How to Grow and Groom a Formidable Winter Beard

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Tumbling temperatures and whipping winds can take their toll on a bare face.

Instead of enduring the harsh winter elements, you could use the cold weather as an excuse to grow some face fur for warmth and protection. Lots of mammals grow their hair in the winter months, so why not men? We’re mammals, too. If you’re not sure how to grow a beard, chucking your razor into the sea is a perfect place to start (although, a trash can would suffice). From there, we’ve got your beard voyage covered.

Brace for Haters

For some men, one of the greatest impediment to beard-growing is the anticipation of smart-assery from friends and loved ones. You’ll hear cliched beard-shaming like, “Is that dirt on your face?” or “Did you miss a spot while shaving?” Using No-Shave November or Movember as justification can help deflect such comments, but you could also try “Just thought I’d beard up for winter” or “It’ll be a cold one this year.” Regardless of what people say, just remember that it’s your face, your choice—everyone else can just deal.

Many men stay clean shaven because of these comments, poor growth, or strange patterns in their facial hair. You will probably have a vision of what you want your beard to look like, then be inevitably disappointed as your mane comes in.

Nonetheless, learn to embrace your beard—it’s a part of you, and you are a magnificent beast descended from eons of warriors and woodsmen. There are a million ways to style your beard; no matter how your facial hair grows, you’ll find a way to make it look good.

Get Quality Grooming Tools

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Most seasoned beardsmen will tell you to allow at least two weeks of unimpeded beard growth before attempting to bring it under control. But, that’s just the start. 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 (trimmer guards, different cutting heads, etc). Aside from that you’ll need a good comb, a pair of sharp trimming scissors, and a beard oil to keep your beard hair soft (more on that later).

Growing and Grooming

Growing a beard is chiefly a waiting game. First, you must be patient with your budding beard, so give your growing experiment a fair amount of time to evolve. During the growing process, however, here are some things you can do to aid the evolution.

Use Beard Oil

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This is imperative. Believe us. If you don’t use some sort of beard hair treatment, your beard will become dry, pube-like, and incredibly itchy. To avoid this, The best plan is to wash your face fur regularly and apply a good beard oil immediately afterward. Myron Goods makes excellent beard oil that will sufficiently soften your follicles and combat irritation. As a forewarning, the worst itchy period will be during the first couple weeks of your journey, so hang in there.

Related: Well-Groomed: The Manual’s Best Beard Oils

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.

Trimming

The best way to remain semi-presentable while cultivating your beard is to avoid the dreaded “neckbeard.” Trim only about one inch above your Adam’s apple, or you’ll risk losing the depth of your beard growth. This is a great way to make your beard stand out early on; the contrast between beardliness and non-beardliness will let people know you’re serious.

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.

RelatedBeard Trimming Tips

Wash Often

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Washing your beard every other day 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.

With patience and gentle grooming, you’ll grow a beard that makes Old Man Winter tremble. Once spring bounces in, you and your beard will have gone through a lot together. You might even decide to keep your hairy friend for the foreseeable future. That’s the thing about beards—they really grow on you.

Article originally published December 19, 2016. Updated December 19, 2016 by Chase McPeak.