How To Grow A Beard For The First Time & Beard Growth Stages.
So you’ve decided to embrace the wild man within and grow facial hair. Good for you! Growing a beard is about more than resisting the urge to shave, though. There are special tools that you use and, of course, the all-important beard oil or balm that brings that incredibly intrusive itching to a halt. Here is your complete guide to growing a beard that includes all of the stages that you can expect to encounter on your journey. Happy growth!
The Basic Problems and Stages of Hair Growth
Of course, you know that growing a beard requires you to put down the razor for a few weeks. What else should you expect, though? Here is a snapshot of how your beard growth experience may look.
Determination and Acceptance
You may think that your determination to grow out your facial hair will be enough to provide the luscious beard of your dreams. The truth is that genetics has a lot to do with how fast your beard grows and what it will look like when mature. Some men, regardless of how hard they try, will never see a full beard that nearly covers their mouth and extends upwards into the side-burn area of the face. You shouldn’t let such reality deter you from trying, though, since many beard seekers have discovered the facial hair scene of their dreams with a little patience and consistency.
Speaking of consistency, it is important that your enter the beard game with the full understanding that the look that you are going for doesn’t come overnight. In reality, it takes at least four weeks for facial hair to reach a mature state. For some men, six weeks is the golden number for a healthy beard.
The Dread of Week One
The first week is probably the most trying and discouraging time for men trying to explore the wonders of intentional facial hair. It is during this time that initial growth takes on the appearance of extra dirt on one’s face and the feeling of stubs may drive you to the brink of craziness. You may feel inclined to pick up a shaver and cut away but resist the urge. The week will soon pass, and you will begin to see the benefits of patience near the end of week two.
There Will Be Itching
Skin dryness always leads to some discomfort that typically takes on the form of itchiness. Deciding to leave your facial hair untouched for four weeks will cause the skin underneath to dry out, which will inevitably lead to a bit of scratching here and there. The best thing to do for treatment during the itching stage of beard growth is to invest in oil and balm made specifically for facial hair. Beard oil soothes the skin and gives you the courage to keep going on your quest for a new look.
Get Ready For the Comments
Many people encourage men who dabble on the wild side of facial hair growth to nurture their new look. Some critics, however, deem beards as unkempt and horrible for the workplace. You will need to develop tough skin and realize that everyone is not going to love your new look. Thankfully, your decision to embrace your facial hair is not dependent on the public’s approval or disdain. As long as you are comfortable with the beard that is developing, then who cares what others think or say?
Still, having a support system around to encourage you to pursue your new look doesn’t hurt. Remember that your facial hair needs at least one month to grow into what could be the beard that you’ve always envisioned. All four weeks of the beginning period need to be free of manipulation. Your support system can keep you accountable on days that you feel like trimming snubs because of pressure coming from the general public. Family and friends always have a way of pointing out the bottom line, which in this case is a full beard.
TIPS For Growing A Beard!!!
Genetics has a lot to do with how well your beard comes in, but biology isn’t the only factor affecting facial hair growth. The following are additional ways to ensure that your beard reaches its full potential.
Consistent Washing :
You’re not giving your beard the full purifying experience when you gloss over it while washing your face. Long facial hair requires separate shampoo sessions that include applying cleansing products to the area, detangling, and rinsing. Sometimes, if you go for days without washing your beard, you may need to conduct the shampooing process up to three times. It is best to create a schedule for cleaning your beard and stick with it.
If conditioning facial hair sounds extreme, then you may not be ready to take the plunge into beard world. Unless you want your long facial hair to appear unkempt and, quite frankly, dried out, you need to develop a conditioning regimen that includes deep moisturizing sessions at least once per week. Some men with fine hair may find it unnecessary to deep condition more than once per month due to their beard’s ability to absorb and retain moisture. Those facial hair growers with more coarse hair do well to moisturize more often than not as dryness can lead to serious knots that could threaten the length of your beard.
Using beard balm is the best way to condition facial hair. The solution eliminates itchiness that comes with the territory of growing long facial hair and hydrates your beard so that its appearance is one of freshness. There are other leave-in conditioners on the market that serve to hide patchiness that is sometimes present during the beginning stages of beard growth. Regardless of which product you choose, do make sure to select something made specifically for beard conditioning.
