Getting my goat
August 15, 2005 2:51 PM   Subscribe

I'd like to grow a goatee, but it drives me crazy.

The longest I've been able to go is three weeks. By then the itching is terrible, and I actually get little red rashes on my upper lip. What's going on? My beard is not very thick, though the individual hairs are kind of bristley - certainly more so than my thin head-hair.

So . . . any tips for making this process go more smoothly? Because I look damn good with a goatee.
posted by _sirmissalot_ to Grab Bag (15 answers total)
Are you really trying to grow a goatee, or are you trying to grow a van dyke? My grammar nazi senses are tingling (sure, it's a termonology issue, but they're wide-ranging senses). A goatee has no hair above the lip. The van dyke is the beard, sans-cheeks.

You may want to try a regular hair conditioner. It makes your face a little more oily, as conditioners are typically just a combination of oil and wax, but the end result is a much softer and more manageable beard.

I'd suggest one without a lot of smell, as applying that under your nose means you're going to have a mono-olfactory day.
posted by thanotopsis at 3:02 PM on August 15, 2005

You need to just wait it out. Part of growing facial hair is having to endure the period where your face feels like it's crawling with maggots.
posted by greasy_skillet at 3:02 PM on August 15, 2005

Response by poster: By golly, it's a van dyke I'm trying to sprout then.
posted by _sirmissalot_ at 3:05 PM on August 15, 2005

As was suggested by bradth27 in this AskMe, try Gold Bond Extra Strength Medicated Moisturizing Body Lotion. It's amazing for those itchy beard rashes.
posted by agropyron at 3:11 PM on August 15, 2005

It took me a number of starts to go from baby faced to van dyke and thence from van dyke to full beard. Usually I'd go until I reached the crazy stage and then shave it back a bit. The repetition seemed to dull the effects.

I don't know about hair conditioner per se, but I've found that anything you can get your hands on that would work as a "beard dressing" generally makes the process go a bit more smoothly. I typically have Burt's Bees Lemon Cuticle Balm laying around (for I find that having sissy-soft cuticles a boon in typing) and that in small doses keeps the beard lying in a uniform, non-itchy direction.

The skin problem could be follicitus but is likely the irritation that the now-moving hairs are creating upon unaccustomed skin. A goot hot-water wash morning & evening will likely do wonders for this and the itchiness.
posted by Ogre Lawless at 3:12 PM on August 15, 2005

Yep, you're just going to have to wait it out. Moisturize, as has been suggested, and get thee hence to a drugstore to get anything with salicylic acid in it (think Neutrogena). That'll do wonder for those red bumps, I promise.
posted by Specklet at 3:19 PM on August 15, 2005

posted by billysumday at 3:32 PM on August 15, 2005

Response by poster: You shoulda seen it, billy. I swear I'm going to moisturize and scrub and wait it out this time.

It's me versus it. I'm going to kick my van dyke's ass.
posted by _sirmissalot_ at 3:39 PM on August 15, 2005

Wash face with soap. Then wash beard with shampoo. Really rub that shampoo in: exfoliate.

As has been said, it will still itch for a while, but unless you've really messed up your under-van-dyke skin pH (see above advice to avoid this), the itching should be long gone by three weeks.
posted by bricoleur at 3:39 PM on August 15, 2005

If I wash mine with soap or shampoo, the rash gets really bad. The main thing that works for me is to wash well with a hot washcloth, then use Gold Bond on any redness that may appear.
posted by agropyron at 4:21 PM on August 15, 2005

Oh, and it's worth noting that other moisturizing lotions also usually make it worse. Gold Bond is the only one I've found that works for me.
posted by agropyron at 4:22 PM on August 15, 2005

Response by poster: It's funny, the itching was pretty much gone by the end of week two, but then the hairs were getting long enough to tickle the edges of my lips and pretty soon all hell broke loose. This is when the little red rashes started appearing under my nose and one on the side of my mouth. They kind of itched but mainly hurt. I'm hoping this Gold Bond is really miracle in a bottle.
posted by _sirmissalot_ at 4:29 PM on August 15, 2005

Are you really trying to grow a goatee, or are you trying to grow a van dyke?

So is pubic hair actually a... nah, I can't say it. Ask MetaFilter is for serious answers. And therefore, I refer you to this picture of Sir Anthony van Dyck, original bearer of the beard you hope to grow, and to eHow's How to Avoid Razor Burn.
posted by pracowity at 2:32 AM on August 16, 2005

I know this place isn't for jokes, but I read that as 'I want to grow a Goatse' first time round.
posted by lunkfish at 5:53 AM on August 16, 2005

_sirmissalot_, I'm right there with you: just starting to grow it back out. (And I call it a goatee too, though now I'm going to be all self-conscious and thinking of Mary Tyler Moore.) I had a bit of a flaky-skin red spot at one point last time I was bearing chin hair; this has been food for thought.

original bearer of the beard you hope to grow

Well, I doubt that's precisely true.
posted by cortex at 2:03 PM on August 16, 2005

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