Bearding

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Bearding

Postby Skiprr » Sat Mar 25, 2017 7:08 pm

I know a few Forum members who have epic beards, The Annoyed Man and Wild Bill among them.

This Topic is for those who currently have, are growing, or who are thinking about growing a beard.

Not talkin' three-day scruff. But an intentional beard.

Let's share experiences with grooming, maintenance, and other challenges.
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mojo84
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Re: Bearding

Postby mojo84 » Sat Mar 25, 2017 7:36 pm

About 4 to 5 days is all I can do. Just not man enough to get past the itchy phase.

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Re: Bearding

Postby Topbuilder » Sat Mar 25, 2017 7:56 pm

"Not talkin' three-day scruff. But an intentional beard."

I never have liked it long. But I do like the two day scruff. So on the third day I mow it back with an electric trimmer. Viola! Perpetual two day scruff. So, my two day scruff IS my intentional beard. Wife hates it. But after ten years I think she's growing to hate it less...
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Re: Bearding

Postby zmcgooga » Sat Mar 25, 2017 8:04 pm

Currently in Phoenix, AZ and finally had the chance to visit a barber than actually specializes in beards, I've been growing mine for a year and it's about 6-7 inches, and finally after having someone shape it and trim it I look less like a wild back woods and more lake a business professional. . I think that's what makes the difference, putting in the effort to keep it trimmed and oiled/waxed.

Of course I know other guys that like the wild look and to each their own.


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Re: Bearding

Postby SigM4 » Sat Mar 25, 2017 8:24 pm

I like Texas Beard Co products for grooming. Their Pecan Coffee beard oil and Big Thicket beard balm are great. Helps keep my beard soft and somewhat controllable. And you know, it's a Texas company.
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Re: Bearding

Postby Jusme » Sat Mar 25, 2017 8:40 pm

Just a Van Dyke neatly trimmed for me. Anytime it gets too unruly, Mrs. Jusme complains. I also have a
very thin mustache, so a full beard looks very strange on me. For those blessed with awesome facial hair, grow on!
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Re: Bearding

Postby cmgee67 » Sat Mar 25, 2017 10:33 pm

I'm caught between a Rock and a hard place in my beard growth. Mrs. cmgee67 doesn't like me clean shaven or with a full thick beard. She likes the stubble mid lengthy stuff that grows after about three or four days and I have to keep it trimmed or she will call it butt hair if it gets too long lol. So that's about as much of a beard as it gets
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Re: Bearding

Postby The Annoyed Man » Sat Mar 25, 2017 11:34 pm

I don't put much by way of products on my beard any longer. I used to use a beard balm, but it made my beard feel stiff due to the waxes in it. These days, I pretty much limit it to a little Moroccan Oil every couple of days. The whiskers soak up the oil and it keeps them soft and luxuriant. And it smells nice. I have a pretty thick head of white hair too, and I even use a couple of drops of Moroccan Oil on it if I'm trying to get spiffed up for some occasion or other. As with my beard, it absorbs in and keeps my hair manageable, without feeling oily.

Growing a good beard merely requires patience, as I'm not one of those guys who has to shave twice a day to keep the shadow off. I'm otherwise not a very hairy person, and my beard took its time growing in. But I've had some kind of facial hair most of my adult life. I've had a mustache and some form of beard as long as I've known my wife, which is 30 years now. I started growing long like it is now almost 4 years ago. I'll probably keep it this way the rest of my life. I like it, my wife likes it, and it just kind of suits my personality.
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Re: Bearding

Postby puma guy » Sun Mar 26, 2017 10:22 am

The Annoyed Man wrote:I don't put much by way of products on my beard any longer. I used to use a beard balm, but it made my beard feel stiff due to the waxes in it. These days, I pretty much limit it to a little Moroccan Oil every couple of days. The whiskers soak up the oil and it keeps them soft and luxuriant. And it smells nice. I have a pretty thick head of white hair too, and I even use a couple of drops of Moroccan Oil on it if I'm trying to get spiffed up for some occasion or other. As with my beard, it absorbs in and keeps my hair manageable, without feeling oily.

