Unfortunately no matter how much we want or try, not all gentlemen have the luxury of keeping a beard. Until recently, the thought of shaving my beard off would have been considered murder in the eyes of my wife and daughter. Both our 10 year anniversary and me having turned 30 this year brought my wife and I to the reality that she’d “like to ensure I’m aging well”. So I indulged her and took a steel blade to my face for the first time in 8 years! In a nutshell, my daughter and wife cried and the world around me instantly changed...
Although I agreed to take a peek under those glorious whiskers, I did swear to instantly grow it back out! With that said, I decided to write about my baby-faced journey back into the bearded brotherhood as a way to help those of you who have never grown, or re-grown, a beard. It doesn't matter whether you intend to stay clean shaven, keep some scruff, or regrow and shape your beard. I'm sure you'll find a good tip or hard-learned lesson or two from my current lack of facial hair in this short grooming series!
Day 1 - Shaving off the Scruff
My 9 year old laughed hysterically while taking the scissors initially to my foot-long beard, but as her mom finished shaving it off and it laid in a sad pile on the kitchen table, tears began to fall and reality set in as she said “daddy isn’t an old man”!
My wife did a pretty good job with the clippers knocking off all of the 12 inch hairs, but I was still quite scraggly and needed a good shave. The reason I started growing a beard after leaving the military 8 years ago was that I always had razor burn, bumps, etc.. from shaving every day. Little did I know at the time that I was just using cheap grocery store products with harmful fragrance oils and chemicals that strip the oils from my face.
I chose to use an all-natural shaving soap and brush to get a good lather. Instead of applying it to my entire face, I focused on smaller areas to lather perfectly for the smoothest glide possible. The end-result was great with no red lines, cuts or bumps! I did feel light burn, as this is normal if you have sensitive skin and haven’t shaved in 8 years like me.
To remedy this burn I simply threw on some natural shaving oil to help sooth my sensitive and newfound baby face. Speaking of shave oil, I actually woke up the next morning and realize I screwed up and missed a few spots while shaving the day before. I used the oil to lather those spots, which made it so much easier than shave cream or soap to see what I was doing at the crack of dawn.
Day 2 - The Ghost Beard
The first night was hell having that feeling like I needed to keep it off my neck and out of the bed covers. I woke up the next morning trying to run my hands thru it as my wife cried a little more as she opened her eyes to another man in the bed. Throughout the day I could feel it blowing in the wind and even found my effort to keep pizza out of the hair-not-there turned out to be quite the show for my wife and daughter at lunchtime!
Day 5 - The Scruffy Itch
For some of you, the hairs on your face likely starts to itch around the 3rd or 4th day of scruff. How I pulled out a few extra days before itching was that I started to use a light coat (a few drops) of all natural beard oil in the mornings. It was around the 5th day in the afternoon that I noticed my face starting to itch. It may be the dry Colorado mountain climate that brought it on, so for about the next three or four days I kept some beard oil in my truck to fight the afternoon dryness.
Day 14 - A Baby Beard
After a few days battling some light itch, my wife finally began to feel some softness that she could finally handle kissing again. The one issue though is the stray and fly-away hairs began to come in around this time, so I decided to change my morning routine a little. Around 10-14 days into growth, I decided to use a soothing beard balm in the mornings, instead of beard oil to help with stray hairs. A good beard balm should also condition and strengthen the hairs like beard oil, so don’t let other companies up-sell you on using both at the same time! Just a/b test and choose which product works best for your hair type!
Balm does melt easy, so I keep that at home on the sink. Since it's summer, I do sweat and sometimes wash my face midday and use a little beard oil after for a fresh scent and to keep the itch away from my young beard.
Beard Update July 22nd, 2018
Day 17 - Considering Shape
A few weeks in, it is now hard to tell how fast it is growing or not and my patience for a nice full beard is starting to run out. To kill the time I have started to look at other beard photos to help consider what kind of style and shape I want my mustache and beard.