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Cemmos's article

Over the last several years, minoxidil has played a tremendous role in improving men's beards. While it is not new and the drug itself has been around since the 80s, and used for facial hair improvement since at least the early 2000s, it really only gained a large following in the last few; in part due to the creation of The Minox Beard Spot and Beard Profile, where minoxidil is talked about openly and uninhibitedly, and are the origin of the Minoxidil Beard FAQ.

During this time, many different supplements and tools have been used and discussed in an attempt to grow better beards — from beard oils, which will not actually work and may be detrimental, to supplements like L-carnitine L-tartrate, to derma rolling.

Like many trends, these things are popular in spurts, with many people taking the stance that they are very helpful and a few speaking against them from time to time.

Unlike these things, however, one constant has always remained for better facial hair: minoxidil.

Minoxidil, Studies, and Inferences

Because there is virtually no comparison and minoxidil is one of the only things we have found so far to actually work for permanent, thick facial hair, people are wanting and willing to take things as far as they can with the drug, opting to use a higher percentage for "more gains." 

First, the reason 5% is used over 2% is based upon the studies that we have seen for scalp hair. 2% is commonly used by women because it greatly reduces the chances of of them growing excess facial and body hair. That, and it has been found to work well enough, statistically, for many women with alopecia.

Men, on the other hand, are more likely to have a predisposition to balding due to genetics, and male pattern baldness (androgenic alopecia) is constantly and forever working against them. So 5% is the more effective solution to temporarily remedy this issue and has been found to be okay to use long-term.

This does not mean that applying a 2% solution would not work for facial hair, as it would be applied directly to the face, but 5% is what has become the norm because it explicitly has the side-effect of causing facial hair growth. That, and it has been found to be safe for men to use in the long-term as stated above, and using it for beard growth is not a long-term affair.

The information we use is based off scientific literature that is available to us and much of it is simply inferred due to the lack of studies surrounding facial hair specifically. 

 

5% Minoxidil vs 10% Minoxodil

In comes a popular percentage that has been perpetuated, unscientifically, to help more: 10% (or 12.5%, but less commonly talked about). The idea here stems from the idea that "if 5% works, then 10% should work even better!" However, with the way that drugs work, this simplistic idea is not what one should be counting on for more facial hair.

Instead, we should, at the very least, see use a scalp study to infer if that is even remotely true:

Conclusion: 5% topical minoxidil was moderately superior to 10% topical minoxidil and placebo in increasing hair regrowth opposite to the expected, the irritation was marked for 10% topical minoxidil. Psychosocial stress after 10% usage were worsened by the shedding [and] irritation compared to their high expectation in comparison to 5% usage.

So, quite literally, 10% is actually worse than 5%.

 

When to Use 10% Minoxidil

Does this necessarily mean that 10% has no place over 5%? Certainly not, as we know that there are people that have what is called minoxidil resistance, or non-responders. In short, resistance to minoxidil is when one's body does not metabolize the drug into minoxidil sulfate, the active metabolite that is the cause of stimulation of the hair follicles.

Use of a high-concentration (15%) topical minoxidil solution resulted in 60% of subjects achieving a clinically significant response based on target area hair counts [for non-responders]

Without the conversion, you will not see any progress when applying minoxidil. This does not mean that if you are seeing "slow" progression over the first few months of application that you are resistant. That is simply how it goes: slow progress for most, with some individuals every now and then seeing fairly rapid progress in the first few months.

Also read: The Guide to Growing Your Beard with Minoxidil

Remember that minoxidil tends to work in spurts, where there may be a period of shedding or stagnation, then eventually more hair comes after that period. That is partly due to hair cycle and its synchronization by minoxidil. When switching from 5% to 10%, many times it is simply coincidence that you see more facial hair gain or shedding/stagnation.

 

Conclusion

After many years of seeing the progression of hundreds upon hundreds of men, I would firmly recommend sticking with a 5% solution when using minoxidil for facial hair growth. A 10% solution will cost many times more over the course of a year or two of usage, your body will not be adapted to the more aggressive drug, and you simply do not know if you are resistant to minoxidil in the first place.

Not to mention that anything more than 5% is illegal to sell in many countries, and as such would need to be ordered online from India, which is additional wait time and surcharge before starting your journey.

If after several months of using a 5% solution you do not see any, or very little, progress, then it may be the time to use a higher percentage. Before then, save your time, money, and health.

Beard onward, gentlemen.

