Note: So normally my posts are about spiritual things, encouraging songs or Bible verses or convicting passages, even sometimes touching on music. This is none of those things.
I was having a conversation with my brother today about facial hair – which happens once in a while – and he said that my beard was “solid.” It wasn’t the best beard he’s ever seen, apparently, which is slightly insulting, but, no matter.
When I was in high school and even into college, a beard seemed to be a sign of masculinity, being a man. So I would grow one as often as I could and leave it as long as possible before my mom complained or I just felt like getting rid of it. I still think beards can be very masculine, but it doesn’t make you a man.
Anyways, I’ve gotten many compliments on my bearding skills over the years – and a couple over the last few days, that’s why this is so fresh in my mind – and I wanted to share my tips for growing a perfectly adequate, apparently “solid” beard. This applies to people who have beards that are grown and that they keep, not for those who shave every day.
1) Trim often.
This cannot, I repeat, CANNOT be overlooked if you want to grow a “solid” beard. I shudder sometimes when I see facial hair creep up the cheeks or down the neck in an unruly, un-groomed manner. There’s a difference between being a “mountain man” and a “live-in-the-woods-with-no-running-water mountain man.”
Guys, for real, take the time to trim. The advantage to trimming is that you can shape your beard how you like. No one wants to see those nasty neards. They’re not cool. I can’t emphasize how much. Also, cheeards are no fun either. The cleaner it looks, the better it is.
I trim once every two or three days. All it requires is taking a razor and just shaving the neck and cheek areas to remove any hairs that have started to grow. Maybe you need to do this every day. It’s 100 percent worth it.
2) Wash it. Every day. Twice a day.
This also cannot, I repeat, CANNOT be overlooked if you intend to grow a “solid” beard. Having nastyness hanging off your face is no fun for anybody. For you, it’s like smelling a sweaty sock all day. For your significant other, imagine trying to kiss with that junk in the way. For your other family, friends and co-workers, it’s just really unseemly.
Every time you shower – which I hope is at the least once-a-day, preferably twice – wash your beard like you wash your hair on top of your head. Get some good shampoo and scrub it. Get your fingers in there. You don’t know what might have nested within the thickets of facial hair.
I cannot emphasize this more. I do this every time I take a shower. It might be hard to remember at first, but just remember all the people who will suffer if you don’t. Including you. Friendly reminder: don’t forget the mustache. It’s just worth it.
3) Make sure the hair (or lack thereof) on the top of your head doesn’t clash.
The whole picture has to look like a Monet, not a Picasso. This isn’t really that hard to do, but you’ve got to be careful. There was one year I kind of shaved and left a goatee around Christmas time, but I hadn’t had a haircut in a long time. It looked real ratchet. And I don’t use the word “ratchet” lightly. I hate looking at pictures from that Christmas. It scares me to think I could be that silly.
You can really make just about any hairstyle work with a perfectly “solid” beard. If you need help making sure, ask someone, anyone who has ever seen a beard before. They should be able to tell you what the deal is. This is just like not wearing stripes with plaid. No beards with mohawks. No. Just don’t. Sorry Brian Wilson, just no.
4) BONUS: If necessary, comb/brush.
This might sound a little silly, but no use coming into work or going on that date with hairs strewn all over the place. What does that really accomplish? Will it give you that rugged look? Perhaps. But what good does that do if you’ve got a piece of hair sticking straight at your date’s face? People seem to like 3D, but not with your “solid” beard.
So use that brush or comb in the morning. A well-groomed “solid” beard is complete when the hairs are straight and in-place. Again, this might ruin the whole “mountain man” idea. But let’s be honest for a minute about “mountain men.” They’re in the mountain by themselves because no one wants to spend a lot of time with someone who’s got a nasty beard!
Well, I hope you soaked in my tips. Those of you who have “solid” beards like mine or wish to one day get there, I wish you well in your quest. I don’t promise to have all the answers, and I definitely don’t have as much experience as some, but I hope this will help you.
Perhaps the best example of a “solid” beard I’ve seen is Drew Holcomb from the band Drew Holcomb & The Neighbors.
Oh, to have that kind of beard. It’s not over-the-top, it’s just beautiful.
Note: When I started writing this post, I had a beard. I no longer have a beard. Sometimes, to be honest with you, when that beard starts getting out of control, is to start over.