The Comprehensive Handbook for Beard Grooming and Care
A little beard historyBeards have been styled and cared for by men for millennia, according to historians. The ancient Egyptians wore them as a sign of dominance, and pictures of Egyptian kings wearing metal "beards" (called "postiche") date back to 3000 B.C. The beards of Egyptian males were coloured using a variety of beard dyes.
Ancient Mesopotamians were the first to mention using beard oil, a mixture of sesame seeds and other herbs, to treat their highly esteemed beards. To keep their beards in good condition, the ancient Greeks also utilized castor oil-based balms and oils.
As balms and waxes based on petrolatum became more popular in the 20th century, better alternatives began to become accessible globally. There is a wider variety of products available now than in the past, and their are more beard companies than ever before.
Should I grow a beard?
One of the greatest things about being a man is our ability to grow a beard. Not everyone will be able to grow one and some won't want to keep it. I say you try it out. What have you got to lose?
Can anyone grow a beard?
The ability to develop a beard is mostly determined by your genes. Incredible beard genes might be a boon (or a bane) depending on the situation. An acquaintance of mine could grow a full beard in little more than a month. Growing a full beard usually falls somewhere between three and five months. After a morning shave, he'll have a five o'clock shadow by lunchtime. He despised his appearance when he grew a beard, so he was constantly shaving.
You may or may not be able to develop a beard depending on your age and the onset of puberty. As a young man, you won't have much luck growing a full beard unless your beard growing genes are really strong. When you first begin to attempt to grow a beard, it could be extremely light in colour and relatively thin. The process of growing a beard typically begins with peach fuzz when you're younger. If you're one of the less than half of males who can really grow a beard, you might notice that it gets thicker and darker around puberty. Until all of a sudden you're sporting a beard and taking first place in beard competitions!
Truthfully, not everyone can grow a beard, and unfortunately, there is no product available that can stimulate the growth of facial hair. Although it appears NMN is giving me positive results.
What are the different men’s beard styles?
Beards come in a wide variety of styles, with some being more common than others around the globe. In my opinion, there are typically four distinct types of beards.
This is the beard you reach for every day; the name says it all. A well-groomed beard that will look great at the office, at dinner, on a night out with friends, etc. The daily beard can be any size, thickness, or shape you might imagine, but it's best kept short so it's easy to keep groomed. You can style this in a flash before leaving the house. All you need is a small amount of beard oil and balm or butter for your beard and your good to go..
Although it's possible to pull off, this beard style isn't one you'd wear every day. This beard is meticulously well-kept and styled. Every single stray beard hair is controlled and tracked.
Perfecting this beard takes effort and patience.
It is regularly trimmed and cut by a skilled expert. This beard could be worn to a funeral, wedding, or any other type of formal event.
Envision James Bond sporting a beard.
Traditional and Religious Beards
Many people wear this style of beard because of its long history of custom, tradition or because of the significance it has in their culture. Religious grounds can also justify the wearing of these beards.
Beards like this are a source of pride for its owners and, in certain cases, necessitate special care and attention.
These beards can be huge and spectacular; sure, they can also fit into the categories mentioned earlier, but these beards really make a statement. At any beard competition, you will witness these kinds of beards. Depending on the competition, these men are evaluated based on a variety of factors, including the size, shape, health, and overall fullness of their beards. The owners of beard businesses often take part in beard competitions, and they are more than glad to post photos and videos of their winning beards online. When it comes to caring for and controlling their unruly beards, these beard growers will settle for nothing less than the finest.
Virtually all beard styles will fall under each of the four main beard types listed above.
Beard appearance is subjective and can be influenced by a number of things, such as facial structure and size. The way you wear your hair can also greatly influence your beard.
So, even when two men sport the same beard style, the result will be two distinctly different beards..
Can you wear a beard to a job interview?
Yes you can!Do you really need to shave the night before your job interview? If you're searching the web for answers, it's probably because you've heard that showing up unclean is considered bad interview etiquette.