One of the most common questions that potential beard-growers ask is "how do I make my beard grow faster?"

While genetics will dictate how fast an individual's hair grows, there are some methods and things to keep in mind that can help speed things along.

In short, we'll be going over these things to help grow your beard to its fullest, fast:

  • Keeping your face healthy & flake-free
  • Personal health & nutrition
  • Stimulating blood flow via different methods
  • Psychological factors of beard growth
  • Potential products to use
  • Things to avoid

 

Keeping Your Face Healthy

Keeping your face healthy is conducive to better beard growth. If your face is constantly oily and dirty from your job (or otherwise), it's likely that your pores and skin are not clear of debris, making it a much harder environment to grow hair. Be sure that you're at least rinsing your face with water daily, and on some days use soap to clean it more thoroughly.

While natural oils can be great, they can also be detrimental depending on how much your body produces, and how much sticks around. Washing with a soap, as opposed to rinsing with plain water, will strip oils quite a bit. This is why you shouldn't necessarily wash everyday, and simply stick to plain water on most days. Excessive washing may lead to a dry face, which in turn leads to brittle, dry hair that's not as healthy as it could be when growing it out.

Exfoliating about once every two weeks, or a month, can be helpful for those that need to rid themselves of dead skin that tends to build up.

 

Personal Health & Nutrition

This is one that a lot of guys don't like to hear because of how obvious it is. But it needs to be said: for you to be able to grow your beard out healthy and as fast as your genetics allow, you need to have a well-rounded diet.

Being on a caloric surplus is better for your facial hair growth than being in a deficit (if you're trying to cut fat), but either will be fine so long as you're getting a healthy dose of macro- and micronutrients. A lot of people don't realize that they are deficient in certain vitamins, which can hinder beard growth considerably. 

A simple men's multivitamin may be enough to cover your nutritional gaps. While it's preferable to get most of your nutrients from wholesome food, it's not always that simple; sometimes supplementing is necessary.

Also read: Supplementing Vitamin D and Vitamin B for Beard Growth

As for your macronutrients, all three are highly important. Getting enough healthy fats, carbohydrates, and proteins are a must for a well-balanced diet. Protein is particularly important due to the nature of hair, being made up of protein itself.

 

Working Out (Resistance/Strength Training)

Working out, particularly doing HIIT or weight training, are very good when it comes to beard growth. Because facial hair requires testosterone and dihydrotestosterone to grow, having more of these hormones is a bonus. Paired with something like creatine, working out can be a powerhouse in growing your beard faster.

Also read: How to Increase Testosterone and DHT

Another part of personal health and one that is highly important: sleep. Sleep is the time that our bodies, essentially, do the most work in terms of improvement. Whether you're an athlete that needs muscle recovery or an office worker that needs to refresh his mind, sleep is important for every single person, regardless of lifestyle. Sleep is a time of repair and growth, and this includes our facial hair. With inadequate amounts of sleep, you may find your beard growth to be slower than usual.

 

Stimulating Blood Flow

Stimulation of blood flow is an important factor for our skin and hair. Our blood is what carries the much-needed nutrients to our follicles, including DHT and testosterone. With insufficient amounts of blood flow come a sufficient amount of problems.

Also read: Understanding the Importance of DHT for Health and Beard Growth

Thankfully, our bodies do this without much needed from us. But there are ways of increasing stimulation, which may result in slightly faster hair growth. One such method is to simply massage your face with your fingertips for a few minutes. Do this daily if you can, or otherwise try and do it about once per week.

As well as massaging, things such as boar bristle brushes and regular combing can be effective. In a way, using these tools is like killing two birds with one stone, as you style your beard while stimulating blood flow at the same time.

 

Psychological Factors

The first thing I want to point out in this section is shaving. No, shaving does not speed up growth or do anything magical like make your beard thicker. Like the myth about pores being able to be opened and closed, this too is a myth about shaving.

Moving on: as our beards grow out, sometimes it seems as if they are growing slower than they were at the beginning. This is just our perception, since going from no hair to stubble seems as if it's coming in quickly. Don't worry, your facial hair grows at the same rate at all times, barring the slowdowns from things such as stress and nutritional deficiencies and the like.

If you want a full, big beard, then the only option you should go for is to grow it out. Constant trims or shaving won't get you anywhere. Keep it to just your neck line at first, and in a few weeks you can do your cheek lines if you so choose. Otherwise, don't touch the beard except for when you need to snip off split-ends with a pair of scissors.

