Let’s Grow A Beard!

The following article first appeared on Mandependence.com on Monday,  November 28th, 2011.

Growing a Beard seems simple enough right; just stop shaving! There is more to it than just that though. Besides making the decision to put the razor down, you should have a goal in mind when you start; this will help you along with the process. Do you want a Goatee, a simple Soul Patch, Mutton Chops, or a full on Full Beard? Do you want it ‘Terminal’ or “Feral?” There are many styles of Beards and Mustaches you can wear OR come up with your own! You also must consider your job (unfortunately) and what they’ll allow and won’t. I worked for a company that only allowed a Beard if you were hired wearing one. If you were smooth shaven upon hiring, you couldn’t go further than a Goatee. You also need to be prepared for ‘the’ comments from friends and family. “Did you lose your razor?” “Did you lose your job?” or ‘Are you bummin?” are just a few of the comments you’ll no doubt hear way too much of while you’re growing out The Beard.

Another thing to take into consideration is that one’s Beard ‘matures’ over time. Most men cannot instantly grow a full thick Beard; some can, but not most. You’ll notice at first, as your Beard grows out, that there may be ‘patches’ in it or you may have thin connectors (connecting the Stache with the Beard), but fear not as these WILL fill in over time. This is why I say that ‘Beards DO mature.’ Even if you grow your first Beard at 40 years old, it most likely will still need time to ‘mature.’ Genetics is the main contributing factor to what kind of Beard one can grow. Some folks get nary a whisker on their faces while others may look like Sasquatch! Vitamin B is good for hair strength and veggies like asparagus are good to help the male body produce testosterone. Beard hair is pubic (and public too!) by nature and much more absorbant than head hair and it’s growth is fueled in part, by testosterone. Still, the ultimate factor is Genes!  This leads me into a tangent on research done in 1973 by a Middle Eastern Scholar at the University of California, I believe. They ‘discovered’ that men with facial hair (with no specification as to style) have a 39% less chance of getting gum and throat disorders and diseases than men who don’t wear any facial hair. This is where the absorbancy of pubic hair comes into play.

You WILL lose beard hair along the path to your end goal. This IS completely natural! Now if it starts coming out in clumps; that is NOT natural and you may want to speak with a Doctor about that! Your Beard may get ‘split ends’ too and you’ll need to ‘trim’ them off from time to time. Please don’t believe the hype that ‘shaving’ or ‘trimming’ help speed growth or make facial hair thicker; total myth. Beards grow faster in Summer too supposedly and of course, slower in Winter. Mine’s the opposite, when it grows at all. As the days go by faster, my beard grows by slower, it seems! Patience and time is most certainly required to do this task of letting one’s Beard grow out. If you’re going ‘Terminal’ (men’s beards grow at different lengths; one man may grow a 45 inch or longer Beard, while another may only get to 10 inches long.) Here’s your chance to go all OCD and measure your beard everyday! :-{)}}} This is all knowledge you’ll learn along the path to Beard-vana Grasshopper! There’s also a 99% chance your Beard WILL itch! It may itch like crazy too, driving you near the edge of madness it seems. You MUST endure if you expect to reach your goal. I like to refer to this ‘itch’ as a Rite of Passage for any man that sets out on this Journey to grow his Beard. …and you thought it was only a Beard! It’s a journey into learning about yourself mentally as well as physically.

Yes, you CAN use shampoo on your Beard or just bath soap if you wish. There are a number of products on the market specifically for the maintenance of your facial hair. Some guys use bar soap and then Jojoba or Olive Oil a few times per week. Others may use strictly shampoos to wash the Beard with. There’s conditioners you can use too, if you choose. On grooming Mustaches, you may also consider using a ‘wax’ from any of the various makers (CJ Moustache Wax, Clubman’s, or Rex Wax are among the many choices) to shape and maintain a style of stache, ie, the Handlebar. Some men will use mousse or gels to hold the Mustache or Beard in place also. All are perfectly acceptable in grooming and simply put, what best fits your style and personal needs. Remember; Endurance! Your Beard nor Stache will become ‘full fledged’ over night. Don’t get disappointed when you can’t have that handlebar in a week!

Support is also a great thing to have when you decide to embark on this journey. Hopefully family and friends will support you, albeit with some ribbing no doubt. If you don’t get the support you need from those sources, you can go on-line and search Beards, or even Beards of history, and look at what the men wore ‘back in the day!’ Magnificent Beards and all the styles they wore then; it’s encouraging to be sure. If that still isn’t enough support for you, there are many sites you can go to for help in finding this; as you’ll learn (if you don’t already know), Bearded Men are more approachable to folks then smooth shaven men, according to a Detective on the First 48 television series. He was on a case that was seemingly unsolvable. He made a promise to the victim’s family that he wouldn’t shave until the case was solved. Well over a year went by and as he went out to talk to witnesses, neighbors, etc. over time, he noticed a funny thing; people were more willing to talk to him and let him into their homes. He attributed that to The Beard and because of it, he was able to solve the case. It is unfortunate that he then had The Beard shaved off in his office in front of his co-workers and others.

So what point have we gotten to with all of this? Well I’d say that with proper forethought and determination, you WILL reach your goals and be one of The Bearded! So Gentlemen, start your Beards! First you want to toss the razor! lol (well maybe not just yet!) Secondly, decide what you’d like to do with your facial hair as far as style goes. (you can always make changes ie. full beard to chops or a goat) Third is to Endure the Itch! (and if you haven’t dealt with it yet, you will) Fourth you remember to take care of your Beard keeping it healthy and at it’s optimum!

I do hope that this article has helped some of you make a positive decision to start a beard (and to stick to your guns, as they say) Patience, Time, and Endurance are all key factors here to remember; it’s your face and YOUR Beard!

Gary W Norman


1 Response to Let’s Grow A Beard!

  1. Andy Kearney says:

    Thanks for the article Gary. I have a comment on this statement: (Please don’t believe the hype that ‘shaving’ or ‘trimming’ help speed growth or make facial hair thicker; total myth.) Although you are correct ie: shaving does not create new hair follicles. The trimming part is a must to grow the hair out long although trim only a small amount. If you remove the split ends before they split up the hair shaft, the hair will remain strong and not break off as easily as if you did not trim the split end. Once the hair starts to split up the hair shaft it weakens that hair and thus breaks off easier. Again thanks for all the informative articles.

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