Beard and Shaving basics for men

So you want to enter a beard competition huh?

Men have facial hair for a reason, and at our former beard championship we wanted to express the awesomeness of facial hair and how such a physical asset can bring together men from all walks of life. A new New York beard championship may be in the horizon, so we’re keeping this site for the time being as a memoir to the bearded men of America and those who were in our beards championship.

How do you actually grow a beard?

This is a question that we have gotten so many times as most guys when they know of a beard championship occurring nearby, they will want to join in. While this is all fine, you must be aware that growing a decent beard, grooming it with beard products and taking care of it with beard oils is more than just casually growing the hair for a couple of weeks. To illustrate this point, let’s talk about the famous hipster beard with the shaggy facial hair and the hipster haircut like the undercut hairstyle or whatever is the latest hairstyle trend with hipsters. This is not what you want to go in into a beard championship, as the hipster beard is nothing but an inch or two of badly groomed facial hair.

For the record we do not have anything against the hipster beard style. A beard is a beard and we welcome any bearded men regardless of their chosen style. It’s just that it hasn’t been the first time we have been contacted by a hipster wanting to participate in the championship, but when we tell him that he needs a longer beard, he will complain of how his beard style is trendy and he is not willing to give that up. That’s the kind of attitude that separates the kids playing with beards from the men growing beards.

To qualify for a beard championship, you will usually have a length limit to surpass. In ours it was two inches although it depends on which category you enter. There are lot of beard styles that make up the categories of the championship, and let me say again that a hipster beard is not such a championship category!

Growing more of the beard

Grow your beard from the same length all around, and only trim and shape once you achieve your ideal length, whether it is for your personal joy or to satisfy the requirements of a championship. Starting from a shaved length, a two inch beard can take you some 4 months to grow, and the journey will test your patience. This is why we recommend having a serious thought about entering a beard championship since you will be attached to your beard for the many months ahead.

I will list the championship categories in another moment as this post is more about the general aspect of having a beard that you can then decide to show at a championship. Most beard categories, however, do require you to sport a beard type that is not usual and more like eccentric. If you feel that having a custom beard style that turns heads isn’t something you’d be up for, then you have no place in a beard championship as the nature of all contestants is that they truly enjoy having a beard.

Beard grooming products and facial hair care oils

The range of beard products available is way lower than the range of products available for head hair. This is a reality although you can use most head hair products on your beard.

A beard oil bottle for softer facial hair

The main products for beards are conditioners, oils, combs and waxes. There are several brands of beard products that are out of scope of this post. However you can consult the different facial hair and beard forums like the Men’s Hair Forum for beard products and beard growing advice. That forum in particular is where most of the facial hair discussions are taking place and they have plenty of discussions of facial hair products. I will give you a quick glance on the beard products I’ve listed above so that you can have a foundation of the products that you can use once you decide your path into the world of growing facial hair!

Beard conditioners

Beard conditioners are like regular conditioners only that the conditioners for beard are a bit stronger since facial hair is thicker and harder. The conditioner works to soften your facial hair and to maintain the good looks of your beard. Use it a couple of times a week. Leave the conditioner on for a minute or two and then rinse.

Beard oils

Beard oils are hair softeners that are used as your final touch in grooming your beard. These oils ar made of essential oils so they have a nice aroma and are pretty healthy for both your beard and your facial skin. Remember that your beard is as good as your facial skin and follicles are!

Beard comb

A beard comb is very important, just like a regular comb is for head hair. Your facial hair will have a tendency to gro in different directions depending on the segment of the beard. Think of it as cowlicks for your head hair. So a facial hair comb is needed to keep your beard looking good and groomed evenly.

Beard wax

Beard wax is like regular styling wax in that this type of wax allows you to style your facial hair in different directions. Beard wax is used extensively in our competitions and the many other beard competitions throughout the world as this product really works to style the face’s hair into any type you want.

The moment of shaving the beard with all that thick facial hair

The moment will come when you will shave the beard. Some guys do keep on growing their beards for decades, but most beard categories require a beard style that simply puts one into a single style which then limits any other beard style you may want to wear in the future. Thus the best way is to simply shave the beard off and start again for an even beard that you can then trim and clip to enter again a beard competition.

Merkur shaving razor for men

The problem here is that just as you grew your beard with care, you must shave it off with care. Don’t just shave your beard like you’d shave some stubble and instead go with the old shaving method known as wet shaving that uses a good sharp razor with a good shaving cream and a good aftershave. Check the link as it’s a guide on wet shaving and also from the guys at Men’s Hair Forum. If you ever have doubts on how to grow your beard or even how to shave, then use their forum as it’s the only grooming forum so far that I’ve found that has good advice and not stupid advice.

Why use the wet shaving method to shave your beard? Because you will be using a good razor that is time tested to be sharp and smooth to handle. This is essential to shaving your beard. I do recommend first though to cut some length with some shears, so if you have a beard length beyond 4 inches, then trim the facial hair first with shears, then use the razor. Don’t use a disposable razor or yuppy cartridge razors, they won’t cut through the thick facial hair. You need a really sharp blade that only manufacturers like Merkur can make, and hence the advice to use the wet shaving method to shave your beard!

Once you have shaved your beard, you can continue using the wet shaving method. That’s if you would rater remain clean shaven for the time being instead of growing those whiskers of yours again. Just like having a bushy thick beard, the art of wet shaving is a manly activity that will have you remembering the times when men were real men and not hipsters.

Mike