“I want to grow a beard!” Most guys find themselves saying that to themselves at some point in their lives. And the way to do it seems deceptively simple - just stop shaving. After all, humans have been growing hair on their chins for a long time without any guidance at all. But in modern life, there is a certain art to growing a beard. Done right, it can make for a vastly more powerful presence. Done wrong, it can make you look a little silly. Here are ten tips on how to grow facial hair the right way:
1. Expect resistance from the people around you.
Often the people around us encourage us to try new things only before we’ve actually begun. But once we actually start trying those things, their support falters. Depending on your age and situation, it's possible you will meet different forms of resistance when first growing your facial hair. Expect this, make a firm commitment to yourself to follow through with the plan anyway, and stick to your guns.
2. Expect resistance from yourself.
The resistance won’t just come from other people. Once you’ve begun down the road towards full-fledged facial hair, you can find yourself doubting the decision as well. Growing facial hair, especially if it’s your very first time, will be very itchy and uncomfortable for several weeks. Also, this is the time when it will look its scruffiest. Again, plan for this resistance, and commit to seeing it through for at least a few months until you can make an honest assessment as to whether facial hair is the look for you.
3. Make sure you have the right shaving tools.
If you’re just shaving stubble, it’s easy to get away with substandard shaving tools. Not so with a beard or a goatee. Ideally you’ll want to have an electric razor and a comb to keep your facial hair looking good. Once the facial hair has come in fully, use the comb in combination with the electric razor (or clippers) to trim the whiskers to a (more or less) even length.
4. Know that facial hair grows in differently for different people.
In my experience, men fall roughly into two types: Hairy guys who’s facial hair will tend to grow like crazy, and smoother guys who’s facial hair tends to be patchy and take a longer time to fill out. This can change over time, too. Be aware of which type you are and don’t feel bad about it.
5. Choose a style that suits you.
If you’re going for a full beard, wait at least a month for it to come in before trimming and styling it. If you’re just doing a goatee or a circle beard, you can start to shape it pretty much immediately. You’ll want to shape it carefully, as facial hair can look very scruffy if not taken care of. If you have a strong jaw line, you’ll probably want to smooth out the contour of your beard or goatee so it doesn’t look too sharp and scary (unless that’s what you’re going for). If you’re jawline is softer, trimming your facial hair to sharper angles can help distinguish your facial features.
6. Make sure your facial hair is symmetrical.
Recent studies have shown that one of the main components in human attractiveness is facial symmetry - an indicator of genetic health. There’s not much we can do about the symmetry of our faces, but facial hair is very easy to get wrong on this count. Make sure it’s symmetrical.
7. Don’t forget about the sideburns.
Sometime we forget about sideburns, but tiny difference in sideburns length can make a major difference in overall appearance - particularly when you have facial hair. So be sure to include them in your grooming efforts.
8. Deal with the itching by keeping it clean and using hydrocortisone.
A bit of itching and discomfort comes with the territory when growing out new facial hair. There are some ways to mitigate it, however. Keep it clean. Remember to shampoo and condition your facial hair just like the hair on your head. This can be a tricky habit to get into, but soon it will become automatic. Also, a mild over-the-counter hydrocortisone ointment can give some relief as well.
9. About growing facial hair faster.
There isn’t a lot we can do to encourage faster hair growth, either on our faces or elsewhere. But living a healthier lifestyle might help your facial hair grow slightly faster. Eat healthy, get plenty of sleep, and try to lower your stress levels. Make sure you’re getting vitamins. This combination of things is about as much as you can do to encourage facial hair growth. After that, just be patient.
10. Grey - a special note.
If your facial hair is grey - give it a chance. It will likely make you look older but often that's a good thing. Having grey in your beard tells the world that you don’t care about looking super young, and that is both powerful and sexy. Be aware though, grey hair tends to be scragglier than other hair, since it's drier. To combat this, try stroking the grey whiskers a few times with your fingers to pass on some of the oils to the hair, which will help it to calm down.