5 Steps: How to Grow your Beard and Maintain it

Beards. A common cultural symbol for power; a trait that dates back to our Neanderthal folks. They somehow contour rosy pudding cheeks into chiselled jawlines, planting fifty shades of cliff-hangers and come hither glances on the train. The magic of a hairy face is undeniable, but it takes so much patience and persistence! It's a given that genetics will largely dictate your growth-rate and density, but here are some simple steps that you can take to nurture a thicker, fuller, more luscious beard.

You think Zayn woke up like this? Beard oil and a professional line-up gives a beard integrity.

1. Commit yourself
Just like striving for a set of abs or biceps, growing a beard takes commitment. It will be a test of character, as you will be challenged to surpass stages of 'WTF is on your face' to 'itchy pubic fuzz' to 'I'm a bad ass peacock'. You think you have what it takes? Throw out your blades and sign up to the #BeardGang.

2. Take your beard on a vacation

You lucky buck. Your decision to commit is an excuse to relax and let it all out for at least the first four weeks of growth. Don't even think of trimming or shaping it. Let the natural textures and growth patterns come to light, as your follicles flourish into a canvas of potential that your barber can style. This gives you plenty of time to think about what neck and cheek lines you could rock.

The beard made Drake.

3. Gear up for the itch!
We didn't say it was going to be easy. During your first few weeks, the tips of your hair will be poking at your skin, and you're gonna feel the itch - baadd! There will be moments when you'll be tempted at the supermarket shaver isle. You've got to remember the mental oath you swore to the bearded Gods, or rather the bearded God that you will become. Remember, the irritation is only temporary, your hairs will eventually soften, and the tickles will subside. If the feeling is unbearable, it would be smart to use good quality beard oil to soothe your face during transition. It may not give total relief, so don't expect miracles, but the mix of oils work by softening the hair, moisturizing your skin, and minimizing dandruff. Who wants a flaky face? It also makes you more kissable. With daily use, it's a natural remedy to promote healthier hair growth, and you'll see a huge difference!

4. Don't go Castaway with it
Exfoliate your face once a week to banish the dead skin cells. This will help stimulate the growth of new hair, and reduce the chance of painful ingrown ones. Don't shampoo your beard with the same stuff you use for your head. Your chin hairs are more course and dry, so they'll need more love. Opt for a beard shampoo that is specifically formulated for your beard and skin type. After a good wash, gently pay dry your beard with a towel. There's no need to blow dry it, and it's probably uncomfortable having air gushing at your face anyway. Lather on a dime-sized amount of your chosen beard oil, and remove tangles with a wide-toothed comb (speaking of combs, the best combs have bristles with rounded ends so they don't catch on hair or scratch your face). You might want to make this your morning mantra, because maintaining your beard can be the difference between looking like a suave Captain, or like you got lost at sea.

Clooney adds salt 'n' pepper to taste.

5. Sculpt and style like a king
After a month or so (again, depending on your genes), your facial hair is probably caveman-looking, but it should be thick enough to finally sculpt and style. It's a given to find some patches where hair won't grow, but don't fret cos nobody's perfect. There are a couple of ways you can go about it - you can either let your beard grow long enough to cover those bald spots, or you can consult with your barber. A professional barber would be able to tastefully sculpt your beard to work in your natural patches to your favour. You've come a long way to achieve a good length, and if you're a bit unco with your line-ups and trims, the worst you could do now is to hack your mane into something meme-worthy. It would be a good idea to consult with a professional and see your barber - You can trust their skills to make you look like a king! Now it's time to keep a quality set of beard scissors and shavers on hand (you can also invest in a detailer and clippers if you're game enough). Keep your own tools handy for those little daily touch ups, following the guidelines already set by your barber. Have reoccurring appointments with your barber, because the more loyal you are, the more they can get familiar with your beard and facial structure to achieve your best look. You were warned from the beginning that growing a beard was going to be a long-term commitment - A weekly or fortnightly visit to your barbershop is the key to looking on point for any challenge that comes your way!
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