So, you’ve taken the bait and decided to go for No Shave November. Firstly, congratulations, in an era of boys who love looking like clean shaven babies (#BabyFace), the art of the beard is a dying one. It’s one of the most underappreciated assets of a man, the beard, however we’re not placing the blame just on one side. A lot of guys grow a beard with little to no knowledge on how to maintain it properly – with regards to either aesthetic appeal or health. Worse yet, a lot of you out there do not know when to quit, especially if the hair growth is patchy. Through the ages, a thick, full beard has been associated with power and strength of mind and body from the Socratic age, to contemporary times when it is synonymous with classic gents and scruffy hipsters. So, while the intention behind trends like #Movember and #NoShaveNovember are noble and ingenious ways to spread prostate cancer awareness, only get into the month if you’re prepared to fully commit to the task of hanging up your razor and cream.

Men in their 20’s and 30’s in particular want to be very manicured. You see bald men and men with shaved heads with their facial hair as a focal point all the time now, having this kind of beard takes more time than shaving. We’re only just getting up on the trend, there’s no logical reason for this change. A few years ago, some men didn’t even want to shower. Now they take three hours grooming their hair and beard.

Growing a full beard or even just a mustache requires patience and perseverance, mostly in having to deal with the mid-stages of hair growth. Since the rate of hair growth and its thickness depend largely on genetics and levels of testosterone, the best you can do is to keep it clean and well groomed.

1. Commit to it. Many potential beards and goatees get shaved off at the first sign of itching. It will take at least four weeks for your facial hair to grow in completely, and you will have to endure a period of uncomfortable itching. Resist the temptation to shave it and eventually the hairs on your face will soften. Also, remember that hair grows at different rates on different areas of the face.

2. Shampoo and condition daily. Sure, there all kinds of gloop and fancy schmoop that’s available and marketed toward beards, but much of it is a waste. Minty shampoos and conditioners have proven to help with the itch that comes with growing in a beard, otherwise any average moisturizing shampoo-conditioner duo will do. I mean it's hair, so you need to clean it or dirt can get trapped underneath.

3. Resist The Urge. Don’t trim at all while the beard blooms, sure a few long johns here and there must be made even, but for the most part you should keep it natural. At the end of the month, start by fade-trimming from the throat up and define at the cheekbones – understand the powerful tool that your beard is. It can completely change the shape of your face – make it longer, squarer, softer, it’s all in your hands.

4. Style It Minimal: You have the option of investing in a styling product specifically for the beard, but it’s important to remember that no matter what you use, it’ll eventually settle onto your skin as well. To keep the skin clean, use noncomedogenic products – which means that they won’t clog your pores. Also, there are natural and synthetic mustache waxes.

5. Hoard Up The Vitamins: Did you know that vitamins help your hair grow better? Eating a well-balanced diet means that your body gets proper nutrients, and essential fatty acids. Vitamins such as B3, 5, 7&9 , Vitamin A, Vitamin C, and Vitamin E should definitely be present in your diet for improving your health and promoting hair growth.

6. Eucalyptus: According to WebMD, eucalyptus is very helpful for hair growth, so you can pick up some products containing eucalyptus to encourage your facial hair to grow. Remove your dry or flaky skin by using moisturizer or cream with eucalyptus to create a better condition for hair to growth, thus growing a beard faster.

7. Home Remedies: Try some natural, home blended pastes for a healthier skin and better hair growth – amla oil and mustard leaves work well together, as do cinnamon powder and lime juice.

8. Know When To Give Up! Don’t sweat it. If you decide the beard isn’t working for you, if you make a grooming mistake, starting over is easy… and kinda fun!

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