The key to staying in-tune, is knowing where to show up. For Sons of Hollis, that means seeking the spaces to find black men with personal care problems and share our solutions. Some are looking for answers in private Facebook groups while some are hopeful to get insight from forums like Quora and Reddit, only to be let down by an empty thread of generic responses to their big question: “I just started growth journey, how do I manage to keep my beard on point?”
A growing number of black men struggle to understand what to do when growing out their beards. There’s nothing worse than an itchy, unkempt beard and this seems to be the norm for most guys in the early phase of beard growth.
Knowing that this is a problem for so much of our customer family, we put together some tips to help with your new beard. Ready? Ok, let’s keep it real.
Hygiene, first and foremost fellas
Hygiene and skin care play a very important role here. Whether you notice it or not, on average, we touch our face at least 20 times per hour. This leads to germs, bacteria, dirt and debris build up on your face (and under your beard) that causes irritation to your skin. You can reduce itchiness by using a face cleanser to get rid of daily build-up and a deep scrub exfoliator to cleanse your pores. Some men tend to skip this step, but it’s the foundation for growing a healthy beard.
You might be reading this and saying to yourself “wow, I need to wash my face to grow a decent looking beard?” Meanwhile, the skeptics are reading this and thinking “f*ck that, I don’t wash my face that often and my beard is growing just fine”. Both can be true. What we want both sides to understand is bad skin does a great job of hiding itself under a full beard, especially for black and brown men with coarse and curly beards.
If you don’t have a wash regimen, a few things can happen:
- Your pores can become clogged resulting in the development of serious acne.
- Your skin could also experience a combination of severe dryness and irritation from the lack of hydration.
- Your skin can generally appear dirty, oily, greasy and significantly aged.
- Your skin becomes so itchy, you constantly scratch your face and cause breaks in your skin resulting in infection.
This isn’t fear mongering because we want you to buy our products, its skin care 101. If your skin isn’t clean, it makes it much harder for any product on your face to work the way it’s intended. Bottom line: practice proper skin cleansing!
Read, Test & Repeat
Your skin is essentially your fingerprint. It’s unique and you need to understand it before applying products. Make sure you thoroughly read and understand the ingredients in the products you use. Remember this simple proverb we live by, “if you can’t pronounce it, think twice before using it for your face.”
Knowing your skin type also makes it easier to choose products that have the right mix of ingredients for your beard growth (and if you don’t believe us, just ask the women in your life, they will never steer you wrong). When looking at ingredients, consider the benefits. Ask and understand what these products will do for your skin/hair type. Ingredients such as coconut oil, castor oil, argan oil, jojoba oil and vitamin E oil all have very unique softening, thickening and anti-clogging benefits.
Stay away from pore clogging ingredients like lanolin (stuff found in Vaseline) and cocoa butter, even though they’re found in a lot of products our families may swear by, they’re not so good for your beard.
Once you’ve tested how these products combine with your hair and skin, stick to them.
Let it take shape first then trim.
Just like your skin, no beard journey and shape are one in the same. Giving your beard the time to grow loosely and as full as possible is important to assess your growth patterns (including your underbeard and jaw line facial hair growth). Avoid sculpting as long as you can, we suggest waiting about 4-6 weeks before lining up your beard.
Once your beard reaches a desired length, begin by defining your beard neckline, trimming directly up to the Adam’s apple where your beard and neck meet. Then, proceed to round off the corners of your jawline just below your ears and trimming off the hair underneath.
Next, move on to defining the cheek line from your sideburns to your mustache, trimming as high as possible for a clean and crisp look. Finally, visit the upper mustache lip just under the nose and guide over your clippers with a pair of mustache scissors to keep a tight control on your trim.
As a best practice, do not trim away the full parts of your beard, instead, target straggly hairs and lightly pass over the ends of your beard with clippers or a pair of mustache scissors.
Build your shelf of products
For new beard growers, it’s necessary to have a sturdy beard kit. This is the last step to maintaining a healthy regimen.
First up, you’ll need a starter kit. This is your daily balm and oil bundle that works hand-in-hand to protect the health of your facial hair and skin while giving your beard a fresh, subtle smell. Use our wooden teeth comb to help spread your oil or balm evenly and smoothly across your face.
Next up, is a conditioner, which can be used less frequently than your starter kit. Conditioning your beard keeps it clean and soft. It’s the perfect softening agent that also replenishes your beard with the right balance of oils. It’s great for controlling frizz and helping with detangling.
Finally, what goes in your beard must be washed out, at some point. Our sulfate free, alcohol free beard wash (shampoo) is gentle, effective and helps clean underneath the beard.
The key to tying all this together is to be consistent. Do the education and know what you’re using. You owe it to yourself to not only buy the best products but to also know when a product is just not meant for you. Find your rhythm and stick close to your beard regimen, we promise, it’ll be well worth it.
Patience is Key
For novices in beard grooming the first tip and probably the most important tip is that you must practice patience. Beard growth is a natural process ultimately influenced by many factors, including hormone, testosterone, your environment, what you eat, and how well you sleep. Beard care products are designed to help foster your beard growth and help you reach your full potential but don't expect changes overnight.
Stay away from applying conventional shampoos and synthetic conditioners on your beard. With black men beard care and hair growth, it is better to go for natural products, as products with harsh chemicals can block the pores of the skin beneath your facial hair. These chemicals can slow down optimal hair growth.
Always spend the time to research the ingredients used for beard care products before using them. The few minutes of Googling ingredients can go a long way in your bread growth journey. In addition to safe oils and balms, make an intentional decision, and carefully choose the brushes and combs you use on your hair. Choose a brush or comb that will be gentle on your hair to avoid damage to your hair follicles, which can hamper your beard's growth.
Revamp Your Diet
A healthy and balanced diet goes a long way in facilitating your beard 's growth. Human hair is a protein called keratin. Hence, eating a protein-rich diet can significantly provide more building blocks for your body to give you more quality facial hair.
Other kinds of foods that help with hair growth or increase the quality of hair produced include food rich in Omega 3 Fatty acids and vitamins A, C, and E. You should also know that drinking at least eight glasses of water per day can increase blood circulation, making the nutrients in your blood available for your hair follicles to absorb for optimal hair nourishment and growth.
Get Some Rest
Unlike what Nas said sleep is not cousin of death. A good night's rest is a key part of healthy beard growth. Adequate sleep increases blood circulation to ensure that blood carrying nutrients gets to hair follicles for insufficient nourishment and growth. The bottom line, your hair follicles pick up food nutrients through your bloodstream better when you have regular and sufficient sleep.