When I first grew a beard at university, I had no idea how to maintain it.

This was a time before beard oils, brushes or any of the other products on the market these days. It was just a case of letting it grow and seeing what happens.

It’s only in recent years my mindset has changed. I started to see the benefits of looking after my beard first hand. The results have certainly been positive.

However, I’ve made plenty of mistakes along the way. But through trial and error, I have uncovered some key beard rules you should follow to grow a great looking beard.

In this blog post, I am going to reveal them.

Take care when choosing a barber

barber and beards

Some like to trim their own beard. Some don’t trim at all!

If you’re new to beard growing or lacking confidence in your trimming abilities, you should always go to a barber for a beard trim.

But this isn’t as easy as it sounds. In fact, it’s fraught with danger.

I can speak from personal experience. I went to a barber and they started trimming my beard without permission. Gutted doesn’t even cover it.

Without doubt, you need to do your research. Also ask friends, family and those you know who have awesome beards for advice.

Before you select a barber, look on their Instagram or Facebook page for examples of their work. This should provide the proof you need of their beard trimming skills.

Ignore negative comments

Having a beard isn’t always easy. For every person who likes your beard, there’s always someone who has something negative to say.

You’ve heard the insults. You know, the terrorist one. Or the tramp one. I would be surprised if you haven’t heard one of these at some point!

Did these words affect me? Yes, they did. In fact, it upset me so much I shaved my beard off on at least one occasion.

This was wrong. You shouldn’t let other people dictate your choices in life. Whether it’s your family, friends or colleagues.

What I’ve learnt is with time, people either give up or get used to your beard.

My Mum for instance, is a great example. For years she would constantly tell me to shave and say I looked homeless and all the rest of it.

But over time, (it felt like forever) she just stopped mentioning my beard.

Whether she just gave up or accepted it, my point is, over time people will accept your beard is part of you and is not going anywhere no matter what they say or think.

Don’t be afraid to try something different

When you’re happy with something, it’s tempting to stick with the same formula.

You like your haircut, so you get the same one each time. Or you buy the same style of shirt as it looks good on you.

It’s the same with beards. More often than not, you’ll find the style that suits your face shape and because it looks good, you see no need to change.

Of course, there’s nothing wrong with this. I can be just as bad. Just ask my girlfriend how many pairs of brown shoes I own!

But isn’t there just a little part of you wondering whether another beard would suit you better?

I certainly did. Every now and again, I get this itch, (no not from beard dandruff!) to try out a different style and see whether something other than a full beard would suit me.

My first experiment was with sideburns. You can judge the results for yourself here:

sideburns

Recently, I attempted a beardstache. Although it got a mixed reception, (particularly from my girlfriend,) I was happy to see my chin for the first time in years!

Clearly, not all my experiments were successful. But would I do it again? Of course! I like changing my look now and again to remind myself that I don’t have to look the same all the time.

If you’re concerned over making a change, keep it simple to start with. If you have a longer beard, go shorter. Or grow a yeard if you’re feeling particularly adventurous. It doesn’t have to be drastic!

Take cooler showers

If you’re like me, you’ll love having a boiling hot shower every morning to set you up for the day ahead.

During winter, this is particularly true. Sometimes the only motivating factor for getting out of bed is the thought of having that glorious hot water hitting my skin.

This has never caused an issue – until I started growing a beard.

The problems started with the skin underneath it. I was noticing how sore it looked. Even worse, the skin was starting to flake off and it was beginning to itch like hell. As you can imagine, it was almost unbearable!

At first, it wasn’t clear what was causing this. I mean, I was just having a shower at the same temperature I normally do.

As I was struggling to figure out the cause, I did the only thing that would stop this ongoing pain – shave off my beard. This allowed my skin to recover, but left me feeling very sad.

This pattern continued for many years. That’s until I discovered the benefits of cooler showers.

Cooler showers have been proven to increase blood circulation, stimulates weight loss and even ease stress.

They’re great for beards too. Within days of turning down the temperature, the soreness disappeared, and the itchiness stopped. This is because hot water damages and dries skin out.

Now I’m not suggesting you go for ice cold showers. That would be a step too far! Just turning down the temperature of your shower by just a few degrees can make a big difference.

Use beard oil without fail

There was a time when I took absolutely no care over my beard.

It’s true. I would just let it grow out wildly without trimming it. The only product I would use is hair shampoo, which just left my beard feeling like a steel scouring pad.

Something had to be done. I just had to make my beard softer. Luckily, I made an important discovery – beard oil.

In my opinion, this is the most important beard product you will ever own. It keeps your beard hair looking healthy and feeling softer, whilst also ensuring the skin underneath stays moisturised.

But what about beard balm? Or specialist beard shampoo?

Don’t get me wrong, these can benefit your beard. But sometimes it’s easy to obsess over owning all the different products out there.

For example, if you have a shorter beard, then balm isn’t necessary. With my beard now on the longer side, I only use it for styling purposes.

Likewise, using a specialist beard shampoo isn’t essential if your beard is on the shorter side. Washing with water is usually enough at this stage.

But guess what? Beard oil is essential, from the very start of your beard growing journey to a year down the line and beyond.

It can stop problems like beard dandruff in the early stages, before it becomes so big an issue you must shave your beard off and start again.

These are my beard rules. What are yours? Let me know in the comments below.