Growing a full beard makes a bold statement. However, because it’s the kind of statement that takes a few months to make, the beard-grower gets plenty of time to reconsider whether he’s ready for this level of commitment.
Second thoughts are not uncommon when hurdling the first few weeks of itchy stubble or struggling with symmetrical trimming. Sometimes, guys need a serious conversation in which they ask that unshaven man in the mirror where they see this beard going. Since any DTR conversation can be tough sledding without a solid outline, consult this list of pros and cons when deciding whether to take the next step with facial hair.
Before the Battle of Stirling Bridge, William Wallace told his enemies that he was “ready to meet them beard to beard.” When you ride into battle with the elements, a beard is a handy shield to have. In the summer, a full beard can block up to 95 percent of UV radiation. Despite its wooly appearance, it can keep the face cool by holding on to moisture.
During the winter, a beard is a windbreaker and an extra layer of insulation. It’s not going to provide complete coverage, so even the most confident beard man should hang on to his sunscreen, retain his oil-free moisturizer for dry skin and continue to accept hand-knit scarves as gifts graciously. All things considered, though, the all-weather adventurer would do well to gear up with a beard. Swimmer Sean Conway even grew one to protect his face against jellyfish stings!
For the kind of guy who has only been able to express his sense of style through quirky socks or changing the shirt color of his online avatar, the beard unlocks an entire world of options. Not only is it a chance to reshape a face’s profile, but unlike an ill-advised conversion of jeans to jean shorts, a styling mistake can repair itself with a week’s growth. For the balding man, it might be the only shot at styling hair. And the lovelorn gentleman looking to tailor his style to his romantic prospects will find that it is much easier to trim down a beard to suit a partner’s preference than it is to grow one on the spot.
A beard can be a hobby unto itself. Anyone filling their Amazon cart with model airplane kits and jigsaw puzzles to help pass the time while they are stuck at home might want to look at what’s right under their nose. That beard is a ticket to international competition and a chance to hone sculpting skills. And if the schedule suddenly gets packed, there’s no need to send the beard hobby packing. Some dudes start growing beards because they’ve done the math on how much time they are shaving each morning. A beard is still going to require some maintenance, but the casual beard owner ends up with more time than the average daily shaver, which invests about 45 days of their life in beard removal.
A beard isn’t a free pass on cleaning the face. It just means that now there are tens of thousands of beard hairs to work around when handling the nitty-gritty with that bamboo scrub. It’s not even a free pass on shaving since there is still a razor involved for a clean perimeter, plus trimming equipment on the beard itself. The beard can hold moisture, but it can also wick it away from the face.
The dry skin flakes off, getting caught in the beard – along with food, dirt, and bacteria. Snag a dandruff comb on a clump of that kind of gunk, and it becomes an easier decision to call off the whole beard thing altogether. Also, pimples find beards to be great places to develop. You’ll need to keep it clean. Grab some charcoal face wash and keep your skin clear and beard smelling good.
The first couple of weeks can be an itch, especially for dudes with curlier hair. The hairs sharpened to a point by that last shave are poking up through the skin and occasionally poking back at the skin. No matter how many steamy scenes have featured men with stubble, leaning in for a kiss during the initial bristle can cause some unwelcome romantic friction. Not to mention that the aspects of a beard that can make it such a good shield can also make it a liability, as anyone who has experienced the woes of a beardcicle or zipperbeard can attest.
Choosing what kind of facial hair to favor is one of the pleasures of beard ownership, but some fellas might not have many options to choose from. The genetic hand they were dealt with might include perennial patchiness. Or limit them to a soul patch. Many inpatient beard growers might have to wait out their twenties to reach their beard’s full potential. By that time, they might already be a greybeard since the beard is often the first place that hair shows its age.
In any relationship assessment, a list of pros and cons only gets a man so far. It can clarify, but the final decision will likely be driven by his gut feeling about whether he wants this in his life day after day. After someone has ascended the mountaintop of a majestic beard, they will inevitably find themselves meditatively stroking their whiskers in quiet satisfaction or exasperated farewell. Either way, they have contractually obligated to stroke their whiskers. It’s just a beard thing.