If you've ever tried to grow a beard, you'll know that it can be tricky. Sure, letting your facial hair grow will free up the time usually dedicated to shaving, but uneven growth patterns and other issues can make adopting a more rugged look frustrating and time-consuming in its own way.
Most men experience a certain amount of patchiness when allowing their beards to grow, particularly if they're young or trying it for the first time. This is a perfectly normal part of the process and not a reason to shave everything off! If you're wondering how to grow a beard to rival that of Charles Darwin or Jason Momoa, you will need to be patient.
Before even attempting to grow out your facial hair, you should select a beard style to aim for. Generally speaking, it is a good idea to come up with a style that softens the hard edges of the face and creates a kind of oval shape. If you have a long face with a square jaw, for example, avoid sculpting a long and narrow beard. Instead, try to widen the face with full sides and a trimmed chin area. If your face is circular, on the other hand, plan for plenty of length, and keep the sides trimmed.
The toughest part of growing a beard is waiting for it to bulk up. If you're starting totally clean-shaven, you will need to wait at least two months before you start any serious styling. During this time, your face will probably become very itchy. This is perfectly normal, but it could cause some flaking or redness if your skin is sensitive. Fortunately, there are plenty of oils and balms that can help soothe the skin during this uncomfortable phase of growth.
Have you reached the two-month milestone? Congratulations! At this point, your beard is likely to have gained some fullness and your face will probably look quite different. Don't worry if the beard is still a little patchy — everyone is different and it takes longer for some people's facial to grow than others. To give the beard some shape, you will need to start trimming it around the neck and jawline, as stray hairs in these areas can create a scruffy look.
Once your beard has been growing for a few months, it is worth investing in some beard-shaping tools. While a basic trimmer will see you through the initial stages, you will need some more sophisticated items if you want to craft the perfect beard for your face. This might include a beard line up tool, a beard straightener, and trimming scissors.
Although age and genetics play a significant role in beard fullness and speed of growth, eating a nutritious diet can help you to grow healthier and more voluminous facial hair. Foods known to encourage hair growth including lean proteins such as salmon and chicken, those high in healthy fats, such as avocados, fruits and vegetables, and high-zinc options, like chickpeas and nuts.
Keeping your facial hair and skin clean will ensure that your beard stays looking neat and prevent painful ingrown hairs. It is a good idea to exfoliate every week or so with an exfoliating brush or scrub to remove dirt and dead skin cells. You may also wish to try out moisturizing beard conditioners, particularly if your facial hair feels very coarse or you start to notice dandruff.
A decent beard brush is a vital tool if you want to maintain a healthy, well-shaped beard. Try to brush your beard at the end of each day, as this will help spread natural oils produced by the skin throughout the length of the beard, nourishing the hairs to prevent split ends and breakage.
If you're still struggling to achieve the bushy beard of your dreams after several months, it may be worth trying out a supplement such as biotin. This B vitamin is present in nuts, eggs, and bananas, and is often used to promote nail and hair growth. It is worth noting, however, that the supplement is associated with some side effects such as digestive problems and skin rashes, so it is a good idea to talk to your doctor before purchasing.
If you want a beard that stays looking sleek and suave for years to come, it is a good idea to lead a healthy lifestyle. Sleep, for example, is fundamental to maintaining healthy hormone levels and promoting continued beard growth. Exercise is also very important as it helps to optimize blood flow and stimulate the growth of hair follicles.
A skilled barber will make your beard look and feel amazing. If you have a job interview or a special occasion coming up, it is well worth booking a professional trim to ensure you look as sharp as possible. Barbers are also knowledgeable sources of advice for caring for your beard.