don’t do anything. You can’t start maintaining the shit out of your beard if you don’t have one yet.
2. Make it through the “I look like shit” phase.
Growing a beard is a lot like growing your head hair. If you have short hair and you’re trying to grow it long, there will be a phase where it’s not short enough to look good, but also not long enough as you want it to be. It’s the shitty phase, be strong and make it through it.
3. Embrace it!
Everyone grows a different beard, some have a fuller beard and some have patches where there is no hair growing at all. If that’s the case, embrace the way YOUR beard is growing. It’s your own style. If you have patches, embrace them and make the look your own! I always hated that I have a slightly red beard as well as that my mustache is completely white/blond compared to the rest of my beard — I always thought it looks bad, now I’m trying to embrace it. Every beard is unique & special on it’s own.
4. Ignore everyone (who wants you to shave)
Ignore family & friends, they’re the enemy while you’re in beard growing phase & will try to convince you to shave on a regular basis. Stay strong!
You also want to take a look at why man with beards look better or 25 reasons why a beard can change everything — Or just forward it to your friends and family.
Maintaining a beard
1. NO Shampoo
There is a little trick I use since many many years to keep my face/skin clear & clean. I never use soap or any products on my face. I never had any pimples or other problems with my skin & apply the same rules to my beard & head hair. However, I do rinse my hair once a day with clean water — The beard (depending on the weather) every or every second day. The less you wash/treat your beard the better. If you do use shampoo, use it as little as you can and rub it carefully into your beard.
2. NO electric razor
If you plan to trim your beard a bit, please DO NOT use an electric razor, always use scissors. Why? Razors cut the hair in a weird angle which causes split ends. Split ends are single hairs that split up at the end of the hair which makes your beard look fuzzy & out of control. The same happens if you use blunt scissors — Invest in some good hairdressing scissors and you’re good.
3. NO touching
I know, you just got an awesome beard and all you want to do is play and stroke it as much as you can. But you shouldn’t. You know why a lot of girls have split ends and need to get their hair trimmed on a regular basis? Exactly, because they play with their hair all the time. By playing & stroking your hair constantly you physically stress & damage it which causes split ends. Avoiding split ends is one of the most important things when maintaining your beard and depending on the weather condition this can be a difficult task sometimes.
Beard grooming tips
1. YES to beard oil
It’s important to keep your beard & skin underneath moisturized. Your skin and hair will become dry, especially depending on the weather conditions. Beard oil will help protect your beard and even makes him softer, fuller and gives him a healthy shiny look.
You might go all fancy and buy expensive hipster beard oil, or you can go simple with basic coconut oil. It’s essentially the same no matter what people will tell you. However, I recommend using a cheaper oil such as coconut oil for your everyday and some nice scented beard oil for special occasions. Always keep in mind — As nice as scented beard oil is, you have it right under your nose for the rest of your day so make sure to test drive it before you spent your money. (see end of this post for beard oil recommendations)
You can apply about 5–8 drops of oil every second day by softly rubbing it into your beard. You might also use a conditioner of your choice instead, but I prefer clean water & oil.
2. Dealing with bad beard days
I mentioned it to friends so many times already — The same way we have bad hair days we also have bad beard days. Sometimes you can do something about it, sometimes you can’t. If you wake up in the morning and you had a really bad night plus your beard is completely out of control, here is what you can do.
- Rinse whole beard carefully with clean water
- Carefully dry it with a towel, NO crazy rubbing & NO hairdryer!
(heat is generally bad for your hair)
- Comb beard hair from roots to outside (so you look like a hedgehog)
- Use scissors & carefully trim split ends if needed. But wait until your beard is fully dry. It always looks longer when it’s wet.
- Softly apply beard oil as mentioned above
- Use comb again to put everything back in place
- Smile, because that’s all you can do — Tomorrow is another day.
3. Apply mustache wax
Alright, so here it get’s a little more difficult. If you plan to grow a long mustache and style it in a certain way, make sure you have some extra time in the morning. Maintaining a long mustache is a love/hate relationship and can really suck sometimes. With my current mustache length I use two products — First off a more soft matte hair wax as foundation to get it roughly in shape and out of my mouth. Secondly a stronger mustache wax to twist & roll up the ends. If you only use the very strong mustache wax you will get into trouble because it won’t work (unless you use a dryer to heat up the wax). My goal is to have it look as natural as possible, I don’t like it when my mustache looks extra glossy & fake.
The first rule about applying mustache wax is to use it as little as you can — Once you applied it to your mustache, try to keep your mustache clean so you can wear it for as long as you can before you have to wash it out. Especially applying wax to your mustache is stressing your beard hair a lot — The more you apply wax & wash it out again the worse your beard hair will become, use it wisely. PS: You don’t have to style your mustache, I sometimes just comb it into my main beard.
YES! That’s it.
Those are my essential tips unless you have any questions you can put them in the comments below — And again, don’t overthink it and just do it.
I’m still learning too, so let’s see this article as a work in progress. Happy long-bearding!
Product Recommendations (what I actually use right now)
- My own BeardOil (launching Spring 2015)
- Bearded Bastard Mustache Wax
- davines Dry Wax for grounding
- I also order from http://www.beardbrand.com/
(Header picture by Unknown photographer)