This is a guest post by Blaine Gray, founder and creator of the website Rawbeards.
Through my whole experience in beard care I’ve seen and witnessed a LOT of problems. Slow growth, bad beard styles, product choice, trimming and cutting issues – there are so many difficulties we bearded men can go through!
Through the years I’ve helped many men get through these hairy issues with workable, practical solutions. It’s also through our experience that we’ve discovered some trends.
There’s a lot of troubled Beardsman crossing the SAME bearded problems.
So I studied and examined the main issues you all faced and I’ve narrowed it down to the 3 biggest problems when growing a beard.
I will tackle these problems in depth giving you workable options to help improve and hopefully solve your situation.
Your 3 Biggest Beard Problems Explained
We are going to tackle the 3 major issues head on to get them sorted! Starting from the top and working down here are some of your beard stopping problems!
#1 – Itchy beards
This one is always frequently coming up! It’s the second biggest problem and it’s going to be a tough one to answer.
I’ve been looking through the responses and evaluating the problems compared to the other questions answered and there are some very interesting correlations.
There’s a twist and I’ll reveal all very soon…..
First off: 2 Week Itch
Let’s just clear something up quickly. You will get an itchy beard during the first stages of growth.
This is essentially the freshly cut beard hairs (which are quite sharp) curling and hitting your skin – when they grow long enough they fall away from the skin and the itch goes.
This typically happens around the 2 week mark of growth. It doesn’t last long but you can tame the pain with the use of beard oil which provides lubrication on the skin.
I’m afraid everyone suffers with this during the first stages of growth, you’ll just have to man up!
Why Is My Beard Itchy?
I would have always related an itchy beard to dry skin conditions resulting to skin irritation. This ultimately results to the dreaded itch.
If that is the case then the main answer would come down to frequent beard care using a suitable conditioner, adequate grooming and the use of oils and balms to keep the hair and skin well moisturised. That would have always been my answer which we covered with the answers above
But why is my beard still itchy?
Some people answered the survey who were using products (oils / balms) with one particular gentlemen who was moisturising 3 times a week and still getting the itch. How can this relate when following the advice above would surely be keeping the skin conditioned.
Could there still be an itch?
Healthy hair, healthy skin, no itch right?
We have all been mislead and tricked. Me included! Let me tell you a story about myself that will reveal some answers.
Have We All Been Tricked?
When I first started using beard oil, I would get out of the shower, dry the beard and apply it when it was damp. It’s the best time since the hair is at a more suitable time to absorb and deal with the oils.
I would apply a little beard oil and I decided to use more. So I thought the more I use the better the effects would be, I didn’t mind wasting it, I just wanted to give my beard a kick start.
I would do this a few days in a row and frequently apply a few drops worth to my beard.
When I was using an all in one beard wash, I was using beard oil and I thought I’d have the healthiest beard in England.
At this point my beard was only small but that didn’t matter, I was using products, it was healthy. Or was it?
Was My Beard Really Healthy?
I started to get a really, really itchy beard!
During this time I was a plasterer so I was thinking maybe it was the dust reacting to my facial hair.
How can I get an itchy beard if I’m doing everything I’m told – using a suitable beard wash (like this one), daily grooming and applying beard oil?
I felt under my beard hair an realised that there were little spots and the whole area was burning up.
It was red raw and so itchy.
To cut a long story short I was overusing the beard oils.
Too much use can result into skin irritations and in my case, minor burns. The essentials oils (or sometimes carrier oils,) within a mix can cause problems for anyone with sensitive and reactive skin.
I would use the recommended amount and check the effects. Some oils and balms will effect different people with different results.
Study what works for you and test the results! If a certain product is reacting badly to your skin, stop using it and use something less abrasive.
Don’t continue using it. If you have any problems, stop use straightaway.
This was a real eye opener for me! If your using any products and still getting the itch it could be the effects from the oils or the frequency and amount of use.
A little goes a long way!
Here’s my recommendations:
- less than a 5p dosage for anyone from 0-3 months,
- 5p dose for 3-6 months
- 5p +++ for 6-12 months
Here’s Beardbrand’s recommendation
- 0 – 1 month |3-4 drops |Daily treatment
- 1 – 3 months |4-6 drops |Daily treatment
- 3 – 12 months |6-10 drops |Daily treatment
- 12 months ++ | 10 ++ drops |Daily treatment
source from http://www.
Very similar process with your balms.
Peel it out with your finger and rub it into the palm of your hands until the body head melts it down. Rub it between your hands and apply the balm to your facial hair paying particular attention to any areas where you want extra hold.
I still stand by the use of oils and beard balms but just be careful with the amount of use and aim for a product that works for you!
#2 – Dry, course beards
We all get to a point where our beards are feeling dry and bedraggled (yes! I thought I’d just try that word, just throw it in there)! This can be caused by so many different factors within life and our environment:
- Skin conditions
All these factors above can create opportunities for your beard to become course and dry. Here’s an effective list of the MUST and MUST NOT’s you should incorporate into your bearded regime.
To Do List
Make sure your using shampoo and conditioners, avoiding any sulphates or harsh chemical substitutes and try aim for the natural options.
Shampoo can strip down your natural oils in your hair so use it twice a week, max. I’d actually recommend once a week.
Sulphates (used within your typical shampoos) are the chemical that provides the bubbles and foam when washing. This chemical has some bad effects on our hair. It can leave it dry, strips all your natural sebum oils and has even been shown to attribute towards skin irritations.
The ideal option would be to use a shampoo/ wash that’s aimed specifically for your beard.
There are so many options available now.
I really like Lush’s product ……, it has a great scent and it does wonders for your beard. I also highly recommend the Pound Beard Club’s range of products since there all 100% natural and generally great quality.