Also read: Beard Essentials: Tools Every Beardsman Should Utilize

 

Potential Products to Use (And Avoid)

If you're looking for natural products to help speed up your beard's growth, you may want to look into peppermint essential oil. A study has shown that it can accelerate the rate in which hair grows.

Keep in mind, however, that not all essential oils do the same, regardless of what some companies out there may claim. Things like rosemary, lavender, and tea tree may very well be detrimental to your beard's growth, as they are anti-androgenic. Simply put, they do the opposite of what beards require to thrive: they reduce the activity the 5-alpha reductase enzyme, which is what converts testosterone into DHT.

What's good for head hair is, normally, not good for facial hair. Don't fall into the trap that is "hair is hair," as androgenic hair (facial hair + body hair) is grown differently from the hair we grow on our scalps. To learn a little bit more about about why we don't recommend scalp-related products and studies here at Beard Profile, check out the articles below:

 

Wrapping things up...

At the end of the day, growing a beard requires time and patience. If you're not willing to go through a couple of awkward stages or think that you'll achieve your goal beard in just a few short weeks, it may not be for you. Get yourself into the mindset that growing a beard is a journey, and that growing one faster is a bonus.

With the information above, you should be armed with the knowledge of how to tackle growing a beard out. Whether it's your first time or your tenth, one thing remains consistently true: there are no shortcuts. Once you get there, however... things don't seem as bad as they did when you first started.

Beard onward, gentleman.

When we start growing out our mustaches to crown our beards, the number one problem guys have is that the hair constantly gets into their mouths. We bite the mustache as we're trying to eat, we have to constantly sweep and brush it to the sides, and sometimes our biting actually pulls hair out, making for a protein-packed snack*.

*That last part may not be true.

In this article we'll get down to a quick and easy way of getting your mustache out of your mouth all day.

 

Step 1: Wash Your Beard

The first thing you'll want to do is rinse or wash your beard. Generally, you'll probably be getting dressed and will be styling your beard and hair soon after waking up.

So if you take a shower or wash your face in the mornings, this is the best time to tend to your 'stache.

The reason we want to rinse or wash the beard is for the fact that we need to get the built up oils out of the mustache; if you regularly apply beard oil, balm, or butter, these oils along with your natural sebum should be cleared from your 'stache so that you can more easily use mustache wax.

With built up oils, your mustache wax may not provide as much of a grip or adhesion to the hair, making your mustache "fall apart" throughout the day, only to have you re-apply product.

So wash your beard and make sure your mustache is decently dry after patting it down with a cotton or microfiber cloth.

 

Step 2: Apply Mustache Wax

Now that your beard is clean, you'll need some mustache wax to get the job done.

Using your thumbnail, scrape out some wax, then warm it up and melt it between your thumb and index fingers. Do so on both hands, as one set of fingers will be used for the left portion of your mustache, and the other the right side.

Using your index fingers and thumbs, lightly grab your mustache from its center parting (the philtrum, basically) and start sweeping the 'stache hairs to the side, above your lip line.

Continue until you feel your mustache is out of the way enough.

The larger your mustache, the more wax you'll want to use.

 

Step 3: ... Wait, That's It

You're done! A quick note to make: you may want to style the bulk of your beard first and then do your mustache as the final step. Particularly if you're going to style the 'stache into a handlebar or other style.

Just keep in mind not to put oils and such on your mustache before applying the wax. Waxes will have those contained in them anyway, so it's not something that needs to be worried about. Simply make sure your mustache is clean and dry, and the wax will do the rest.

 

Watch a Video on How to Keep Your Mustache Out of Your Mouth

Need a visual aid to see how it's done, rather than just reading the text above? Check out quick the video below. For more videos like this, be sure to subscribe to Beard Profile on YouTube.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DT6D99mnV7s

 

Products Linked In This Article

For quicker browsing of what products were mentioned in this article, the links have been gathered below.

Ah, beard products. Very new, yet very helpful things to men growing out their various styles of beards beyond the five 'o clock shadow. In this article we'll be going over three of the most popular oil-based products that we bearded men use on a daily basis.

No need to look any further. We've got you.

Beard oils, balms, and butters all have their place and can be helpful assets in your beard arsenal. Although, don't assume that because something has "beard" on the label, that it is actually any good for your beard beyond what I'll go over below. Many beard products contain anti-androgens, which can be detrimental to beard growth.

