In my journeys to airports, bars, and mountain man conventions, I have spent countless hours talking shop with guys about their Beards for the sake of science. Even guys without Beards seem to feel compelled to give me “the reason” they aren’t growing their Beard. I have noticed that for most guys the most irritating stuff is limited to a few fairly easy to solve problems.
Mustache in the corners of the mouth
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The most common complaint when it comes to growing the mustache is the face-shredding irritation that comes from the mustache hairs on the sides of the outside corner mouth. I can’t even tell you how many guys use this excuse to never grow a beard in the first place. It’s a decent one though, as this can seriously drive you to the brink of insanity, like an army of small ninjas silently trying to stab your mouth hole into becoming wider or something. This really comes down to one very small area of hair right above the corners of the mouth being exactly the right length to make you feel like you’ve been eating fiberglass insulation like cotton candy.
The nice thing here is that there is two roads a guy can take - one, grow through the torture, train the stache, and only worry about how jealous aspiring old-school strongmen will become at the site of your mustache, or two, go for a maintenance trim every few weeks and live with it forever. There are pros and cons with both.
If you go all in and commit to “growing through the pain”, congrats to you for embracing the full potential of this journey for yourself. I personally still trim lightly, but just as with the beard there is a certain “critical mass” that once reached places you comfortably behind the worst of growing it out. You can pretty much go back to eating fiberglass insulation like it is cotton candy at this point.
If you choose to trim and keep it short enough to never reach the length of the “danger zone” it really just becomes personal preference after that. You can get as simple as hitting it with a trimmer at a certain guard once a week or as complicated as… you want I guess.
I like to trim with a really good pair of scissors and trimming as little as possible. I will focus mainly on the hair growing right in this area and keeping the very bottom of my mustache out of my mouth.
Itchiness / Beardruff
Beardruff is the worst enemy of a lot of guys that just grow a good beard naturally. Itch is like beardruff’s asshole best friend that always rides shotgun. These two go hand in hand because of the body’s natural process of sloughing off dead skin cells. The skin on your face falls off all the time, dying from exposure to such rugged handsomeness. The itch is often you clearing off the dead skin cells, and the flakes are the dead skin itself.
Moisturization alone can’t completely take care of the itch - the dead skin is always going to go somewhere. The single best way to end the madness completely is to get a good boar bristle brush, and be consistent with it. Not even every day necessarily. A guy could hit it with a boar bristle brush a few times a week and see some awesome benefits. Brush like you are just brushing your face - similar to the way you might apply a great beard oil like one of the ones forged in the blazing furnaces deep within the halls of Beard Mountain. Brushing like this will do great things for both your face and beard, clearing away all kinds of stuff that may be in there and also clearing out all of that junk that could be clogging up pores and disrupting your bearded glory.
The key takeaway here is that between moisturizing and brushing beardruff will be something you can just start helping other guys get rid of.
Flaring out at the jaw
The flaring out of the beard at the back edge of the jaw is scientifically know as battle-axe face…onia. I think. Anyways, it can look great on some guys but the truth is that the only thing that looks good on a man is something he likes - so ultimately that is really the only thing that matters. That being said, a lot of guys complain about this area growing out the way it does.
This really just has a lot to do with the shape of the face, and the solution is completely a a trimming one.
I am personally a believer in trimming my own beard. I just don’t like the feeling of not being able to make my beard look the way I want it to. That being said, I have also cut my own hair for many years and that has also gone very, very bad before as well. Trimming your beard is a very personal thing, and that is why I like to know how to do it myself. I made a pretty fantastic and slightly lengthy video about how I do it.
The trick for me on this one is to keep that area minimized as you add growth so that it fills in the way you want it to. If you have a bunch to get rid of, you should go in and get a trim to get the new shape you want, but if you are someone who is looking to add length then following the pointers in the video every couple weeks will get you fantastic results.
Patchiness is a hoax.
That was the sound of 1,000 aspiring hipsters crapping their pants.
Patchiness is and isn’t a thing. Yes, genetically the density of your facial hair can be sparse in areas so I guess that the entire thing isn’t made up but, I would say about 80% or more of guys that worry about patchy facial that don’t really need to.
I have no proof for the following but here is what I think patchiness really comes down to:
When you start growing your beard the hair doesn’t look as full. Some areas do grow in more quickly than others. Your brain also connects a lot of dots you don’t really think about. Like literally. That is how camouflage works. Your brain kinda makes assumptions for you often about things just to simplify not getting eaten by a bear. So, you look around the world and see beards that aren’t as patchy, but in reality that is more of a perception than reality.
So to make sense of this nonsense, you thinking your beard is patchy is usually worrying about your beard filling in which happens over time for most guys.
My beard is pretty bad like this - you can check out my Yeard project here for a better look.
Scragglyness is a blanket term to describe certain vagrant qualities of a beard. Take a look at old Rasputin over here for a good visual example. A scraggly beard is somewhat like a wild tree; left alone in the wild it will grow unchecked and mostly towards the sun. Because we are constantly moving around throughout the day, the direction of the sun is often different and causes the beard to grow in a bunch of different directions. Just kidding. The analogy is better if you compare a groomed beard with a trimmed tree. I did landscaping for a few years and the tree guy in the nursery told me that shaping trees was all about small changes made early on and the tree does the rest. So, make the small efforts from early on and never deal with a crazy, dry, tentacle-ish debacle that is a scraggly beard.
A scraggly beard always has moisturization problems. With a scraggly beard you have dry hairs growing out of dry skin. This can really give you problems with stray hairs, curls, and other oddball direction-based issues.
Overcoming scragglyness is really more about a good defense from the beginning. I have grown a beard both ways - taking decent care of it from the beginning, and just trying to let a beard fall out of my face. The latter of the two of these choices is truly a perfect storm of bearded disappointment, combining dry skin and dry hair with unchecked long term growth. When I did finally get my act together, I personally had this large curl thing work all the way through my beard for this same reason.
If you have a chance, check out the Yeard grow from day 1 to see the entire thing happen for me after approaching it with a little more experience.
But, if you have a bunch of jerky to make or an axe throwing contest to get to, let me give it to you quick and dirty - A good, high quality Beard Oil, minimal washing with shampoo (couple times a week), brushing with a boar bristle brush every day or so, and evening out growth every few weeks with some light trimming. That right there is pretty much all you need to know to grow a Beard good enough to confuse a Karelian Bear Dog as to your species.
Live the Beard