Let’s face facts; if you’re going to go to the trouble of growing a beard, you may as well invest time and money in ensuring that it looks as good as possible.
After all, a rough and course beard does not look great and can be extremely difficult to maintain, while your other half will be far less inclined to kiss you if she’s likely to receive a faceful of bristles in the process!
In this post, we’ll take a look at the benefits of taking good care of your beard, while also considering the techniques and products that can help you to achieve this objective.
The Benefits of Keeping your Beard in Great Condition
Before we get down to basics, it’s important to understand the key benefits of keeping your beard in great condition in the first place.
We’ve picked out a few of these below, and hopefully they’ll provide you with some motivation to devote more time to grooming.
A Well-groomed Beard Makes Men Feel More Attractive
Over the course of the last generation, the idea of growing facial hair has become increasingly acceptable and even desirable within society.
As bears have become increasingly popular, men have grown to love their facial hair and many believe that it makes them more attractive.
This was borne out in a study commissioned by consumer-goods company Braun in New York, during which 1,000 locals were asked about their grooming processes.
Around 67% of men said that their facial hair made them feel more attractive, with a further 41% suggesting that growing a beard increased their confidence levels. 55% even said that they had even received some compliments about their facial hair, boosting their self-esteem in the process.
This rule only applies in the case of well-groomed beards, however, as ragged or unkempt facial hair can actually have the opposite effect. So by taking good care of your beard you can improve your levels of self-confidence and attractiveness over time!
Women are Increasingly Attracted to Men with Beards
As our social norms and conventions have changed, studies have revealed that women are largely attracted to men who sport at least some form of facial hair.
One particular body of research conducted by Neave and Shields in 2008 reaffirmed this, with female respondents apparently most attracted to men with light and well-groomed stubble.
This highlights both the appeal of facial hair and the importance of its condition, with the findings revealing that men who sported stubble or light beards were perceived as being more dominant than others.
Conversely, men with thick and full beards were perceived as being the most masculine and socially mature, but even in this instance there was a need for facial hair to be well-kept and regularly maintained.
So if you want to appeal to members of the opposite sex (and let’s face it, who doesn’t?) it’s time to start grooming your beard on a daily basis.
Encourage Faster Growth of your Beard
One of the main reasons for grooming your beard is to maintain symmetry, particularly as facial hair tends to grow at different speeds on alternative areas of the face.
The only way to achieve this is with a regular grooming regime, and one that requires you to regularly trim your beard as a way of managing growth.
We know that this seems counterproductive, but frequently trimming your beard will promote healthier, more even and in some instances faster growth.
This represents a win-win scenario for everyone, especially if you’re hoping to grow a thick and fulsome beard that is the envy of your friends.
Why is Your Beard Rough in the First Place?
With the benefits of regularly grooming your beard in mind, the next step is to consider why your facial hair becomes rough in the first place?
After all, this does not happen to everyone, and there’s tendency to expect that once you’ve stopped shaving your beard will bloom and grow healthily.
This is far from the case, however, as after a few months you may find that your beard has grown a little wiry and become decidedly difficult to manage. Here are a few reasons why this may happen:
Inadequate Cleaning Techniques
Once you’ve grown a beard, you’ll quickly realise that facial hair is an entity unlike any other. While it’s exposed to the elements (including food debris) and requires regular cleaning, for example, it also lacks an immune system and cannot adequately take care of itself.
As a result of this, the failure to clean your beard regularly and effectively can stunt its growth, damage its appearance and ultimately create a breeding ground for germs.
It’s also important to remember that you’re likely to touch your beard regularly during the course of a typical day, so unless you frequently wash your hands you could be exposing your facial hair to even more germs!
Extremely Low Temperatures
While we may have sent men to the moon and created cures for a number of ailments, as a society we have yet to create a viable protection mechanism for our beards.
This is a shame, particularly as the growth and wellbeing of your beard can be severely impaired if it’s constantly exposed to low temperatures.
