For about 5 years now, I have proudly sported a beard. I am not sure why, but for most of my beard growing life, I kept myself clean shaven. It’s odd, because I grow a nice full black beard. (All black except for the new grey guys that are moving in. No biggie.) Maybe it was because I didn’t know how to trim and take care of a beard. Maybe it was just easier to cut it all off. I had to start shaving in 8th grade, so maybe I was just used to it. Either way, this is the short story of my beard.
My Journey To A Better Face
When I met my wife, Abby, she pretty much took away the option to grow any kind of facial hair. “If we are going to date, just know that I don’t like facial hair.” That’s probably one of the first things she told me. I didn’t argue. I chose girlfriend over beard.
We dated for a couple of years, and I shaved every day. By the time we got engaged, I still hadn’t considered growing the beard. I had, however, grown my hair out really long. It was crazy curly, so I had a pretty nice “Jew-fro” going on. The Buddy Holly glasses and long hair were kinda my gimmick for a while.
Now, fast forward to about 4-5 years after we got married. The hair was shorter but still curly. I had also put on a few extra pounds and my face was rapidly growing extra chins. Abby was still staunchly anti-facial hair, but I was tired of looking at that face. (The face in the 2010 square below. Seriously, look at that poor goober.)
I wanted to grow a beard, so I devised a plan. Abby’s new career as a public speaker kept her on the road constantly. Sometimes, she would be gone for 5-10 days at a time. That’s plenty of time for a 32 year old Italian guy to grow a full beard. When Abby came home and saw my facial addition, she asked,”What’s going on with that face?”
“I’m trying something.” I replied.
She squinted her eyes, cocked her head, and said, “Hmmmmm. I think I’ll let this happen…for now.”
A few days after that conversation, she told me I could keep the beard. Her only requirement was that I had to buy some trimmers to keep it short. “No long ZZ-Top or Duck Dynasty beards!! Got it?!” I heard her loud and clear.
Once the beard was an established look, things started changing for me. Bar tenders were getting my beer to me faster. Co-workers suddenly thought I was smarter, and my students thought I was tougher. I felt the need to wear more flannel shirts and buy boots. Strangers would strike up conversations with me just to complement me on my beard. But most importantly, I had covered up all those extra chins. I had hidden the ugly.
The funny part about this whole story is that my wife went from,
“You can never have facial hair!”
“You better not shave that off!!”
How I Take Care of It
I kept my beard pretty short for about 2 years. Eventually I decided it was time to let it grow a little longer and see what happens. What happened? Nothing really. It just got longer. Abby didn’t love it, but I preferred the longer looking beard. I would let it go to a certain point then trim it again because it would get unmanageable. I really wanted to see how long I could get it. The problem was I had no idea that you have to take care of your beard if you want to grow it out.
Originally, I was using my wife’s shampoo and conditioner on my beard. Not only did it not tame my beard, but I also smelled like a fruit basket. Go figure, my beard hair is not the same as the hair on my wife’s head. I started doing a little research and found a few essential beard products. First I bought a beard balm that I really like. Soon after that that MenEssentials contacted me and asked if I would be interested in trying a few products. All I had to do was give them a little shout out on my blog. No brainer, right? So I asked for some beard wash and something for my hair that didn’t smell too perfumy. I wanted stuff that MEN use.
They sent me a beard wash, hair cement, and some free gummy bears. That’s right, I said free gummy bears!! First I’ll talk about the hair cement (Layrite). It works fantastically. I can put it in wet or dry and it has a good hold. Best of all, it doesn’t look crunchy or stiff and it doesn’t have a scent. Plus, you only need a tiny amount. My hair is short, so this little container should last me forever.
The beard wash? (Bluebeard) I will be using this stuff for the rest of my life. The first time I used it I noticed a difference. It used to take me 5-plus minutes to put my beard balm in, get each hair in place, trim the stragglers, and fix the flat spots. Now, it takes me seconds to put my beard balm in and shape it out. It’s perfect!! Even Abby likes how well-kempt and shiny it looks.
Here is the moral of the story. With a great beard comes great responsibility. If you or someone you love is struggling with their facial hair needs, I suggest going to MenEssentials and seeing how they can help you. They have plenty of products to keep you looking sharp. You only get one face. Make the best of it!!
“The beard signifies the courageous; the beard distinguishes the grown men, the earnest, the active, the vigorous. So that when we describe such, we say, he is a bearded man.”