Written by Ali Kuoppala of BeardResource.Com
Growing a beard for the first time is very easy.
All you need to do is pick up the razor and throw it into the trash, and if you got the genes for it, your beard follicles will make sure that your face is covered in fur in no time.
Still, there are some major obstacles to beard growth, that are both surprising, and bad enough that they make many new beardsmen completely toss away the idea of having a sick beard.
Think you have what it takes to overcome these obstacles and break free from the shackles of boring clean-shaven lifestyle?
1. The Beard Itch
The itchy beard growth stage is the #1 reason why many new beard growers abandon their bearded pursuits.
What happens is simple:
Your facial hair is androgenic hair, which is prone to curling up, thanks to the tight keratin bonds within the beard hairs. Somewhere during the second week of growth, your beard will be just long enough so that the tips will curl straight into the skin.
And this will cause some major itchiness, guaranteed.
If you do nothing to remedy this, it will usually pass within the next week or so, but the easier way is to just suck it up and buy a bottle of beard oil.
Beard oil helps soften the facial hair and it moisturizes the skin underneath the beard, and a soft hair brushing against moisturized skin will itch a lot less than dry coarse hair brushing against dry skin.
It’s just simple math really.
2. At Times, Your Beard Sucks
Another big obstacle new beardsmen face is having too high expectations.
It may look like you could pull off an impressive thick beard when you look at the stubble covering your face, but when you actually stop shaving, it can be a huge let down when you realize you still don’t have a beard like Dan Bilzerian’s after a week.
It’s OK though, your beard will almost always look bad in the beginning.
There’s skin showing through, uneven areas, and most likely some patchiness.
But just resist the temptation and do not shave or trim the beard yet. Give it at least a month (the 4-week rule) and preferably even more than that before you touch the trimmer or beard scissors.
Even a beard that looks patchy after a month, may look incredibly full after 3-4 months. Beard growth is all about patience, and only the most determined make it through to see the real gains.
3. Shedding Beard Hairs
If you haven’t had a beard before, and suddenly grow one, you might get scared thinking you’re shedding facial hair or hair all over, as the sink and shower drainage shows more and more detached hairs.
Fret not though. A well-growing full beard has tens of thousands of hairs, and all of them churn through the natural growth cycles from anagen to telogen to catagen and back again.
During these growth cycles, some of the hairs will fall out and be replaced from new hairs sprouting out of the follicles. It doesn’t mean that you would be losing scalp or beard hairs, it only means that your new grown beard is going through some natural shedding.
How much is normal though? Anywhere from 50 to 200 daily hairs can be lost, without them actually being completely gone. So don’t panic if you see more hairs shedding than usual.
4. Prepare for Dandruff
Beard dandruff is a thing, any bearded man who has ever worn a dark shirt can attest to this.
But the solution is not Head&Shoulders and washing the beard more often is a terrible idea!
The best way to prevent and keep beardruff at bay is to wash your beard less often (I recommend just once or twice per week) and instead of using generic shampoo with harsh detergents, opt for a gentle beard shampoo that is mild enough to preserve some of the natural sebum oils which your beard so desperately needs to grow healthy, strong, and dandruff-free.
When you do wash your beard, it’s also imperative that you apply beard oil afterward.
Simply because this helps instantly replenish some of the lost oils, and it will help seal in some of the moisture to keep your beard well-nourished and soft for a longer time.
5. Beard Care Can Get Expensive
During the last five or so years, the beard care industry has exploded in growth, and it’s not stopping anytime soon.
It all started from beard oils, which has become a beard care staple by now, and then came the balms, the shampoos, combs, and brushes.
These five are all great products and there’s definitely a good reason to use them…
But some of the products that have come into existence afterward are just unnecessary most of the time and can leave a huge dent to your wallet if you think your beard actually needs all of them.
I’m talking about things like $50 beard scissors, beard bibs, beard straightening heat brushes, beard waxes, mustache-protecting beer-guards (yes, it’s a thing), beard shaping templates, beard relaxing creams, and the many different beard growth products (which don’t work).
Beards are amazing, but growing them requires patience.
You also need to understand that there will be many obstacles on the way, but if you power through them, the rewards will be worth it.
Just remember the 4-week rule, use your beard oil, wash your beard (but not too often) and always use beard shampoo over the generic stuff…
These will get you far.