Just walking in an area with a large number of men illuminates one truth. Beards are popular. We’ve said it again and again the past 3 years here at Manliness Kit and we’ll say it again. Beards are here to stay for a long, long, time.
The unique quality of this trend is that it isn’t specific to any age, race, or socioeconomic background. For extra validation, during my daily commute and coffee stop, both a hipsterish guy in his early 20s riding a bike and an older gentlemen driving a Porsche preceded me in the drive thru line sporting their preferred versions of a beard.
For the first time ever, since 2013, men spent more on male specific toiletries than shaving products. This is due largely to less men shaving. While many sport a beard because they enjoy the look, there are, actually, multiple benefits to growing a beard.
Many have heard beards insulate the face from harsh, cold temperatures but most don’t realize that beards provide shade and retain moisture that keeps the face cool during hot, summer days. They, also, serve as a protective barrier against harmful UV rays from the sun.
Beards of a decent length, have been proven allergen filters from daily air intake. Beards can keep dirt and bacteria from entering the mouth by absorbing sweat that runs down into the mouth without. It keeps the face from drying out with increased oil production.
Still, the greatest benefit for many is the lack of shaving. While this is a huge plus, one must not believe that a beard is simply maintenance free. Certain techniques must be taken to ensure proper beard health.
Beard Growth Explained
The normal man sprouts roughly 25,000 facial hairs every day and those hairs, if uncut, grown roughly half a millimeter a day.
Many men have attempted to grow a beard but gave up. It should be considered that this lack of persistence is often a result up not understanding proper beard care techniques.
Beard hair is often lumped in with regular hair, but once men understand there is a difference, they can begin the path to healthy, thriving beards.
When one enters the world of “beardom,” there is often initial discomfort or irritation in its premature state. This is a result of dead skin cells, often washed or shaved away before, getting trapped in the bristles of the developing beard. This starts the list of what to do for beard care.
“Must Do’s and Haves” to make your beard look good
1. Beard Shampoo & Conditioner
Washing a developing and established beard with a shampoo and conditioner customized for the beard will clear way these dead cells all while replenishing the natural oils your dry skin under the beard needs. These oils are stripped away by basic shampoos and soaps.
Washing a beard with a shampoo designed for the top of the head exacerbates irritations. As a result, skin often breaks out and the beard hair is left dried out, brittle, and extremely itchy. Simply neglecting the beard altogether is possibly worse. The unclean beard can trap in odor such as food and cigarettes.
Use a shampoo on the beard at least a few times a week. Look for a moisturizing shampoo to combat the beard becoming brittle
A thick conditioner will keep the beard from looking wiry. It is best to let conditioner stay on the beard for a while. Products that can be left in are extremely effective.
2. Grow it out for months before trimming first
This is a common mistake among those growing a beard. Even if the plan is to have a well groomed, tight beard let it grow.
To properly trim it requires an inch or inch and a half to properly shape. Many trim to early and create problems and inconsistencies that take weeks to fix as the hair grows back.
3. Know when it isn’t going to happen
Not all guys can grow a proper beard regardless of age. It is simply a man’s genetic makeup.
If a beard has been attempted for three months and it still looks spotty and lacks fullness, it will not improve. Opt for a goatee if the sides are what is patchy. It is best to accept that a beard can’t be grown and move on.
4.Buy a Beard Brush or Comb
Look for a boar bristle brush as it has the ability to manage the dense beard hair. Using this will make the beard look much fuller and kept. It works well to brush the beard with a brush or use a good quality (preferable wooden or hard plastic) beard comb.
Understand their are drastic differences and purposes when it comes to beard brushes and combs.
Many high quality beard brushes are often made of boar’s hair. Boar hair is a proven natural fiber which works great on beards. It has the unique ability to soak up oils and evenly coat the oil along the length of the beard follicle. These oils can be from beard oil, balms, or the natural sebum oil the skin self produces.
Another advantage is these brushes normally contain bristles of various length which push apart hair to get to the root.