The issue here is your beard is likely to dry out in this scenario, just as the underlying skin also becomes dehydrated.
Over time, this can have an extremely detrimental impact on the quality and the presentation of your facial hair, while it’s also likely to afford it a wiry and rough quality.
The Presence of Hard Water
The issue of hydration is important for your beard, as otherwise your skin and facial hair are likely to dry out over time.
This is not to say that any kind of hydration is good for your beard, however, as hard water can actually have a counterintuitive impact on the growth of your facial hair.
Hard water is best described as a substance that has high amounts of minerals within its structure, and it’s likely to leave a type of chalk on the surfaces that it comes into contact with.
When treating your beard, hard water can make it extremely rough and tangled, while it’s hard to lather and rinse during washing. This will have horrendous effects on its long-term growth, while it creates the type of ugly beard that you’re desperate to avoid!
How Should you Soften a Rough Beard?
Now for the most important part, as we move beyond the causes of a rough beard and consider the techniques and products that can help to resolve this issue.
We’ve listed some of these below, and hopefully these ideas will help you to create a suitable grooming regime:
Shampoo and Condition your Beard Regularly
Given that the failure to clean your beard is one of the biggest contributors to poor quality facial hair, it’s absolutely crucial that you take time to shampoo and condition your face mane!
In reality, there’s no such thing as being too clean when it comes to your beard, but as a general rule, you should wash your facial hair at least three times per week. The key is to use a specialised beard shampoo and conditioner product, and one that ideally makes use of entirely natural ingredients that will dry out your skin or hair during regular applications.
In terms of technique, take time to lather the shampoo and massage this into the skin evenly, as this optimises hair growth while improving circulation into the bargain.
Repeat this technique when applying the conditioner, before making sure that you rinse all excess product from your beard at the end of each individual step.
Protect and Hydrate your Beard at all Times
While a consistent and technically sound cleaning regime will promote even and healthy beard growth, this is not alone to optimise the condition of your facial hair.
It’s also important that you take proactive steps to protect and hydrate your beard too, as this helps to counter the effects of low temperatures, dry air and hard water over time.
Fortunately, there’s a number of products and tools that can help you to achieve this aim, with natural beard oils among the most popular.
This type of product can be applied to your facial hair after it has been cleaned, as this is hydrating to the underlying skin and capable of softening (or in some instances taming) facial hair as it grows.
We’d also recommend that you regularly comb your beard as part of a recurring grooming regime, as this promotes even growth and minimises the risk of ingrown hairs from occurring.
It also ensures that your facial hair grows in the right direction, while training your moustache to stay off the upper lip!
Maintain a Balanced and Healthy Diet
Make no mistake; every single aspect of our health and wellbeing is influenced heavily by diet. The same is true for our beards, as these are living organisms that require protection, nutrition, and nourishment if they’re to grow well.
Interestingly, there are a number of specific foods that are ideal for the promotion of healthy beard growth, so consuming these as part of a balanced diet will set you on your way.
These include foods that are rich in biotin (or vitamin H to you and me), as this pivotal nutrient is capable of driving cell growth and regeneration. As a result, it makes your beard smooth and soft at all times and helps to protect it against a multitude of outdoor elements.
For example, foods rich in biotin (vitamin H) will do wonders for the quality of your beard. It’s a crucial nutrient helping with growth and cell regeneration, keeping your facial hair soft and smooth at all times.
In general terms, try to include eggs, avocado, salmon and low-fat cheese into your diet where possible. By the same token, food that is rich in vitamin A (such as kale and sweet potatoes) will provide your beard with extra shine, affording it a glow that makes it look better than ever.
The Bottom Line
So there you have it; our brief but hopefully informative guide on how to keep your beard looking smooth, straight and in great condition.
From your perspective, all you need to do is invest time in creating a viable grooming regime and money into buying the products that can make your beard shine!