Studies have shown that women find a beard an attractive proposition. So why do men avoid growing their stubble out. Part of the problem lies with a lack of guidance and advice; so to combat this problem, I thought I’d throw my hat into the arena with this quick-start guide to growing a beard.
Before we begin, I should point out that beard growth depends on several biological factors. Those who have difficulty in growing facial hair may be a victim to their genetics, or yet to experience the latter stages of puberty. Should you find your facial hair tricky to develop, you may want to avoid the frustration of trying to begin with.
And with that proviso in place, let’s begin by taking a look at the first step…
1. Commit to Growing a Beard
Growing out your 5 o’clock shadow is going to need a great deal of dedication; undertaking the task requires you stick with it for several months before anything resembling a fully-fledged beard will appear.
It’s probably best to wait until you have a sufficiently long enough ‘break-in’ period before starting the growth, as ‘fluff’ and ‘dirty stubble’ isn’t a great look to take into the office.
Depending on growth rate, most men require four to six weeks before sculpting can commence, so a summer break or sabbatical is probably ideal for the task.
2. Overcome the Itch
After a week or so, you’ll find your lengthening stubble becomes a facial irritant. Itching is perfectly normal in the opening stages, and it will subside over time.
To avoid being victim to itching, as well as maintaining good hygiene, cleanse the beard daily with a gentle washing agent; baby shampoo is perfect for the job being both mild and cheap.
Moisturizer and anti-irritant salves can also help, but be careful not to use too much and avoid heavy creams that cling to the face; you may find they’re too thick against your stubble and clog up the underlying pores.
3. Soften your Whiskers
Your significant other won’t enjoy the bristly prickle of facial hair on their body during the early stages when the beard still feels ‘tough’. Use a gentle conditioner to help soften the follicles; you may find a ‘leave-in’ variety helps to offer continual softening over the course of the day.
Points to Consider
- Facial hair can make you look older and ‘age’ your face. While this may have the positive effect of making a younger man more distinguished, it can also make an older man appear decrepit. Use your own judgement when in doubt.
- Use caution at work. Office politics aside, some professions (especially those relating to food) have staff rules about acceptable facial hair; take a good look over the company handbook, or speak to someone in Human Resources, before embarking on what may be an objectionable endeavour.
- Beards are distinctive. Just like a new pair of thick-rimmed glasses, a beard is a significant addition to your look; be prepared for friends, family and peers to make light of your new found whiskers. Remember, comedy is one way we deal with change, so be sure to make yourself part of the joke rather than the butt of it. Go with the flow but stand your ground.
- Shaving will not help your beard grow more quickly. It’s an urban legend long since disproven by medical science; while the hair appears coarser after shaving, the speed of growth is merely an optical illusion – two millimetres of growth on a freshly smoothed face appears more prominent than two millimetres on an already established beard.
So you’ve started your adventures in beard growth. Now what should you do? I recommend getting yourself over to allaboutbeards.org – the place to be for all those growing a ‘stache for the first time.
Take a look at their great advice and watch a few of their helpful videos whilst you’re at it.