Thinking of Growing a Beard?
Where do you start? Ironically with a good, clean shave! Get the face clean, smooth and well moisturised because, from here on in, the beard growth is going to ‘steal’ the natural oils and moisture from your facial skin (see our tip on ‘Beard Itch’).
When starting to grow a beard you have to go through that initial scruffy looking stage: the stage of growth that is more than designer stubble, but nowhere near something you could call a beard. A lot of men choose a holiday period to start growing a beard. By the time you go back to work, it should be obvious that you are growing a beard and not just being lazy with your shaving routine.
Be patient - do not be tempted to style or cut your new beard growth for at least two or three months! You need to see what you’ve got to play with. Some areas may be slower growing than others, some areas may be void of any growth, so you want to choose a beard style that plays to your strengths. Don’t worry about any small bald patches here and there. A lot of men have them. You can grow the beard hair longer around these areas to mask them.
I recommend that you get a professional barber to cut and shape your ‘new’ beard for the first time. Take along an image or two of a particular beard style that you think may work for you and the barber will do the rest.
Once you have had your beard professionally cut, then you can try to maintain the beard style yourself, but only if you feel confident to do so! If so, then you’ll need a dedicated beard trimmer. There are many to choose from on the market, but I imagine they all work in much the same way. Start with the longest setting and run the trimmer downwards through the beard (and moustache). If you don’t hear the blade cutting hairs, simply adjust the trimmer to the next lowest setting until you hear the hairs starting to be cut. Then follow the contours of your cheeks and jaw with the clippers until you achieve the desired look.
If you have successfully taken off some hair but you are not sure if it’s enough, stop at this point. Wait a while, maybe until the next day, then go back and look at it again. Re-trim if necessary. When you are using the beard trimmer without the attachments, i.e. when trimming the neckline or trying to remove those awkward stray hairs, I recommend that you use both hands to hold the trimmer steady. Go slow. If you should make an error (and it is easy to do this, especially in the early days) don’t be tempted to shape the beard to ‘hide’ the mistake. Just leave that area alone until the hairs grow back in again.
You’ll be surprised how well you can maintain the shape of your beard and moustache with just a pair of dedicated sharp scissors and a comb, and it’s a little less daunting than using a trimmer. However, remember that whatever you use, when looking in a mirror your image is reversed so symmetry and initial styling can be tricky.
If you are lucky enough to be able to grow a full beard then you can pretty much choose any style of beard that you like. If you find that your facial hairs are more prevalent under the nose and chin (like many men) but are a bit sparse in other areas, then shave both cheek areas and grow a goatee-style beard with a moustache. A Van Dyke style is perfect for this. Again, if you can grow a full beard, be aware that a long full beard can work on some guys, but it can just look scruffy on others. A styled one inch long beard can sometimes look better and have more impact than a ten inch long beard - don't grow just for the sake of it!
Good luck and remember that patience is the key to a having a great beard.