 

Commonalities Between Oils, Balms, and Butters

There are a few things that these three things have in common, so we'll go over that first to make things easier when you're reading each particular section.

There are a plethora of different products with different ingredients in them, so we can't necessarily point things out specifically, but we can say that all of these will contain carrier oils and usually essential oils. Read that linked article to find out a little more about those things.

Another couple of common ingredients in balms and butters (as well as beard waxes, which we'll add along with the balm section):

  • Shea nut butter
  • Cocoa butter
  • Beeswax — usually more in beard waxes vs balms

Despite being labeled for beards, these products can be used on your head hair or skin as well.

All three help tremendously when you're initially growing your beard out past the stubble stages. Due to the irritation of the hair and possible dryness that comes along with growing a beard, using one of these three products can help you get past that itching stage, which generally lasts a good 2-3 weeks for many men.

A beard wax/balm should mostly be used on the facial hair itself, rather than the skin, as beeswax tends to be comedogenic (pore-clogging); an oil or butter are better options to add directly and intentionally to your skin due to the lack of that ingredient.

That said, this doesn't mean a balm is bad for your skin or that you should completely avoid it on your skin — it merely has more of a chance to clog your pores. Although keep in mind that there are also carrier oils that have higher comedogenic ratings than beeswax does, so essentially this tip could be thrown out the window depending on the ingredients in your oils or butters.

 

What Is Beard Oil?

We'll start off with what's considered the most "basic" of the three. A beard oil is used to keep a beard soft, moisturized, and potentially smelling nice if there are any fragrances or essential oils included. This is, according to Google's search statistics, the most popular of the three and is usually the first product in a beard company's line up of products to hit their warehouses.

It's simple, yet effective, for everyday needs but it won't tame your flyaways and unruly beard quite as much as a balm, butter, or beard wax would. At the same time, it will still help more than not using an oil at all. Opt for something with castor oil in it for the best taming a beard oil can offer, or jojoba for something that most resembles the sebum our faces produce. Beckwith's Organic Beard Oil is a fantastic choice that contains both of these.

A beard oil will normally come in an amber-colored glass bottle, but sometimes blue glass is used or even amber- or blue-colored plastic bottles.

 

How to Use Beard Oil

When using any sort of oil-based product, remember that "less is more."

  1. Rinse or wash your beard*
  2. Pat dry with cotton or microfiber cloth, which should leave beard somewhat damp
  3. Drop or place 3-4 drops of oil for medium-sized full beard into your palm and rub hands together
  4. Using your fingers, rub them from bottom to top, neck to cheeks to get oil down to skin
  5. With what's remaining in your hands, rub beard back down and hand-style
  6. Complete styling with comb or beard brush (they also help distribute oils)

*It's recommended that you only wash your beard 2-4 times per week, so if it's not a wash day, simply rinse with plain water with no soap. A shower is preferred over washing at a sink, but either works great.

If you apply oils to a dry beard, you'll find that spreading the oil is much harder, and it tends to sit on your hair and skin instead of absorbing into them. If you need to apply something to a dry beard, a beard butter is a better option for this.

Also, the larger your beard is, the more you'll want to use. Unless you have a very, very large beard, it's unlikely you'll need to use even close to 10 drops. Save product and money by using less. Both your wallet and your face will thank you for it.

 

How to Make Beard Oil (Recipe/Ingredients)

 - 0.7 ml cold-pressed jojoba (carrier oil) (buy here)
 - 0.3 ml cold-pressed castor oil (carrier oil) (buy here)
 - 0.03 ml steam-distilled peppermint essential oil (<- article on why to use PEO | buy here)
- Amber bottles with droppers to put these oils into (buy here)

Then simply... shake! Here's a chart on dilution percentages. You should always dilute essential oils. In our case, we dilute essential oils into the two carrier oils above. You can simply use one carrier if you'd like, or go with even more than two.

For a slightly more in-depth look at mixing beard oils, read the article linked below.

 

You may also be interested in: How to Mix Your Own Beard Oils (Simple Mixture)

 

What is Beard Balm/Wax?

Beard balms and beard waxes are very similar, but are different in the sense of how well they hold your facial hair in place. As opposed to an oil, they provide much more of a hold for styling and taming flyaways and unruliness. Many times, these two are referred to interchangeably.

