Rise of the Beard
Close your eyes. Imagine Ancient Greece. See King Leonidas, king of the Spartans, standing in front of his 300 before the battle of Thermopylae. Hear his stirring speech driving the Greeks into frenzy, and the roar of the troops. Feel the anticipation. Breathe in and smell the suspense of the crowd. Taste the iron bitterness of the blood from an anxiously bitten lip. Now… Imagine good ol’ Leo without his trademark beard. I have a feeling that had his face not hosted its majestic beard, that battle would have gone much differently.
Beards have always been synonymous with positive feels – think religious figures, dad-beards, and Gandalf. It’s no doubt that in recent years the number of beards we see has grown significantly. Everyone from our favourite celebs to the plaid-laden, horn-rimmed specs wearing hipster in the corner coffee shop has started sporting some spectacular stubble. Perhaps it’s time to join the movement.
Where to Start?
Stop shaving. Simple, isn’t it? It’s probably a good idea taking this on when there’s no need to be completely presentable, like on holiday.
Don’t even trim. It’s too easy to take too much off and be forced to start over. Also if you spend too much time trying to get it perfect, you may get second thoughts about the road to beardliness.
Survive the itch. And it will definitely itch. To reduce itching, shampoo daily with a gentle shampoo and use a mild conditioner.
Don’t give up. Your trip to beardhood has just begun. You may – no – you *will* face challenges along the way, but be resolute in your final goal of being a bearded man (check out http://www.beardly.com/ for some inspiration). You should let your beard grow for at least six weeks before considering shaving.
Style to your heart’s content. As with hair, there are many styles from which to choose, and you’re limited to your imagination and your beard growing acumen. Popular beard styles now include all thicknesses of full beards, styled handlebar moustaches, even conservative chinstraps, so go wild.
Care and Grooming
It’s important to care for your beard once it’s arrived. Like a pet, it will love you as long as you give it some attention.
Keep it clean. Make sure that you shampoo and condition regularly. A good quality gentle shampoo and conditioner works well, but also consider antidandruff shampoo if your beards itches frequently. Dry carefully and comb with a wide toothed comb, or brush.
Shave. Not all of it! Shave a neckline and, only if absolutely necessary, shave a cheekline. This does wonders in neatening up an otherwise unsightly mess of a beard.
Trim. Ensure that you keep those stray hairs trimmed and under control. Careful with that moustache, because nothing stunts the majesty of a good beard more than an iffy ‘stache. A beard trimmer would be a worthwhile purchase; otherwise a good pair of scissors and comb will make do.
Treat well. Beard oils are great at keeping beards shiny, soft and healthy, and ensure that the skin under your beard doesn’t get flaky. Wax, though not absolutely necessary, will assist in controlling an untrimmed, unruly moustache.
Keep a napkin handy when eating. The art of eating while bearded is one that you have to learn on your own. The mantra “Food in mouth, not on beard” is a good starting point.
Before you start your journey towards the land of beard, close your eyes. Imagine two months in the future. See yourself, king of your domain, standing on the brink of greatness. Hear the sound of people complimenting you on your magnificent face locks. Smell your newly oiled moustache. Feel your cheek fur as your stroke your beard thoughtfully. Now adjust those horn-rimmed specs, go forth and taste victory.