If there’s one fad that has literally been taken for granted, it’s got to be No-Shave November. That’s when millions of men decide to ditch their barbers and grow out their whiskers for a few weeks or months. Problem is that when December 1st rolls around, most guys shave off their beards that they worked so hard to grow.
Sure, I’ll be the first to admit that maintaining a half-decent beard can be very hard, especially if you don’t know what you’re doing. When you reach a point where you begin to doubt the awesome power of the beard, you know that something is definitely wrong somewhere. But trust me fellas, you haven’t lived until you’ve sported a manly mane worthy of the gods; and it does come with benefits.
Apart from driving women crazy (they always want to run their fingers through my beard!), letting your face grow bushy, and beautiful hair officially takes you up a rung on the social ladder of manhood. But like I mentioned, perfection doesn’t come easy. Meticulous and continual maintenance is all part and parcel of growing an epic beard. A poorly groomed beard is not only a turn off, but it can also lower your self-esteem and make you wonder why you grew one in the first place.
Lucky for all you facially follicled fellas, I’ve brought in beard wearers from all over the world to share a little knowledge and help transform your unruly scruff into a ruggedly handsome piece of art. My panel of bearded gentlemen will also tell you what to expect from your beard and some of the most common problems associated with maintaining a full chin of hair.
Not to worry, they’ll also let you in on some trade secrets and personal products that make an ordinary beard irresistible. So grab a seat, kick your legs up and get ready to turn No-Shave November into an all year round lifestyle; because you’ve just landed on Olivia’s ultimate guide on everything you need to know about beards. But first, let’s take a walk back in time shall we?
Ancient Beard History
i) Mesopotamia – Mesopotamian men of semitic origin such as Assyrians, Babylonians and Akkadians devoted immense care to oiling and dressing their beards. They even used curling irons and tongs to create tiered patterns and elaborate ringlets.
ii) Egypt – From 300 TO 1580 BC the highest ranking Ancient Egyptians grew hair on their chins which was often hennaed (reddish brown) and sometimes plaited with interwoven gold threads. A metal false beard known as a postiche, which was a sign of sovereignty, was worn by kings and (occasionally) ruling queens.
iii) India – In ancient India, the beard was grown long as a symbol of wisdom and dignity.
iv) China – Confucius was known for holding the ideal that the human body was a gift from one’s parents and no alterations should be made to it. Aside from nonparticipation in body modifications such as tattoos and piercings, Confucians were also discouraged from cutting their hair, fingernails or beards. However, the extent people could actually comply with this ideal depended on their profession.
v) Greece – Ancient Greeks regarded a beard as a badge of virility with an almost sanctified significance
Top 8 Common Beard Problems
If you’ve been paying attention to the trend nowadays, growing a beard is no longer a style quotient for many men; it’s an all-out lifestyle. If we lived in a perfect world, then men would grow their whiskers with the utmost ease and without a care. Unfortunately, grooming this ultimate sign of manliness often invites a common set of issues. I’ve compiled some of the most common beard issues that you’ll likely face on your journey to perfection as well as how to solve them.
a) Itchy Beard
This is hands down the most common problem that beard wearers worldwide complain about. If you’re lucky, you’re bound to suffer the wrath of the itchy beard at one point or another. Not only can an itchy beard cause major irritation and discomfort, it can also be a huge put off from continuing your scruffy journey. In the early stages of growing, the itching can become unbearable prompting many a man to prematurely shave off their beards. The main causes of an itchy beard are usually negligence and uncombed hair to harsh products that people use.
b) Patchy Beard
Another common issue with trying to grow a beard is getting irregular, uneven patches of hair. This happens because some hair could be growing faster in some areas and slower in others. If you have a patchy beard, it’s most likely genetic so you can blame your old man for that. Similarly, dudes who are always butchering their first signs of facial hair will also have patchy beards. To combat this, you can keep the profile low to make the patches less visible.