The benefit of a comb is it gives the ability to style unlike the brush (particularly with mustaches). Like many brushes they contain teeth equal distances apart and all the same length.
5. Use Products like Beard Balm or Oil
These products work as they moisturize the skin and hair through deep penetration. This results in a softer beard and a lack of beard dandruff (anyone with a beard knows this is a thing). These also keep the beard tamed and manageable.
After placing oil on the beard, take the hands and massage it in then brush it deeper and evenly using a beard brush. This is the ultimate way to be sure that beard oil is evenly spread throughout.
Follow this up with a comb to ensure it reaches the roots of the beard hair. Doing this will keep the beard looking thicker and softer. This will leave the beard looking much nicer and most smell great.
The main difference in balm and oil is that beard balm contains beeswax and natural butters. Beeswax holds really well and is all natural while the butters allow for spreading and melting the product so that you apply it on your beard right after you rub it in between your palms. Look for products that are noncomedogenic which, simply, means they won’t clog the pores.
6. Don’t forget the wax for the shaping part
Similar to balms, beard waxes contain big amounts of beeswax and their main purpose is to keep your beard in place.
It’s perfect when it comes to taming the unruly hair while giving your beard a nice hold. On top of that, beard wax contains all those natural ingredients that keep your beard nourished and healthy.
7. Trim the beard
At least every two months a beard, regardless of length, should be trimmed.
First, over time, like the hair on the scalp, beard hairs get split ends. To keep a beard healthy, these split ends must be removed. On top of that, not all hairs grow the same length or in the same direction.
When trimming, start at the ears and work down to the neck so that the trim is level and even for the entire beard.
Make sure when trimming to use the appropriate tools. For shorter beards and beard edges, one should and can use an electric trimmer. However, if shaping a thick beard or area of the beard, use scissors and a beard comb. Besides it being much easier, scissors usually result in less people not cutting off more than intended like with an electric trimmer.
Other factors related to beard health…
- Eat healthy food. While no food are specific to beard growth, a healthy, balance diet is essential to hair and skin. Things known to contribute to skin and hair health are those that contain biotin (a coenzyme and a B vitamin also called vitamin H) for instance. Studies show those with the healthiest hair based on diets, eat lots of fresh fruits and vegetable. Other studies, also, link nuts and lean proteins to healthy skin and hair.
- Get proper sleep. Studies have shown that losing sleep slows down beard growth.
- Drink plenty of water. Hydration is one of the most important factors for skin and hair health. Both the skin and hair contain moisture to be healthy, if the skin and hair lacks hydration the skin and hair lose sheen and luster.
- Exercise. Working out regularly increases the testosterone in the body with triggers beard growth. The metabolism is boosted and hair growth is a by product. The body begins to function and recover faster, which replenishes hair and skin health.
- Reduce Stress. When under large amounts of stress, cortisol is increased in the body. As this happens testosterone is reduced. Testosterone is a huge factor in hair growth.
Now that a beard is healthy, determine which shape and style looks best for the face shape.
How to make your beard look better based on face shape
This is the most common face people have. These faces, as the name states, are oval. The top of the face is round as well as the bottom, yet they are slightly elongated.
There tends to be little jaw line definition and cheeks at to the round appearance. The oval face is extremely versatile in terms of beard shapes. It is best to keep a consistent length across the beard but this face type is open to experiment.
Most men with this shaped face opt for the full beard.
This is defined by a square jaw line and square hairline. These faces look thicker and the jaw looks hard or sharp with its angle. Pair that with a broad hairline and the face looks wide.
A good test for this hair shape is to slick the hair back and see if the hairline creates squared corners along with a 90 degree jaw and small chin, odds are this is a square face.
With this face shape, it is recommended to keep the hair fuller on the chin and shorter on the sides. Keep the hair from looking too full on cheeks and sideburns because it looks even more blocky. Beards for this face are things like a goatee or chin strap.
A face defined with a softer jaw line and rounded hair line. When looking at this face it looks circular.
