Over the centuries the beard has been a symbol of elegance, depravity, saintliness, authority, erudition, piety, and nationality. The ancient Romans were clean-shaven, using sharpened clam shells to scrape off their facial hair. The ancient Greeks, on the other hand, relished a full-blown beard, the kind that fowl could nest in and never be discovered. They believed a bushy beard was the only true indication of full manhood.
To the Chinese of the Ming Dynasty, a beard denoted a barbarian, as did short fingernails. The Chinese used a depilation formula that included chicken blood, wood ashes, nitre scrapped from caves, and turpentine, in order to keep their faces completely free of hair. Archeologists speculate that this potent formula was responsible for their premature aging and early mortality. Women of that era outlived their beardless husbands by an average of twenty years.
The list goes on. The Mesopotamians held that a beard protected a man from the sword strokes of his foes. The ancient Hebrews felt that a full beard was a sign of God’s approval. As well as long hair. Were they the original hippies? Could be!
So you get the picture – a man’s beard is his castle. And should be treated accordingly.
In today’s world the beard is making a comeback. It no longer denotes a desperate character, apt to throw a stink bomb or sleep under a bridge.
While the full beard is still not quite normal in the fashion world, a well-trimmed one is accepted, even welcomed in academia, business, government, education, and theology.
The requirements for a beard that will turn heads and curl toes
You will require:
- Gentle cleanser designed specifically for your skin type
- A fresh towel
- If you’re prone to ingrown hairs, use a gentle exfoliating scrub.
- SPF 30 or higher moisturizer (until your stubble turns into a beard)
- Beard conditioner (for acne-prone skin), beard oil (for normal to dry skin), or a light moisturizer (sensitive skin)
- Comb and brush for beards
Hygiene is important
When you decide to let your facial hair grow out and flourish, be sure to keep to a thorough personal hygiene schedule.
This means washing the face at least twice a day, with a mild yet penetrating soap; soap made with coconut oil and/or olive oil are among those highly recommended by dermatologists world-wide.
Hygiene goes beyond care for your beard, so if you want to look and smell good, check out our tips for styling yourself.
And don’t neglect the beard oil
New beards need a nourishing and cleansing cream to keep the skin hydrated and free of clogged follicles. Otherwise the facial hair tends to become so irritating and unkempt that the new beard grower is strongly temped to clip it all off and call it quits.
There are several commercial beard oil brands on the market. Make sure the one you choose has lanolin and candlenut oil in it. These two ingredients are the most effective conditioners for a wide range of beards. Whether you have a goatee or just a soul patch, keeping it well oiled will keep it looking clean and healthy, not patchy and messy.
One final word on how to grow a beard. If you want your beard to succeed make sure you ask your significant other about growing one first. Beards are like plants in that they need to hear happy and positive reinforcement from others in order to really flourish. If your soulmate is dead set against you growing a bead, better just buy a motorcycle instead.
Please share with us your thoughts on growing a beard.