A balm generally won't contain as much beeswax as a beard wax. Beeswax is a natural ingredient that has the most hold compared to shea butter and cocoa butter, which are more for spread than hold. Waxes will contain more beeswax and I'd go as far as to say that they will have this ingredient 100% of the time, even if there's an inclusion of carnauba wax, which can technically be used for the same purpose of hold.

When I say "generally won't" for a balm, that's because it comes down to the company and what they want to name their product. Balm is a more widely searched for term in search engines and sites like Amazon, so labeling a product as such tends to be the go-to, even if it may have the same amount of hold as a product labeled as wax. (Basically, there's no outlined standards).

Don't confuse a beard wax with a mustache wax, however. While they can contain some of the same ingredients, a mustache wax needs a stronger hold than a beard wax. As such, it will contain an even larger percentage of beeswax, or alternative and possibly non-natural ingredients altogether.

Beard balms and waxes usually come in tin containers with pop- or twist-off caps. Some opt to use amber glass containers with plastic screw-off caps, however. In general, glass items will be more expensive than tin.

The reason balm and wax tame facial hair so well is due to butters and oils hardening at certain temperatures, as well as adding additional weight to the hair. Once they are applied and cool off, it invisibly hardens around your hair in the style that you set your beard. They do not make your beard feel hard like a hair gel would, nor does it matter if you venture into hotter temperatures — they should do their thing despite the ambient temperature.

For more information on beard oils, balms, and waxes, check out the video below.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5hrGJuLoyyA

 

How to Use Beard Balm/Wax

  1. Rinse or wash your beard*
  2. Pat dry with a cotton or microfiber cloth, leaving beard slightly damp
  3. Use the back of your finger nail to scoop or scrape up small amount of product
  4. Place product in palm and rub hands together to emulsify it
  5. Apply from top to bottom of beard, paying attention more to the hair than the skin
  6. Complete styling with comb or beard brush

*It's recommended that you only wash your beard 2-4 times per week, so if it's not a wash day, simply rinse with plain water with no soap.

 

How to Make Beard Balm (Recipe/Ingredients)

Making a beard balm is a little more involved than mixing up beard oils. But that really only includes a little extra time, plus a few extra tools you'll need. Otherwise, it's very easy to make a balm. And probably a little more fun too.

 - You'll need your stove, a pot, and preferably a metal tool for mixing (such as a large spoon. You wouldn't want to use wood as the oils would soak into it, and essential oils are potent; the smell would stick around for quite a while)
 - 100g shea nut butter (buy here)
 - 70g beeswax (buy here)
 - 20ml jojoba oil (buy here)
 - 10ml castor oil (buy here)
 - 10~ drops of essential oil, such as peppermint (buy here)
 - Tins to store your balm, or to get a little fancier: amber glass jars with plastic lids.

If you don't have a kitchen scale to measure the grams of your shea butter and beeswax, one of those will help quit a bit. You could potentially try packing the butters into measured spoons or containers instead as well, then dumping them into your pot.

That wouldn't be 100% accurate, but if you're making homemade products for yourself, the accuracy is not something to worry too much about. Rough amounts work perfectly fine, and with the amount of product you get from these small purchases, you'll have enough for much experimentation.

Turn your stove on LOW heat with your pot over it, and melt down your shea butter and beeswax, stirring until they are fully melted. Then add in your carrier oils such as jojoba and castor, stir again. The last part to put in your essential oil(s). Simply counting the amount of drops you use is easier than finding a way to measure it out. But again, for more accuracy do actual measurements rather than drops.

Stir it up for a few more seconds after adding your final ingredients, then get your tins or amber jars ready. You don't want the liquefied beard balm to cool down too much, otherwise it'll harden in your pot.

While it's still warm and melted down, carefully pour into your container of choice. 

The last step is to simply cover your balm with its lid and allow to cool at room temp. For quicker hardening, place in fridge after the heated balm has been cooled down a bit at room temp.

 

What is Beard Butter?

A beard butter could be said to be in between an oil and a balm: it's not liquid, but it's not a solid either, and thus doesn't need to be emulsified in your hands before application of it into your beard.

Think of it as being very close to lotion that you would use on your body or face. Although, at the same time, beard butters can also simply be like beard balms without the beeswax. Which means using shea and cocoa butters as the primary texture, which isn't quite the same as lotion. You could potentially say that beard butters are the most inconsistent in branding, and some of them may be called creams as well.

