by Mr. Spruce
As the rising popularity of facial hair continues apace, we hear many guys lamenting their patchy beard misfortune. Well, we’re here to set the record straight and provide some much needed guidance to the follically challenged amongst us. The struggle is real, my friends.
It’s unlikely to have escaped your attention that beards are on the increase. From actors like Ben Affleck and George Clooney, to your local barista and the chap that helps you find the plumbing section in Bunnings, beards and ‘taches are everywhere to be seen.
However, for those of us whose facial hair is more Michael Cera than Tom Selleck, the trend can be problematic. If you don’t fancy shelling out thousands of dollars for a facial hair transplant (yeah, that’s a thing now, apparently), then what are your options?
Like most things in life, success takes patience. More often than not, the patchiness that you experience in the first few months of growth will even out in time. Mid-length beards often look the worst because the hair sticks out in all directions and has little weight to give it structure. It’s also difficult to apply balms or undertake much styling with a mid-length beard.
Now, this may be little consolation for you right now but, believe us, if you push through the difficult stage your beard will get longer and denser and the hair will begin to cover up any weaker spots. The next time you see a chap with epic face furniture, rest easy in the knowledge that he too had to endure the difficult early stages and that, lurking beneath the abundant bristles, there are some patchy spots which have long since been covered up.
You’ll almost certainly get a fuller look in time and, if you pay attention to the following steps, you can breeze through the difficult stages as well.
When going for bushy whiskers it’s important to remember that it’s a marathon, not a sprint. If you want to look your best throughout the course of beard growth and avoid a patchy, wiry mess, then you’re going to have to do the unthinkable and trim it back every once in a while.
Some people will tell you that the best bet is to just grow it and never reall for a pair of scissors, which might be fine if you live on a desert island but for the majority of us, this just isn’t an option.
Consider for a moment, your head hair; if you were trying to go from Bruce Willis to Axl Rose, you wouldn’t just grow it all without consideration for 6 months and then think ‘Right, done, now let’s style this bad boy’. Of course not, that would be madness. So why should it be any different for your face fuzz?
Instead, make sure you’re having a trim and tidy up regularly to sort out the strays, split ends and any hairs which appear to be on steroids (you know those ones that seem to grow three times as fast as their neighbours!). Without regular attention your patches will become more apparent, not less. It’s all about blending.
Ask your barber for some attention in the beard department the next time you’re in having a trim. He can provide a wealth of advice in addition to helping you best define the shape and style of your new chops.
Be at least a little wary of any products that claim to increase or accelerate your beard growth. The density of your facial hair is governed by the density of your hair follicles which is in turn determined by your genes. No amount of unguents and salves are going to add follicles to you face.
However, what you can do is keep your face well fed with the nutrients needed to promote healthy growth from the existing follicles. Omega 3 and B Vitamins have been shown to be effective, as have essential oils like jojoba, grapeseed, and hempseed. They won’t directly cause growth but they’ll help create the right conditions for it.
After about 10-14 days of growth we would strongly recommend introducing a beard oil to your daily routine. Although facial moisturisers are good, you wouldn’t think of using such a product on your head hair so you shouldn’t think of doing so on your beard or ‘tache either. For this reason, beard oils are a great alternative to help keep your whiskers soft and your skin moisturised.
A good beard oil will also help to reduce beard-itch and beard-ruff which will be very welcome to yourself and those around you.
You’d be surprised just how much a bit of styling can make a difference to a patchy beard. Make sure you invest in a good fine-toothed beard comb or brush after a few weeks of growth. By then you should be at a stage where you can comb over to help cover the patches, at least until the surrounding hair grows sufficiently to cover it up naturally.
You can also play to your strengths. For example if you’re a bit patchy on the cheeks but full on the chin, you can play up the anchor-style beard a bit more until things even out. Again, it’s worthwhile talking to your barber to see what style suits best.
If you’re still worried about your patchy beard, the most important thing you can remember to do is be happy with what you have be confident within yourself. If you’ve gone to a bit of effort to look after your chops and style them appropriately, and you’re happy that you look your best, then no-one will be counting your follicles. They’ll be too busy admiring your confidence.
Worthy & Spruce. Purveyors of dapper grooming and advice for the responsible gent.
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Mr. Spruce aka Andy. One half of Worthy & Spruce. Blogging about all things gentlemanly, and many things not. Tired but tireless dad, business dude, consumer of coffee, and deliverer of timely quips.
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