Even though you know that beards are on the rise at work, you might still be worried. But don't be, here is the proper way to wear your beard to the interview, should you so desire.
How to choose to wear your beard
You may be on the fence and just need a little reassurance one way or the other. Don’t forget to do your research on how to present yourself. Just like the preparation you’ll do for the role you’re interviewing for; you’ll want to have at least a little bit of context on whether it’s the right call.
Think about context
The job and environment you’re interviewing for can often tell you a lot about whether or not it will be acceptable. Jobs in cities like Toronto, Austin or Silicon Valley definitely fall into more beard-friendly regions and are likely to be a little bit more lenient than more conservative areas in the suburbs.
Look for clues
One of the most foolproof ways that you can understand a company’s culture is by taking a peek at the social media of the company. Check and see if those at the company are sporting beards in their headshots or if the company has individuals with beards in any posted photos. These clues may indicate whether there is a beard-friendly culture. And it doesn’t have to be everyone — look for even 10 percent of the company — that’s enough to give you a feel for it.
How to make your beard look interview-ready
Once you’d decided to wear your beard, you need to make it look top notch. Even if you’re generally good about grooming your beard, you want to make sure that you have an above average appearance.
- Head to the barbers to get trimmed up in the days ahead. This is in no way shaving your beard, but it is making it more presentable.
- Condition, condition, condition. Invest in a beard balm or beard oil that will help give your beard the proper hold as you style it. If you really want to maintain your style though, beard balm is generally the way to go since it contains beeswax.
- Comb it through. Skip the brush and go for the comb since it also gives you better styling control. Be sure to bring the comb with you and run it through your beard either in the car or in the bathroom right before. This will ensure that your beard looks as good as you feel going in.
Is a moustache considered a beard?
No, hair above your lip with no other facial hair on your face is a mustache, not a beard. There are a few popular beard styles that really accentuate and focus on the mustache. A Verdi or Garibaldi come to mind.
In my opinion the mustache is one of the most overlooked and can be one of the least maintained parts of a beard. It can also be the hardest part of a full beard to grow.
Is a goatee considered a beard?
Sort of, although if it is big enough it may look like a full beard from the front. What are your thoughts on a goatee? Honestly, the goatee never been a favorite of mine. Although I did have one for a short period of time. I remember it being a real pain in the but to maintain and I was always finding food in it.
Looking back in hindsight at my old goatee photos I think it looked terrible and I have no idea what I was thinking. Having said that I am not against them and there are a few folks that can pull them.
Is stubble considered a beard?
This is a tricky one, but I would say yes, stubble could be considered a short beard. I am not sure if a 5-o clock shadow can be considered a beard but stubble that has been growing for a few days can be considered a beard, or at the very least the early stages of a beard. Some guys will be able to grow a beard quickly, but for the rest of us it takes time. When you see stubble, this is when you can start to think about using a beard oil or beard butter. You can also use a balm but there won’t be much beard hair to style at this phase of beard growth, so I don’t recommend it. Some may argue stubble is not a beard, I think it can be. What do you think?
Today, there are three main products that are used on beards. I am also including mustache wax on this list as a fourth because many beard growers will often use a product with more wax to tame their mustaches. Mustaches can be incredibly temperamental, and it can be a little harder to keep your mustache hair in line.
The three main products for beards are:
Beard oil forms the foundation for a beard. It is usually scented and is made up of a combination of carrier oils, essential oils, and fragrance oils.
Beard oil is for all types of beards, short, long, big, or small and will treat them all in the same way. Beard oil can protect a beard and will help to provide a healthy foundation for your beard. Beard oil can protect a beard from the elements and the dreaded beard itch caused by dry skin and a lack of sebum. Sebum is a natural oil produced by our skin and an ever growing can put a put a real strain on the production in sebum as it tries to keep up with your ever-growing beard.
Beard oil is not used to style a beard. It is more like a scented, protective cologne that is used on your beard and the skin underneath it.
How do you use beard oil?
If using a dropper place a few drops into the palm of your hand and lightly rub hands together and then rub into beard. Making sure you are also applying beard oil to the skin under your beard.
