That may seem a ridiculous statement but bear with me as I attempt to clarify. Twenty four months ago, sporting a freshly shaved head and face, I made the decision to never cut any hair growing anywhere on my body. I became involved in beard research.After about six months I joined a beard forum and was diligent in reporting month to month changes. The first year was a year of adjustments, major changes in appearance, and discovering a terrific group of bearded men, enthused, curious, as well experienced beard growers willing to share, mentor, and encourage every man to discover the benefits of razor freedom. Check out the Beard Board. The yeard, or twelve month untrimmed beard was a great milestone and the first real test of dedication and commitment. Make it through that first year and things get easier because one is established as bearded among friends and family. Making it through the holiday get togethers, job interviews, marriages, and other major life events that can put pressure to shave on high. Without some kind of beard support many good men cave to the pressure and then experience regret about trimming or shaving their beards. This is the freshman year. Make it past that and the focus changes. I am speaking now to the full natural beard growers. There are many men who choose a neat beard and hair style for them and maintain that style over the years or enjoy exchanging different styles of head hair and facial hair combinations. Many signature looks have come out of this practice. For the purpose of this blog we will stay focused strictly on the full, natural, untrimmed journey to terminal length. There are many great sites for grooming and styling tips and support if that is your choice. There is no condemnation here toward trimmers, I used to be one myself, and any facial hair is better than none. I saw a T-shirt that says – There is a name for people without beards – ……WOMEN. I got a kick out of that.
During the second growing year the beard reporting tapered off, 3 month, then 6 month, intervals seemed too shot. The beard became natural and less of an oddity with fewer changes to report. The time between my last, eighteen month, report and this one went by in the blink of an eye and not a great deal of noticeable change. Now my sophomore beard year is completed. I have earned an associate beard degree and happily enter my junior and senior years progressing toward terminal length. At this point I find many overachieving hairs two or three inched ahead of the flock. Those hairs are very adventurous, exploring on their own and ending up caught in, or soaked in, or covered with whatever may be within their extended reach. Like a toddler learning to walk can explore himself into danger, beard precautions must be taken to prevent injury.
I am hopefully looking forward to having the longest beard in any room, a goal admittedly many years away, which is why I feel like I am still at the beginning of the journey. I do concede that, in fact, my journey is well begun, but subjectively still feel closer to the beginning than the end at this point.
This next year will be revealing and already I may be adjusting my expectations. While there are many hairs exuberantly growing past the bulk it is the bulk that I would like to see continue growing with some force. The length from lower lip to bottom of beard is more difficult to determine. I’ll call it 14″ at this point thicker at 13″ and a few hairs at 16″. It is natural for some hairs to grow faster and why a trim of those overachievers makes the beard look fuller. Since trimming is not an option for me anymore the wispy end of my beard calls for subjective measurements. So I excluded the longest hairs from the measurements but there are some really long ones at every location measured. Here is a reasonable account of the length – sideburns 9″, eyebrows 3″, top of head 12″,chin 11″,cheeks 8″ jawsides 12″, lower lip 1.75″, upper lip 1.5″ mouth corner 4″, lower lip to bottom 14″.
So the facial hair is still gaining length but thinning at the extremes. The head hair, on the other hand is growing solid and thick in spite of losing several comb-fulls every day.
Have added some Hemp oil to my blend of jojoba, argan, castor oil blend. I have read some good things about Hemp oil and it does have a nice nutty taste for salads as well.
My favorite beard soap is still Alcatraz Rock Beard Bar but I also rotate among other natural soap products and never use shampoo.
I am happy to see more and more men wearing beards and would encourage all men to let their beards grow as well.
I had a friend comment to me the other day that he had forgotten what I looked like so I showed him my drivers license picture. The person in that picture no longer exists. The old picture always causes some issues when I present that license for identification and the license won’t be renewed until 2016. Anyway, it is obvious that growing a beard changes a man significantly. Beyond the physical appearance there are changes that occur inside the man. Changes in how the world is perceived and felt. The beard is comforting and warm against the cold of winter winds protecting it’s master from harsh elements. It provides personal security somewhat difficult to articulate due to its subjective nature but nevertheless real. The thought just occurred to me that the beard is an identity thief. Growing a beard takes away your previous identity, removes facial recognition and gives the grower a fresh start. It requires patience and perseverance but like a wonderful witness protection plan you will be given a new identity over time. The longer you stay in the beard’s plan the more comfortable it becomes and while there is always the option to trim, shape or shave, that option becomes less desirable due to the deep bond and relationship that develops between the beard and the man. If you want to completely change your life grow a beard and make a commitment to that beard. Many commitments start with three months or six months and there is a great deal of support available at the beard board to help you get through the awkward stages of early beard growth. Many a man gives up too soon because they see what appears to be a patchy thin beard and don’t think they could ever possibly grow anything presentable and usually they are wrong about that. There are many documented cases to be found that will encourage you to stay the course and see the amazing transformation that awaits your patiently resisting the temptation to shave. Really, after all, the only requirement to grow a beard is to stop shaving it off. That’s all I had to do and I am very content knowing I will never have to shave again.
Thank you for checking in and thinking about growing your own masterpiece. Beard on….