Growing a Beard: An Essay on Nihilism
There is no meaning or purpose in life and societal values are artificial and unrealistic. Consider that your ‘reality’ and the value you hold in yourself is defined by others. I challenge you: Toss away those shackles, embrace the nothingness, and start growing a beard.
The first month of growing a beard requires an expression — or lack thereof — of Nihilism. That’s because you will look strange, those around you will notice and judge, but, more importantly, you won’t choose to care nor touch your beard. If after that first month you’ve found that Nihilism does not suit you, feel free to return to ‘society’ and the absurd confinements that come with friendship and proper work hygiene.
Typically a month’s worth of beard growth will provide enough of a base for alterations to be appropriate. Think of your facial hair like a block of marble. To properly execute your vision of a beard, there needs to be enough material to work with. Once you’ve procured the appropriate base material, get yourself some tools and get to work.
Growing and Grooming
We’ve already established that growing a beard requires patience–a certain amount of masochism. But along with patience, a little love and care can go a long way as well. Here are some grooming tips and optional products that you might consider when maximizing the potential of your mug.
Use Beard Oil
Some will swear by beard oil and others will staunchly refuse to even discuss it. Everyone’s diet, natural oil production, and levels of acceptable hygiene differ — and so do their opinions. For your consideration, beard oil provides more than one benefit for your beard. The oil moisturizes both your beard hair and the skin underneath it to reduce skin irritation and dandruff. Additionally, it helps to soften your beard which gives you some styling control. The best time to apply a good beard oil is directly after showering or washing your face when your pores are open and can absorb the oil. Myron Goods makes excellent beard oil that will sufficiently soften your follicles and combat irritation.
Washing your beard 2-3 times/week will help stave off itchiness and keep your beard as smooth as sanded wood. Traditional body soaps can cause your beard to dry out, causing itchiness and irritation. Some shampoos and conditioners work tolerably well, but you’re best off choosing a cleanser or a quality beard soap specifically meant for a bearded face. Apply beard oil after each wash.
Take Care of Your Body
Other than manipulating your genetic code, there’s really nothing you can do to improve the fierceness of your incoming beard. With that said, you can encourage healthy hair growth (to a certain degree), by getting plenty of sleep, eating healthy, and exercising regularly. Frankly, you should be doing these things anyway — next thing you know, growing a beard may be the best lifestyle change you ever made.
You’ve given yourself a month, your beard is looking fierce, and you may have even pissed on the Dude’s rug — Give us the money Lebowski! Perhaps you’ve decided that Nihilism is not in fact enjoyable nor profitable. It’s time to shape your beard.
Get a Quality Beard Trimmer
Having a good set of tools at the bookend of your initial beard growth is essential. The most important tool is a good beard trimmer—preferably one that comes with a few different attachments, including trimmer guards, different cutting heads, etc. Beard trimmers provide different levels of adjustments for blade height/beard length so choose one that matches well with your particularity for precision. Aside from that you’ll need a good comb, a pair of sharp trimming scissors, and a mirror.
Trim Your Beard
When it comes to actually defining your beard, there is no one beard style that is best. The shape of your beard should be defined by your face, your attitude, and your style. One thing we do recommend, however, is cleaning up around the edges so it looks like you are intentional about your beard. The best way to remain semi-presentable while cultivating your beard is to avoid the dreaded “neckbeard.” Trim up to one inch above your Adam’s apple but not more or you’ll risk losing the depth of your beard growth.
Trimming the cheeks is also an essential for properly shaping your beard. Again, you don’t want to overdo it—just use a razor to wrangle a few stragglers that wander too far north. If you have something akin to a Chewbacca beard, you’ll need to take more drastic measures. Shave your cheek hair so it’s even with the bottom of your nose.
The above trimming tips are broad guidelines to properly formatting your beard. For an in-depth guide, we’ve put together The Manual’s Guide to Shaping a Beard.
It’s your beard, wear it like you own it. Or just remember your days as a Russian poet when you discarded the thought-prison built around you by the aristocracy and choose not to acknowledge those who nay-say. Anyways, you’ll likely find that others appreciate the beard as much as you do.