by Tim Kramer
I’ve had a beard of varying lengths for over twelve years now but did not start grooming it until about four years ago. I often think of how much healthier my beard would be had I known what I know now. To help others who may be beginning the beard growing journey, here are five things I wish I would have known twelve years ago.
When I first started growing my beard I did not have much motivation apart from simply not shaving anymore. My beard was definitely dry and not very clean. Honestly it looked and felt terrible most of the time but I was not about to shave.
I wish I would have known the importance of washing your beard! After all, beards are hair too. Washing your beard regularly not only keeps the hair clean but it also keeps the pores clear which enables healthier and fuller growth.
It may be tempting to think of beard oil as just a trend that popped up recently and has grown rapidly. While there's certainly been a boom in interest and awareness, the truth is that oil has always been a part of any proper hair conditioning routine. In many ways, we’re just applying what we have always known about conditioning our hair and applying it now to our facial hair, and beard oil cannot be underestimated as a vital part of beard grooming. I noticed a huge difference as soon as I started grooming my beard and using beard oil.
In fact, the difference was so big that I wondered how I had made it almost eight years without using it. Beard oil is a conditioning agent that replenishes and protects your beard. Without it, your beard will be constantly dry, full of split ends, and downright raggedy looking.
I literally did not own a beard comb or brush the first eight years of growing my beard. Part of this was because I did not own a comb or brush for my hair either (I’ve had dreadlocks on and off for over a decade).
It never occurred to me how I might be damaging my beard by not ever combing or brushing it. You see, what I know now is that brushing or combing eliminates tangles from your beard and stimulates follicles, promoting better and healthier growth. No matter what length of beard you plan on growing, you’re eventually going to need a quality comb or brush.
Like most men, I thought growing a beard would be a much quicker process than it actually is. At the beginning of the beard-growing journey there are some days, weeks, or months where you feel like there’s no growth at all and you start wondering if it’s worth it.
While patience is something one has to learn from experience, it can still be helpful to hear someone who has been there tell you “It’s worth it; don’t give up now!” Looking back over the past decade I now know growing a beard both requires and teaches a lot of patience.
Directly related to patience is the vital lesson of learning to NOT constantly trim your beard or moustache. In my early beard growing years I would actually shave my moustache off every spring. This is not necessarily the wrong move but it is going to severely limit the growth you see. There were other times I would trim (hack really) my moustache because I was tired of eating it. I know now that the better way is to take some time and to invest in some supplies like a moustache comb and moustache wax to help train the whiskers to get them out of your way.
I hope these tips that I learned the hard way can help save you some headaches and keep you from making a spur of the moment decision that will cost you months of growth. If there’s anything you’d add to this list, please comment below.
As always, thanks for reading and stay bearded!
This post is part of an ongoing CanYouHandlebar series designed to help our customers. Please visit our full library of articles at TheBeardMentor.com