Ask Sloan | Beardless in Summer

June 20, 2013

Trimming your beard

Our Very Own Grooming Expert Offers Wisdom, Advice and Answers to Your Questions
Dear Sloan,
I have so many questions when it comes to beard maintenance.
We all know that shaving everyday will cause the hair to grow back faster, but when growing a beard how long do you wait before you know you can even grow a beard? I've been reading information where some guys' beards fill in anywhere in between 8-16 weeks. At what point should I give up and shave? The second question I have is do you want to use any kind of creams or ointments to help grow a beard early in the process in the first couple of weeks?
Currently I have a full neck beard, which I've had to trim, along with my mustache, but long hairs are spotty on my cheeks. They don't appear to be filling in but should I expect long or short hairs to fill in the gaps of hair on my cheeks? Also, is there anything I can do to make the hair grow faster? I'd also like to know once you actually grow a full beard is it better to use a electric razor or hand razor for maintenance?
Thank you for your help with this matter. I know this is a lot to ask, but there is no one real guide for men to follow and I was hoping you could help with this process as a blessed man yourself.
Many Thanks
---Beardless in Sumter

Dear Beardless,

Thank you for noticing the blessing of my beard and for calling it that. I suppose it could be easy for those of us with naturally thick and bounteous beards to forget that many men don't have it so easy.

First off, shaving does not make hair grow back thicker or faster. This is simply a myth. I always thought that sounded suspect, but your email prompted me to actually research it. Dr. Lawrence E. Gibson of the Mayo Clinic confirmed this is a widespread misconception probably due to the stubbly texture of regrowing hair.

What you've read about beards typically filling in between 8 and 16 weeks sounds about right. But anybody could have guessed that. Know this: Like snowflakes, no beard is typical. How long you wait before you shave is a question of whether your hopefulness outlasts your patience. Or hey, maybe they'll both still be going strong when your beard comes marching in. But my advice is DON'T TOUCH IT for six months. That's the only way you'll be sure.

If you ask me (and you did) never "give up and shave." Shaving should never be an act of defeat. It is an act of pride. A man who shaves is given a daily opportunity to literally scrape yesterday from his face and start afresh. If you decide that the beard your face produces is not worthy to adorn your no-doubt strong and handsome visage, then shave it off victoriously, knowing you gave it a go. (And try again in a couple of years: hair growth patterns change with age, so there is always hope.) 

But since your "neck beard" and your mustache are full, you certainly stand a good chance of the rest filling in. Growing a beard takes patience. The lushest, greenest lawns all started out as barren dirt plots, after all.  

As for hurrying the process along, you can use a product like our Facial Serum which contains, among other nutritive emollients, jojoba oil, which has been shown to encourage hair growth when applied to the scalp. This is simply because the oil regulates the skin's natural moisture levels, often reintroducing moisture to what had previously been a dehydrated follicle. Whether you use our serum--I happen to swear by it--make sure you keep your face moisturized in some way. Dry skin is the second leading cause of balding after genetics. Dry  skin is not a comfortable environment for hair. This is why we till gardens: to soften the surface of the earth so that the seedling may more easily push through the surface. So it is with your facial garden.

And once you get the beard going, keep it moisturized with one of our amazing Beard Oils. I do not use this blog as a forum to sell our products, but our Beard Oil really is the best--it has done wonders for my beard.

Now, I'm not one to dole out unhealthy advice, so I'm not telling you to do this. I'll simply share something I've observed. As a writer, I am often pulling all-nighters to meet deadlines and so forth. So occasionally I'll be awake for two days, having skipped a night of sleep and staying up through the following night (without coffee I'm nothing). And I shit you not, my beard grows exponentially during those times. Seriously. SO much I can truly SEE the difference after 36 hours of consciousness. Use that information as you will.

And when you finally get that full, lush beard, you'll line it up with a handheld razor for precision. When the beard gets to be too full--and that will be quite some time, Grasshopper--you may trim the volume carefully with a guarded electric clipper.

Keep us posted on your progress!


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