You can use these at a much higher frequency because they are specifically designed for beards. I was using my beard wash every other day.
Use a good conditioner 3-4 times a week (possible more,) depending on how your conditioner reacts to your beard. It’s all preference.
As mentioned decent application of a good beard oil and balm (my favorite) will give your skin and facial hair the nutrients and oils needed to create a healthy environment of growth.
To NOT Do List
Here’s the no goes that I discovered from a few few forum’s on this subject.
I wanted to know what people were doing to end up with dry skin and beards and I was just looking for some answers. Answers were found:
Some dude was posting saying he only uses soap on his beard! I want to make this very clear now and hear me when I say this.
NO SOAP ON THE BEARD, EVER! Big no go Amigo.
This will strip all your natural oils from you facial hair and skin.
If you are using soap (which is bearded suicide) aim for the natural non abrasive products.
You can buy soap that doesn’t contain any detergents or chemicals which offer an organic solution.
Make sure you buy a soap product only aimed for your facial hair. Again, check the ingredients and always test!
Grooming NO GO’s
Reframe from combing or brushing your hair before a shower.
If you start to brush or comb when you hair hasn’t been softened then you could be pulling and fighting with your tangled hairs which will lead to stress on your skin and follicles. You can feel it when your pulling, it’s hard on the skin and can be quite painful.
I would recommend applying a bit of beard oil after the shower. This will soften the hair and give your skin some friendly lubrication before starting your grooming routine.
The aim is to provide as little stress as possible – any damaged dealt to the skin will be reflected to you beard in the form of dandruff.
After all beard dandruff is simply dead skin cells that have been damaged.
Harsh treatment results in dry, flakey irritations.
Aim for a wide toothed beard comb on your beard and the fine toothed for your moustache. This should keep stress to the minimum.
Finally, avoid constant stroking. It’s so addictive to play around your beard isn’t it?
Stroking your beard actually contributes to dry facial hair because the constant contact actually strips the oils on your facial hair. The oil (sebum) is transferred from the hair to the skin on your fingers which results in negative effects.
It’s tough, but reframing from a stroke will help keep your beard in its optimum environment. After all the main reason for dry beards essentially comes from the lack of oils.
Following a healthy routine of beard grooming with a healthy balance of beard oils will make your beard a silky, smooth wonder!
But be careful because the second problem is caused through misuse of a certain product. A product a lot of bearded men use:
#3 – Patch Adams!
This was the people’s biggest beard problem.
A majority of the people stated that one of the biggest problems they faced was patchy beards! The majority of the these people were growing there beards from the 0 – 6 month period.
A Patchy beard can attack anyone, myself included.
I have patchy sections around my cheeks and the connectors between my moustache and goatee are thinner. Unfortunately, as stated before, a lot of this comes down to genetics.
But, there are answers! For anyone who has just started growing your beard you want to give it a least a constant 3 month period of growth. This will show you your beard growing potential with six months showing true results!
People claim there beards are patchy before any real growth has occurred!
Our facial hair grows at different periods of times and giving yourself at least 3 months of growth will allow the slow growing hairs (10% -14% of our facial are slow growers) chance to catch up.
If you have grown your hair for a significant amount of time and your still showing patches then maybe you can disguise your misfortune will a few little tricks.
You can control the direction of growth for your facial hair.
The comb is a great way to control the direction of growth.
You could use the comb to cover any patches or area with slower growth and hide any thinner sections. Simply comb the thicker section of hair over a thinner area.
If you perform this action the hair will naturally start to position itself to its trained position.
It’s like having a comb over. At first you keep moving you fringe to its desired location but after a while it starts to sit there naturally. You can physically train your hair to grow in a certain direction using this technique.
You could also use a beard brush.
Aim for a boar’s hair brush (with firm bristles) because the natural fibres do a great job at trapping the oils – If you aim for a cheap synthetic brush the effect is no where near as effective.
It’s the perfect way to make your beard look fuller.
Individual bristles in the brush prevent matting down the follicles and allow your facial hairs to expand from there downward position. The brushing movement will allow a beard to look fuller where as the comb is used to control the direction of growth.
Using the 2 methods can create a fuller, more even coverage over your beard. However, the ideal aim is to promote your rate of growth.
You can improve growth through your diet.
Aim for foods or supplements with Biotin which is simply just a B vitamin. This will help aid in your body’s growth of facial hair (well all hair) and encourage a faster rate of growth. It’s not been proved but studies have been shown to increase hair production with the use of Biotin.
There are the non natural option which involve an ingredient called Minoxidil.
I’m not a firm believer in this and personally would recommend the natural approaches but for anyone wanting more, there is this option.
Rogain – The Good, Bad And The Ugly
There is a product called Rogaine (which contains Minoxidil) that’s apply to any areas where there is a shortage of growth.
The aim is to promote hair growth. It has shown some results with people claiming to have no ability to grow beards showing progress. You apply it twice a day for a proscribed period of time which hopefully leads to hair, (you’d hope!)
However I would recommend against this option.
You can find results but as soon as you stop using the product, your hair has been said to fall out. It’s only effective during use and as soon as you stop the pain begins.
Always read the reviews, read the conditions and do the correct research.
It’s not my approach but if your keen for answers then maybe this nuclear solution could be an answer for you.
This concludes the list of the biggest bearded problems. The worst beard stopping issues solved!
If you apply the guidance within this article you should ease all you beard problems. Just remember to keep you beard well conditioned with decent products and always test results.
Find the products that are good for YOUR body.
About the author: Written by Blaine Gray, Bearded enthusiast and proud blogger of Rawbeards, a website dedicated to beards. With advice for any occasion Rawbeards can provide you with the answers to your bearded problems. Besides facial hair, I love travelling, eating and creating music.
Main image courtesy: Langstrup Photography/BigStock.com