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Tips on growing a full beard for the first time?
September 30, 2004 9:48 AM   Subscribe

[NotShavingFilter] I'm growing a full beard for the first time. Tips? (Trimming methods, moisturizing/cleaning, where the neckline should be, etc.)
posted by davebug to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (7 answers total)
 
trim it far enough under the chin that it doesn't irritate the hell out of your neck when you look down. i keep it trimmed sort of from corner of the jaws straight across, horizontally, forming sort of a latitude line across the neck. also, check where / how well it comes in and adjust accordingly - mine for example doesn't come in as thickly across the cheeks, so i keep it trimmed down closer to the jawline there on top. work with what your genes gave you.

i also find a shorter beard is easier to work with, but mine is curly; longer straight hair might be easier for you, but my face looks pretty unmanagable if the beard gets too long, what with the curly bits all going in whatever direction they want. i just use normal clippers, using a #2 (1/4 inch) guard for trimming. small beard trimmers for doing the edges and touch-ups is less clumsy than the big trimmer, but i find a little less useful for giving it the initial once-over, as the blade is smaller.

also, expect your face to be pretty dry and flaky at first - the skin can't fall off as easily with the facial hair there, so you might have some "chin dandruff" for a while until you adjust. shampoo and conditioner will help that. it does scratch at first, a buddy of mine let me in on a secret... a little bit of hand lotion rubbed in daily will help the dryness and irritation until you get used to it. just don't put in so much that you look like you've oiled your beard. (unless that's a look you happen to like.)
posted by caution live frogs at 10:03 AM on September 30, 2004


Ditto what clf said. Also, if it doesn't seem like it's coming in as thickly as you'd want, bear in mind that many folks (including me) don't really grow a full beard the very first time. I had made several abortive attempts, and noticed it came in a bit thicker each time, so I finally just took a couple of months and let it grow out fully, shaved it, and repeated the cycle a few times. (Of course, I was also in my early twenties at the times, so it may have just been my body maturing, but I know other folks who have said the same thing.)

I've also learned that many women will only tolerate a beard when it's well-trimmed. After a lot of different tries, I've found the Norelco T900 to be a good trimmer, especially since even if the battery's run out, you can still plug it in and use it while it's charging. (A lot of trimmers don't let you do that--you have to wait until they're fully charged again, and believe me, if you've just been told "Trim your beard right now before we go out to this party", you don't want that to happen.) It's also got a little pop-out mini-trimmer, so it handles both situations that clf mentions--I generally use the "2" setting on my sideburns and neckline, move up to "4" beneath my chin, and use "6" for the mouth\mustache area. (I keep my cheeks shaved.)

Probably the most important thing, especially in terms of looking well-groomed, is your upper lip...even if it's not really obvious, a clean line across the bottom of your mustache makes you look much crisper. Very often, even if I don't bother doing the whole beard, I'll trim that up before a business meeting, etc.
posted by LairBob at 10:50 AM on September 30, 2004


When I have a beard I open my mouth as far as it will go and shave right down the line made by the jaw bone. When you close your mouth the beard raps slightly under the jaw bone, but in a smooth straight line. Then I do under the chin to join the two sides up.
posted by putzface_dickman at 11:01 AM on September 30, 2004


i do the same thing as the previous post (but don't want to agree on beards with putzface_dickman ;-)
posted by Sean Meade at 7:26 PM on September 30, 2004


I have had a beard for years and think that the more natural it looks the better.

Keep the edges tidy but not straight, so maybe use a scissors rather than a beard trimmer. Don't worry about itch it will go, you only have to get over it once.

Growing a beard is great, but I would advise you go through a few grow/shave cycles to ensure thinkness unless you are a proper Grizzly Adams.

For me part of the point was not having to shave or bother and all that incidental trimming can take more time that a clean shave, I just tend to it one every 10 - 14 days and shampoo and condition it when I am doing my hair in the shower.

Why are you growing the beard?
posted by kenaman at 7:52 AM on October 1, 2004


Previous beard thread.
posted by Danelope at 8:56 AM on October 1, 2004


Probably the most important thing, especially in terms of looking well-groomed, is your upper lip...even if it's not really obvious, a clean line across the bottom of your mustache makes you look much crisper.

True, but from a female perspective, don't over-trim this area, men who cut the moustache part of their beard too short (i.e. so that the entire lip and even some non-lip skin shows) look like Ewoks.
posted by biscotti at 9:04 AM on October 1, 2004


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