I was a failure … the facial hair equivalent of a 90-pound-weakling. It wasn’t so much that I couldn’t grow a beard, it was more that whatever facial hair I did grow felt like a Velcroed-on Brillo pad: super uncomfortable and leaving my skin itchy and broken out. As Movember and No-Shave November came and went I made two separate attempts at beard growth … each ending with a sprint into the bathroom when I could stand it no more, trimmer in hand, welcoming back the clean-shaven face I know so well. It wasn’t the first time I’d given up on hirsute happiness.
When December rolled around, I decided to pay attention to an email I’d gotten for something called, a subscription service for beard care products. The Club’s premise was “helping first-timers as well as seasoned hirsute gentleman to up their grooming game.” I couldn’t resist and threw down the gauntlet. Could they help even me? After all, the site’s tag line is “Don’t Grow it Alone.”
I shared my sad story with Bryan Welfel, The Beard Club’s CEO. Welfel was the company’s first investor, recognizing that founder Chris Stoikos was really onto something when he established a place for the bearded community to come together.
Before and After
“We recognized that, although there was a community of guys that supported each other, there was a lack of knowledge about how to grow and maintain a beard. Growing a great beard comes with responsibility! It’s the first thing people see. When we first launched, we were more focused on guys who had super long ‘biker beards,’ but beards come in all sizes, from short to medium to long; and while some guys want to grow a beard seasonally, for others it’s a lifetime commitment. In all cases, a man should maintain a beard that represents him well. We like to create great content and product that connects with this guy no matter where he is in his journey.
“Net-net, a nice-looking beard is a lot easier to maintain than shaving every day. Plus, studies show that men with beards appear more attractive to others; and that, aesthetically, they’d be better fathers.
“Guys want to grow beards … it’s in our nature! But there has been a lot of resistance from society that puts a lot of value on maintenance and self-care. Up until recently, most dress codes didn’t even permit
So what’s my problem? Welfel had some suggestions.
“You’re not alone. Most men go through an itch phase. It’s a major hurdle that we recommend treating with a cream. But a lot of guys have trouble just getting the beard to grow at all! We recommend making sure that you’re getting the nutrients your body needs so your skin can grow a healthy beard. Some guys have problems with ingrown hairs: we make sure they can exfoliate and allow pores to let the hair come out. There needs to be a constant balance of moisture for your skin: the beard acts like a wick, pulling away the oil your body produces. Is your skin too oily? Too dry? Either can make growing your beard agitating. We highly recommend a beard shampoo to make sure that you’re removing excess oil. Traditional hair shampoo removes too much oil, so this product keeps hair at an appropriate oil constancy … then you can put oil back in as required by applying a beard oil.”
Welfel points out that I’m actually lucky because I have good genetics that allow me to grow a full beard. “A lot of people ask us if our product creates new hair follicles. It doesn’t. But it will help you grow a fuller, thicker-looking beard.”
The next solution for my beard — and most guys’ — is to use a boar bristle brush. “The brush helps give the hair direction, and also integrates the nutrients into the hair shaft.”
Finally, be sure to feed that chin beast the nutrients it needs.
“Ourincludes vitamins and minerals, as well as biotin. (And we use high-quality ingredients at affordable prices: you can pay up to six times as much as we charge for products like these.) Then there’s a vitamin mist Growth Spray that helps keep skin and hair healthy, so you’re not scratching and damaging the hair as it comes in.”
To make beard maintenance easy, The Beard Club puts together various kits. You can order a la carte, or subscribe to products on the site. “We understand where you are in your journey, and want to connect you to the right products,” says Welfel. “The kits are a super high value, with great product at great prices. You’re saving by bundling. Obviously you don’t need to buy a new brush or comb every month, but the consumables can be renewed monthly. Our customers can pause or cancel at any time; and our customer service team isn’t just transactional; they are also knowledgeable. I also recommend checking out our social media, where a lot of questions are answered. Be warned, though … it can be a rabbit hole. We have over a million followers, so there’s a lot of information there.”
So how’d I do? Well, out of laziness, I’d let my beard start growing for about a week before The Beard Club kit arrived. I opened the box and put its contents to use right away. Included were the Growth Vitamin Spray, Growth Oil, Cedar Beard Oil, Beard Shampoo, a bottle of Growth Vitamins, and the ever-important Beard Brush. I started taking the vitamins the next morning; popping two a day, just about every day, with a meal. I used the Beard
The brush, I have to say, was probably the thing that really tied the whole experience together for me. After applying all the product (trying to gently massage it from the roots to the tips) I’d spend a minute brushing the hair … it got to be quite addictive! If I thought I was starting to feel itchy, I’d grab the brush and give it a few passes, sometimes keeping it handy while I was watching television or working … I even kept it by my side during a long distance car trip!
Here it is, nearly a month later, and I not only have a beard … it’s one that I’m actually happy about! One that I’ve gotten compliments on, as well. I think I’ll keep it at least for a while longer. It’s definitely ready for a trim, but I want to be sure I have plenty of length (and a little room for mistakes) before I jump on that. I’ve also incorporated theto add some extra moisture to the mix and continuing to brush, brush, brush. Am I headed for ZZ-Top status? Probably not, but I am now well on my way to having the Charles Atlas of beards.
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