Lately, I have been trying to get my tools organized. Doing handyman work and building houses for Habitat for Humanity, I do a variety of tasks from carpentry to plumbing and electrical. Each of these trades has its own tools that make the job much easier. Over the years I have accumulated quite a few tools. When one has many tools, eventually, one needs to arrange those tools in a way that allows for easy access and functionality. I have experimented with various tool setups–boxes, bags, buckets, bins, wraps, tossed loosely into the back seat of my truck, etc., etc., etc. Over time, I have improved my organization. While not perfect, my system today is much better than the one I used last year and far better than the one I used five years ago.
So, you say, what does this have to do with growing a beard?
Well, I’m glad you asked.
Much like accumulating tools and formulating storage and retrieval systems for them, growing a beard and determining the best method for caring for your own beard is learned over time. Each of us is unique and our beards grow (or don’t) in ways particular to us–cowlicks, thin patches, curls, color and other characteristics. We must learn how to deal with these for ourselves. Trial and error are necessary to learn what works for us. Bad beard and mustache days will abound, but in the end, hopefully, we will find our way. And those glorious days when we look in the mirror and see orderly and kingly facial hair, ahh, those make all of the struggles worth it.
As I write this on December 21, 2018, I have the longest beard I have ever had. This beard started in July 2017 and has become a very impressive long beard if I do say so myself. During this time I have learned a few things about growing a beard and some strategies for dealing with long beards. For instance, I used to never blow dry my hair. Now I recognize the importance of blow-drying for helping control long, sometimes unruly mustache and beard hair. I used to think that putting beard oil in my mustache before adding mustache wax was a bad idea. Now I realize that having a little beard oil in the ‘stache allows the wax to spread more evenly in the mustache hair. The jury is still out on whether a long ‘stache or short ‘stache is the way to go. Theoretically, once the mustache gets long enough, it can be styled away from the mouth. I’m having a particularly difficult time getting through the growing out phase and still struggle with mustache hairs getting in my food and drink. While some folks have seemingly perfect styles, mine is all over the place. Some days it does pretty well, but some days I’m ready to pluck dozens of hairs that JUST WON’T COOPERATE.
Don’t be afraid to experiment with new strategies and products. Before getting frustrated and hacking back your beard or ‘stache, take a few days to cool down. Hacking back the growth may make you feel better immediately, but when you calm down and reflect on what you have done, that baby-faced fellow staring back in the mirror will, at best, look funny and, at worst, regret taking drastic action that will take months to undo. As with all major decisions in life, exercise patience and give lengthy consideration (at least a few days) before taking drastic action.
I will be putting out more info on long beard strategies in the next few days. Be on the lookout for that–probably will be a video. In the meantime, I hope everybody has a Merry Christmas, Happy Chanukah or whatever your thing is and a Happy New Year.
Thanks for spending time here. Please leave a comment below and share your experience in dealing with the challenges (or rewards) of beard and mustache growth.