There’s a certain allure that comes both with the idea of growing a beard, and with actually being able to rock a fully formed style that fits you. It’s not something you can fake – it takes a combination of ideal genetics, grooming, and products to form your beard into something to be envied.
Luckily, we can help.
First things first, you have to understand that black men have specific needs when it comes to skincare and hair growth. If you’re using the same sort of products or methods designed for the general population, you’re ultimately hurting your beard goals. You want to use products specifically designed for black hair and skin to optimize your results.
Here are a few of the things holding us back while trying to perfect our facial hair:
Problems Black Men Face with Beard Growth
1. Patchy Beards
Having patch facial hair grow (spots growing at irregular rates) is a very common issue that black men report while trying to grow out their facial hair.
It can get annoying, especially when you can see how much better your beard would look if it would just grow in a few more spots. Instead, you’ve got a sloppy mess that makes it look like you’re not even a part of civilized society.
2. Irritation while shaving
There is actually a specific condition for black men called Pseudofolliculitis barbae which is described as a “persistent irritation caused by shaving”.
It’s so bad for black men that Domino’s Pizza was found guilty of excluding black men from employment just for having a blanket policy of not allowing employees to have beards. Irritation for black men shaving is so bad that the legal system agrees that it shouldn’t be required.
3. Ingrown Hairs
Black men are more prone to developing ingrown hairs, due in part to our thick, curly hair. As we shave them down, they are more likely to grow back into our skin and cause inflammation, pain, and bumps around the area.
By the way, ingrown hairs on the whole are most commonly experienced by black men shaving. Just another reason why it’s important to acknowledge the difference in how our hair grows compared to other guys.
4. Itchy Beards
Then there’s itchiness. One thing that’s important to note is that an itchy beard can be a side-effect of everything we noted above, or it can be caused by other, more general issues (such as dead skin cells or food particles stuck in hair, or a lack of proper hair care).
The fact that the issues that black men face specifically can contribute to itchiness, plus the regular causes that all men with beards face, means that overall we’re more prone to itchiness. In some cases it can get so bad that men give up on their beard growth journey entirely.
So we’ve touched on some of the main culprits for the issues that black men face while trying to grow out their facial hair. Now that you understand our struggles for facial growth in particular, it’s time to delve into some of the solutions to these problems that will overall improve your beard.
Solving Beard Growth for Black Men
- Alleviating Patchy Beards
A patchy beard is one of the most common issues black men face with growing out their beards and is faced by other men as well. However, the solutions here are quite accessible:
First off, patience is going to be a big factor in eliminating patchy beards. Sometimes the patches in your beard aren’t spots where hair doesn’t grow, just spots where hair grows slower.
Picking a point to maintain your beard length at (short or long) and then giving yourself time to see if the patchiness fills out solves the problem for a good chunk of black men.
Beyond that – eating healthy (think vitamins and nutrients that are known to promote hair growth, such as Vitamin D and Vitamin E) can help a lot.
Lastly, finish off with a proper grooming routine for your beard. Use high quality beard products designed for black men, and make sure you brush/comb your hair properly.
2. Calming Irritation While Growing Your Beard
The sheer amount of irritation black men suffer while shaving is unique to us, but one of the ways to reduce the inflammation is similar to the way you deal with patchy beard growth – patience.
Letting your beard grow is an effective way to reduce the odds and ability of your hair to grow back into your skin (which leads to the irritation resulting in Pseudofolliculitis barbae). If you’ve developed a regular shaving regimen, try reducing how often you shave.
People have also seen good results with changing to different razor types and shaving gels – make sure you use ones specifically formulated with black men in mind. The beard products you choose and their quality has a huge impact on your overall experience.
3. Reducing Ingrown Hairs
This actually goes hand-in-hand with reducing irritation, since both are related to ingrown hairs. That means that much of the same techniques will help here – applying patience and letting your hair grow out, changing the type of razors you use and the shaving gel/cream you apply, and engaging in a grooming regimen designed for black men.
One thing that’s particularly noted is how shaving against the grain can lead to more ingrown hairs. You’re shaving against the natural direction of your hair growth, which causes shifting in hair follicles which promotes ingrown hairs. Not only that, but you’re also increasing the chance of getting razor burn and damaged hair follicles, which would impede beard growth.
Instead, if you need a close shave, go across the grain.
4. Stopping Itchiness
The last piece of the puzzle for black men. Following the previous 3 steps will result in a natural decrease in itchiness, but you’ll still have to deal with surface level itchiness that’s most often caused by grooming issues.
You’re going to need to engage in cleaning your beard, treating your beard, and conditioning your beard to make sure that any surface causes of itchiness are eliminated.
For cleaning and washing, make sure you use chemical-free shampoos formulated for black men. For treating your beard, you’re going to want to take vitamins that promote hair growth and health while following our advice above to make sure you’re properly using techniques your hair best responds to. Lastly, finish up with deep conditioners designed for black hair.
Most of the problems black men face while searching for optimal beard growth come from not understanding and dealing with the problems unique to our specific hair. Once you understand and tackle these problems properly, the path to an awesome beard opens up.
If you’re looking to purchase optimal hair products designed specifically for black men, check out our catalog – all of our products are natural and formulated specifically for black men and the needs of our hair.