I’ll say it right off the top: the beard does not maketh the man.
With the recent rise in popularity, beards have taken root in every corner of society.
Many men are responsible keepers of their beard, but there remains a group of men who think that it is their beard, not their virtue or ability, that makes them a man. Those men often neglect grooming their beards, writing it off as “sissy” or “womanly”.
That kind of BS attitude is not what this article is about.
We do not promote growing a beard at any cost. It is not about simply throwing out your razor.
It is about taking deliberate action, mastering a daily routine, and significantly altering the way you are perceived, both by those around you, and by yourself.
If you have chosen – or are thinking about choosing – the bearded life, we’ll help you understand the reasons why men should grow a beard, and the proper path to keeping it well-groomed.
Why Men Should Grow Beards
No matter what the snake-oil salesmen would have you believe, your beard growth comes down to genetics.
So if you simply can’t grow the facial hair to support a beard, no problem. In fact, wet shaving has a similarly beneficial routine and deliberateness about it.
However, if you can grow a beard, you must try it.
It can significantly impact both your self-perception and the impressions you give to people around you. And it’s been proven time and time again that first impressions matter, so make yours count!
1. It’s Natural
What could be greater than gaining the experience of man in his natural form?
This one is about you, not the outside world.
You may find your perception of yourself changes when you have a beard. Joining the Brotherhood of Beards, all the way back to First Man, with those who’s faces have been adorned by whiskers gives you a strange sense of pride, of camaraderie, of being part of something bigger than yourself.
The achievements of all men up to this point have in some way or another impacted your ability to exist, and to share in that inherently and naturally manly state of being can motivate you to be great.
2. It helps instill discipline through morning rituals
A beard requires daily attention to remain healthy and attractive.
Neglect your beard, and everyone can tell.
But keep your beard pristine, and you give off the impression that you’re the man who pays attention to detail. You can be trusted not to overlook something important.
Sending that signal to prospective employers, business partners, clients, or mates is a powerful cue.
Your beard forces you to remain disciplined and to establish a daily ritual, both of which are extremely important pieces of a responsible and self-sufficient man’s life.
3. Makes you look more confident
Greek soldiers shaved their beards at the command of Alexander the Great over 2000 years ago.
He thought beards were dangerous, as they gave the opponent something to grab onto in hand-to-hand combat. Beards, in his view, could be fatal.
And so a man who grows a beard, knowing that it would handicap him in a fight, exudes confidence in his ability to succeed in the face of danger.
4. Makes you look more aggressive
If you have a reason to look more aggressive and assertive, either in the workplace or in a social setting, facial hair, particularly a full beard, can give off this impression, whether or not you actually act more aggressively.
A beard can help you stand up to someone and stop you from being walked all over.
5. Makes you look more masculine
The full beard once again comes in as the winner when it comes to perceptions of masculinity.
As with aggressiveness, if you are feeling weak, overwhelmed, or run over by others, a boost in masculinity can help you regain the confidence you need to take control of your life and your purpose.
6. Makes you appear of a higher social status
Beards can make people around you believe you are of “a high-ranking social position” and that you “command respect over other men in the community”.
This can help position you as a leader in an organization, and when paired with the right clothing and mannerisms, can significantly improve the impressions you give to people, whether or not you are indeed of a high social status, or just starting out on the path to reach greatness.
7. Makes you look older
This is a tricky one, but done right, can be a blessing for young men.
It’s tricky because young men are some of the worst abusers of facial hair.
Like much in our society, there are fewer strong male role models who are able to teach young men the skills they require to succeed in all aspects of life.
As such, we see young men who cut their necklines too high, don’t groom their facial hair, let it grow out too long, or choose ridiculous unappealing styles.
However – if you are troubled that your appearance is causing others to place you at a lower maturity and experience level than reality dictates, growing a neatly groomed beard can help you look a few years older.
