Saint Augustine said the beard was a “masculine ornament,” given to us by God not for any practical use, but for our dignity. Most guys I know who haven’t grown a beard want to, but don’t for a host of reasons. Job prohibits it. Wife prohibits it. Face prohibits it. The first two are easily excusable, but some of you are just wrong when you say you can’t grow a beard. I used to say the same thing. “It won’t come in thick enough. There are patches where things don’t connect.” Many, I believe, just haven’t given it a serious go. So, for those interested in growing a beard for the first time, here are some tips.
If you really want to grow a serious beard, you have to commit to it. No whining about it being “scratchy,” “itchy,” “hot,” or any other childish annoyance. You might not start to see it become something real until 3 months in. I you prefer something kept short and tight, good on you. But if you’re going big, well it takes time. G.K. Chesterton wrote, “One cannot grow a beard in a moment of passion.”
2. Check out potential styles.
3. Grow it all out.
If you haven’t grown a real beard before you can’t simply choose a style and go for it. Every man’s facial hair grows differently, and you may not have the follicle power to pull off some styles. Also, some styles will look good on one man, and not so good on another. So, grow out the whole beard, at least for the first three months. From there you can see what you want to do.
4. Don’t quit.
You are going to be tempted to shave it off. Don’t do it. You will never know what could have been if you wimp out early.
5. Manage the crazy.
As the beard grows, you will hit stages of crazy. Bushiness, uneven length, thin patches, etc. For the most part you just have to persevere. But there are two things to do to help manage the crazy.
- Use a beard trimmer to even out uneven growth.
- Use pomade to keep some order. You will need to experiment to find what you like. Something light is ideal. When my beard started hitting crazy I started using a little of this after a shower, and it helped a lot. (I tried others, and this worked best for me.)
6. Be careful.
Be careful. If you use an electric beard trimmer to edge your beard, one hiccup can jack up that beautiful “ornament!” If you under estimate the length of your beard and use a trimmer to even out uneven length you can set yourself back weeks.
7. Do not quit!
Again, persevere! People will start to give you a hard time. “Did you lose a bet?” Let those naked-faced boy-men laugh it up as they work to maintain the appearance of a child (or a lady).
8. If needed, see a barber.
As your beard grows, and when you hit your goal length you may want to see a local barber to help you with shaving/styling/shaping.
9. Don’t apologize.
As your beard is getting noticed, don’t apologize for it. You are doing what every man secretly wants to do, but doesn’t. You are wearing something God gave you. Own that bad boy.
10. Enjoy it!
You may only keep it a short time, or you may be a bearded man for the rest of your life. Either way, enjoy it! Take care of it. And encourage others to get their beard on.