My beard journey was a rather unintentional one. I was clean shaven until around sophomore year in
college. I decided a little facial hair would add sophistication. I was by no means a beard guy, so the
goatee became my look. Years later I noticed that growing a connecting chin strap would give the
appearance of elongating my wide face type. The hair on my head had long since disappeared, but
fortunately I look good bald so early on I committed to keeping my head shaved instead of desperately
clinging onto, in the worlds of George Costanza, “The remains of a once great society of hair”. So bald
with chinstrap-goatee combo became my signature look.
The look served me well and I rarely changed anything about it apart from its thickness from time to
time. I never liked for strays or unclean lines to form on my facial hair so daily touch ups were needed
and incorporated into my daily routine. I didn’t even really realize I was choosing a look; I just saw what
looked good and went with it. I didn’t stop to think about hair type, hair color, face shape, skin
type/tone etc. when thinking about what looks good on me. I’ve always strived to be a renaissance man
so knowing a little about fashion and grooming was a must, but I didn’t know a lot past the basics. I did
however always loved science as a hobby or even as a class. I enjoy learning about our universe and all
the things that make it tick; from biology to astronomy, I can have a conversation about it! Little did I
know you could combine those things (science and fashion) to help create a look!
Where does science come in?!
You may wonder what part does science play in creating a look? Biology is science and as it pertains to
beards it has everything to do with selecting your look. Firstly, let’s think about genetics; if you come
from a family of hairy people, you will too mostly likely be hairy. Obviously, we look to our fathers as a
preview of what our beards could look like but remember to also look to our maternal grandfathers as a
preview of sorts too (possibly to a smaller degree of course). Afterall, you get 50% of your DNA from
good ole mom! How is “hairiness” encoded in your DNA? | by Genomelink | Genomelink | Medium
Without breaking down your specific DNA these are simply indicators, and you never know what you got
until you decide to start growing your facial hair to some significant length. But we’re still a little vague
about the correlation, right? Well, simply put your bone structure combined with your BMI will
determine the best beard look for you. The ability to grow said beard relies largely on genetics. With the
advancements of science there are things that can be done to activate follicles and stimulate hair
growth, but one thing that is universal to all humans are the things our body needs to produce healthy
skin that grows healthy hair.
Quick Biology lesson: Our skin is composed of layers: (From innermost to outermost) Fat Cells,
Hypodermis, Dermis, and Epidermis which is the upper most layer that we see and interact with. Skin is
an organ and just like with any organ there are a symphony of things needed to keep it working
properly. Without the need for a biology class, we are all somewhat familiar with our skin as it’s the only
organ we can observe with the naked eye. We know it protects us. We know we grow hair out of it. We
know it has nerve endings throughout it that allows us to feel the world around us. We know we have it
we know it’s important, but how we should be taking care of it is a matter of science.
Let’s start on the superficial level. Having such an extravagant miraculous organ on the outside of our
bodies can sometimes lead to apathy as we often times take our skin for granted. Its resilience is such
that we feel it takes care of itself, however that could not be further from the truth. Our skin needs a
host of vitamins and minerals as well as proper protection from heat, cold, wind, sun, and of course
microorganisms. Hydration is paramount for skin health. Our bodies are primarily water up to 78% as
children and lowering to about 60% as adults. What percentage of the human body is water?
(medicalnewstoday.com) Needless to say, this element makes up most of what we are. Staying hydrated
is the best way to ensure your skin looks good, feels great, and functions properly. Hydration: Why It's
So Important - familydoctor.org
You may ask “What does skin care have to do with beards?” Well, our skin contains follicles that grow
our body hair. Hair that we, in fact, have all over our bodies. Some follicles are small like those found on
top of your hands or feet and some are large like those on your head, face, armpits, etc. Healthy skin
promotes healthy hair growth. Let’s single out the men for a moment: Men we need to take better care
of our skin. We tend to clean, somewhat moisturize, and go. There’s so much more to skin care than
that. Consider an extensive routine for you body and even more extensive one for your face. Our faces
are oftentimes neglected when it comes to care yet for most of us it’s the one part that is always
exposed to the elements. Proper skin care and hygiene are the foundations to clean healthy skin, and
strong lustrous hair.
Now that we have briefly discussed how science affects our look, let’s continue with the beard journey.
About 5 years ago I decided to change my classic look for something new. Bearded men are becoming
increasingly popular, and I enjoy the look. Add to the fact I look good bald seemed like a no brainer.
