Thinking of growing a beard for the winter months? The nights are drawing in, the weather's getting colder and you want to grow your own personal face warmer.
Unfortunately, growing a good beard isn't always as simple as it seems. We're not all blessed with the genes that are going to give us a thick, luscious beard that stays in perfect shape.
This is why we need to understand how best to grow, tame and care for the beard to keep it looking neat and shapely.
We've compiled a beginner's guide including everything you need to know to get started!
1. Resist the urge to trim in the first few weeks
The key to growing a beard is patience. Chances are before it gets good, it’s going to get worse. Be patient with the growth and resist the urge to shave it all off again the second it gets a little patchy and wild. Try to leave it untouched for the first 4-6 weeks without any trimming as this will allow the hair to grow evenly and help you to get a better understanding of the length and thickness you’re likely to be dealing with.
2. Find a beard shape that matches your face shape
There are so many different styles of beard for you to choose from, but what you should focus on is what is going to suit your face shape. It’s important to decide this from the off as you can then guide your growth to become what you’d like, rather than letting it grow and then trying to create something further down the line.
Obviously the style we want isn’t always the style we’ll get. We can’t force the hair to grow a certain way. So it’s important to set your expectations based on the growth you’re expecting to have. For example, you may know that your beard grows thicker in certain places or is sparse in others. Take this into consideration when styling your beard.
When taking your face shape into account, here are some tips:
If you’ve got an oval face, you’re already blessed with symmetry and therefore are able to take the leap of faith with any beard style with minimal risk. Whether you opt for bushy sides and shorter on the bottom, or short sides and a fuller length, chances are your beard will compliment your bone structure. Just don’t start trimming sharp angles into it as this could unbalance your symmetry.
When your face is round, you want to opt for a beard that will elongate your face. This is when you’re best to choose a longer beard. Keep the sides short and let the beard grow down from the chin to keep your face looking slimmer.
Those with a rectangular or oblong shape tend to have narrow faces. This is where it can look good to add a bit of width to the beard, by opting for a short bottom and fuller sides. This will help your face to look symmetrical and avoid over elongation of the face.
Similar to those with round faces, square faces want to go for length rather than width. Go for a beard that is lengthier to elongate the face. However as your face is more angular than those with round faces, you need to ensure that you shape the beard as it grows. Sculpt it to become more rounded and oval as it gets fuller.
This is where you have a wide jaw but a narrower forehead. This means that the area that the beard will grow is already your widest part so it’s important to keep the beard under control. You have two options: a short and cropped beard that doesn’t add width to the face, or a longer beard that is shorter on the sides. Sculpt the beard inwards to enhance an oval effect of the face.
This is when you have a narrow forehead, wide cheeks and a narrow jaw. Opt for a beard where the sides are short while the bottom can grow out, but keep the chin hair slightly shorter than the rest of the bottom to keep your face in good proportion.
3. Know when to trim
Once your beard is well underway, it’s time to start trimming. This is essential as it will keep your beard looking neat and will help you to guide it to look how you want. Think of it like pruning in the garden, you need to tend to your beard to keep it in it’s best shape. Invest in a good quality trimmer to ensure that your grooming is most effective. Don’t forget to tend to the areas around the beard such as the neck line and cheek lines. These will help keep your beard looking smart and stops you from spreading into neckbeard territory.
4. Washing is vital
Think about the amount of dirt that a beard could accumulate. Sweat, food, dead skin cells - gross. It’s so important to wash your beard regularly, especially in the early stages of growth, as by having bacteria in this area can make the skin feel itchy which will be uncomfortable. Don’t wash your beard every day as this will strip away the natural oils that your skin and hair needs to stay hydrated. Clean your beard 2 times a week with gentle formulas that will nourish the hair whilst not drying it out.
How to wash your beard?
- Cleanse the area with water
- Massage a small amount of beard shampoo into the beard before rinsing through with water
- Massage a small amount of beard conditioner into the area and leave to absorb for 1 minute
- Comb through the beard with a beard brush or comb to brush out any knots
- Add a few drops of beard oil and massage into the beard. At this point you could also mix the oil into a small amount of beard moisturiser as this will create a less shiny texture on the hair
- Comb again to create the desired shape
5. Brush to maintain the shape and stop unruliness
Ensure to brush your beard daily to keep it in check. This will help you to guide the hair into shape and encourage it to grow in the right direction. Either opt for a specific beard brush or go for a comb with wide teeth on one side, and narrow teeth on the other. The wide side works well to tackle the thicker hairs of the beard, while the narrow teeth are great for taming your tache.
Hold your comb so that the teeth are pointed upwards and using a relaxed grip, comb the beard in an upward motion to fluff it away from your face. This separates the hairs and lifts the beard to give it a more full bodied look. If you encounter a knot, don’t try to force it out. Instead gently pull it with your comb. Slowly does it. Once you have fluffed it out effectively, you can then comb it down into your desired shape. The result? A full bodied, but tame beard!
6.Take care of the tache
Unless you’re growing a beard without a mustache, you need to make sure you give this just as much attention as you’re giving the beard. Little and often goes far with a tache so keep on top of it with a little trim every 3-4 days to keep the stray hairs at bay.