c) Dry Skin and Beard Dandruff
Due to factors such as temperature, dust and humidity, there comes a time when your beard becomes dry and develops a touch texture. Suffering from dry skin under your beard can be an extremely irritating and even painful problem to have to deal with because it only compounds to the itching. And as if that wasn’t enough, you’re likely to get beard dandruff if the skin becomes too dry and flaky. Avoid using harsh chemicals on your beard and keep it well moisturized.
d) Smelly Beard
Just like your hair, the beard will also develop a stale smell if you don’t pay much attention to the grooming. If you neglect it, hair produces a particular scent that will make it uncomfortable for you in numerous situations (especially with the ladies). It’s the unwanted oil, dirt and sweat that cause facial hair to stink. Wash your beard often and neutralize the smell with nourishing oils and creams.
e) Tangled Beard
Don’t get me wrong, there are a lot of men that can pull off the sexy look that comes with a wild beard. However, take the untamed look too far and you end up looking unkempt, unprofessional and unhygienic. See, your facial hair becomes more and more difficult to manage as it gets thicker. To avoid excessive tangles, brush the beard regularly when wet with the help of a little essential oil.
f) Beard Acne
This just might be the most irritating part about growing a beard. Acnes are often caused by bacterial infection in the hair follicles, inflammation from ingrown hair or due to lack of hygiene. So besides maintaining basic hygiene like washing your face with a mild face wash twice a day, you could also use essential oils which have anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties.
g) Slow Beard Growth/Volume
If there’s one complaint that most beard wearers have, it’s that the beard isn’t as thick or as full as it should be. That’s right; being unable to grow a proper beard is actually a serious problem. That’s why more and more guys end up wasting money on hair growth products that never really seem to work. Although we can’t grow your beard for you, there are some simple steps you can follow which will drastically increase your chances. First off, exfoliating the skin where you’re trying to grow the hair will stimulate the blood vessels in the skin, and keep your pores open. Alternatively, stimulating oils also encourage conditions necessary for hair growth.
h) Ugly Beard
New beard wearers are always unsure if they like their beards or if they look good enough. But if you want any remote chances of growing a proper mane, you can’t afford to skimp out on the simple and regular grooming techniques. First off, you want to match your beard shape to your face shape as closely as possible. Sure, it sounds simple now, but a lot of men misjudge this and end up ruining parts of their beard. Routine trimming will encourage even growth and save you from an ugly-looking beard.
Essential Oils For Beard Care
A good, healthy and attractive mane requires maintenance. Clean and simple. Sure, you could go for the wild, untamed look, but even that won’t last long without routine maintenance. If you want a healthy beard in the long-run, then there’s no other option but to take extra good care of it.
Trust me, you won’t have a pleasant beard experience without meticulous and near religious attention. We’ve already seen how some easy to solve issues such as beard itch, dandruff, dry skin, and acne have caused men to shave it all off. What if I told you there was a natural way to keep your beard in tip top shape and avoid all these problems?
Extracted from the seeds, leaves, rinds, kernels, nuts, roots, and barks of aromatic plants, essential oil use is becoming increasingly popular amongst beard wearers worldwide.
We all know what cheap, harmful chemicals and toxic shampoos do to hair. In addition to stripping your hair of its naturally occurring oils, the only thing these miracle grow hair creams and medical shampoos are good for is drying your skin and making your strands even more brittle. Essential oils come to the rescue by cleaning and moisturizing your skin, nourishing your beard, promoting even growth and clearing out any unresolved issues. Wondering which essential oil to use to get the best results? I’ve compiled a list of the best EOs for different beard needs and a few proven recipes to put the oils to good use.
8 Best Essential Oils For Your Beard
A: EOs for Dry, Itchy Beards
1. Lavender Essential Oil
Packed with anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial, sedative, soothing, oxidizing, and healing properties, lavender essential oil is especially effective at relieving all the issues that come with dry, flaky and itchy skin. This includes acne, inflammation, itching, dermatitis, and even beard dandruff. Interestingly, lavender EO has also been said to possess some aphrodisiac properties that can spice up your love life. That’s a lot more than any one oil has to do, am I right?