Trimming the Beard :
Your first trim after a month of growing facial hair will probably be the hardest. Not only will you be faced with the emotions associated with parting with hair that you have watched grow for 30 days, but you will also be challenged to refrain from going overboard when cutting. Every beard trim should begin at the neckline and move outward and upward. You should only look to get rid of excess hair that does not fit in with the overall mold of your beard.
The idea is not to cut everything but rather to shape your long facial hair in a manner that is befitting to your style. Remember that getting used to your beard is a matter of patience. You must let such longsuffering extend to your first trimming session to discover success.
Personal Care :
Many do not realize the impact that nutrition and exercise have on hair. Good blood circulation through challenging cardio workouts and healthy eating are two major ways to improve your chances of getting the beard that you envision. Here are the essential components of self-care that you need to manage well for good facial growth.
- Exercise – Shedding excess weight increases testosterone levels, which ultimately promotes facial hair growth. It is best to engage in short workouts that challenge you to give your best effort than pursue fitness routines that are fairly easy to complete. The idea of any workout plan should be to try something new every day; otherwise, your body gets used to the norm and stops responding with the results of weight loss and muscle growth.
- Diet – Maintaining a healthy nutrition plan in another way to boost testosterone levels. Diets that are high in protein are particularly desirable since they provide the stamina needed to ward off stagnation in exercise routines. Spinach, nuts, olives, and broccoli are staples that every man trying to grow a beard should come to love.
It may also be a good idea to add vitamin supplements to your nutrition plan. Zinc along with Vitamin B6 and magnesium are special favorites among the athletically inclined.
- Rest – Sleeping is not an option when you are trying to grow a beard. You need adequate rest so that your body can restore itself and continue to circulate blood healthily. Nine hours of sleep is best, but seven hours of rest also works. Continually getting less than six hours of sleep per night is detrimental to your health and beard growing efforts. So when in doubt, sleep more.
- Stress – High stress levels wreak havoc on various parts of the body. Hair follicles, in particular, respond negatively to elevated stress levels my breaking off and shedding. You want patches of hair to fill in on your face. You don’t want gaps to appear in your beard because your stress levels were too high. Too much pressure constricts blood vessels, which causes hair roots to receive fewer nutrients. Reduced nutrients lead to weak follicles growing from the scalp and stunted progress in the beard department. Keeping stress levels low is often a matter of focusing on the task at hand.
It is also important to free yourself of issues that you cannot control.
Stages of Beard Growing
Phase #1: The Beginning
The first stage is filled with commitments. You promise yourself that you will grow a beard and, come what may, you will not cut your facial hair for at least four weeks. The greatest challenge during this stage is doing nothing. You will have to watch your facial hair develop without plucking, trimming, or shaving for the next month.
Phase #2: The Awkward Phase
The second stage of beard development may be one of discomfort. Since facial hair grows in waves, you may find yourself with patches until everything comes full circle. The good news is that the period is short-lived. You may find satisfaction in conducting a mini trim during this time but refrain from going overboard. Remember that you just spent four weeks watching your facial hair develop. You don’t want to put yourself back at square one by cutting too much hair on your first trim.
Phase #3: The Itch
Itchiness is inevitable and prevalent during the third stage of beard growth. Facial hair tends to block the sun’s rays from getting to the portions of skin that it is covering. Dryness ultimately leads to irritability that comes in the form of constant itching. You may be inclined to scratch until you draw blood during this time, but such action is not the right method. Using beard oil and balm during the third stage is the best way to alleviate the annoyance of itchy skin. You should also keep your beard and the surrounding area clean during the third stage to prevent dandruff that leads to even more irritation.
Phase #4: It’s Official
You’ve made it through the awkward parts of beard growth, and now you have arrived at the mature stage. Phase four is when all of the patchiness disappears, and the results of your genetic makeup begin to show. The texture, color, and volume of your beard becomes evident and gives you the confidence you need to face the world. Now is a great time to show off your beard to family and perhaps engage in a photo session dedicated to your long facial hair.
Phase #5: Come to Life
The fourth month of your beard growing experience is when things get interesting. You’ve probably come full circle regarding fullness and shape. Some deem this stage of growth as the right time to shave. You, however, may want to consider letting your hair continue to grow for a bit longer before doing any major styling.
Phase #6: The Shave
This is the stage where you decide your beard’s fate. Those experimenting with the notion of facial hair usually end their journey during this phase. If you are dedicated to the new look that you’ve developed, then you will use this stage to sharpen up your appeal. Going for a professional shave that makes your beard one with the hair on your head is probably the best way to get the most out of your new style. Of course, you can always do a major shave on your own so long as you have the right tools.