The rule holds for all ages, according to this study, so older men must be comfortable and confident in their age, wisdom, and abilities to accept the slight appearance of aging.
How To Properly Groom Your Beard
A man should take his grooming habits seriously.
Without control over himself and his appearance, how can he hope to have control over any other aspect of his life?
Ground your responsibility in taking care of yourself, and grow outwards from there. Whether it is your fitness, diet, grooming habits, or knowledge attainment, work on yourself and all else may be allowed to flourish.
So how do you grow and groom a luxurious mane?
Duh. I know.
But seriously, I recommend you pick a date and stick to it. It makes it much easier to commit if you decide before hand that you will simply grow your beard until a certain date.
That way you remove will power from the equation. Will power is a finite resource, so don’t rely on it for things like this!
The other, less obvious reason, is that we don’t want you to start shaving, trimming, and styling it yet.
It’s highly recommended that you grow out a full beard first. That’s the basis of most respectable beard styles, plus you want to get a good idea of how your beard grows in before making any decisions.
Get Through The Itch
It will probably itch a bit at the beginning.
OK, it can itch a lot if you do nothing but let it grow.
Know that it happens to everyone. Know that it will stop. Know that you can get through it.
And of course, know that you can do something about it!
Relieve Itching, Condition The Beard, Nourish The Face
We’re talking about moisturizing, gentlemen.
And don’t you dare tell me you don’t want my “womanly” grooming tips because you’re “a man”. I literally received an email like that last month.
We’ve already discussed the importance of keeping up on your grooming and self-mastery.
What I mean by moisturizing is the use of beard oil or beard balm.
This is the single most important act of grooming you can incorporate into your daily routine, so if you do nothing else, make sure you stick to this.
A beard oil is good if you are not looking to add much style to your beard. It can be good for short beards, or for a first coat before applying balm on very long beards.
A beard balm is good for all beards, though particularly helpful for long beards or beards with regular “fly-away” hairs that just won’t lie down. Balms typically contain beeswax to give you some extra control.
Keep Your Beard And Face Clean
I hope this one is a given, but your beard will thrive in a clean environment.
Rinse and give your face a good scrub daily. Your hands are fine, but you can use a cloth or sponge of some type to get a good clean.
Do not shampoo your beard more than once or twice a week, and try to stick to either beard shampoos, or a decent quality hair shampoo with good oils in it – I use an argan oil shampoo.
Distribute The Oils, Clean, And Style With A Brush Or Comb
If you want to kick it up a notch, get a comb or a brush to help your beard game.
With a longer beard, I used both.
The comb to help get the first layer of beard oil throughout the beard and get the hairs pointing in generally the same direction.
The brush to help distribute the balm and style the beard 100x better than using my hands.
Oh, and a beard brush is great for new beards and yeards alike. It doesn’t just help with styling, it actually helps to clean your beard.
It’ll remove discarded hairs, dead skin cells (which can lead to beardruff), and the build up of oils that otherwise would sit close to the face and cause itching or breakouts.
Oh, and it feels amazing. It’s hard to stick to brushing just once each day.
Choose The Right Length And Style
Alright, you’re going to have to do a bit of research on this one, because there are a load of different factors that go into choosing the right style and length.
The topic would require it’s own article to cover to any acceptable degree.
However, we recommend sticking with a variation of the full beard.
And do not be afraid to experiment. It grows back.
I’ve spent the last 18 months experimenting, from 10 months of no trimming whatsoever, to a trimmed Verdi style with a wicked mustache, to shaving it all off to start over.
Find inspiration by looking at pictures of beards you like on men who have a similar shaped face to you, err on the side of looking natural, and remember to groom it daily.
Curt Storring is the founder of Liberty Premium Grooming Co. Liberty specializes in beard care, but has a greater mission to reverse the trend of prolonged adolescence in men. Curt is passionate about helping men become more self-sufficient, productive, and responsible for their own lives.