Beard butter is easy to spread and tackles dry skin very well. While soothing to the skin, it also provides moderate hold which can be similar to that of a beard balm that may not contain a large portion of beeswax — which is a big bonus for many men. As well, compared to beard oils and balms, it's the best at softening beards because of its easy penetration past the hair's cuticle.

With the weight of the butter in a beard, it's also a helpful styling aid at the same time.

A beard butter is likely to come stored in a plastic container similar to face lotions that don't use pumps to dispense the product. Some come in tins much like a balm or wax as well.

 

How to Use Beard Butter

  1. Rinse or wash your beard*
  2. Pat dry beard with a cotton or microfiber cloth
  3. Use your finger to scoop out roughly a thumbnail-sized amount of butter
  4. Spread product evenly across both hands
  5. Apply from neck to cheeks, working it in well into beard hair
  6. Complete styling with a comb or brush

*It's recommended that you only wash your beard 2-4 times per week, so if it's not a wash day, simply rinse with plain water with no soap. Unlike beard oils and balms, a beard butter has a better consistency if you need to apply to a bone-dry beard. It's still recommended that you apply after a rinse or wash, however.

 

How to Make Beard Butter (Recipe/Ingredients)

To make a simple beard butter, follow the recipe in the beard balm section, but exclude the beeswax and add a little more shea butter and carrier oil to make up for it. Or, replace beeswax with cocoa butter to make it even easier.

This will allow for a really buttery consistency, but not the lotion-esque texture that you'd find in a brand like Maestro's Classic.

Reusing all of your ingredients between your oils, balms, and butters will save you a lot of money in the long run. While the initial purchases may be larger than buying one or two branded, pre-mixed products, you get a lot more if you mix your own beard moisturizers.

A purchase of all of these individual ingredients can last you for years rather than the 2-3 months a typical beard product might last you.

 

Beard Oil vs Balm vs Butter. Which Should You Choose?

If you don't use any of these products, going with any of them will level your beard game up by quite a bit. All of them will help to keep your facial hair healthy no matter which route you take.

If you're simply wondering what's best, that's a bit harder to answer. All of them have their merits. Let's lay out the pros and cons of each, below.

 

Pros and Cons of Oil

 + Usually small form factor in glass bottle
 + Measured drops via dropper or drop cap
 + Generally cheaper than balms, waxes and butters
 - Not as much styling hold as balm, wax or butter

Pros and Cons of Balm/Wax

 + Great hold for styling
 + Fits most places easily for traveling
 - Melts in hot temperatures (such as traveling, left in hot car)
 - Easy to overuse for novice users

Pros and Cons of Butter

 + Good hold for styling, almost as much as balm, but not as much as wax
 + Softens coarse beards greatly
 + Easily eliminates dry skin
 - Easy to overuse for novice users
 - Normally comes in larger containers, less convenient for travel

 

Going off just the number of pros and cons, you could potentially say that the oil or butter is best. Only if it were that easy!

Despite any perceived shortcomings, it's hard to say there truly are negatives of using these products, aside from what was mentioned at the start of this article about potential anti-androgens, which is highly dependent on the individual product. The upside of using these items vastly outweighs the downsides in the negative sections.

So which one should you choose? I personally think that beard butter always has its place and while it's the least popular out of the three at the time of this writing, it's also the newest to hit the market and rarely has naysayers.

If you had to choose just one, I'd go for the beard butter, such as one from Maestro's Classic. Otherwise, if you have the coin to spend, go for all three; you can test each product throughout several weeks to see which is truly best for your beard. Our skin and hair differs from each other and finding the right product for ourselves is all about testing. One person may like the scent of a product more than the next, or maybe one person breaks out due to one product but not another.

At the end of the day, use what works for you, not others.

 

Wrapping Things Up...

Beard oils, balms, and butters all have their places in our beards and the routine can really help one to appreciate his beard more. From softening the beard to relieving itchy, dry skin, it's hard not to recommend using these products.

If you're the type that likes DIY projects, making yourself some balms and oils is an excellent, easy project to start. If doing it yourself isn't really your thing, purchasing products from beard companies is still an excellent option and helps them to keep spreading the good word of beard.

Have any questions or comments about what we've gone over? Head on over to the beard boards where dozens of men are participating in beard (and non-beard) discussions. And remember: beard onward, fellas.

 

Products Linked in This Article

For quicker reference back to the products we've listed in this article, you can find them easily below.

- Beard oil, balm, and butter ingredients are in their respective sections and are easy enough to find (use the table of contents at the top of the article to quickly find sections).