Beard balm is the go-to product when you want to really style your beard. It is also perfect for anyone who has a hard time keeping their beard in check. Depending on the hold of a beard balm it can have a lot of beeswax in it or a little. The stronger the hold, the more the beeswax. To little beeswax and it is usually considered a beard butter. To much beeswax and it is usually considered mustache wax.
Beard balm is also sold scented most of the time but can also be found in unscented.
How do you use beard balm?
Beard balm is usually sold in metal tin cans and can also be found in larger plastic or glass containers depending on the amount.
Beard oil is scooped out by using your thumb. Dig your thumb, nail side down across the surface of the beard balm to get a small amount on your nail. Larger scoops or multiple scoops will be required for larger beards.
Scrape scoop into the palm of your hand and rub until dissolved.
Use hand to massage into beard and style beard. Again, you may need to take scoop more or go back for multiple scoops depending on the size of your beard.
Beard butter is like a cross between beard oil and beard butter. Many guys will only use beard butter as their go to beard product using nothing else. A good, premium beard butter can replace beard oil and beard balm.
Common beard butter bases are Shea butter, Almond butter, mango butter, and cocoa butter. Coffee butter seems to be showing some promise and the smell is incredible if you are into that sort of thing.
A good beard butter will be very smooth and creamy, regardless of the amount of beeswax used.
How do you use beard butter?
Scoop out a small or large portion of beard butter, depending on your beard size onto your finger or thumb. Rub it into the palm of your hand until dissolved. Then like beard oil, rub it into your beard, making sure to also reach the skin under the beard.
Moustache wax is on this list because as mentioned it is used by many beard growers to help tame their moustaches. Sometimes you need a little more beeswax than a beard balm can provide and if that is the case moustache wax has you covered.
Moustache wax is the thickest and strongest holding of all the beard products and is commonly used if beard balm is not having the desired effect. I have included it in the list because many folks with larger beards may use a combination of beard oil, butter, or balm and moustache wax.
Moustaches can be a lot harder to tame and style than beards and a big moustache is always getting in the way and depending on the size can be a little bit of a pain to maintain.
Having a large moustache means you are going to be eating moustache hair from time to time and don’t be surprised if find yourself chewing on your moustache at dinner on occasion.
Keeping that moustache tamed is crucial to not only the way it looks but how much of it you end up eating.
How do you use moustache wax?
You will need to use your thumb nail to scoop a small amount of moustache wax onto the tip of your thumb, you don’t need much, and you can always go back for another coat if you need to. Then rub the wax between your thumb and forefinger until is dissolved. Rub the wax onto your moustache shaping it outward as you apply the wax.
There is no question that all beards will require a little maintenance, once in awhile. Some beards will require a lot more maintenance than others, especially ones that require regular cutting or trimming to maintain their shape or style. You will also likely be applying at least one beard product or another to your beard each day. Multiple times a day depending on the size of your beard.
Most beards will only require a little trimming and shaving at the neckline every few days to give it a clean look. Not all beards will grow in large and thick and the process to grow a great beard can take time and effort.
Age can play a big part, if you are on the younger side and are struggling to grow a beard, hang in there it will likely get easier as you get older.
I couldn’t grow a decent beard until I hit my early thirties!
Eventually a beard is going to need proper trimming if you let it grow for long enough. Proper trimming is usually best handled by a skilled barber, but many men are happy to take up the challenge themselves and many do a great job.
No matter who is trimming or cutting your beard there is always the risk of disaster. Although the risks are much, much lower if you use a trained professional like a barber.
One slip of the trimmer could mean the difference between a slightly shorter beard and having to shave it off completely.
I have had this happen to me on more than one occasions and every time it happened it brought a tear to my eye. Now a days I visit a local barber and now a good friend of mine.
The big takeaway here is that a beard will require some maintenance and the bigger it gets, the more maintenance and product it will need.
Should I cut my own beard?
