Beard envy is one of the leading causes of people shaving off their beards. More than 85% of males are insecure about some aspect of their beard. They think their beard is;
- Not full enough;
- Not straight enough;
- Too patchy; or
- Their beard is pathetic because it doesn't look like this:
In the same way that body dysmorphia occurs among a lot of gym goers who are huge but think they look a lot smaller, so too do some beardsmen who see their beards as being lesser than they are.
There are some days however that exacerbate these negative feelings, these days are called Bad Beard Days (BBD). No matter your beard growth, size or level of fullness I'm here to offer some support and tell you that every bearded man has these days at some point.
In the same way that you can have a bad hair day, you can also have a BBD. This is when no matter what you do there are hairs sticking out of line and areas that are flatter than others. Ultimately, you have a beard that cannot be tamed even after repeatedly combing or brushing it.
With a bad hair day you can put a hat or beanie on and hide your lack luster hair style, hoping that tomorrow you’ll wake up with hair that can easily styled. A beard is a lot trickier. You can’t just put on a beard beanie. Well I mean...you can...they do exist, but you won’t be fooling anyone? →
So you’ve had a couple of BBDs, the beard-depression kicks in and you are thinking “this is the end, I’m going to shave my beard off tomorrow!” Before you do something you might regret, there are ways to overcome and minimise the risk of having a BBD. So before you set free your locks from the bonds of your face please give these tips a go.
If you are inexperienced in the art of beard trimming, or have had too many BBDs then your first step on your road to recovery is to get a beard trim from a trained professional. Barbers shave & cut hair all day so they generally know how to trim your beard to suit your face.
Cutting the hair and beards of hundreds or thousands of people a year, barbers become accustomed to the styles of beard that suit different face shapes, as well as what styles suit different levels of growth and hair density. So before you whip out the scissors or beard trimmer go to your barber and get them style your beard the right way.
A lot of blokes will not routinely groom their beards. They will grow their beard out until they have too many BBDs in a row before they trim it or decide to shave it off. When you leave too much time in between beard trims you are increasing the risk of stuffing up the job. You lose sight of what your ideal beard shape should be and what style your barber groomed it into that worked well for your face. Rather than trimming your beard hairs every 4-6 weeks, try and give it a little tidy up once a week. This will make it easier to control, easier to monitor shape and limits your risk of having a BBD.
Thick, dry hair is one of the biggest factors contributing to a beard that's difficult to style. This hair is more wiry and springy, so even if you brush them they still pop out of place, often resulting in a BBD. The best way to soften and make your hair easier to style is to wash it using a beard wash. When you wash your beard you are removing a lot of the dirt, grit and dead skin which cause dry, wiry hair. If you use the right beard cleanser it should also contain ingredients (like polyquaternium 7) that will neutralise the negative charges on your hairs, allowing them to straighten & de-tangle.
In short, washing your beard hits the reset button on your beard and creating a blank canvas from which you can style with ease. Remember to always use a beard specific wash or shampoo as they are designed specifically for the different facial chemistry.
If you are constantly having BBDs and don’t use any products in your beard then you need to have a good look at yourself in the mirror. Oils and balms are not just used to make your beard smell nice but are there to make your beard look and feel healthier. They also make styling your beard easier.
If you live in a humid climate and do not put any product in your beard you may notice that your beard hair will become curlier throughout the day. This is a direct result of moisture entering you hair follicles and causing them to curl. By using an oil or balm you are helping to seal your hair making it easier to style. As your hairs are already full no excess moisture can enter causing your beard to go curly and lose its style. A beeswax based balm is also helpful in getting your hairs back in line, as it has a stronger hold than a beard oil. This makes beard styling easier and limits your BBD risk.
Combing and Brushing
Knots and tangles are the last thing you want in your beard. The logical thing to do is to comb and brush them out, however there are some days when you are in a hurry to leave your house and your forget to do so. As a consequence each time you touch your beard you’ll find areas of your hair that are tangled, which leads to you trying to undo them with your fingers. When you do this you are on the path of having a BBD.
In pulling your beard hairs in one area that are tangled you inevitably end up ripping out knotted clumps of hair, repeating this process over many days is bad for two reasons. One that knotty area will be less thick as a result of hair being removed constantly, but the second point and the more immediate negative visual effects is that in playing with your beard you are slightly lengthening and straightening the hairs in that area making your beard look uneven. This process is often subconscious and you only notice the damage you’ve done when you look in the mirror.
By brushing and combing your beard in the morning you can limit your beard touching, and ensure that the style you leave the house with will remain the same over throughout the day. A good tip when you are combing and brushing your beard is to apply a beard oil or balm before you start, this will allow your comb to glide through your hair with ease and de-tangle the knots rather than rip them out at the roots.
If you have any other tips on how to reduce and prevent a BBD we would love for you to drop us a comment. If you have any other grooming questions or advice we would love to hear them also.
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Author: Kareem Ghaly
Ed: Ben De Campo
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