A Brief Guide to Beards

If you’ve being paying the remotest attention over the past few years, you’ll have noted that more and more men are choosing to grow their facial hair beyond what was, until quite recently, considered sensible. Boardrooms, bars and beaches across the globe are now packed with all manner of styles of beards. And this behaviour isn’t just restricted to the super-trendy ‘hipster’ classes either – just about anyone capable of growing their facial hair now sports at least the vaguest layer of stubble. If you’re considering taking your facial hair to the next level, you might be held back a little by apprehension. After all, you never know how your friends and family might react to your new look - particularly if the results are a little on the sparse-and- fluffy side. You should put aside those reservations! An irredeemably dreadful beard is a mistake that can be rectified very quickly: just shave it off. Such measures need only be employed in especially severe cases; most of the time a few small adjustments are all that’s required. Let’s see if we can address some of the more common queries presented by novice beard-growers, and convince you to do new and wondrous things with your facial hair.

How Long Should I Grow My Beard?

Just as you’ll need to match an additional item of furniture with the rest of your interior, so too will you need to match your facial hair with your face. The length of your beard will depend on your personal taste, your clothing, and the rest of your facial features. For the most part, beards tend to protrude a few inches at most from the wearer’s face. This is so for several reasons. Firstly, the lengthier the beard, the more effort involved. Secondly, many men are incapable of growing facial hair consistently enough for a longer beard to work. If you’re in this position, then you might wish to stop at a very short, ‘stubble’ beard. This typically takes a week or two to grow, and almost every man can pull it off. Having achieved it, you can then transition into the so-called ‘corporate’ beard, which is the shortest beard you can wear while still obscuring the skin beneath. The longer you grow your beard, the more scope you’ll have for styling it differently.

For inspiration, modern fashion has tended to turn to the 19 th century. German philosophers like Nietzsche and Italian composers like Verdi have provided an ideal for many a modern man to pursue. Exceptionally long beards are so impressive that they have a special nomenclature. A beard that’s grown for more than a year is known as a ‘yeard’, while one that’s grown for two is a ‘tweard’. Go beyond that, and you’re the wearer of a so-called ‘terminal beard’. Many of the sorts of people who have successfully grown their beard for this length of time describe the experience in almost religious terms, claiming that it will grant the participant a new perspective on life, in much the same way cycling around the world or giving up animal products might. The truth is that it’s an enormous commitment which most of us can’t (or won’t) meet; unless you’re going to be playing bass in Orange Goblin, or you’ve secured a starring role in a series of fantasy films, it’s probably best to start with something smaller.

How Much Work Does a Beard Involve?

If you’ve ever shaved your head, then you’ll perhaps appreciate that less hair means less work. This is especially so in the case of facial hair, which is differently composed to the hair on your head. If you’re looking to keep things neat and tidy, then you’ll need to keep atop it almost daily – as taking corrective action once it’s gotten out of control will be difficult and irritating. As the beard gets longer, one major problem will be drying. To achieve that maximally full look, you’ll want to blow-dry your beard. When it’s shorter, this will take mere moments; once it’s gotten past a certain length, however, this will become progressively more difficult. If you’re going to be wearing your beard in a corporate environment, then you might have to conform to certain guidelines. If you don’t want to get on the wrong side of your boss, it’s a good idea to talk to them before you get started – that way you’ll be able to avoid conflict later on. Provided that your beard has a defined shape, particularly around the cheek line, you might be able to get away with a great deal more than was possible just a decade ago.

What Beard Products Do I Need?

In order to keep your beard in good shape, you’ll want to invest in several key items. The first and probably most important of these is a beard trimmer. This will allow you to precisely control the length of your facial furniture. Get one that’s adjustable, and ideally with a built-in vacuum cleaner that’ll suck up those stray strands as they’re removed from your face. A pair of purpose-built scissors will help take care of any stubborn stray hairs.

Beard Brush

Next on your list should be a beard brush. These devices are built especially with beards in mind, and will help to achieve the required style. Moustaches can be flared outwards or blended into the beard.

Beard Balm

For workplace beards, this will be made much easier with the help of a beard balm – these work as styling agents, keeping longer hairs in place after you’ve combed them.

Beard Oil

You’ll also want a set of beard oils. These will help to prevent the beard from drying out, and provide it with the required shape and shine. Apply them from the root and they’ll naturally spread to cover the whole beard. You’ll also find specialist beard-shampoos, conditioners, and softening agents which should be applied once a week to keep the hairs properly hydrated. With all of these items in hand, and then right patience and perseverance, you should be able to grow a respectable beard. Even if you’re not blessed with naturally thick facial hair, you’ll at least be able to get beyond the stubble stage while still looking the part. Give it a go!


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