Tools for Grooming
Maintaining a beard requires the right products and tools. Here are the most common materials that contribute to the upkeep of your long facial hair.
Two combs are usually ideal when grooming a beard. One tool is reserved for wax, oil, and balm. The other comb is for detangling hair during trimming sessions. It is possible to conduct a major shave with one comb, but having two tools eliminate the need to wash your utensil in between detangling and shaving sessions.
Using an extra wide toothed comb is ideal for men with extra curly or coarse hair. A finely toothed tool will never be able to detangle follicles that are more than one inch long. Also, there are combs specifically designed for mustache styles. Using these utensils are best when you are going for a unique design.
A pair of small scissors never hurt anyone. Tools with a micro serrated edge grip hold the hairs in place for precise clipping. Scissors are best when used to cut unwanted cheek hairs. Using a razor to establish your cheek line can be hazardous when you don’t quite know what you are doing. Imagine cutting deep enough to draw blood all because you saw the razor choice as a faster way to get rid of unwanted hair. Scissors are the old fashioned way of shaping up a beard and the most viable option when you haven’t quite reached the expert level of styling.
Perhaps you reached the sixth phase of beard growth and decided that long facial hair is not the best option. Maintaining a short beard may be the ideal choice, and you’ll need a special trimmer to pull off the look. Beard trimmers come with guards that correspond to your desired length, which makes it easier for you to get the design that you want. Running the trimmer’s blade against the grain is the best way to get maximum results.
Beard trimmers are primarily for maintaining shorter looks, but the tools also work wonders for cheek and neck lines. Of course, you should only use a motorized utensil on such areas if you are absolutely confident in your abilities.
Although not necessarily ideal for amateurs, electric razors are the best choice for maintaining neck and cheek lines when you have some experience with styling. The good thing about razors is that they are completely dependent on hairs being short enough to fit through the foil. It is, therefore, impossible to cut too much of your beard since the tool automatically rejects long follicles.
Shaving brushes come in handy when beards become long and in desperate need of exfoliation. These brushes remove flakes that regular washes may miss and condition skin underneath the hair, which combats irritation. Consider using your shaving brush with shampoo and conditioner specifically for beards to get the most out of your exfoliation experience.
You may think that investing in a hair dryer for the sole purpose of grooming your beard is going too far. Well, think again! Hair dryers are great for detangling facial hair and providing a straight look that may go over quite well during formal events. The tool is perfect for those who like to experiment with exotic styles that include braiding and banding.
It is somewhat difficult, and quite painful, to attempt to braid long facial hair when it is curly. It is also quite awkward to walk around with bands on your curly beard as well since they can easily get tangled and create visible knots. Using a hair dryer is the best way to get the look that you are pursuing in a fair amount of time.
Using a hair dryer on your long facial hair requires beard oil. Apply the solution to the follicles first and then hold the hair dryer a few inches away while running a comb through the section. Excessively long beards may not respond well to a hair dryer for styling. You may have to find other methods for getting the exotic design that you desire in these instances.
The Beard Growing Mindset
As aforementioned, you will receive mixed reviews upon deciding to grow a beard. Many people quit the process a few days in because of the negative comments that are sometimes judgmental and outright rude. Your mindset must be different to achieve success in your quest for long facial hair.
Instead of viewing one person’s comment about your new venturing being “barely noticeable,” consider the myriad of individuals who see your efforts as pure bravery. Your decision to think outside of the box is creating a fashion statement that few in your circle of friends would even think to explore. Those who criticize your efforts are simply jealous because they didn’t think of the idea first. Perhaps they did toil with the notion of long facial hair, but they never acted on such concept. Their decision to sleep on the thought has nothing to do with your confidence to carry it out.
Growing a beard is not for the weak minded. You must be determined to see your vision through if you want to reap the full fruits of long facial hair. You must be patient with the process and realize that perfection is not a fact of life. Embracing your genes starts the process of acceptance, which is absolutely necessary for your quest to find a new look. Remember that healthy living is also key when you are trying to grow a beard.
The 10 Stages of Growing a Beard - The August Beard
How to Grow A Beard - Beards.org
Beard Care and Grooming Guide - Gentleman's Gazette
How to Grow A Beard for the First Time - GQ Magazine
Can Cardio Workouts Make Your Hair Grow? - Livestrong
5 Workouts to Boost Your Testosterone - Men's Fitness