Those growing out their beard to any substantial length beyond stubble know just how tough and coarse their beard can become. While length can certainly help to make one's beard softer, don't expect the coarseness to change without a little bit of know-how.

In this article I'll be giving some tips on just how you can treat your beard to make it soft — not only for your own comfort, but for the comfort of your significant other as well.

Not only will we go over a couple of methods of softening your beard, but we'll also get into how you should attempt to maintain its softness and health for the long haul.

 

The Length of Your Beard

Just as I mentioned above, the length of your beard can help to make your beard softer overall. This is because as the hair shafts become longer, they also become more pliable, which makes them easier to bend and move with every touch. The downside to length, however, is that you'll also be more prone to breakage and split-ends, which can reduce the look of your beard and make it look less healthy than you might want it to.

This is why we can't just use length and have to rely on some external methods of softening the beard up.

 

Washing Your Beard

This is one thing that can keep hair brittle and dry, if you're over-washing your beard or using products meant for your scalp. Keep the washing to roughly 2-4 times per week if you can, and use something natural like a castile soap instead of shampoo that has harsh ingredients that will dry out your face and hair.

Remember, our faces are much more sensitive and prone to drying than our scalps are, so use products that aren't so harsh.

When you see a recommendation of washing your beard only a few times per week, it doesn't mean you can't rinse your beard daily or even more than once per day with plain water. You can hit the shower and soak the beard and let the water run through it; this will be enough cleaning for the beard without having to add soaps or shampoos to it.

When drying your beard after washing, be sure to pat-dry it with a cotton or microfiber cloth. Don't rub it aggressively as this leads to breakage, particularly while the beard is fragile from being wet.

 

Also read: Why We Shouldn't Use Scalp-Related Products For Our Beards

 

Conditioning Your Beard

Don't confuse conditioning of your beard as the same thing with your head hair. While the concept is the same, the products should differ. Hair conditioners are too much for facial hair, mostly due to the sensitivity of our skin and how easy it is to clog pores.

Instead of using your hair conditioner in your beard, opt for a beard oil instead. Or better yet, a beard butter for extra conditioning and softness.

 

Also read: Everything You Need to Know About Beard Butter, Beard Balm, & Beard Oil

 

Condition your beard after you've rinsed or washed it, as this will allow the ingredients to better pass through your hair's cuticle as well as into your skin via the extra permeation that the water allows. The skin's barrier is quite resilient, which is why applying moisturizing products after showers is highly recommended.

To take things one step further, you can also try a deep-conditioning routine where you apply your oils or butter and then sleep with a neck gaiter over your beard. This will lock in the oils and allow them to absorb into the hair shafts as you sleep at night.

 

Protect Your Beard While Sleeping

As we sleep at night, we move quite a lot. Couple this with using cotton pillowcases and these two things lead to both breakage and absorption of your beard's oils directly into your pillow. As I mentioned above with the neck gaiter, that would help protect the oils and keep them in your beard and not your pillow.

An alternative to the neck gaiter would be to pick up a satin or silk pillowcase. The good thing about these pillowcases are that they are not abrasive to your hair, both on your head and on your face. They also won't be absorbing the oils in your beard, whether that's natural sebum or oil you put in as a conditioning routine.

 

Wrapping things up...

Softening your beard isn't a tough job, but it's something that needs to be proactively tended to. Don't let your beard get unruly and unhealthy with neglect: take action now so that your beard looks on point and touchable for however long you choose to keep it growing.

Be the man that proves people wrong about the negative misconceptions that are alluded toward bearded men.

And as always. Beard onward, fellas. 

 

Bonus Video: Calling Out Beard Breakage & Shedding

In this video, I essentially go over what I've gone over in the article above. Some information will overlap within the videos I make, although the articles tend to have a little more detail due to the nature of how these two mediums work. Utilizing both the articles here on Beard Profile and the videos on YouTube should help you remember all of the tips and keep your beard looking on point.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JJKg4Z1tGCQ


Products Linked in This Article

For quicker reference back to the products we've listed in this article, you can find them easily below.

Micronutrients are important alongside our daily macronutrient intake, but are often overlooked by the average person. Our bodies require micronutrients in order to function the way they physiologically should, and quite often people are found to be deficient in some type of vitamin.

