Growing your beard is like passing through a membrane--initially it's a struggle but when you finally emerge, you're inextricably changed (and maybe a tad gooey). I've had the most recent incarnation of my face fuzz since November and fall in love with it more every day as I go for the yeard. A yeard is what culminates on one's face after a 12-month commitment of unconstrained whisker growing. If I had a time machine, I wouldn't go back to high school to un-ask Susan Blake to that prom where they served the bad halibut. No, I'd set the dial for Halloween day of this year to revel in my face, if I can even see it.
You know how you buy a new car and suddenly start seeing the same model everywhere? It's the same with a beard. Your beard sensing mechanism kicks into overdrive and when you walk into a room of strangers, you just feel that there's a beauty of a beard waiting to meet ya. As it turns out, the company I work for currently has a number of beardsmen in its mist. That I like to see. What I don't like is the lack of quality tools some of these guys are employing on their beard journey.
Like all worthy endeavors, upkeeping your growing whisker bush is simple but requires consistency. Y'all just need three things: combs, oil, and pills.
- Beard comb. But not just any one. I've seen the manglers that some guys are running through their beards, and I recoil. A buddy of mine said his actually catches and rips out two to three whiskers per session. Holy shit, people. Those 99-cent, unbreakable combs from your youth have no place here. Nor does anything you spot at the counter of your local Sally's Beauty Supply (no offense to Sally--she's great). No, you need one of the fine comb offerings from Kent. Reason enough would be the cool tortoise shell color. But what's even better is that the teeth are rounded at the end. The end result is that each whisker gets a gentle hug that releases its natural oils and butters.
- Oil, maybe wax. This is a biggie, people. If you stick past the two-month or so stage, the beard starts to look a little...rascally...flyaway...unkempt. It's usually then that significant others start to raise objections, if they haven't already. What I've learned in retrospect is that they're actually right about the fact that your beard isn't looking quite as awesome as you think it is. I know this because at that point, I had the good sense and/or dumb luck to buy Mundus Beard Conditioner from Jennifer Mundus' Etsy store. This stuff is going to turn your s.o. around. My wife loves the scent of it, and it tames my beard in the most delightful way. I even had a buddy of mine say that my beard now glistens when the sun hits it. Damn right, it does. I ended up buying a second bottle just to have at work because I found myself transporting the first one back and forth. Yeah, it's that good.
- Performance enhancements. I'm not talking anything crazy here, just good old fashioned supplements that probably have a lot of other benefits for your body that I really don't care about as long as my whiskers benefit. And I can tell you that what they benefit from is a good multi vitamin, biotin, zinc, and 6,000 mgs of fish oil capsules. Yep, I down six of those huge gel caps every day just to keep the growth a-goin'.
There's other lengths one can go to--cold showers that boost the metabolism (brrrrr), cardiovascular exercise to boost testosterone production (pass)--but the above have the least impact on one's day-to-day. This is a call to arms, fellas. Don't use a musket when an AK-47's available.