How To Grow A Beard And Maintain It

Growing a beard is no mere fashion statement, it’s a commitment, and every good beard starts with dedication. Growing a good-looking and well-maintained beard is no easy feat, but with some TLC and proper styling, you can achieve a fully functioning face forest. But before you do anything, you must first ask yourself why you want to grow a beard. Perhaps you want the ease of maintenance? Maybe you want to look a little more intimidating? Whatever your reasoning, having an answer is key to growing a beard successfully.
Once you know what you want out of a beard, you can properly plan for its growth. And that starts with a good skincare routine. Does your skin get oily? Does it feel dry? Perhaps you’ve got more sensitive skin? Knowing your skin type helps you decide what type of products to use. Natural ingredients like olive oil, jojoba oil, and shea butter help nourish and lubricate your beard and skin, giving it the right balance of moisture it needs. If you’re of African descent, the oil content in your skin will likely require the use of heavier oils like castor and coconut.
In general, the best way for you to make sure you’re using the right oil for your beard is to do a patch test. Put a few drops of oil on the back of your hand and wait for 24 hours. A great response from your skin to the oils means you can use it with confidence.

Stress-Free Razor Maintenance

The right razor is also important for maintaining your beard. If you’re going for a short, groomed beard, a straight razor will give you the closest, longest-lasting shave. A double-edged safety razor is great for a low-stress, high-control shave. It’s important to find the right blade and handle fit, as the wrong one can cause irritation.
The technique you use is key to a satisfactory shave. With a straight razor, make sure to use an X-shaped motion — this will help clear away any unwanted hairs. When using a safety razor, you’ll want to shave with the grain, meaning in the direction the hair grows. Gentle pressure and short strokes are the way to go.

Bearding Before Bedtime

It’s important to moisturize your beard after shaving, and having a nightly ritual helps keep pores from becoming clogged. Make sure to properly rinse your face before bed. Once your face is clean, consider using a mineral-based toner, like witch hazel. This will help prep your facial hair for the products you’ll be applying.
A leave-in beard oil and/or balm are essential to maintaining a beard. Applying these to your facial hair while it’s still slightly damp helps the product absorb better and keeps your beard hydrated throughout the night. If you’re curious, experiment with applying different products in varying amounts and see what works best for you.

Early-Morning Checklist

Your beard needs a little pick-me-up, even after a good night’s rest. Make sure to splash some warm water on your face as soon as you wake up. To prevent breakage, comb through your beard using a speciality wooden comb or boar’s-hair brush. Move from the ears down to the chin, gently detangling. A boar’s-hair brush will help keep dirt away from the hair and distribute your scalp’s natural oils to the rest of your beard.
Let the air do its job and avoid using a blow dryer, which can dry out your hair and skin. As a morning and afternoon habit, place a few drops of beard oil in your hands, rub them together and apply it to your beard. You can use balm if you’d like to shape and/or control flyaways.

Consistent Grooming Habits

Consistency is key to grooming a good-looking beard. Keeping your beard looking neat and healthy involves the same procedures almost every day. Asides from brushing and oiling, occasional trims and regular washing should also be part of your regular grooming routine.
To trim your beard, start with scissors. You can get a dedicated beard trimmer, or trim your beard with a pair of scissors, whichever you find more comfortable. For a more polished look, you can use a razor for detailing, but be sure to practice caution when using a razor on your cheeks and neck.
Keep your beard clean by shampooing and conditioning regularly. However, don’t make the mistake of using your regular body soap or shampoo on your beard. Invest in a dedicated beard shampoo and conditioner — just like your scalp oils, facial hair needs hydration too.

Eliminate Itchiness

Itching is a common problem for those who are growing their beard long, but the key to avoiding itchy beard syndrome is hydration. Moisturizing your face with a good beard oil not only helps itchiness, but also prevents hair brittleness and dandruff. A beard oil containing natural ingredients like jojoba oil, argan oil or sweet almond oil is a great way to get rid of course and unruly facial hair.
When applying beard oil, don’t use too much. Place a few drops of the oil in your hands and distribute the oil evenly throughout the beard. Go beyond the beard and apply the oil to your cheeks and skin as this will help keep your skin hydrated and nourished.

Visit the Barber

You don’t have to be a master of facial hair care to grow a great-looking beard. Visiting your barber for a trim every few weeks is an excellent way keep your beard looking fresh and blocky. Your barber can also give you advice on the right products to use and how to properly groom and maintain your beard.
Barbers are experts when it comes to facial hair and they’re a great source of advice and information. They know what type of beard will work with your face shape and your hair type — things that aren’t easy to determine without knowing the specifics.

Keep the Neckline Neat

One of the most important tips for beard success is maintaining a clean neckline. First off, find your “natural” neckline — by that we mean the point of your neck where your beard naturally stops growing. Use a trimmer to shave everything below this line. Alternatively, if you want something more definitively groomed, you can make a “V” shape from the center of your neckline, then shave the sides so they form a “U” shape. This will give you a much cleaner look and help keep your beard in check.

Infuse Color in Your Beard

Beard coloring is becoming increasingly popular, and it’s an easy way to spruce up your facial hair. But don’t turn to box dyes – they contain harsh chemicals that can cause rashes and cause further damage to the hair. Instead, look to natural pigments, such as henna or indigo, or even a dedicated beard dye. Just remember, those are all temporary solutions, so use them wisely.
If you want something longer lasting, look for conditioners with color pigments. They work in the same way as regular conditioners, but also give your beard a natural color boost. This will make your beard noticeably darker without much effort, and will help extend the life of your dye job.

Goatees and Soul Patches

Goatees and soul patches are classic facial hair styles that can look very attractive if done correctly. A goatee is essentially a chin beard, which is either joined or unjoined depending on the length of your facial hair. For a classic goatee, start with a short length setting on your trimmer and trim the area between your lower lip and chin. You should also shave the sides of your face to give the goatee a defined look.
A soul patch is a very small tuft of hair underneath your lower lip, usually a triangle or a square in shape. Soul patches can be further styled and combed, or trimmed with a trimmer to give it a more pronounced shape.

Know When to Let It Go

It’s important to understand that growing a beard is a commitment. Don’t get discouraged if it’s not going according to plan – with proper maintenance, your beard can evolve the way you want it to. And most importantly, if you’re not happy with your beard, if it’s not working for you, that’s okay. Don’t be afraid to take it off and start fresh. And if you feel like growing it again, make sure you know why you’re doing it in the first place.

Paul Richardson is a master barber and an expert in men's beard care. He has been cutting hair for more than 15 years and loves to help people look their best. Paul specializes in styling beards, offering advice on the right products and techniques to use, and providing grooming tips that will keep your beard looking great.

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