Growing a good beard merely requires patience, as I'm not one of those guys who has to shave twice a day to keep the shadow off. I'm otherwise not a very hairy person, and my beard took its time growing in. But I've had some kind of facial hair most of my adult life. I've had a mustache and some form of beard as long as I've known my wife, which is 30 years now. I started growing long like it is now almost 4 years ago. I'll probably keep it this way the rest of my life. I like it, my wife likes it, and it just kind of suits my personality.

Your post made me realize I've had a beard or mustache since 1967. I had a beard until 1982 when we were required to shave beards for respiratory protection. We were allowed mustaches. My wife had never seen me without a beard. She said I smiled more when I had it. :lol:
A beard at my age would make me look like Santa Claus.
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Re: Bearding

Postby KC5AV » Sun Mar 26, 2017 11:47 am

I let mine grow for a few months, and then my wife tells me she misses my face. That's her secret code for, "I hate that thing. Shave it off."
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Re: Bearding

Postby G26ster » Sun Mar 26, 2017 12:17 pm

For the 10 years or so I flew the Alaska Bush, it was pretty much a necessity to have a full beard, especially winters on the North Slope (Prudhoe Bay). I shaved it off one Summer, and the next winter had to wear a full face mask on the slope where -40 and strong winds were common. Hated it, so I grew it back. Once I got back to Texas, I shaved it off (1991) and haven't had one since. Just a mustache.

Spring on the Slope. (Can't get image larger, so hard to see beard but it's there :mrgreen: )

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Re: Bearding

Postby The Annoyed Man » Sun Mar 26, 2017 4:12 pm

What a difference 17 years makes:

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Re: Bearding

Postby cheezit » Sun Mar 26, 2017 6:02 pm

Currently around 7" of beard now. Lots of conditioner, I most likly use more then the wife does.


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Re: Bearding

Postby jason812 » Sun Mar 26, 2017 6:18 pm

A couple years ago mine was probably 6 inches or so. I went half a year without a haircut too and was nicknamed caveman because of it. Now it stays about an inch or 2. Up until 5 years ago I would only grow a goatee. Now I prefer a beard. I use shampoo in mine.

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Re: Bearding

Postby Skiprr » Sun Mar 26, 2017 7:18 pm

Yeah; my bad. I spoke poorly when I said the stubble look wouldn't qualify as an intentional beard. Of course it does. And it has multiple advantages: you can do away with razor blades (mostly; some may still like to shave their necks or shape the line on the cheeks); you never have to worry about detail work with scissors; a good electric trimmer is all you ever need; no need to ever even consider beard oils or balms; no need to wash your face differently than you ever have; and no need to ever consider going to a specialist barber to get a beard shaped properly.

But I personally ruled out the stubble look from the get go for one simple reason. As you age and if your beard turns white rather than a salt and pepper gray, to pull it off you'd have to have both olive or darker skin and be exceptionally handsome...neither of which describes me. TAM and I have the same color beard, and two to four days worth of growth with a white beard never looks intentional; it just looks homeless.

I wore a short beard for about a year and a half in the very early eighties, and then kept a very short one for about a year a decade later. Now I'm more retired than not and don't much care how I look to other people (being a curmudgeonly old man has at least one or two advantages). I had to get some slice-and-dice work a while back on my neck and the bottom of a jaw (a whole 'nuther story about how that has affected my beard ability) and shaving around the scar tissue and skin graft was just shy of impossible without taking a lot of time, and still there was an almost 95% nick rate.

Last October I decided to heck with it and just stopped shaving. Had no real plans to move to beardom, but the aforementioned homeless-old-guy look was simply no good. Old I can manage; looking like I need to find a freeway overpass every day at bedtime...not so much.

So I kinda just fell into 21st century bearding accidentally. And was distinctly surprised that there was now seemingly a whole sub-market in the cosmetics industry that had developed around beards. Google "beard oil" and you get a staggering 2.25 million hits. There are oils, balms, waxes, conditioners, specialty shampoos and brushes and combs and scissors and trimmers. I mean, hundreds and hundreds of beard products under a host of different brands. I immediately thought a beard was a bad idea because it was going to cost me three times as much as did razor blades and shaving cream.