I don’t recommend it. It is always better to leave it to the professionals. If you make the wrong cut, you could end up having to shave off your entire beard. In the early stages of beard growth if this happens it won’t hurt near as much if you have been growing your beard for months or years.
If your beard uses a special cut or trim to shape it you will want to hit up a qualified professional.
Having said all that if you are brave enough or skilled to do this yourself there are a ton of videos on YouTube that will guide you through the process.
Neckline is important when cleaning up your beard, most full beards will be trimmed at the neckline. Other beard styles may require a higher cut at the neckline creating a thinner hair line along the jaw.
How do I find a good beard barber?
Reviews and word of mouth are going to be your main sources when it comes to finding a good local barber with quality beard trimming skills.
In fact, it is not uncommon to have one person in the shop handle beards, they become a specialist. Masters of their craft.
Even with a good word of mouth and good reviews you may not connect with a barber or their shop. When I found my barber, it was amazing, and we connected right away. I felt comfortable and more importantly they did a great job. I have been going to the same place ever since.
When you connect with a good barber, you will know it.
How do I clean my beard?
If you have stubble or are in the very early stages of beard growth you will not really need to use any special soaps or cleansers
A premium beard soap will ensure your beard is not dried out or damaged during the cleaning process.
Your beard hair is less like the hair on your head and more like the hair between your legs. It has different requirements and regular soap, or shampoo won’t cut it.
As with anything some men can get away with not using beard soap, but for the rest of, we will be using a quality beard soap. In my experience using regular soap or shampoo on your full beard can damage it and over time no beard oil in the world is going to bring it back to life.
Can I dye my beard?
Yes, you can! There are many reasons why you may want to dye your beard and if you feel like you need to or want to, go for it. It is safe and there are many different products for you to choose from. Please check out this article for a lot more information on dying your beard.
What is the best beard type?
I don’t believe there is a “best beard”. Every beard is unique as it grows and conforms to an individual’s face. A daily full beard is my beard of choice, not to big or long and relatively easy to maintain. I need to give it a good cut or trim every couple of months.
A full beard may look great on one person and terrible on another. It is all very subjective.
If I ask you to think of the perfect beard, who do you think of? Do you think that beard would look good on you? Would it be good for all face types?
I always wanted to have a cool beard like Wolverine from the X-Men movies.
When I ask you to think of someone with a wicked beard, who do you think of? Are you thinking of Wolverine now? Sorry about that.
I don’t believe there is a “best beard” and although you may see a lot of top 10 or top 25 beards lists, they should all be taken with a grain of salt and should only be used for reference and entertainment. There is no “best beard”, only the beard you love and when you find it, wear it with pride my good man.
Is beard hair pubic hair?
Technically, yes. Beard hair follicles are more closely related to the hair between your legs and arm pits than it is with the hair on your head.
Essentially, any hair that grows during puberty is considered pubic hair and because beard hair grows during puberty it falls under this category.
Beard hair has different requirements than the hair on your head and other pubic hair on your body. Your beard is exposed to the environment 24 hours a day, and this causes your beard hair to be affected by the same negatives effects that can dry out or damage the hair on your head.
I suppose if your crotch hair was exposed to the elements 24 hours a day it to would require a little special care and treatment as well.
No matter how you slice it, beard hair is technically pubic hair, but I think beard hair sounds a lot nicer.
Is there any product that will help me grow a beard?
No, there is currently no product on the market that will help you grow beard hair. Just as there is no magic sauce for growing hair on your head, there is no such product for beard hair. Many companies may make bold claims but don’t believe the hype. Marketing can be a powerful thing but nothing on the market toady will grow facial hair.
How long does a beard take to grow?
On average a full beard will take anywhere from 2 to 5 months to grow. Some men will be able to grow a full beard much faster, but the average persons beard will grow approximately half an inch each month. Growing a beard can take time, and taking good care of it can be the difference between a good beard and a great beard.
Can beards stop growing?
Yes, some parts of your beard may reach a sort of maximum length and will not get any longer. The soul patch part of a beard is a common beard part that will stop growing as the rest of your beard gets bigger. For some men their mustache may stop growing after is reaches its maximum length.
