There’s never a bad time to grow a beard, but winter is certainly the most practical season for letting your facial hair take root. And if you’re in the process of growing a beard this winter, it’s important that you understand how to properly care for it. There’s a big difference between a wiry, unkempt beard and a thick, healthy mane.
Here are some grooming tips to help you go from the former to the latter:
1. Be Patient
A beard takes time to grow. For most people, it takes weeks (if not months) to grow a substantial beard. In the meantime, you might have to deal with that awkward in-between look.
As a general rule of thumb, leave your beard untouched for the first four to six weeks. This ensures that the hairs grow in evenly and that you don’t prematurely alter the style.
Not a patient guy? There are a couple of things you can do to encourage faster growth – including exercise. When you exercise, the brain releases chemicals that are subsequently converted into testosterone. Testosterone helps with workout performance and hair growth. Thus, increased aerobic exercise may give your beard an added boost.
The other key is to be intentional about what you eat. Any fresh foods that are high in vitamin A, beta-carotene, protein, vitamin C, vitamin E, omega-3 fatty acids, and zinc are helpful.
2. Shave Your Neck!
Even if the goal is to grow a long, full beard, you want to avoid the messy look that occurs when facial hair starts creeping below the jawline to form a neck beard. This requires shaving your neck!
“First, imagine a line that extends from the bottom of your ear down, following the imaginary crook between your jaw and your underchin, and your neck. That line should be about an inch and a half above your Adam’s apple, but of course it’s different for everyone based on your proportions,” Dennis Green writes for Business Insider. “Then, simply shave off everything below the line, using shaving cream and going against the grain. Try to keep that line as neat as possible, as it is the new ‘edge’ of your beard.”
The type of razor you use matters. According to Shave.net, a single-blade safety razor provides the cleanest and closest shave, particularly in the neck region.
3. Know When to Trim
After four to six weeks of growing out your beard, you should have some thickness and length. If things are getting out of control at this point, you can trim up stray hairs and establish a defined edge.
4. Wash Your Beard
Your beard needs to be washed. Not only does this clean the hair, but it also helps protect the skin underneath. A failure to regularly wash – particularly in the early stages – can lead to flaking skin, irritation, and other unwanted problems.
5. Brush it Out
You don’t necessarily need to brush your beard every day in the early stages, but it’s smart to do it every now and then. This pulls out unwanted dead skin cells, dirt, and grime, while also preventing painful tangles. Consider investing in a beard brush that’s specifically designed for this purpose.
6. Learn to Love Beard Oil
“Just like the hair on the top of your head, your beard needs moisture to stay healthy,” Esquire.com mentions. “So finish the whole process off with a good beard oil that’ll moisturize and help keep your facial hair looking its best. Then run a beard comb through it to distribute the oil, as well as to style your beard back into place, post-trim. This will also help reveal strays that got passed over while trimming, which you can take care of with your scissors.”
When searching for the right beard oil, make it a point to read the ingredients. Stay away from anything that has alcohol or unfamiliar chemicals. A simple formula with natural oils is all you need. If you don’t find one you like, you can always make your own.
Grow the Perfect the Beard
Everyone grows a different beard. So while you may not have the same color, thickness, length, or pattern as the next guy, there are some things you can do to enhance your own unique style. Hopefully this article has provided some useful suggestions and motivation to help you go out and grow your best beard yet!