2. Eucalyptus oil
Due to a great scent and swift effectiveness against dry and damaged skin, eucalyptus still remains a favorite for many beard wearers. For decades, eucalyptus essential oil has been long used as a treatment for dandruff and itchy skin – you find Eucalyptus as an active ingredient in many anti-dandruff shampoos. As an extremely potent and concentrated essential oil, though, mix with a carrier oil to prevent skin irritations.
B: EOs for Beard Acne
3. Tea Tree oil
Dripping with anti-bacterial, anti-microbial, and anti- fungal properties, tea tree essential oil has a host of characteristics that all work to alleviate acne. Tea tree EO oil unblocks hair follicles and eliminates dead cells, thus reducing dandruff and beard acne in the process.
4. Peppermint oil
Widely renowned for its unrivaled cooling ability, menthol makes peppermint the ideal essential oil of dealing with itchy skin and beard acne breakouts. When used on the beard, peppermint balances skin pH and keeps dry skin and dandruff at bay. Peppermint also has regenerative properties that keep your hair healthy while encouraging growth. And the smell is borderline addictive.
C: EOs for Beard Growth and Brittle Hair
5. Lemongrass oil
With a distinctive aroma, Lemongrass oil is anti-microbial, antibacterial, and packed with special characteristics that help it strengthen hair follicles and prevent any sign of hair breakage. By preventing hair loss, lemongrass EO directly contributes to increasing the volume of your beard.
6. Cedarwood EO
Boasting of some pretty potent anti-fungal, antiseptic, antibacterial, properties, cedarwood EO contains a particularly helpful base note that works great for a range of hair and beard issues. At the same time, cedarwood essential oil also boost blood circulation around the chin and cheeks to stimulate new follicle growth.
7. Rosemary Essential Oil
Oozing with potent oxidizing, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, calming and aphrodisiac properties, Rosemary EO is a must have for any beard wearer worth his scruff. Rosemary EO works by increasing blood circulation to the scalp and face to promote new hair growth and encourage healing on itching, inflammation and swelling. In addition to resulting in a longer and stronger beard, Rosemary EO also claims to stimulate brain activity too – talk about smart and dapper.
8. Ylang Ylang EO
Here’s another often overlooked essential oil with the power to move mountains when it comes to beard care. By balancing the oils in your skin, Ylang Ylang stimulates the increased production of hair follicles for more beard volume.
2 Best Carrier Oils For Your Beard
The top 2 carrier oils to dilute the above essential oils are listed below. Using a 2% dilution rate is generally considered a safe guideline for topical application of essential oils for adults. This equates to approximately 15 drops essential oils to 1 ounce carrier oil.
1. Camellia Essential Oil
The ancient Chinese used Camellia oil for hair treatment, so it already has a proven track record before we even get far. Camellia oil is infamous for its unrivaled intense moisturizing properties thanks to its high amounts of fatty acids and lipids. (Lipids are the second most used ingredients in skin care products after water.) This allows to oil to lock in moisture within the beard as well as the skin underneath.
2. Avocado oil
Loaded with nutrients and minerals that nourish the scalp, avocado oil is hands down one of the most popular oil for hair care. Apart from Jojoba, avocado oil is often present in pretty much every type of hair product out there. This EO works by balancing pH levels, locking in moisture to keep your beard soft and nourished all day; perfect for dry, itchy beards with brittle strands of hair.
Top 5 Essential Oil Recipes For Comprehensive Beard Care
Recipe 1: Balanced Bearded Caribbean EO Fusion
- 5 drops Lavender EO
- 4 drops Rosemary EO
- 4 drops Cedarwood EO
- Tablespoon Hemp Seed oil
- Teaspoon of Rosehip seed oil
- Teaspoon of Jojoba oil
Start by combining all your carriers hemp, rosehip and jojoba oils in an amber glass bottle and swirl. While gently swirling, add in your essential oils using a dropper. You can play around with the amount of oil used and measurements depending on your beard length and thickness. Drop about 5 to 8 drops of the Caribbean fusion blend in one hand. But remember, even though longer beards may require more drops, a little still goes a long way. Rub and comb through your beard with your hands and fingers and massage it in all the way to the skin. This blend is an all-in-one solution that moisturizes, soothes, and strengthens hair all at once.