Condensing that part of the story, I ended up with a shelf full of products and, like TAM, ultimately used almost none of them. Can you say "old holster drawer"? I do still use a simple conditioner every day in the shower, and a basic beard oil every two or three days. A small bottle of that lasts a long time, but I'll run out probably in May. TAM, where do you buy that Moroccan oil? Is it just straight Moroccan oil, or one of the specific beard products?

IMO, depending on the type of beard you want to grow, it really takes only two things: genetics and patience. If your facial hair comes in extremely patchy--I'm thinking Keanu Reeves here--the controlled stubble look may be best. That or opting to see how it grows in and then choose to groom it in a style that suits the growth. For example, Reeves could probably pull off a trimmed goatee with mustache, but he's lacking some real estate for a full beard.

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And...patience. You may know or have seen guys who can seem to grow an impressive beard in the span of two weeks, but it doesn't really happen for most of us. See, facial grows out at approximately the same rate among most men. It slows as you age because testosterone levels decline, but otherwise Keanu Reeves' facial hair grows at about the same pace as a winner of the World Beard and Moustache Championships (the U.S. preliminaries are in Austin this year, September 1-3; someone from the Forum should enter).

The four genetic factors that differentiate most of us from that guy who can look fully bearded in just two weeks are: 1) He has black or very dark brown facial hair. 2) He has a dense follicle pattern; in other words, a lot of individual hairs per square inch. 3) The individual hair shafts are thick; age hurts us there, too, because hair thins as we age. 4) The coverage of hair on his face is pretty complete; no bare patches.

Unless you're that guy, I think possibly the hardest thing to do if you decide on a beard is to keep all edged implements away from it for at least four to six weeks. And unless you're that guy, you'll no doubt be sorely tempted to just shave the whole thing off about 25 times during that period.

But while average facial hair growth proceeds at about the same pace, there are going to be areas on your face that grow in more slowly. For some guys that's at the cheek line, or at the mustache-beard juncture, or the "soul patch" area.

You really can't be certain how a new beard is going to come in--and how you'll ultimately decide to style it--unless you leave it alone for at least a month or more and resist the temptation to "just clean it up a little" in an attempt to avoid that homeless and totally unkempt look. I succumbed after a couple of weeks this time and decided that if I just shaped the cheek lines it would make the beard look more intentional and less a case of lapsed personal hygiene. It was a mistake. I eventually had to leave the cheek line alone again for a number of weeks to let that area catch back up with the rest. Now I keep a relatively natural cheek line, just shaving off the real outliers that grow up closer--Cro-Magnon like--to my eyes.

If you're embarking on a beard, I'd say to circle a date on the calendar five or six weeks in the future, and commit to leaving your face alone until then. Avoiding mirrors as much as possible during that time will help. And if someone cracks a comment about your forgetting to shave, just tell 'em you're growing it out for a part in a movie...or that you're going into the witness protection program and have to alter your appearance.

Most of the time now I use an electric trimmer to clean up that cheekbone area and neck. I only pull out a razor blade if I'm spiffing up before going someplace dressy. The trimmer is generally good enough for business casual and down, so the Gillete blade I have in my razor has been in there since just after the beginning of the year. I am saving money, after all.

Speaking of the neck, another piece of advice is either leave it completely alone during that formative four to six weeks or, if you simply can't stand to do so, only shave it significantly lower than you think you'll ultimately shape it. That goes for intended goatees, also. If you want a beard longer than something maintained with a trimmer and a #3 guide, you can't really tell where that neck line should be until the beard gets longer. I think most guys who want to clean up the neck early make the mistake of shaping it too high. Depending on the beard you want to grow, that neck line is probably going to be a bit below the actual neck/face crease.

Remember that you can trim back anything you choose after you make a final decision about how you want your beard to look, but if you prune stuff back too soon, your only choice will be either to wait until the mistake grows back in, or to shave the whole thing off.
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