November is almost here. You know what that means. It’s time to grow some facial hair.
Movember is a fun excuse to be a little scruffy for a while, but it’s also built on something important. It’s supposed to remind us all a little bit about men’s health. We’re going to avoid some of the more depressing aspects of that discussion today, but when you see all of the scruff, remember why it’s there, and maybe check your balls.
In the meantime, it’s perfectly ok to have some fun with no-shave November, and in that light, we’re going to give you some pointers to help you grow your facial hair the right way.
Isn’t it annoying how all advice, whether it’s a new way to tie your shoelaces or how to grow corn in your backyard, seems to end up telling you to diet and exercise?
Well, we’re sorry, friends. This is another one of those times.
The simple fact is that your general health affects your facial hair. That’s how the human body works, and if you want a glorious and magnificent beard, then you’re going to have to take care of more than just your face.
It might be annoying, but it’s how the human body works. We’re stuck with what we get sometimes.
Nutrition helps your beard grow
So, the first step is nutrition. In general, a healthy, balanced diet helps you grow strong, healthy, full facial hair. Now, you might envision some kind of carefully manicured beard that isn’t all that full. Maybe you want something like a permanent five o’clock shadow or a perfect pencil mustache.
That’s fine, but you’re better off with full, healthy hair that you then groom into whatever style you choose.
Getting back to food, you want a healthy balance of protein, minerals, vitamins, and all of those other things you constantly read about.
When it comes specifically to facial hair, there are some specific things you can nom nom for a little extra mileage:
- Omega-3 fatty acids
- Vitamin B5
- Vitamin C
- Beta carotene
All of these are found in many traditional healthy diets, but if you want to know a few key foods to help you with each magic beard ingredient, WebMD has a nice list. Don’t worry, this isn’t one of those WebMD entries that’s going to convince you you’re dying of kuru or something.
So does exercise
That covers the important foods for your face. You’re welcome for that.
Now we have to talk about exercise.
Really?! Exercise for facial hair?! What, are we going to train the individual hairs out of the skin by doing military drills?
Unfortunately, this is for real (not the military drill part). The simple fact is that regular exercise can help you maintain a good level of testosterone. As you might already know, testosterone is essential in growing facial hair. If your T is a little low, you’re not going to grow much of a beard.
Now, if you have low testosterone (or even think you might), you should definitely talk to a doctor. That can constitute a serious medical condition, and a few jumping jacks in the morning won’t prove curative.
If you’re generally healthy, though, regular exercise does help your body optimize regular hormone balances, and that can translate to a sexier beard. Again, that’s just how these things work.
The good news is that you don’t need a six-pack to have a nice beard. Just get outside and move your body for at least 20 minutes at a time, three times a week. You can literally go for walks through the park to be healthy enough to have a great beard.
If you happen to go a little harder on your exercise, that’s fine, but beyond basic fitness, workouts aren’t going to change your beard at all. Use The Plow® and a good shaving gel, and you’ll be fine.
Care for the hair
Diet and exercise prime your body so that you can grow thick, healthy facial hair. That’s the starting point, but at some point, you’re going to let the hair grow.
What do you do then?
Naturally, you want to invest in hair care—specifically for your face. There are techniques and products that help along the way, so let’s explore them for a bit, shall we?
Trim and groom
If it’s November, you’re excused from this part. We all know how it works. But when it’s not November, trimming shouldn’t be ignored.
One of the most important things to do when growing out your beard is basic trimming and maintenance. This isn’t because of some old wive’s tale where you have to trim your beard to keep it growing. (That can hold true for scalp hair, but it doesn’t apply to facial hair.)
No, this is just about looking good. Nobody’s beard grows in perfectly even all of the time. As your facial hair grows, you’ll need to trim it to keep it looking controlled and attractive. That’s all you’re really doing, but you want to stay on top of it.
For the most part, weekly trims are enough. Some of you guys are descendants of Sasquatch and might have to trim more than once a week.
When you do trim, you’re mostly going to want to use a beard comb and scissors. The trick is to brush the facial hair up and away from your face. That way, you can see which hairs are extra long. Trim them back down to be uniform with the rest, and you’re good.
Less frequently, you might want to shape or really cut down on your beard length. For that, a solid beard trimmer with a cutting guard is your best friend. Always start longer than you think you want the beard. After you trim, you can check the length. If you still want to go shorter, you can, but you can never add length back.
You also want to keep good beard lines. To do that, you need to shave. You’re not shaving the whole beard; you’re just using a razor to keep the lines clean. That’s all.
Use good products
Trimming is about aesthetics. Beard products are about hair health (although they also make your beard look nice).
Your most essential product is beard oil. This is a basic moisturizer that helps the skin under your beard along with the hairs themselves. A good beard oil will give your facial hair a bit of a sheen. You can also use it as a hair product to help with styling, but the primary purpose is moisturizing. It will keep your skin from getting flaky and dandruffy, and it will help control itchiness under the beard.
In addition to oil, a good beard conditioner goes a long way. You can wash and condition your beard when you shower. Depending on the beard and your skin and hair types, you want to do this at least twice a week and possibly daily. The point is to keep the beard both clean and soft. Naturally, longer beards require more care. If you barely have a little scruff, you don’t need to condition daily.
Lastly, you can use a beard balm as a final product. Unlike beard oil, balms are designed specifically to help you style the facial hair, but they can also provide health advantages. They can infuse the beard with nutrients, and they can further help you keep your skin hydrated and healthy.
Take care of your skin
When it comes to the hair on top of your head, shampoos and conditioners are good for the hair, but they also treat your scalp. That’s why you use special shampoos and conditioners to deal with dandruff — which is basically dry skin flakes coming off of your scalp (yeah, it’s gross if you think about it too much).
Well, your face is the ‘scalp’ for your beard. In this case, beard-care products largely do take good care of your face. If you use beard oil and a good beard shampoo, you probably won’t need much in the way of facial lotion (except in areas where there is no facial hair).
The point is that good beard care is also good face care.
But, that’s a two-way street. If your face doesn’t feel super healthy, then adjust your beard care regimen to compensate. Find products that are genuinely good for your face. It’s the more important part; your facial hair will be healthy when your face is healthy.
Most of all, don't forget about your cheeks, nose, and forehead. The beard doesn’t cover everything, and if you let unbearded parts of your face go, it can have detrimental effects that make your beard look worse, too. Plus, who doesn’t want a healthy face?
At this point, you’re healthy and growing a solid beard (or whatever facial hair you’re into). You have the freedom to think about style. There are countless beard styles in the world, and they aren’t all for everyone. You can experiment and try to find a style that you love, or you can do a little research and play it safe.
In general, you can match your beard style to the shape of your head and face. It’s not actually that hard to do. If you keep to such a style, it will definitely look good, and you always have the freedom to experiment with other styles whenever you want.
After all, you know how to grow a rich, healthy beard. What you do with it is up to you.
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