Anyone who has had a beard for a long time knows how much time and work goes into keeping it well maintained, and growing a really nice one might be a goal for someone trying it for the first time. But how do you grow a nice beard? Truthfully, all it takes is a lot of patience, and a little work.
Nonetheless, there’s a lot of myths out there that try to tell us how easy it is to grow a beard quickly. Here are five myths about beard growth, the reality behind them, and five proper tips for getting your beard healthy and full.
Myth: There are oils that will make my beard grow faster (or fuller, or grow hair where I am patchy…).
Reality: Unfortunately, there’s no magic beard growth oil. Just like we haven’t solved male-pattern baldness for fellows losing hair on their heads, the way a beard grows is based on a mix of factors, none of which can be magically rubbed in place.
Tip: Use a face oil suited to your skin type. Like Grandma offers two different types: one fordry/normal skin, and one foroily/combination. I’m an oily guy, so I use the latter one before bed. A face oil will keep your skin healthy, which means the follicles in it will be happy too!
Myth: Rubbing my skin will cause my beard to grow.
Reality: Rubbing your skin frequently will irritate your face, potentially causing redness and itching, and can increase the amount of ‘dirt’ on your skin by adding whatever is on your hands to the oils on your skin. This can result in acne, ingrown hairs, and a lot of frustration — but no beard.*
Tip: Most skincare regimes will typically advise you to touch your face aslittle as possible. The only time you want to be touching your face is when you use a good face oil, amoisturizer, adaily cleanser, and ascrubfor once or twice a week. Try to reduce irritation - especially after shaving the edges of your facial hair to keep it neat. A good aftershave will help with this.
Myth: Just leave it for eight weeks.
Reality: I’ve seen and heard a few variations on this rumour, usually with different lengths of time that you ‘just shouldn’t touch it’ before grooming. But hair growth can slow or stop if the hair isn’t healthy. You may find it stays patchy or thin with no maintenance, plus your friends and loved ones may start to wonder if something is nesting in there.
Tip: Once you’ve decided to grow a beard, grab yourself abeard wash, aconditioner, abrush, a beard oil, and acomb. This is your early beard care set. A proper beard wash is different from a hair shampoo because the face on your hair is different from what grows on your head. Ditto for conditioner. A beard brush keeps things tidy, while pulling out dead hairs, dandruff and ‘teaching’ the hair how to hang over the long term. Combs are more for styling, and a wood one will help suck up any excess oil. A proper beard oil keeps the hair hydrated, healthy and growing — as opposed to breaking or developing split ends.
Myth: If my beard is patchy, I should get DHT.
Reality: DHT is a hormone related to testosterone. Although there is ongoing research in DHT’s role in hair growth, there is as yet no evidence. We strongly recommend staying away from anything that could mess around with your hormones unless under the advice and supervision of a doctor.
Tip: Patchy beards can be frustrating. Try trimming down the patchy areas and sculpting your beard into a new style that suits the hair that grows in fuller. You may have ‘less’ hair but cultivating your style will make what’s there look full.
Myth: Shaving makes your hair grow faster/darker/thicker.
Reality: Don’t shave to get a fuller beard! This old wives’ tale has been around for a long time - I think my own grandma told me this when I first started shaving, “Oh you’ll have a big moustache if you keep shaving!” I think it comes from a mix of factors: when you start shaving, you’re in puberty, and of course more and fuller hair comes in - but it’s because you’re aging and your hormones are changing! It just happens to coincide with the time in our lives most of us start to shave, too. Secondly, when you cut your hair, the tips can become a bit ‘blunted’ as opposed to more thin and conical. This blunter end may look darker at first, but will thin as the beard grows.
Tip: Shaving to sculpt and shape a beard is great, but don’t completely shave believing the hair will grow back thicker and fuller. Patiently take care of the hair you do have, using the advice above.
Beards require a combination of patience and work — there’s no easy or magic solution. Take care of the skin under your beard, and keep the hair cared for. Wash it, oil it, and brush it regularly. Trim away the patchy parts that detract from the fuller look you want, and be patient! It’s okay that it takes a while to grow. The healthier your skin, the sooner you’ll see these improvements, but everyone’s hair grows at different rates, and Rome wasn’t built in a day. At the end of the day, even a healthy diet and exercise are more effective than any snake oil.
If all else fails, call your folks and tell them you love them, but they could’ve done better on the genetics.