A Beginner’s Guide to Growing & Grooming Your Facial Hair
The first Saturday in September is designated as World Beard Day, celebrating the manly bastion of facial hair! From full, bushy beards to closely-cropped versions, it’s a perfect occasion to educate your clients about beard growth, maintenance, and grooming. Don’t forget to check out our Manscaped for Summer post about caring for facial hair. Even though summer may be drawing to a close, beard care is a year-round affair!
Beard Fun Facts
- The average beard grows 5-6 inches annually.
- In 1698, Tsar Peter the Great established a beard tax. Unsurprisingly, this tax was massively unpopular among the bearded population.
- Facial hair can block up to 95% of harmful UV rays from the sun. (But that doesn’t mean you should skip sunscreen!)
- In Dönskborg, Sweden, un-bearded men are banished to the forest for 24 hours during World Beard Day, while bearded men celebrate their facial hair.
- The French word for cotton candy is barbe à papa, which translates to “Dad’s Beard.” Not a popular flavor, we imagine!
- In 1927, the title for World’s Longest Beard belonged to Norway’s Hans Langseth, whose beard measured a whopping 17 feet 6 inches! His famous beard has been on display at the Smithsonian museum since 1967.
- Abraham Lincoln was the first US president to sport a beard, which he grew at the advice of 11-year-old Grace Bedell. While on the campaign trail, Grace wrote Lincoln a letter advising him to grow whiskers to get more votes.
Growing a Beard
Growing a beard is a time commitment. Facial hair typically grows at a rate of ½ inch per month, so to start growing a beard, you’re looking at a solid month before you’ll begin to see any results. Facial hair also grows at different rates, so during the first few months, you may feel frustrated or discouraged by patchy places of uneven growth. While it may be tempting to try and even them out (or give up entirely!), it’s important to remember that this is part of the process.
While your beard is growing, and particularly after you’ve just stopped shaving, your new facial hair may feel itchy. In fact, the itchiness is one of the main reasons many people trying to grow beards go back to shaving. This itchiness is caused because shaving leaves a sharp edge on each cut hair. As the hairs grow back in, the hair’s sharp edge scrapes against the follicle. Luckily, as the beard fills in and the sharp edges soften, the itching subsides. However, if you’re still experiencing beard itchiness months into your beard journey, it might be time to add beard oil, beard conditioner, and facial moisturizer to your daily grooming. Wiry, poorly-conditioned beard hair, dead skin cells, and dry skin are a recipe for itchiness.
Maintaining and Grooming Your Beard
Now that your beard is at the length you want, maintaining it should be a snap, right? Well, yes and no. Like any other part of grooming, your beard needs attention and care every day to keep it looking great and to keep the skin beneath it protected. As dead skin cells slough off every day, remember that the hairs of your beard are like a safety net, trapping them and holding them close to the new skin cells. Throughout the day, your beard will also trap oil, dirt, contaminants, and food and drink residues. That means that your beard, like the hair on your head, should be washed regularly. Try to avoid using body wash or shampoos designed for the scalp, as they aren’t designed for delicate facial skin and beard hair. Try using a dedicated beard wash for optimal results and remember to comb through your beard daily to remove dead skin cells and other residues.
Conditioning your beard, though not necessary, will keep it soft and looking shiny, so it’s an extra step you can take to maintain your look. Beard conditioners have the added benefit of reducing itchiness and detangling the hairs of longer beards. Finally, beard moisturizers hydrate not only your facial hair, but also the delicate skin beneath it. The skin beneath your beard is susceptible to dryness, irritation, and yes, even beard dandruff. A good beard oil requires just a few drops to keep both the hair and skin beneath it moisturized and in great condition to keep growing. Finally, while you’re growing your beard and after you’ve achieved the length and style you want, it’s important to regularly trim it. The same rules apply to beard hair as to head hair. Regular trimming keeps it looking neat and kempt, while preventing split ends and unruly stragglers.
Not all beards are created equal! There are many different styles of beards, each of which is suited to personal style, hair growth, desired upkeep, and facial structure.
Some popular styles include the classic full beard, chin curtain, mutton chops, goatees, and the pencil beard. When you’re in the beginning stages of growing a beard, your barber will be able to help shape your facial hair into the beard (or mustache!) that’s perfectly you!
Vagaro Top Picks for Beard Care
Here are some of Vagaro’s top picks for the care and grooming of your beard—and the sensitive skin beneath it!
Beard Washes and Conditioners
Beard Oils and Moisturizers
- Stubble & ‘Stache Protect Beard Loving SPF 30 Daily Facial + Beard Moisturizer
- GIBS Bush Master Beard, Hair & Tattoo Oil
Beard Styling Products
Need to find a barber to help you shape and style your beard? Use Vagaro to locate a barber in your area who specializes in beard styles and carries a robust line of beard grooming products!
Header Image: Giorgio Trovato via Vagaro