No Shave November is over, but you still love the look of that gorgeous beard and want to keep it growing. We interviewed Alex LaRoach, vice president
of the Austin Facial Hair Club, on what makes a world award-winning beard, and how to keep it in tip-top shape.
Here are our top tips to help with trimming, awkward beard stages, and caring for the beast once it is perfect (in your eyes.)
Ignore the shaving myth
There is little to no scientific evidence that supports the idea that shaving repeatedly helps hair grow in faster. Humans tend to grow less hair both early and later in life, although hair growth can be at its peak during midlife. It is unique to each individual, and some will never be able to have a full beard no matter how much they shave. There are some ways to help your beard growth along, but shaving is just not one of them.
Health is important
A good diet and lifestyle all play into your overall well-being. According to LaRoach, who sports an award-winning beard, insists that it’s all about treating your body right.
“Having the occasional beer and junk food is cool, and honestly supplements will not help if you don’t know what’s in them,” he said.
Hair is made of keratin, a protein that has a specific genetic growth rate. If you are determined to try a proper diet, adequate protein is a must, as well as omega-3 fatty acids and B vitamins, which are essential in aiding in the production of protein.
Sleep to recharge and grow your beard and your body
There’s a reason humans need to sleep. We are wired to batteries, able to run strong but only for a limited time, and then we need to recharge and refuel. Consider using an app to help prioritize sleep and wake up at the optimal time in your cycle. A consistent sleep schedule during November and the months prior will help to ensure your beard is kicking.
Consider the right products to aid you in your quest
According to Men’s Health, during the chillier fall months leading up to November, our skin can change, chemically, and require different products to properly care for it during the rest of the year. They recommend using a quality exfoliate, which can help remove dead skin cells and improve your shaving and overall face’s feel and look. Beware, if you are new to a skin care regimen, exfoliating too often or too forcefully can cause burns. Ouch! The Bearded Bastard, The Vintage Beard Co. all have an awesome array of beard care goods that will assist in taming and training your beard.
Growing a great beard is like making a good risotto or learning to ride a bike — it takes patience and practice. Even if your No Shave November didn’t turn out as well as you hoped, it’s not a loss. According to LaRoach, the Austin Facial Hair Club’s philosophy is “when growing out your facial hair, leave it be. When you first grow out your hair it’s wild and untamed and you learn what looks best after time. Acknowledge the fact that your beard will not grow overnight.”
It will take a few days to a few weeks to come to the point where you can start to groom it. Your patience will be rewarded, trust us!
Exercise, exercise, exercise
Testosterone production may help in growth. Any exercise is good, but weight lifting such as squats or push-ups and cardio exercises like running or canoeing can help you maximize your output of the good stuff. The key to a thick, manly beard is to spend less time staring at it in the mirror yelling at it to grow and more time in the gym.
Research different beard styles
Humans are great because we are each unique in so many ways, and that includes faces and heads. No, not every beard style looks good or works with every man. If you are set on a certain type of beards such as the Chuck Norris or another famous style, be prepared to have backups if it turns out that you and the beard just don’t match together. No Shave November can be a great way to get in touch with a different style and discover, together, your natural beard shape and color. Embrace nature and realize not everyone can pull off a full beard.
Trim and clean
According to Beards.org, a beard can be trimmed by a non-professional one of two ways — either by using a beard trimmer or with scissors. A beard trimmer is generally the easy way and they recommend a cordless battery-powered model. Never trim your beard while it’s wet as you may discover you trimmed off too much or too little and it will look much different once it dries.
Just like the hair on your head, your beard needs to be cleaned. Regular shampoo and a good wash can do wonders for a beard. Washing helps remove excess oils and dirt and ensure the hairs are happy and healthy for maximum growing potential and style. Invest in a good comb like the ones from Dream Beard, especially the boars hair ones.
As with all things, beards are a personal choice. You might love your new beard or hate that itchy scruff. If you happen to be in the Austin area on February 20, 2016, make sure you check out the 10th Annual Beard and Moustache Contest Come and Shave it. It’s America’s greatest facial hair competition. Special thanks to the Austin Facial Hair Club for all of their tips and time.