Chances are you were looking at yourself in the mirror, contemplating a change. Growing a little fuzz seems like the best option you’ve got. Maybe you want to grow that beard to score some brownie points with the birds in town, maybe you are just tired of that baby-face, or looking akin to a lumberjack was something of a childhood dream of yours.
The thing is, growing that thick, manly beard you’ve always dreamt of is not as easy as you might think. Even though you set your razor aside for a while, growing and maintaining a beard requires a completely different routine. This guide will most definitely make that adjustment easier. We will go over a handful of tips in order to grow that fanny duster of yours.
The basics of a beard
Since you have made up your mind and decided to grow a beard, it is always handy to get some background information. First of all, every beard is unique. All beards grow in different ways, at different paces. This is based on our genetics and hormones. How much facial hair you will grow depends on your DNA, whereas hormones determine how fast it grows. Generally, our first stubble will start around puberty and will convert into a full-fledged beard around our early 30s.
Note that there are two types of hair on your face: the vellus and terminal hairs. We all start out with the blonde and fuzzy vellus hairs. As we age, however, they will gradually evolve into the dark and bristly terminal hairs we all know and love. The rate at which vellus becomes terminal hair depends on our hormones. In particular testosterone and DHT (dihydrotestosterone) help with hair growth, among other things…
Having these hormones present in large or small amounts is different from person to person. You could be a late bloomer and only manage a couple of patches in your early 20s. On the complete other end of the spectrum, you have the early bloomer with a full beard at 20. Thanks to testosterone being naturally made in your body, however, you are able to influence your beard growth somewhat.
There are more obvious solutions, such as taking growth supplements or using over the counter solutions. I myself, however, prefer a more natural way of beard growth. It all starts with changing some patterns or habits in your life. Your diet is an important one, for example. Eating loads of veggies and protein will improve hair growth, easing the growth process with nutrition.
Another little lifehack to increase your testosterone levels naturally is working out. Lifting weights, in particular, seem to do the trick just fine. So, get yourself a couple from Amazon and start doing a couple of reps every day. Furthermore, you should reduce your stress levels as much as possible. Kicking it down a notch and getting plenty of rest should be high on your list.
Become a master of the itch
Now that we know the basics about our mighty manes, it’s time to grow them out. Watch out, because most people think this is the easiest part. They could not be further from the truth. Patience is key during this phase. There have been countless times where I have shaved or trimmed simply because I could not put up with that godawful itch!
Let your beard grow out for at least four to six weeks. It can be a pain to do so because after a few days it will start to become itchy. There will be an urge to scratch. However, you can breathe freely knowing that it will stop after the initial growth phase. You can even ease the process with proper maintenance. The good thing about letting your beard grow out is that you know what you’re working with.
After that first month or so, take a good look in the mirror. You’ll want to check the shape of your face, as well as the strong and weakest areas of growth. The general rule of thumb is to keep your head looking as oval as possible. In most cases that means you might have to trim either the sides or chin to your liking. The lucky ones amongst us can whistle cheerfully as they can let it all grow out nicely, only having to trim the edges every now and then.
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Grooming to become groovy
Another important part in growing a thick beard is grooming. You might be growing a beard, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t need any care. You will still need that razor to shave away your neckline and stubble after a trim. Definitely don’t throw it away just yet.
A great help against an itchy beard is beard oil. The oil does not only condition the beard to make it silky smooth but also provides nutrients that help the growing process. In addition to beard oil, beard soap and beard balm are also fantastic ways to provide nutrients and softness. The soap will prevent your beard from becoming flaky and keeps it nice and clean. Applying oil should become a daily routine, whereas it is best to just wash it every few days.
You may notice that your beard is a wild mess, more fit for a caveman, rather than a modern gentleman such as yourself. It might be a good idea to get yourself a comb or beard brush. Combing your beard downward on a daily basis will force the hair to stay down and neatly in place.
Patchy beards and how to deal with them
Having a patchy beard is not necessarily all that bad. There are plenty of people rocking a patchy beard nowadays. Just look at Jon Snow, where the small patches in his beard add to the ruggedness of his character.
Nonetheless, we aren’t all as lucky as Kit Harrington, and patchy beards can often be a problem or even a big turndown to grow one. In order to prevent patches from happening I point to the aforementioned stress levels. You will want to keep them as low as possible because they can cause lower testosterone levels. Thus, preventing childhood dream of looking akin to a lumberjack.
Stroking your beard for the added benefit of looking smart is allowed, scratching, however, should be prevented at all costs! If you keep scratching your beard you might mess up your skin, creating scar tissue that prevents hair from growing. Scratching because of itches or acne often results in patches and other skin blemishes that prevent beard growth. So, don’t do it!
By far the best tip I can give you is to just let it grow out and embrace what you’ve got. If you’re patchy further up, you can always bring the line down your cheeks and keep your edges sharp. Another styling tip is to keep a short beard and stubble on the sides. Don’t panic, because eventually your beard will become thicker and the patches will fill up. Furthermore, with all these tips I am sure you will be able to rock a smashing beard! Good luck!