Jidenna Theodore Mobisson, Theodore Mobisson, Nigerian Man

All the tips, tricks, and products to reach your fullest beard potential. Here are all of the tips, tricks, and products that will make your beard fuller, softer, healthier, and more flattering. If you’re a first-time beard grower or a 20-year veteran of the game, there’s always room for growth. (Figuratively, and literally.) And even if you’re sticking with a shorter style, these same rules apply.

Make a plan
Before you decide to grow a beard—even if it’s short—it’s important to know which beard styles flatter your face shape. The general rule of thumb is to allow the beard to soften any extremities, and pull everything closer to a central, more oval place. Think of it this way: if you have a longer, more oblong face, you don’t want to magnify the fact with a long, narrow beard. Visually, it’s going to be the first thing everyone associates. Instead, you should widen your face and plan for fuller sides but trim things up under the chin. The opposite can be said for a square, wide face. Soften the jaw with trimmed-up sides and a fuller patch under the chin.

Be patient
The biggest obstacle between you and a good beard is time. The beard you’re capable of growing might be way bigger and fuller than you anticipate, simply because you haven’t ever grown it past the patchy first-month. Follow the next tip in those early weeks so that it looks like a defined beard, even in its shorter stages, and soon you’ll wake up and realize that you crossed the threshold.

Shave the perimeter
There’s one major difference between lazily letting your beard grow and actually taking charge of the growth and style: The neck and cheek lines. You have to maintain them, as they give your beard its intentional shape, even in the first few weeks. Your cheek line will be determined by how full your whiskers grow there. Rely on your own intuition, but if you need help with fuller cheek fuzz, pick up a beard-stenciling tool that helps draw neat lines.

As for your neckline, there’s one easy way to do this: Take two fingers and lay them above your Adam’s apple. Trim an imaginary “U” shape from behind both ears and jaws, and meet in the middle at this point on your neck. Shave everything below this line. This is your neckline, and you have officially defined your beard as such, and not just “5 days of not shaving”.

Supplement your efforts
Unlike the hairs on your head, it’s hotly debated as to whether supplements can help strengthen the hairs on your face. And, while they certainly won’t generate any new hairs, it’s a good wager that vitamins will help thicken and soften the hairs that already exist, in addition to making your beard grow faster. Biotin is your best friend in this effort, which will also assist up top.

Trim as it grows
You know how you have to texturize and layer the hair as it grows out, in order to look halfway decent and avoid awkward in-between stages? The same goes for trimming a beard as it grows. It’s less about layering and more about shaping, however, and it all plays into the desired style and shape that you want. You can’t grow everything to equal length; you’ll look like Robin Williams fresh out of three decades in Jumanji. Plus, your beard is scraggly and wiry, and some hairs need to be tamed with a trimmer as opposed to styled into place.

Use a conditioning styler
The shortest step to a soft, itch-free beard (and a burn-free one for your significant other) is conditioner. You can find this in the form of beard oils, balms, and creams. Massage any of them into your whiskers—early stage or fully grown—to keep the bristles soft and healthy. (This also makes for a more painless, reduced-friction shave when the time comes.) Best of all, most conditioners act like stylers, in that they tame flyaways and allow you to sculpt things into place.

Brush it out
Guys with long beards, this is especially important for you: Brushing your beard at the end of each day will ensure its health and tame-ability in the long haul, and also from one day to the next. This helps to distribute the natural oils produced in the skin, which otherwise collect at the base of the shaft and only nourish the bottom of each hair. You want to maximize your gains, nourish the whole thing to prevent breakage, frizzing, and split end. (Also, apply said conditioning agents post shower or cleansing every morning, which is when your natural oils have been flushed away and need to be supplemented.) Brushing can help shape and sculpt your beard into place, but it’s a bit aggressive and more functional as an oil distributor. Instead, rely on a beard comb for any styling finishes.

Pick a style (and try new ones)
You’ve already learned which beard shapes flatter your face, but now you get to add some nuance. By picking a beard style, you can become someone new or freshen a tired routine. One of our favourites is to snip the bridge between the moustache and the chin, thus marooning the moustache. Or, weight one heavier than the other, with a fuller moustache and a trimmer beard (or vice versa). You have lots of options, and it’s your privilege as a beard grower to flaunt it.

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