The popularity of the beard has come and gone over the centuries. There were times when a clean-shaven face was the proper way to go around. Other times, a perfectly maintained stubble was the only way to attract the opposite sex. Just recently, the world seemingly grew furrier when men from all walks of life (though yes, we’re mostly side-eyeing them hipsters) embraced the beard as the season’s best male accessory. They grew it long, they grew it wild, then they put glitter and flowers all over them.
Thankfully, we have more or less outgrown that phase and have gone back to more respectable beard styles again. There’s a whole lot of them to choose from after all, like the oft-mocked yet still enduringly stylish Van Dyke, the full-blown Ducktail, or even the daring Mutton Chops; there’s a style to fit every man, it’s just a matter of being confident and knowing how to groom yourself.
As long as you have the genes for it, getting a beard is a relatively straightforward, if unavoidably itchy, thing. Like you would with the hair on top of your head, you just need to stay away from the shave and clippers for a while to let it grow out. Of course, unless you’re a truly hirsute man, it might take some time to get past the patchy mess all over your chin and jaw. As a rule, most men should wait it out for at least four weeks before seeing if they’re truly capable of growing a full and voluminous beard, or if they’re better off sticking to a stylish stubble.
Why go through the hassle though? After all, that’s four weeks of itchiness and going around looking ungroomed and scruffy. And even after that, beards still generate mixed reactions from society, and a man runs the risk of getting stereotyped because of them—from hipster to hobo to wannabe alpha male to a whole lot of other things.
And yet, many men still proudly sport their beards, and go through a lot of trouble maintaining them in their styles of choice. To figure out why, we asked a few of our bearded bros why they decided to grow out their facial hair.
“I wanted to try something new. Since I was balding anyway, I just decided to grow hair where I was still capable of doing so. If it makes me feel more in-touch with my inner man, then that’s just great!” - Justin, 28, digital marketing executive
“Having a beard makes you more attractive, that’s just the truth. I definitely started getting more attention from women since I grew one.” - Nathan, 21, HR
“I grew my beard simply because I can. Not too many Asian men can boast of a beard as well-defined as mine, and it would be a shame not to showcase my endowment. I even sometimes shave my beard just for the joy of growing it again.” - Daniel, 25, business owner
“It makes me feel confident, and often gives me a sense of credibility because it adds more gravitas to my look.” - Ruperto, 25, student
So now we know why some fellas are so committed to their beards. And they’re pretty good arguments too! If you’ve been convinced and are now committed to growing one of your own, take heed that your beard demands about as much, or even more, care and attention as your hair.
Just to give you an idea of the kind of invested grooming we’re talking about, we once again asked a couple of guys to share their regimen. Take note, fellas!
“For maintenance, I use shaving cream that moisturizes the skin, and a razor with too many blades. As it grows, it’s important to take care of the skin because it can dry and itch when the beard is still quite short. I alleviate this by massaging coconut oil into the skin and onto the beard once or twice a week. ” - Bruce, 25, artist
“I take multivitamins, I sleep regularly, I comb my beard with a soft bristle brush, and I shampoo and condition regularly. I also plan to buy and use beard oil and beard balm. And, of course, always being the manliest man who ever manned.” - Joseph, 27, entrepreneur
“For upkeep and maintenance, your chief concern is symmetry and neatness. When it starts to grow, I trim the edges of where the beard should be with a blade razor and scissors. I avoid using electric razors because they can cause split ends in the hairs, and that’s extremely itchy.” - Saleem, 22, filmmaker
Yes, that’s right, beard upkeep is no joke. But if you get it right, you can end up with a truly glorious beard that is the envy of all your peers. To keep you motivated, check out some of these awesome pictures of celebrities before and after growing their beards:
1) Brad Pitt
2) Christian Bale
3) Colin Farrell
4) David Beckham
6) George Clooney
7) Jamie Foxx
8) Jared Leto
9) Kanye West
10) Ryan Gosling
Images from elle.com, GIFS via giphy.com