Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Growing a Beard 101

Estheticians quickly get used to the words, "How do you know more about my face than I do?" well, it's our job! Guys especially seem surprised when it comes to things like shaving and facial hair care. The fact of the matter is a  lot of girls at some point are shaving half of their body area and pick up quite a bit of hair grooming info through friends, media and their own experiences.

Growing a beard can come with some challenges, it can be itchy, patchy and often times feels like it's not doing anything at all. There are things you can do to help though. Here's some helpful hints!

1) Manually Exfoliate

Why am I saying manually? Cause there's exfoliating via AHAs and enzymes, those just need to sit and be absorbed by your skin, then there are scrubs and brushes, those are manual. Brushes (like Clarisonic) can be a god send for some people and too harsh for others, so use carefully. An alkaline exfoliant, like Eminence's Stonecrop Fizzofoliant is a great choice. The manual exfoliation helps assist the hairs to get through the follicle cleanly and can assist in cutting down the prickly-ness of the situation. The alkaline pH will help relax the pore opening. Once your fully bearded up, you'll want to move away from manual exfoliants around the hair because the granules will be difficult to rinse out.

2) Moisturise and Hydrate That Skin

I know, everyone says to do that anyways (and they're right) and hydrate?! You drink water all the time! Hydrating your skin is easiest to do topically with products containing humectants. Your skin's purpose is to protect your important insides, so it's the last on the chain of priorities to receive things like water, especially given that your epidermis contains a lotttaa dead cells. When your skin is at it's ideal point with hydration and oils then it'll be more flexible, that will help the hairs grow out with less irritation/itchiness and less difficulty clearing the follicle opening. We like Aromatherapy Associate's Instant Skin Soothing Serum , it has prebiotics to help maintain the skin's natural barrier, chamomile and arnica to soothe and it's light so you won't feel it on your skin throughout the day. Not that you need to worry about it but this serum is full of antioxidants to help slow down ageing as well.

3) Stimulate that Skin

Blood flow brings nutrients to the follicle and skin, now I don't mean irritate the bejeezus outta your skin, there's a fine balance. Things like a Boar's Brush will help stimulate the skin and follicle (and come in handy when you have a bitchin beard that needs a groomin) or a stimulating mask like Aromatherapy Associate's Deep Cleanse Mask which contains just the right amount of cinnamon and ginger to help speed up healing and bring circulation to the area applied. It can also be used overnight as a spot treatment for any break outs and will help prevent congestion/bumpiness under the skin. It's a very easy to remove clay mask and isn't green, you can walk around the house with it not being super obvious you have a mask on your face which is always nice.

4) Have A Desensitizing Back Up Plan

Whish's Prelude is often recommended for before waxing but is also popular for before shaving and in general to calm the feeling of irritated skin (or itchy beard growing follicles). This product is witch hazel and aloe vera based, meaning it's okay for your face. Containing clove leaf oil and naturally sourced menthol, it'll help desensitize the skin temporarily while cucumber extract, aloe and panthenol protects and nourishes the skin. The witch hazel and tea tree oil will also help neutralize any irritating bacteria which may be forming. This product is perfect for the extra itchy days (and sunburns!)

5) Maintain What You Got

Whatever you choose to trim with, make sure it's sharp to help prevent split ends. Don't trim wet beard hair, because wet hair is heavier and will most likely lie longer then it does when it is dry, resulting in too short trimming. If you want the long fisherman's moustache then you'll want to train the hair, have a comb around regularly to keep combing it to the sides, doing this while blowdrying it can help speed up the hair's training. You can always use Beardbrand's mustache wax or Brooklyn Grooming's mustache wax to help keep it in place. Regular trimming and use of conditioning ingredients will help keep your beard from getting scraggly and scratchy looking. Our beard oils and balms help keep the skin at the base of the beard happy and dandruff free as well.

Feel free to pop in if you have any questions or want to try out a tester of a product mentioned here!

We also have follow up posts about caring after your beard here, herehere and here!

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