With the brisk autumn weather setting in, you might be wondering if you should start growing a beard to keep warm for the impending winter. Or maybe you just woke up one morning looking especially scruffy and thought, "To hell with it."
Whatever your reason, we fully support any guy's efforts to grow an unapologetically badass beard. But if it's your first time, there are a few things you'll want to note.
Find the Right Length
You may wind up going through a cycle of letting your facial hair grow out, shaving it, letting it grow out again, and shaving it all off again. It's common with new beard growers, since the scruff might feel like too much, so you get rid of it entirely – then find yourself missing it.
But once you're comfortable enough to fully commit, the next step is to decide on how long you'll let it grow. Let it get as long and as thick as you can handle, and see how you like the look and feeling of the beard length.
If it's too much, grab a pair of trimmers and whack it down a little. Still too much? There's no harm if having a perfectly-maintained five o'clock shadow as your new beard.
To help with the hair length decision-making, and to maintain the right length once you've found it, you're going to need a good beard trimmer – it'll be your beard's new best friend. It doesn't much matter which one you get so long as it's reliable, but things like a cordless design and waterproof mechanics are nice benefits.
Another essential you'll need no matter your beard style is a nimble pair of scissors. It's an obvious tool, but these little guys help to even out stray hairs, and trim your moustache once it starts growing past your lip.
If your beard is (or will be) over half an inch long, you'll also want a good beard comb. Running it through your whiskers regularly will make the follicles much more manageable, which enables a neater shape.
Don't Forget the Products
You'll also need to pickup some ingredients to help your beard reach it's full potential. They're not magic bullets – you'll still need good beard-growing genetics and lots of patience – but a few choice additions to your medicine cabinet can help tame your hair once it's long enough.
First things first: as you start growing your new beard, you'll probably notice your face starts itching. That's because your whiskers, and the skin underneath, are too dry. The solution? Beard oil.
Rub some into your facial hair at night, and it'll soak in to deeply moisturize your mug while making your beard feel softer and look healthier. It's is especially helpful if your facial hair tends to be very curly or wiry.
Shampoo and Conditioner
Just like you do for the hair on your head, you'll need a good shampoo. You don't need to use it daily, since then you'll strip away too much of the follicles' natural oil and your beard will lose softness and control. But after pushing extra hard at the gym or doing yard work all afternoon, you'll want to get clean.
Look for especially moisturizing shampoos (there are beard-specific ones out there), and don't forget to follow up your wash with a round of conditioner. The extra care that it'll give to your whiskers make them softer, smoother, and way easier to control.
If your beard is extra bushy and you've got a lot of flyaway hairs, a pliable wax will help you look a little more presentable. Rub a tiny bit into your palms and work it through your whiskers. Then use a fine-toothed comb to evenly distribute the wax around your beard and sweep the hairs in a uniform direction.
After that, all you need is about six week's worth of patience. Godspeed.