Growing a great looking beard shouldn’t be that difficult – if you know how.
The problems start when bad beard habits form. This could be through a lack of education on the subject or laziness.
But of course, we all have to start somewhere. When I first grew a beard at university I had no clue about how to properly look after and maintain a beard.
You just have to let it grow right? Wrong! This was my attitude at that time. All that happened was that my beard looked a scruffy mess and the hair itself was in a terrible state, all wiry and scratchy.
Even when I did try to do any sort of maintenance I was doing it completely wrong!
All of this led to me forming many bad habits which over time, I have fortunately been able to eradicate, as I have learnt how to look after my beard properly.
In this blog post I reveal the ones that you must avoid without fail in order to grow the magnificent beard that you deserve. Hopefully you will learn from my mistakes!
Drying out your beard with a hot hairdryer
So you have a shower and because you’re in a hurry, you decide to use a hairdryer rather than just a towel to dry your beard.
There’s nothing wrong with this of course – when done correctly. However, the problems start when you decide to use the highest heat setting to quicken things up.
This is a big mistake. All that happens is that the excessive heat dries out your hair leaving it feeling weak, damaged and more prone to falling out.
The right way to do this is to use the cold setting instead. This takes more time, but will be a lot kinder on your hair and the skin underneath.
Personally though, I am a big fan of towel drying. Gently pat your beard dry and leave a little moisture in there, so it’s easier for you to brush and apply your beard oil.
Using hair shampoo
As you know you should be regularly washing your hair, whether it’s on your head or on your face.
Naturally, you probably think that using standard hair shampoo should suffice. Especially if it saves you a bit of money buying a separate product just for your beard.
But this is certainly not the case. Hair shampoo strips the natural oils from the skin underneath your beard that help to keep it moisturised.
For years I used it and wondered why I was still sore underneath my beard. Once I discovered beard shampoo, I noticed a big difference. The key, like when choosing any other beard product, is to pick one that only contains natural, organic ingredients that won’t irritate or damage your skin. Or another way to look at it, is to not buy any products that contain ingredients that you don’t know or can’t pronounce!
Something else to consider, is how often you should be washing your beard. This can differ person to person. However I tried washing mine every day and every other day and it just made my beard feel overly greasy. I started to notice an increase in beard dandruff which wasn’t very pleasant!
I personally only wash mine once a week. Maybe an unusual choice, but I would just test it for yourself and see what works.
Touching your beard too much
One of the joys of having a beard is being able to stroke it. Some say it makes you look more intelligent. I need as much help as I can get!
Of course you also get the people who think it’s alright to stroke and touch your beard, just because you happen to have one. I always compare this to pregnant ladies, who encounter people who feel that they have the right to touch their stomachs. Very strange right?!
Either way, touching, stroking or pulling at your beard is not good for your facial hair. Doing it consistently reduces the strength of the hairs which increases the chance of them falling out. Let’s face it, no-one wants that!
For me, this happens most when I am stressed or concentrating on a task. The obvious solution when you’re feeling tense is to try relaxation techniques which have certainly worked for me.
The next time you’re working on a task, take a moment to see if you’re playing with your beard. Like other habits such as chewing your nails, it is done subconsciously most of the time. But if you take a moment to think about what you’re actually doing, you can teach yourself over time to break the habit.
Not taking beard grooming seriously
Now I mentioned earlier about my lack of knowledge about how to look after my beard during my time at university.
Part of my problem, was that I didn’t take beard grooming very seriously. It was simply a case of letting it grow and hoping for the best!
This is a big mistake. Instead, you should be doing the following on a daily basis:
- Use beard oil – In my book, this is the most important beard product you will own. It will help keep your facial hair healthy and the skin underneath moisturised.
- Brushing – Use a boar haired brush to ensure that the oil is distributed evenly throughout your beard.
- Get trimming – Even if you’re growing a long beard, trimming it yourself or with the help of a barber can help you to avoid getting split ends. It will look neater too!
- Keep it styled – To avoid your beard getting too out of control, apply beard balm to hold it in place.
Giving up too soon
Time and time again I hear from people who have shaved off their beard because they have patches or it’s too itchy.
What’s wrong with this I hear you ask? Well the main issue I have is that the decision to shave is taken much too soon.
A week or two of growth is nowhere near enough time to see if you can grow a beard that you’re happy with. Instead, you should be aiming for at least 2/3 months. Only then can you make an informed decision.
As for the itchiness, this is a common complaint. However, it only lasts for a short time and with regular use of beard oil, shouldn’t cause you problems in the long term.