Beards have never quite gone out of fashion. The style, fullness, or length may trend this way or that, but facial hair on men has always been a sign of manhood, maturity, and wisdom throughout the ages.
While it may seem easy to let the stuff grow all over your chin unless you want to be mistaken for the Wild Man of the Woods, maintaining a beard takes consistent hard work.
For the genetically blessed, growth may not be the issue. But for others less fortunate, there’s nothing that looks so untidy, weak, and straggly as thin, sparse facial hair.
If you count yourself in the latter category, despair not. There are plenty of great beard growth products available to give amazing results. Finding the one that suits you best could be a challenge, but a little research and market scoping will help you find the perfect one.
Wherever you are on the curve, the key to a healthy, strong, attractive, and well-groomed beard is information. Perhaps you’re contemplating growing a beard, or you’re not satisfied with the way yours is progressing. Or you need to know exactly what it takes to grow a healthy beard before you start the process.
History of Beards
Historians speculate that prehistoric males may have worn beards to intimidate their enemies and impress potential mates. A full beard resembles the majestic mane of the King of the Jungle, the lion. It also emphasizes a strong jawline and is a sign of manhood. It was a sign of honor in medieval Western cultures, and famous Celtic tribal chiefs swore by their beards when they made a promise.
Druids and wizards wore longbeards because they symbolized wisdom and dignity. For instance, beards were associated with strength and courage among the Vikings. Their famous rich, red beards were plaited and groomed. Similarly, in Ancient Greece, Egypt, China, and India, bearded men were revered as wise seers.
The Romans did not value beards because they associated them with poverty and barbarism. For this reason, they kept their faces smooth and free of facial hair.
Politicians prefer to sport the clean-shaven mug. During WWII, beards were banned because they prevented men from wearing their gas masks properly. In the 60s, beards were associated with the Hippie culture and campus protests.
Today, it’s thankfully an “anything goes” world for the bearded or beardless.
Different Styles of Beards
Some of the most popular styles of beards include:
- Heavy or light stubble
- Well-trimmed corporate
- Short, long, or full natural
- Goatee or French beard
- French fork
- Van Dyke
- Yeard (beard that’s grown unchecked for a full year)
- Chin Strap
- Duck Tail
- Mutton Chop
Choose a style that aligns with your face shape, how much time you can spend on grooming, and whether the style is convenient and easy to maintain.
Common Growth Issues
Great beards don’t happen on their own. Those glossy, neat, rich beards you see are the product of considerable time and effort spent on grooming, and honestly, a significant amount of money spent on grooming products. It is a slow and often frustrating process.
You may have come across myths and misconceptions. “Shaving makes your facial hair thicker and stronger” or “Full beards are indicative of higher testosterone levels” are some of the most common ones. The truth is several other factors are at play.
- Genetics: If your gene pool supports higher levels of androgen and sensitivity to another hormone, DHT, you’ll grow more facial hair
- Age and Ethnicity: Facial hair gets thicker as men age, but race plays an important part. Southeast Asians typically have less facial and body hair.
- Alopecia: If you suffer from this auto-immune condition, it reduces hair growth all over the body.
You need a beard care kit to make your beard grow well, look great, and feel comfortable.
Beard kit must-haves:
- Gentle beard wash shampoo/cleanser and conditioner suited to your skin type
- Exfoliating scrub
- Moisturizer for other parts of your face and neck
- Beard comb and brush
Additional items would be styling tools and products, coloring, oil, perfume, and trimmer according to your preferences.
How To Grow A Flourishing Beard?
Proper Diet: Include proteins, green leafy vegetables, iron, nuts, oily fish, whole grains and healthy carbs, fruits and vegetables rich in A, B, C, D, and E vitamins.
Sleep: Testosterone is primarily released during sleep, so get enough rest and shut-eye
Stress: There is a strong connection between stress levels and hair growth. Stress boosts cortisol production and crashes healthy hormone levels.
General fitness: Regular exercise, yoga, meditation, and walks can reduce your stress and increase blood circulation. This will help in maintaining healthy hair growth.
Cleaning and Grooming: A daily wash with a gentle cleanser is crucial to keep your beard clean, fresh, and healthy. Use lukewarm water and keep a separate towel for this. This helps remove dead skin, dirt, oil, germs, and pollution. Watch out for beard dandruff or other skin problems. Yeast infections are common, and so are bacteria and fungus attacks.
Conditioning: Use different products based on your skin type. For dry skin, it’s better to use beard oil. Use a beard conditioner specially formulated for facial hair if you suffer from acne. Opt for fragrance-free, non-comedogenic products. You can use a beard balm to set the shape and keep stray hairs under control.
Moisturizing: Remember that there’s the skin beneath the beard. Keep it well moisturized and soft, and you can prevent your beard from feeling dry, itchy, and flaky.
Grooming: Once your beard has reached a certain length and growth pattern, you can style it into your preferred design. This will have to be done regularly to maintain the shape, thickness, and length.
Trimming: Use the right tools and keep your beard damp and de-tangled to get the best results.
- Pay attention to the areas surrounding your beard.
- Keep the neckline neatly shaved.
- If you have a short beard and mustache, make sure that the shape is clearly defined.
Finally, avoid touching or stroking your beard. This is a habit that many men with beards tend to develop over time, and it’s harmful because it is the primary reason germs and bacteria get transferred from your hands to your face.