Seeing constant images of buff dudes may make you question your own body and be unsatisfied with it. Similarly seeing women with perfect bodies has the same effect, while you appreciate their flawless form it places a strain on your own self-image, thinking "a guy like me could never get inadequate for someone like that”.
This phenomenon is also evident by most beards-men. There is a feeling of inadequacy when you're in the room with a guy with a bigger/better beard than you. This sense of inadequacy and pursuit for a bigger beard has caused some men to even get beard transplants. On a more personal level, this phenomenon is supported by the countless emails and questions we get from customers who ask “how do make my beard grow faster? fuller? bigger?” As everyone has different facial hair and growth rates there are no definitive answers to these questions. Which leads me to the statement it’s not the “size that counts it’s how your groom it”.
As I’ve said in past blogs, a lot of people comment that they think my beard is impressive. Often following up with “I wish I could grow a beard like that”. When I look at their stubble growth and see that they have a fuller, less patchy base than I do, I tell them that they can and that I envy their beard potential. One of the biggest things men need to understand is that growing an epic beard takes patience. It takes riding out the awkward phases of growth and allowing your hair time to grow into your face.
So, what do I mean by growing into your face? Using my growth as an example; my moustache growth line is 0.5 cm above my top lip, my “flavour-saver” is 1 cm grow my chin hair, and there is a 1 cm gap between the ends of my moustache making for a disconnected goatee. Also, the hairs on my cheeks are softer, thinner and grow at a 10th of the speed as the hair on my chin (which has the thickest fastest growth rate). Personally, it took me 3-4 months for my beard to start to fill in, and it that time there was a lot of awkward phases that made me want to shave my beard off. I have learned that my beard is not going to win any awards, but I have also learned to style it within the limitations of my growth, and also that patchiness and disjointed facial hair sections just need time to fill in.
The style I wish it to wear is a natural looking, medium-big beard. Given my limitations and weak growth on the cheeks, I understand that there is a gradient of growth from my ear to the hair that grows beyond my chin. To give my beard bigger, thicker, fuller look I get a razor fade, comb-over haircut. The razor fade offers a gradient starting from no hair at my ear level and slowly gets longer until hairline reaches above my eyebrows. This turns my relatively weak cheek growth into something that looks deliberate. Conversely, I trim the side of my beard making the same gradient but in reverse as the image below shows. For me, this is my solution to the problem.
One of the biggest grooming mistakes is people trimming their moustache too short when doing an all over beard trim. While the mo usually is the first hair to grow as a young teenager, this does not mean the mo is the fastest growing section. These hairs are usually slower to grow and harder to trim into a style that compliments your beard. I would suggest very little trimming of your mo-hair. A moustache that is too big for your beard looks a lot better than a beard that is too big for a moustache. So be very carefully when trimming it. As an alternative to trimming, I would recommend using a moustache wax and fine tooth comb to organize it, and reserve trimming to hairs that are extremely long or rogue hairs that grow beyond your moustache line.
For people with very slow growth with hair that is thick in certain areas, I would suggest learning how to style your facial hair into a short, neat beard. Keeping your cheeks and neckline clean shaven will serve to accentuate the areas of growth you do have.
Looking at John, our R&D guy's beard growth; it takes him about a month to grow his beard to its current length. He chooses to grow and keep his beard length short due to his slow growth rate. He also prefers this length as it is more characteristic of his fashion, personal style, and personal preference. His grooming regime includes trimming his beard with his clipper set at 3. He shaves his cheeks and neckline every 2-3 days, using a clear shave gel to accentuate the thickest areas of his hair, and this assists in accentuating his jaw line. This whole process takes 2 min.
As said above every man is different, and every man has differing rates of growth. It is important to worry less about what other people's beards look like and learn to groom your beard into a style that best suits you. Patience is your best friend in learning how your facial hair grows. The longer you wait and grow your beard the more you can understand your limitations and strengths. Giving yourself 4-6 months of growth should be enough time to know what style suits you best. Be it 5 o’clock shadow or stubble, short, neat beard or a big bushy natural one. Keep growing, be patient and understand “it’s not the size of your beard it’s how you groom it”.
If you have any more beard questions or need advice, we would be happy to answer them for you. Beard on!
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Author: Kareem Ghaly
Ed: Ben De Campo