How to make a beard work for you

Beards are more popular now than at any point in my modest existence. With a little effort they can make you look both manly and dignified. If mismanaged, however, all the confidence in the world can’t make you wear it well. Here are 6 keys to making a beard work for you.

Handsome beard image by Shutterstock

Be patient

There is a reason that beards are synonymous with manliness. It takes painstaking effort to grow one. You don’t have to repeatedly lift heavy objects or complete a mud-filled obstacle course. No, this challenge is far more difficult. The enemy? Itchiness. Unless you’re calling it quits at the five o’clock shadow, it’s going to take time to reach your peak facial forestation. Within two weeks you will be scratching your neck so hard that you could pass for an extra in Requiem for a Dream. Don’t give up. Rocky didn’t throw in the towel for Apollo, so why should you? OK, maybe that’s a bad example.

Keep it kempt

Growing a beard requires more than simply waiting around for it to appear. You have to maintain its shape and uniformity during the entire growing process. Assuming you’re not going straight from puberty to full-blown beard, you probably have a good idea where your facial hair can and can’t grow. If you lack the facial fortitude to connect the mustache to the beard, don’t allow rogue tweener hairs to go unshaven. Much like a combover, adding length won’t fool anyone. Shave the sparse hairs with a razor like one from the Axe Schick line or else you’ll just look like a creep.

Keep it clean

You’re bound to get food on your face eventually. It’s just a fact of wing-eating life. For the clean shaven man this isn’t a problem. A simple napkin will do the trick. That isn’t going to suffice for a macho man like yourself. Sure you can get the visible sauce off, but you know that a decent amount just got pushed deep into your face-thicket. As the poet DJ Assault once said, “You need soap and water.” When you’re in the shower, stop making crossed-arm waterfalls for a minute and scrub that beard. The only reason there isn’t a family of birds nesting in James Harden’s beard is because he ensures that it stays clean.
Dress well

Dress Well

The danger of growing a beard is that you get confused for a hobo or hipster, which are only daddy’s credit card apart. Balance is the key to being a presentable member of society while sporting facial hair. Zach Galifianakis is a perfect example of how dressing well and keeping your hair in check can make or break the look. He can either tell the jokes or be the joke entirely based on how he presents himself. You don’t have to wear a suit to look responsible, but will have to dress nicer than your baby-faced counterpart.

Awful beard image by Shutterstock

Know when you’re bested

I regret to inform you that the world isn’t fair. Some men aren’t blessed with the ability to grow a beard. Sure you may have facial hair, but that isn’t always enough. If your jaw line looks like Homer’s head or the first adjective that comes to mind is “scraggly,” it’s not meant to be. There’s no shame in wearing a clean face. Just be sure you keep it that way because there’s nothing appealing or manly about a few lonely hairs.

Prepare to be single

Women love a man with a beard up until the moment they lean in for a kiss. Sure you look like a million bucks, but what’s the point of attracting the opposite sex if they want nothing more than eye candy from your van? While I can’t speak for all women, my unscientific research of female friends shows that most would much rather their boyfriend not have a beard regardless of how it looks. Some even went so far as to say they would demand a man shave once things started to get serious. While that seems extreme, be prepared for possible ultimatum: “It’s me or the beard.”