This article has been written in partnership with Just For Men.
The path to growing a beard is no dainty stroll. It requires patience and commitment. It requires discipline and restraint – a keen ability to adeptly walk the thin line between knowing when to reach for the scissors and give it a trim, and knowing when to stop. It requires a steely resolve, an acceptance that you’ll probably look scruffy and unkempt for a short while – even patchy while it fills out, open to taunts from friends who have either already achieved bearded-glory, or are secretly jealous about your soon-to-be whiskers.
By abiding by the following five steps, and using Just For Men’s tried and tested range of men’s grooming products, you’ll be on your way to growing your best beard ever in no time at all.
Step One: Despite The Irony, Shave.
Like all beautiful forms of art, a great beard starts with a blank canvas. Looking at your stubble after a five-day bender and thinking ‘let’s see how far I can take it’ isn’t doing you any favours – start with a proper shave (a safety razor in hot water with a quality shaving cream is best, or for extra points, go to a barber and get a straight razor shave). Remember to go with the grain to avoid split hair ends – ingrown hairs will render your beard off to a terrible start and the irritation will be hard to relieve once you’ve started growing it out properly.
Step Two: Exfoliate & Wash
Shaving with a razor will ensure happy follicles, which means a happy beard. Once you’re fresh-faced, be sure to use an exfoliating face wash. Exfoliants remove dead skin cells and clear the pores of nasty toxins, opening up the follicles and allowing the healthiest hair growth possible. This is advisable throughout the life-span of your beard, but particularly at the start, when avoiding redness and patchy growth is key to not looking like a teenager trying to pass off as 18 in a liquor store, at least for the first few weeks.
A face wash made specifically for a bearded dial will help too. Just For Men’s Best Ever Face & Beard Wash has been formulated to leave your face feeling fresh and follicles moisturized, reducing irritation in the process. Finish up with the Best Ever Beard Conditioner. You condition the hairs on your head, so it only makes sense to look after those on your mug also.
Step Three: Trim
Once you’ve started growing your new beard, the hardest second stage is knowing when to give it its first trim. Most people dick this up and go too hard too soon – so here’s the best way to do it. That first day you look in the mirror and think it’s time to give the edges a snip? It’s not. Wait two weeks after that first moment of hirsute reflection before even thinking about touching the scissors. When you do go for the trim, comb your beard upwards with a clean comb and use super sharp hairdressing scissors to snip any unruly offshoots, and to shape the sides slightly (you want all roads to lead to your chin, not out in every which way). Remember that once you brush your beard back down it will sit flatter against your cheeks, so don’t take too much off just yet – if you want to trim more you can, but once it’s off it’s off, so go slow.
Step Four: Oil Up
After your first trim, it’s probably about the right time to start looking at beard oil. While adding oil to your face may seem counter-intuitive, and contradictory to exfoliating in the first instance, it’s actually an important ingredient in the beard recipe. Beard hairs are thicker and coarser than the hairs you grow up top. This makes them wiry and generally not-so-straight, which in turn hinders the overall length. Adding a beard oil will help soften the hairs, add a consistent, healthy shine and stop them from becoming too brittle and falling out. Beard oil also stops ‘beardruff’ – the dry, flaky skin that can occur at the roots of your new beard when traditional moisturisers don’t make their way to the face.
Just For Men’s Best Ever Beard Oil is light and non-greasy, and the blend of jojoba, eucalyptus and rosemary is subtle and masculine.
Step Five: Don’t be Afraid to Tint
One more thing you might notice around this point, as both your whiskers and list of admirers gain length, is the colour. Beards often grow in a lighter shade to up top, and have a habit of greying in certain parts more quickly than others, leaving you with an inconsistent look. Whether you’re wanting to even out a few ginger sprouts or cover up patches of grey, Just for Men’s Moustache and Beard dye is your solution.
One of the biggest problems faced with dying your beard is the fear of ending up with a monotonous, unnatural look that screams to the world ‘I dyed my beard’. Smoothing out greys without losing the natural look of subtle tonal fluctuations is key to an attractive beard, and can easily be achieved by using a specialty product, like Just for Men. Just for Men Moustache and Beard differs to regular hair dye, in that it’s been designed specifically to penetrate thicker, coarser beard hairs and leave a natural tone once rinsed out, without a single colour which blankets your face.
Between the clean-shaven start, exfoliation, correct level of trimming, beard oil and Just for Men Moustache and Beard (plus a whole lotta patience), you’ll be hitting the streets with a full and happy beard, and finding just how popular a beard can maketh the man in no time at all. Need any more proof? Turn the speakers up for this beauty.