This face works well with beards kept long on bottom and shorter on the sides. Trim the sideburns and cheeks and let the chin and neck grow away. Think about long goatees for this face type.
Oblong or Rectangular Face
These faces often look longer. They look thin and have a pointed chin. This should be counteracted with keeping sides fuller on the side and shorter on the bottom. Grow out the sideburns and cheeks and keep the bottom relatively close to the chin.
People with this face shape can easily sport Mutton Chops and they look great with a full beard.
When styling and shaping the beard, consider beard wax. As previously discussed, this is basically hair gel for the beard, although it doesn’t dry up the hair and leaves it naturally shaped. It allows the mustache and beard to be style and manipulated anyway one sees fit.
- Before applying make sure the beard is clean and dry.
- Run a comb or brush through it first then take some wax on the palm and start on one side and then follow with the other.
- Always start with very little and work up if more is needed. Using a comb, style the beard on both sides that work down to the front.
- Dab a towel on the beard if it appears greasy.
Beard Care Products Recommendations
Recommended Beard Shampoo: Seven Potions Beard Shampoo
A natural beard shampoo that conditions with aloe vera. It cleans deeply without damaging the skin or the facial hair, leaving it soft and healthy with a nice sheen. It has antiseptic essential oils for added benefits. On the plus side, it has a nice masculine woody scent with a hint of citrus.
Having tested it myself several times, you won’t have to worry about beard itch anymore. Use it without hesitating as it contains 100% naturally derived ingredients.
Recommended Beard Oil: Beardbrand Spiced Citrus Beard Oil
This formula is extremely lightweight and doesn’t feel greasy. It uses natural oils to condition and style all beards.
It leaves the hair soft and shiny so that it is easily styled. It offers a gentle, spicy citrus scent of grapefruit, vanilla, and clove. Ingredients include jojoba, almond, grape seed, castor, and essential oils.
Great Beard Brush: Seven Potions Boar Bristle Beard Brush
As stated above the boar brushes have great repitation when it comes to keeping a beard soft, clean and well maintained. They hold moisture and lift away dirt and dust. The bristles are firm and work well for long beards as well.
Recommended Beard Trimmer: Philips Norelco 7200 Vacuum Beard Trimmer Pro
Product that gives a perfect trim with very little mess. The vacuum within the product sucks powerfully enough that it catches cut hair fast and limits runaways. Although the vacuum may sometimes frustrate you as it doesn’t suck all the hair successfully but, nevertheless, it’s way better than spreading your trimmed hair all over your bathroom.
It has an easy life and trim system that rises and lowers the blade within 20 length settings with ease. It cuts well so that the cut area will only have to be cut over once. It comes with a lithium-ion battery that works for close to 80 minutes after an hour of charging. The blades sharpen themselves and will not irritate the skin. This comes with a beard comb, two detail combs, and a cleaning brush.
Recommended Beard Comb: Baxter of California Beard Comb
This is handcrafted in Switzerland. It is made of a naturally modified polymer from cotton and tree pulp cellulose. It has smooth teeth and feels great on the beard.
Recommended Beard Balm: Seven Potions Beard Balm
This product will rid the beard of itch and dandruff. Jojoba Oil is added to make the beard soft and shiny with its infusion of vitamin E. This also serves as an antioxidant to rid the skin of free radicals.
Coconut oil, together with the butters, is used to give the balm a nice consistency that absorbs quickly.
Compared to other beard balms, this will give a slight shaping to your facial hair as it contains enough beeswax to make your beard look presentable. However, don’t expect any strong hold as the balm’s purpose is to maintain your beard soft and nourised.
That said, dry skin will be gone and the beard will be soft and healthy even from first application. The beard will grow longer faster.
There are few things that define a man better than a good beard.
A beard is the first thing people see. Taking care of it changes the way people see and interact with you.
Keep the beard looking tight and healthy with these simple techniques and recommendations.
Do yourself and everyone else a favor and begin or further your beard routine. You will be glad you did.