Recipe 2: Spicy Wood and Mint EO Blend for Acne and Inflammation
- 10 drops Tea Tree Essential Oil
- 6 drops Cypress EO
- 4 drops Sandalwood EO
- 3 drops Peppermint EO
- 2 drops Black Pepper EO
- 1.5 ounces (45ml) of Almond oil
We call this the spicy wood meets mint blend for obvious reasons. Now, if you want your blend to smell more spicy than mint, you can choose to increase either the Cypress or Sandalwood EO. Mix all your ingredients in a small non-reactive bowl and make sure all the oils are combined. Just like the above procedure, rub and comb through your beard with your hands and fingers and massage it in all the way to the skin. This blend is packed with anti-bacterial, anti-microbial, and anti- fungal properties that all work to alleviate acne by unblocking hair follicles and eliminating dead cells while offering a soothing, cooling effect.
Recipe 3: The Heavenly Vanilla Beard Grower
- 5 drops Lemongrass EO
- 5 drops Lavender EO
- 4 drops Ylang Ylang EO
- 4 drops Vanilla EO
- 1 ounce Castor oil
In a sterilized pan, start by mixing in all your essential oils as indicated with a dropper. Add in the carrier oil, mix well and then transfer to dark amber bottles for storage. I prefer castor oil as a carrier oil in this case because not only does it moisturize and condition the beard, it also boosts circulation to the chin and stimulates faster beard growth. The lemongrass and ylang ylang EOs also work miracles by helping strengthen hair follicles and preventing any sign of hair breakage.
Recipe 4: Avocado Beardruff Killer Blend
- 6 drops Avocado oil
- 5 drops Cedarwood EO
- 4 drops Camellia EO
- 2 drops Eucalyptus EO
- Ounce of Castor or Jojoba Oil
One of the most annoying beard issue that occurs when the underlying skin becomes dry and starts to flake is called beardruff. This beard oil recipe will restore moisture levels and prevent beard dandruff from wrecking havoc with your beard goals. Mix all your ingredients in a non-reactive container and swirl or stir until perfectly blended. Work the mixture in and massage all the way to the skin. Wait for a couple of hours before combing through and washing out. Avocado oil is loaded with nutrients and minerals that nourish the scalp and combined with the rest of the ingredients, it balances pH levels, locks in moisture to keep your beard soft and nourished all day to avoid dryness and flaking.
Recipe 5: Fresh Rain Formula for Irresistible Beard Scent
- 10 drops Bergamot EO
- 6 drops Sage EO
- 4 drops Lavender EO
- 3 drops Peppermint EO
- 1 tablespoon Coconut Oil
- 1 oz Sweet Almond oil
As we already established, longer, thicker beards tend to hold sweat and dust leading to some pretty off-putting odors. The last thing you want is a foul smell casting a dark cloud on your dapper image. This formula allows your china and face to remain as cool and as fresh as possible by keeping it clean and leaving a fresh, rainforest aroma and floral fragrances behind. Just mix all the ingredients in a small glass bottle and shake well to get everything combine. Apply generously on your beard and be careful not to make it too oily.
There you have it my handsome pack of beard wearers; everything you need to know about maintaining a full and luscious chin of hair has been pretty much covered above. Hopefully, you’ll now be able to extend your beard growing prowess past No-Shave November and maybe even make it a lifestyle. Who knows, someone might just notice that manly mane and pay you handsomely for some modeling and advice. And even if you don’t get the modeling gigs, there sure as hell won’t be a shortage of gorgeous models who want a piece of that masculine action now, will there?