Here’s the thing: I thought I couldn’t grow a beard. Thought there just wasn’t one in there. Turns out, I was wrong.
My friend Brian grew a beard when we were in college, and I was always jealous of it. I thought of the years when my dad wore a beard (to this day, he’s in a never-ending cycle of grow and shave) and how good he looked. I thought it would suit my style and my face. I just thought it wasn’t in me. And between TV, Put This On and touring, it was hard to find time to try anything out.
Then, one evening late last year, I came to a realization: it was almost Thanksgiving. I hadn’t shaved in a week or so, out of sheer laziness, and I wasn’t shooting anything or going anywhere for months. I had some room to try something. So I literally typed “Beard Forum” into the search box on my browser, and I clicked on something called “The Beard Board.” It was as I had suspected: there were beard nerds.
My goal was to find whether the amount of hair that seemed to be coming out of my face might form a credible beard. I looked at a lot of beard nerds’ faces on a thread called (not a joke) “Beard Journey Archive.” What I learned surprised me.
I’d grown out my facial hair for a couple weeks at a time, on vacation and the like, and been disappointed by the results. The one thing the beardthusiasts hammered over and over, though, was that it doesn’t take weeks to know if you can grow a beard. It takes months.
Which is awkward, and embarrassing, and weird. But I figured I might as well give it a shot, so I’d know. And lo and behold, two and a half months later, I had a pretty credible beard. I’m no Brian Wilson (baseball or music), but I like the results.
I’m still very much a beardginner, but here’re a few secrets I’ve learned along the way:
- Growing a beard takes months. Like two or three of them. Give it time before you decide if you like the results.
- It will look awkward for a while. If you can’t take the heat, stay out of the kitchen.
- Don’t shave the neckline too high. Nobody wants to be a weird neckbeardo, but the inclination to shave up to the jawline is all wrong. Give yourself about two fingers width above your Adam’s apple.
- Condition for softness. I use hair conditioner on my beard in the shower, and when I dry off, I use a beard oil. Mine smells nice, like bay lime.
- You will get food in it. Not one beardo I have talked to has a solution for this problem. C’est la vie en beard.
- Every beard is different. You might not get the beard you want or the beard you imagined. Be prepared.