Growing a full-fledged beard is one of those items that happens to fall on the bucket list of most men. Whether you’re working in a start-up that promotes individuality or spending your days in a corporate cubicle with a strict dress code, chances are good that the thought of a lumberjack-style facial hair situation has crossed your mind more than once.
If you’re ready to embrace a furry jawline, you’ll need to know how to take care of it. Growing a thick, soft beard takes a regular maintenance routine. That’s why we brought in Josh Velazquez, Baxter of California brand ambassador and master barber, to act as your beard spirit guide on the journey.
When it comes down to it, Velazquez says the main difference between scraggly facial hair and a lush beard style is the amount of maintenance involved.
Men want a nice beard but don’t always want to put an effort to make them look good...Invest time and a little money, and you’ll see a great beard form.
For everything you need to know about growing and maintaining a beard, keep reading.
Think Before You Grow
To begin with, we see many men who aren’t sure they can grow more than peach fuzz. When it comes to the speed at which your facial hair grows, Velazquez advises patience. Everyone’s hair grows at its own pace.
The same goes for facial hair types. Not all faces are suited for the classic lumberjack style, so you may have to experiment a little before finding your ideal shape. If you’re debating letting your facial hair grow freely, take a few minutes to find a photo of your dream beard online. Whether it’s a celebrity you admire or an executive with the same face shape you have, having a goal will keep you on track.
Moreover, photo inspiration ensures your barber is on the same page as to your ideal style. A “short” beard can mean a dozen different things to a dozen people, but a photo never lies.
Think about your beard in general terms before narrowing down to any specific styles. Do you want an old school beard that sits at the neck? Artfully trimmed stubble that makes you look a bit more like a millionaire bachelor?
It’s also important to consider how much maintenance you’d like to put into your facial hair. If you’re an on-the-go man with little time for personal grooming, that permanent stubble may not work. A longer beard will generally require less styling and fewer touch-up appointments.
Length isn’t the only factor to consider when planning a beard, either. Take your texture into account. If you’re working with wiry hair or starting to see a few grays poke through, know that your facial hair may require more precise styling and grooming to sit nicely. Short stubble can rid you of that commitment.
Trust A Professional
Speaking of barbers, now is the time to remind you that there are professionals out there who craft flattering beard shapes from morning until night. Rather than attempting to shape your facial hair alone in your bathroom, consult a barber for a style tailored to flatter you.
If you’re experiencing any difficulties styling or maintaining your hair, the (beard) doctor is in to hear them. He or she can also provide product recommendations and quick fixes—even suggesting stylish updates to a beard style you may have held onto for some time. The most important thing is for you to be honest about your lifestyle as well as your availability for touch-ups and beard maintenance.
Growing a beard means hiding half your face behind hair, so there are bound to be a few complications as you adjust to your new facial hair. Keep your barber saved as a “favorite” contact in case of minor style emergency.
Stock Your Bathroom
You wouldn’t adopt a pet without first stopping by the pet store for a crate, some kibble, and food bowl, so don’t grow a beard without preparing first. In this case, we’d recommend stocking up on salon-quality shampoo and conditioner, as well as other must-have men's hair products designed to keep your beard in tiptop shape.
Just like with your hair, it’s important to establish a routine and follow it. Velazquez recommends washing your beard daily along with your face—but don’t forget to add conditioner as well. Who doesn’t want a soft-feeling, healthy-looking beard?
“Definitely condition your beard with a conditioner….a dime-sized [dollop] of hair conditioner is just right. Condition twice a week if possible—that will keep your beard looking nice. Comb your beard throughout the day so your beard doesn’t tangle. And, lastly, add a beard lotion or a beard oil. That will ensure softness and control throughout the day,” he says.
From the Baxter of California portfolio of products, we’re big fans of the brand’s Beard Grooming Oil as well as its Beard Comb. Products that work well are crucial, but it doesn’t hurt if they’re also aesthetically pleasing. Line them up on your bathroom counter and enjoy the feeling of being a man who’s confident in his grooming game.
If you’re already using a physical exfoliant on your face when you wash, Velazquez notes that it’s also helpful underneath your beard. After all, your facial skin is still there under all that fuzz. When in doubt, try Baxter of California’s Facial Scrub.
Maintenance Is Everything
It’s not only quality products that can make or break your new beard. Regular grooming will make a big difference in how polished your facial hair looks. Velazquez recommends investing in clippers and grooming scissors to keep beard hair even.
However, at-home care can only do so much. Once your beard begins growing out of control, it’s time to switch into professional maintenance mode. Book a weekend appointment with a trusted barber and relax, knowing that your facial hair is in seriously skilled hands.
Velazquez recommends regular visits to a barbershop to keep your facial hair in line.
“Always keep [your facial hair] clean and well-groomed,” he says. “Visit your local barber for your grooming needs—I would say every three to four weeks to keep it well maintained.”
Stuck between appointments and majorly in need of advice? Don’t worry—you’re covered.
“Visit the Baxter of California website for beard tips,” Velazquez says.
Don't Fear Change
When it comes to facial hair, the hardest part is merely accepting change. Whether you’re wearing a beard for the first time or trying an entirely new style, give yourself a few weeks to adjust. Seeing a new version of yourself in the mirror can be challenging!
If you’ve given your new style a few days and don’t love how you look, don’t hesitate to give your barber a call. Hair professionals want you to leave the shop feeling your best, so he or she will be happy to tweak your style.
Once you’ve successfully built a beard routine, bookmark this page in case you need a refresher course. When in doubt, your trusted barber is the best source of all beard care information.
Need beard inspiration? We’ve got you covered.
Day One Stubble
If you’re just trying this beard thing for the first time, a little bit of light stubble can be the foot in the door you need to get hooked on facial hair. If it becomes distracting, itchy, or it’s not as flattering as you thought it would be, just shave it off. It’s a low-stakes personal challenge.
You’re not seeing a retro Halloween costume. Within the last few years, the dramatic private investigator mustache has made a triumphant return to popularity. If your facial hair grows best just under your nose, a barber can help you embrace that mustache power while maintaining stubble elsewhere.
We love the mustache as a seasonal look. If you’re thinking of trying out a new vibe for fall or winter, give this handlebar-influenced style a try.
The Effortless Beard
Some guys make wearing a beard look effortless. Full and lush, their facial hair grows in within what seems like mere minutes. If you’re lucky enough to be able to blink and grow a full beard, embrace it! Keeping your facial hair a bit longer will enable you to try new shapes and find one that flatters your face.
If you work at a more lenient office or a job without a strict dress code, let your beard grow. When else are you going to try it?
If you have a naturally strong jawline, you may want to opt for a short beard. Instead of disguising flaws, this style can show off your assets by highlighting that defined chin. While short beards do require more maintenance than longer styles, we think the resulting look is totally worth it.
For personalized beard care advice, use our salon locator to book an appointment with a barber near you.