A common rite of passage for young male travellers is to avoid razors and grow a beard for the duration of your trip. I guess while I've always had facial hair I had never grown in longer than when I travelled to North Africa and then Europe over 3 months period last year. As my beard grew over the course of my travels I noticed a lot of things that were new. First and foremost I was getting compliments from people who appreciated my beard growth. I guess in seeing my face in the mirror on a daily basis I never really appreciated the rate of growth until people commented on it. Another thing I noticed was that I always thought my beard was too patchy to grow big and bushy (a sentiment shared by a lot of other beards man). So I guess this trip was a blessing for me to realise my beard potential.
While these two things were positives there were a few negatives that I noticed with my beard while abroad. I noticed that my beard was not as patchy as I thought, but there were definitely sections which grew exponentially faster than others, making for an uneven beard. I also noticed that certain strands had a mind of their own and grew double or sometimes triple the length than others. Some beard hairs were long and straight while others were tight and curly. I found knotting and tangling a problem also, and would find myself picking at my beard hair on long commutes on public transport unconsciously ripping out knotted clumps. Furthermore, I noticed that my beard regardless of climate, (hot in north Africa and close to freezing in Europe) was quite dry and brittle. My skin, especially under my beard hair, was quite flaky also. As this was my first proper beard I just assumed that these negatives were an unavoidable part of the beard-growing process. Something that could not be fixed.
Then I started working for Milkman and realised all of these could have been avoided and my bearded travels could have been made easier with a few small travel-sized products. So I thought to myself why not help out the young blokes out there who going on the trip of their lives and growing their beards in the freedom of their adventure. Here are your essential”
I wish I had scissors on my trip. Those long annoying wispy bits would have looked much better in the bathroom sinks of the hostels I stayed at than ruining my new big beard. On the second month of my travels, I used a pair of clippers in the Air BnB apartment I stayed at to try and trim away some of the uneven growth. I ended up taking a small chunk out of my beard. From that day on, I learnt to use scissors and not clippers when beard trimming. So Scissors are a must have on your adventure (they are also a good tool to have when cleaning up your downstairs, especially if you don’t want to shock potential visitors).
I found that the hot air of North Africa and the cool dry air of Europe did the same thing in drying out my beard hair and skin. That is why a beard oil is an essential to keep your beard looking healthy and protecting it from the harshness of changing weather. There are a number of reasons why our oils are the perfect travel companion.
- The 50 ml sizing means that it will last you the duration of your trip and then some.
- It also means that you won’t be asked to throw it away when walking through customs (bloody customs!)
- You beard won’t be itchy regardless of what the elements throw at you.
- Your beard will look sexier and you’ll be more likely to pull some European honey back to your room.
- Your beard won’t smell like a homeless person (which depending on how some people travel is exactly how they smell).
Every beard needs a combing. I ended up just using my fine tooth hair comb during my travels, which was good as my beard wasn’t as knotty but bad as the fine teeth did a great job at ripping some of my beard hairs out by the root. A thicker tooth comb would have been ideal for my travels. The beauty of this tool is that you not only de-tangle your beard but you’re also exfoliating your skin and making your beard less itchy as a result.
As you beard gets longer you're going to need a beard brush. The beard comb is a great tool to have to get your boys in line and groomed into your ideal style. Having a beard brush also buys you a longer time between trims as it helps maintain the shape of your beard. This might be one of the best tools to stop beard itch. The bristles also exfoliate your skin and help get rid of all the built up grime and dirt from your travels.
The last thing you’ll need is a razor. You’re probably thinking, “Why have a razor when you are trying to grow a beard?” Well, I'm guessing a lot of your beard travellers are quite young, and your beard growth may not be that full. Having a razor is a great way to clean up those slow growing cheek and neck hairs which make detract from a full looking beard. Plus between the scissors and your razor you’ll have a double use for them if you want to groom your “downstairs” before bringing back a late night visitor to your room. So they are excellent to have.
So these 5 products are the essentials in my opinion. The beauty of all of them is that you can take them with you in your carry-on (except for the scissors), without having to worry about customs. Growing a beard when you are abroad is always an awesome start to a beard as you family and friends won't see the awkward growth phases and be super impressed when you come back looking like a bearded adventurer.
For all those bearded travellers I hope this guide will help you on your life changing experiences and also get you into some good grooming habits for when you return home. To anyone travelling in the near future or who are already travelling have an amazing time and “BEARD ON”!
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Author: Kareem Ghaly
Ed: Ben De Campo