In fact, most beards will stop growing when they reach their maximum length, and this maximum length is different for each person. For some, their beard will seem to continue to grow forever, albeit much slower as time goes on.
Can beards cause acne?
It is not so much the actual beard itself can cause acne. It is more likely that you have added to much product to your beard or have not washed it. You may have also been very active causing excessive sweat and dirt build up. If you have a full beard, it is not uncommon to get a pimple or two from time to time. If you are prone to acne a beard is not going to make things better.
In fact, if you are prone to acne I would recommend reaching out to a dermatologist or your doctor for advice on growing a beard and using products. They may recommend treating the acne before encouraging you to grow a beard.
Do woman like beards?
Not all woman like a beard and even less like a large, competition type beard, but there are a few who absolutely love them. My wife for example is a huge fan of beards and she loves a full beard. She is also a big fan of game of thrones and lord of the rings. Both movies with beards all over the place!
If you look around it seems like beards are everywhere, and men would not be wearing them if woman did not like them. I am sure word would spread fast if growing a beard became a no-no.
In many surveys 30% or more women find a beard very attractive and I believe this number has only increased over the years. The good news is, less than 10% of woman find beards unattractive.
If your wife won’t let you grow a beard, we feel your pain brother.
Are there religions that require a beard?
While some religions such as Islam and Sikhism consider a full beard to be an official part of their religion. Other groups and cultures such as Mennonites view a beard as part of a man’s virility and wisdom. It can also represent strength, wisdom, and power.
Although growing a beard is not part of the compulsory pillars of Islam, such as fasting and payer, many schools of Islamic law hold strong potions on the length and fullness of a man’s beard. It can be considered unlawful to shave one’s beard.
Why are beards not allowed in most militaries?
The two things that put an end to beards in the military were hygiene and gas masks. Interestingly they wouldn’t be completely outlawed in the United States until December 1984, when Chief of Naval Operations Adm. James D. Watkins put an end to them once and for all.
Which US presidents had beards?
Of the 45 individuals that have served as president (at the time of this writing), 5 wore a beard for the duration of their presidency.
- 16th - Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865), U.S. President (1861-1865)
- 20th - James A. Garfield (1881)
- 19th - Rutherford B. Hayes (1877-1881)
- 18th - Ulysses S. Grant (1869-1877)
- 23rd - Benjamin Harrison (1899-1893)
21st President Chester Arthur (1881-1885) Came close with mutton chops and moustache. What do you think, should he count? His mutton chops were called Friendly Mutton Chops.
It wasn’t until President Abraham Lincoln when the president of the United States sported a beard.
It is rumoured that an 11-year-old girl named Grace Bedell wrote a letter to the republican president and told him he would win the presidency if he grew a beard, and the rest is history.
Beards were incredibly popular during the 1800’s so it’s no surprise so many presidents during this period had one.
In the 1800’s in America, a beard was worn because it showed the wearers had moral courage and they remained extremely popular into the mid 19th century.
Benjamin Harrison was the last president to have a beard while in office. Since then, no president has ever had a beard while they were in office. In fact, I have been unable to dig up a real photo of a president with a beard at all, other than the ones mentioned in the list above.
Clinton sported a real beard while he went to Oxford, but this was way before he served in office. It wasn’t until 1983 when he first served as governor, 10 years after graduating from Yale and roughly 12 years since the bearded photo was taken in 1968.
There are also a few good photoshops out there, and I think Bush Jr looks great in a beard. I encourage you to search for the photos, some of them are good.
Some of those presidents with beards served in the military.
Beards are more popular than ever, and I don’t see that popularity slowing down anytime soon. Beards are in style and they are here to stay.
Growing a beard can sometimes be the little change in our life that is needed to point us in a new direction with style, relationships and even friends.
Yes, a beard is going to require some maintenance and beard products but is well worth it in the end. Your beard will look fuller, healthier, shinier and with the right products will smell incredible as well.
Go now and grow a wicked beard, it might change your life!
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