Jumping into it with no research, I just decided to start growing my hair out simple right? WRONG! That
is simply the beginning. While a necessary first step growing out your hair is simply the beginning of your
beard journey. From there, you will be able to assess your beard. The thickness and fullness of it, its
natural growth pattern, and finally the best shape for how your face looks. For every look, weather it’s
just a mustache, goatee, chinstrap, or a full beard, the shape is pivotal. You could nail it on the first try
or like me you may go through sever iterations of it before you achieve the perfect look that you are
Finally, after selecting the shape, I then needed to figure out what length most added to my look, so I
again took to refining by trial and error. I have learned that certain styles look best with certain lengths
this is dependent on many factors but the most important is the eye test. Once you have established the
look you want, then you must maintain it. As you know this requires daily maintenance and care. Stay
persistent! From initially growing your beard out to maintaining it’s look there’s much work in the
process however once you get the process down it will be very easy to incorporate into your daily
For me losing my hair at an early age presented a decision for me: continue going to a barber for clean
shaven head and a line up that won’t stay for long and need constant care between visits or save that
money and keep my head shaved and my facial hair edged myself. Ultimately, I decided to do the work
myself and for that look it was a fairly quick and easy process. For a full beard, however, the process
requires a bit more finesse and talent. To properly style your beard, you must also learn how to fade or
taper your beard to suit your selected shape. Start with your equipment. The better your tools the
better and easier your experience will be. At first learning which type guards, the different lengths, and
blades for edging can seem overwhelming, however talking with and asking professionals along with
researching and watching videos can greatly improve your skill. Resources like the South Beach Beard -
Beard Care Blog website contains helpful blog posts, tips, and tricks for caring for you beard. Once
you’ve learned how to properly style your beard to the desired look, maintenance becomes the name of
the game. As with equipment the better products you use the better results in maintaining the look of
your beard. Enter science yet again to help you find the products needed for excellent maintenance.
We are all unique. Our bodies are composed of individual and unique combination of DNA coding. This
controls everything from eye color to height and everything in between. Each person will have diverse
needs when it comes to giving you body what it needs to produce the strongest, most lustrous, and full
hair possible. The science lesson we learned about earlier tells how why science is important but using
this information to incorporate into practice is a different beast entirely. First, we must assess our beard
type according to science, however even that can be tricky. Oily skin? Dry skin? Something in between?
As you can see the answers are not always cut and dry and the products out there may catch a majority
but how can you be sure to get everything you need? Well believe it our not there’s hope. Many
companies do this research for you to allow them to put out a product that will most likely produce
some results. As we all know, however, companies are looking to make the largest profit margins by
producing the minimal quality that produces acceptable results. When looking for a quality product
especially one intended for use in or on our bodies, we want to make sure we are getting the best.
Fortunately, I have found one such company. South Beach Beard has done the research on what it takes
for not only quality hair care, but also skin care as well thus improving facial hair to it’s maximum
South Beach Beard’s product offerings are the highest quality on the market. With over 11 carrier oils
including Vitamin E and Keratin, the company’s beard oil is the best quality we’ve tested. Other
companies tend to water the product down with a base oil that isn’t really good for much besides
protection. Every item listed in the ingredient list are oils, vitamins, or minerals that we need. The
formula also is universal so all skin and hair types can use the products. Outside of the company’s
organic offerings is one unique product that addresses an issue no other beard company has. Dandruff!
No matter how good your beard looks flakes peppered throughout your hair is not a good look. Dander
can occur two ways: First extremely dry skin can flake off into facial hair and the solution to that issue
can be found in proper hydration and protection of skin no special product needed. However, for many
people dander forms as a result of fungus growing on the surface of the skin. To get rid of this
medication known as Ketoconazole is used to treat and eliminate the fungus. Want to take a guess what
once again comes trough with science to solve a common beard problem.
To check out South Beach Beard’s full offerings and kits click here.
The last epiphany I had on my beard journey was a more subtle one. There are many varied factors
besides the obvious science that affects your beard and its look. When I look back at pictures and videos
throughout my beard journey thus far, I began to note exactly what was going on in my life when my
beard looked its absolute best and when it looked its worst. During period where my diet was bad my
beard appeared oily and flat. I noticed that during periods when I wasn’t sleeping enough my beard
appeared dry and listless. But the worst it’s ever looked was during periods of extreme stress. Stress can
be the epicenter of many bad practices. We tend to eat junk or not eat at all, lose sleep, do the bare
minimum hygiene, neglect exercise, and sometimes increase alcohol consumption. No matter who you
are your looks are no match for stress, depression, or anxiety. Of course, these issues not only affect our
skin and hair but our entire body.
The last bit of wisdom I can impart to you is you don’t have to become a scientist to look and feel your
best. Start with getting the proper amount of sleep. You will wake up feeling rested and recharged.
Exercise to start your day. This will get the blood flowing and improve your mood right at the start of the
day. Eat a balanced diet. When your diet is poor, your health will be as well. This has a tremendous
effect on your appearance. Spend time outside. Not only do we need the sun for a key vitamin, but
prolonged exposure outdoors has been known to reduce your stress levels. How nature benefits mental
health - Mind Maintain a healthy work-life balance and create healthy boundaries for your friends and
loved ones. Stress creeps in when we lose ourselves in our work or in others so make sure you’re
creating those boundaries. Prioritize self-care!! You cannot pour from, and empty cup make sure that
YOU are taken care of and you’ll be able to take care of everything else so much better. Lastly become
part of a community. Whether physically or virtually becoming part of a community gives you purpose
but also and perhaps more importantly it gives you access to others that can help you in your journey.