Accessories, Grooming

A Beard Journey: The Struggles Of Growing A Great Beard

Ever since I was a young lad I grew up around men with beards. They were farmers, welders, auto mechanics, and other manly professions. To me, a beard was and still is the epitome of masculinity. These men served as role models to me and planted the seed that would start me on my own beard journey.

But for me, this pale, redheaded, Irish-German man, it has not been so easy to grow one of those incredible, full, Grizzly Adams-esque beards.

The Early Years

beard journey - a young man's facial hair
I wish I could have grown a beard like this in my early 20’s.

From the time I was in high school, I wanted to grow a beard. We had this one kid that, at 17, already sported a full and amazing beard. How I hated him. I couldn’t even grow a mustache. Hell, I hadn’t even started shaving.

It was soon apparent the effect that a face full of hair had on the opposite sex. All of the girls, especially the popular ones, fawned over this hirsute teenage boy with his follicular forest. Whenever he walked by, the girls’ heads slowly followed him until he was out of sight. And then they would quickly get close and whisper and giggle to each other. It was laughable and sickening at the same time. Of course, that was just my jealousy affecting my emotions.

I finally was able to grow a mustache by my early 20’s, this was my first attempt at facial hair and the start of my beard journey. It wasn’t even a great mustache. That little space under the nose just wouldn’t fill in. I look at old photos and wonder why no one told me it looked like I had two caterpillars stationed above my upper lip. It really was pretty sad looking, but I remember being so proud of my little caterpillars.

Close But Not Quite

the journey to grow a beard like this is not easy.
A great long beard makes a man stand out from the crowd

After about a decade of displaying a mediocre mustache, and several attempts of not shaving for a week, I finally decided to really try my hand at growing a beard.

My biggest trouble was working in food service. I couldn’t have a beard if I was cooking in a kitchen. When I finally took a job in retail, I stopped shaving. I had better success with my follicles producing some nice facial hair.

The only problem came when it wouldn’t fill in very well. It was patchy and very thin, scraggly in fact. The crushing blow and embarrassment came when my manager demanded I shave it off. “It’s unprofessional,” he said. “It makes you look like a bum,” he insisted. It was quite humiliating.

It took years for me to muster up the courage to try again. Beard shaming is not nice!

The Later Years

Finally, in my forties, it took a bad car accident for me to attempt a beard once more. I was unable to work for an entire year. I decided, what the hell, just let it grow. That was four years ago, and I let it grow wild. This was long before I knew anything about caring for a beard.

a beard journey through the decades
the older man has gone through all the perils of growing a beard and is confident in his style at this point.

In the previous article, I talked about things you can do to improve your chances of growing a great beard. Since I started this new beard journey a couple of months ago I am following my own advice. While many people suggest that age does play an important factor in growing a fantastic beard, I am a firm believer in some of the research I did for the last article.

The first and most important tip are to have patience and resist the urge to cut and trim too much. It itches like a bitch. That’s where a good moisturizer helps. Lather that face up and the itching becomes bearable. After about a week or two of growth, switch over to good beard balm or scruff moisturizer to help soften the hairs.

I take biotin daily to ensure that my hair (on top too) is healthy. I also use a genuine boar’s hair brush religiously. It helps train the hairs to grow in the right direction as well as stimulate blood flow to the follicles.

Doing these has resulted in a healthy looking beard in just two months. Hell, I even get compliments.

Enjoy Your Manly Beard And Treasure It Always

If any of my story strikes home with you, just remember that I struggled for years to finally grow a beard that I am happy with. I take great pleasure in caring for my beard. It’s long enough now that I use beard oil and beard balm daily to keep it shiny and healthy. By the way, beard oil also helps keep the skin underneath healthy and moisturized. I still use a boar’s hair brush because it just isn’t long enough. But I will tell you I am looking forward to that day when I need to carry a good quality beard comb with me everywhere I go. I want my beard to always look its best.

Just grow it, guys!

In the next article, we’ll check out all of the beard styles out there from the distant past to the styles of today. Once you get that beard grown, you’re going to want to keep in tip-top shape.

by Michael Ricketson

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