Guest post by Niall Sullivan
Growing a beard isn't as simple as it sounds.
Yes you can let it grow out for as long as you want, but there comes a point when you need to start looking after it.
But what does that involve exactly? This blog post will reveal everything that you'll ever need to know about taking care of your beard.
This is the fun bit! From goatees and Van Dykes to full beards and designer stubble, there is bound to be a style that will suit you perfectly.
Obviously this is mainly down to personal taste, but there are also other factors to consider.
Firstly, you have got to decide how much time and effort you want to put into maintaining your beard. Letting it grow out wildly will obviously require very little work, but carefully sculpted designer stubble requires a lot more attention.
Your beard growing potential will also be a factor. For example, if you have patchy cheeks that are unlikely to fill with growth, then a goatee might be a good choice. Not for me though, as I would look too much like my dad!
Also, your face shape should influence your decision. Different beard styles suit different types of faces. This article gives examples for each face shape type and should help you to decide the best one for you.
Like the hair on your head, your beard also needs to be washed.
But let me tell you from experience, don't use the same shampoo. The beard and hair on your beard are different types of hair, with the hair on the beard being more coarse and curly.
How often you use beard shampoo obviously depends on the length of your beard. The longer it is the more need for shampoo and the more often it will be washed. A lot more food and dirt will get caught in it as it gets longer that's for sure!
But perhaps more suprisingly, it also depends on where you work. If you work outside on a building site with all the dirt that comes with that, your beard will beard will need to be shampooed more often than if you're in the office all day.
As someone who works in an office, I tend to wash my beard no more than once or twice a week. More than that and I tend to notice the skin beneath my beard getting more irritated.
In order to take care of your beard, you need to make sure that you're using the right products.
Each on has their own different purpose and should be used regularly in order to keep your beard in tip top shape.
The main products that I use are:
Beard oil - The number one beard product in my opinion. I use this twice a day and it helps to keep the skin beneath my beard moisturised and free from the dreaded itchiness.
Beard shampoo and conditioner - I've already talked at length about shampoo and its benefits, but what about conditioner? Put simply, it is great for stopping split ends, (yes your beard gets them too!) plus it makes your beard feel softer and not like a Brillo pad!
Beard comb - Not only does combing your beard keep it looking neat, it also helps to distribute the beard oil evenly, so that all of the hairs are covered.
Moustache wax - Just because you look after your beard, it doesn't mean you should forget about your moustache! Wax will help you to style it how you like. Very useful, especially if you're planning to attempt a Dali. If you are, you have my full respect!
So I've already explained why combing your beard is so essential.
But what about brushing? Yes it can help to style your beard. But in my opinion it has a much more important role than that. Hence why it has its own sub heading.
Once you've applied your beard oil, you will need to ensure that it reaches the skin beneath your beard. Brushing can help to do this; especially when you scrub quite hard. Just imagine that you're exfoliating your skin.
My recommendation would be to buy a boar-haired brush as the bristles are great at removing the dead skin cells from beneath your beard. This will leave your skin looking healthy and not red raw and painful.
This is where things become tricky. Especially if you don't know what you're doing.
Luckily there is a lot of great advice out there. The key is to take your time and only trim small amounts at a time. That way if you make a mistake, then you can easily rectify it.
If you're not keen to give it a go yourself, don't worry, there is another way. Just take a trip to your local barbers.
Now I know you're thinking. Leaving your beard in the hands of someone else sounds like a bad idea.
However by checking online reviews and taking recommendations from other bearded friends, you should have no problem finding a reputable barber (if you do hit up Regal Gentleman, they are more than happy to find you a barber). Personally if I see hat they've got a kick ass beard, that's good enough for me.
Check Niall out!
Niall Sullivan is a freelance writer who has a major passion for beards! He developed a love for writing at school and during his time at university studying journalism. Check out his blog at niallsullivan.co.uk for lots of beard and male grooming tips.