Unless you're physically unable to (which is totally fine, no judgement here!), you should consider growing out a beard. At least that's the philosophy of Beardbrand founder Eric Bandholz, who believes that a beard not grown is a lost opportunity. "Growing a beard is a wonderful experience that I recommend all men try in their lives," he says. "If it's not for you, feel no worries about shaving it off—but you should try it."
Now, if you're game to give this whole facial hair thing a shot, Bandholz has some tips and recommendations that will ensure you do it right.
Tip No. 1: Watch Your Diet
The food and nutrients you eat influence the way your facial hair will look. "To have the best beard, you should start with a healthy diet and foods high in protein," Bandholz says. But if you have trouble keeping a balanced diet (you're busy, we get it) then add a supplement to your daily intake. "Beard-assisting supplements include biotin, fish oil, and multivitamins," he says.
Fun Fact: Hair is dead protein, so keep Bandholz's sentiment in mind: "If the protein lived a good life inside, then it will exist as good hair."
Tip No. 2: Use the Right Products
As your beard starts to grow, you can maintain its health with three key items: a wash, a conditioner, and a beard oil. "Beard care starts in the shower," Bandholz says. "You have to resist the urge to shampoo your beard every day, as shampoo puts a lot of strain on beards because it strips out natural oils." He suggests cleansing once or twice a week. "Always use conditioner after a wash," he adds.
Once that process is done, apply a beard oil that will hydrate and protect facial hair.
Fun Fact: Bandholz recommends not using moisturizers with alcohol as an ingredient because they can dehydrate the skin underneath.
Tip No. 3: Trim to Your Liking
"Your beard will grow about half an inch per month, so if you want to maintain a certain length, you will want to cut off that much every month," Bandholz says. When doing it yourself be cognizant of the natural shape in which your beard grows.
Fun Fact: Research a barber before you decide to let them trim your beard. "It's best to find a barber that trims beards regularly—generally speaking, if they have beard trim on their list of services they probably do a fair amount of trimming," Bandholz says. If you still have some doubts, Bandholz suggests consulting the president of your local beard club—if one of those exists in your town (a simple Google search will quickly help you figure out that little quandary).
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