Vitamins D and B are two common nutrients that people are found to be deficient in. These vitamins are important not only for your head hair's health and growth, but also for your facial hair — with that said, remember that we shouldn't always compare head hair and beard hair, as they are not entirely the same. We can, however, make certain inferences of facial hair by examining how hair on the scalp works, which will have a plethora of research studies in comparison to androgenic hair.

 

Vitamin D

Vitamin D Deficiency

People don't feel or see that they're deficient in vitamin D, so it's a hard one to spot without getting tested. During winter time, when the sun has much less of a presence, is when people will be most prone to vitamin D deficiency. From that, it's easy to say that the farther you live from the equator, the more likely it is for you to be deficient in this vitamin.

As many as 42% of people in the United States alone may be deficient in vitamin D, and over 1 billion people globally may be deficient.

Those with darker skin also naturally have less vitamin D, as D is synthesized from cholesterol within the skin. The darker your skin, the more melanin you have preventing the sun from increasing your intake. While this means less vitamin D for those with darker skin, the upside is that darker skin is also less prone to the sun's harsh effects over a lifetime.

So, it's winter and we can't get enough sunlight, and in turn vitamin D, because:

  1. We need to cover our skin to stay warm while outside
  2. The sun itself has a weaker presence in general during this time

Instead of attempting to get more sun, get your vitamin D orally. Because few foods contain any meaningful amount of vitamin D, it may be best to buy a vitamin D supplement.

Fatty fish like salmon should contain a nice amount of your recommended daily intake (RDI) of vitamin D, and egg yolks a small percentage.

When purchasing a supplement, always opt for vitamin D3 over D2.

 

How to Take Vitamin D3

The Office of Dietary Supplements recommends at least 600 UI (15 mcg) of vitamin D daily. If you're going for a high potency supplement like the 5,000 internal units NOW brand that is linked above, be sure you take it only once every few days — not every day. Also, consider taking the supplement only during the fall and winter months as you are likely to head outside more often during the warmer months.

If you don't get out much in the warmer months, feel free to take the supplement, but I'd recommend lowering it to just once or twice per week. You won't overdose on vitamin D by being out in the sun, so don't feel the need to avoid the sun while supplementing with vitamin D for that reason. This is due to the negative feedback loop, wherein your body will stop synthesizing vitamin D through sun exposure when it's had enough.

Take vitamin D3 with a meal that contains fat. Vitamin D is fat-soluble, so you'll want to take it just after you've eaten a meal that contains a bit of fat.

 

Why Vitamin D is Helpful for Beard Growth

Vitamin D is not only a vitamin, as it gets synthesized separate from its activity. In essence, it is considered to be a steroid hormone that helps regulate calcium and mineralization of bone.

More recently, it has been noted that Vitamin D3 boosts stem cells' ability to induce hair growth and create new hair follicles. Along with hair growth being a factor with D3, this can also help dormant or inactive hair follicles start producing hair. Remember: women and children have hair follicles on their faces, but they are simply not active and producing hair the way that men are, due to heightened hormones such as DHT.

"We found that treating the dermal papilla cells with VD3 significantly enhanced the growth of new hair over that of the control group," Dr. Aoi said. "We also observed a better rate of maturation of the follicles. In other words, the hair grew thicker and lasted longer."

- Stem Cells Translational Medicine

While this was targeted toward hair regeneration, there's still something to be said about facial hair. As we already know, minoxidil is also meant for hair regrowth, but has been shown to help men vastly improve the fullness of their beards.

The bottom line is that hormones influence our facial hair, and hindering our progress by allowing ourselves to be deficient in what's a steroid hormone won't provide any benefit. There can only be good in keeping our vitamin D levels in a healthy range.

 

Vitamin K

Vitamin K Deficiency

This vitamin is not quite mentioned very often, but is also one of the few that roughly half of adults are deficient in. It is said to work in tandem with vitamin D3, bringing calcium into your bones, helping with such things as tooth mineralization. The type you want specifically is vitamin K2, or menaquinone, which is found in meats.

The subtypes of K2 to keep in mind are MK-4 and MK-7.

This vitamin is hard to test for, as your levels of it will be whatever you've had within the past day or so.

Since this question may come up, let's go ahead and ask & answer it: which K2 supplement should I get — MK4 or MK7?

While it's a hard one to answer, many people opt for MK7 due to its higher bioavailability within the blood. On the other hand, MK4 is less likely to build up in your system and has a lower upper-limit. Because of this, I would take the safer route of going with MK4.

It would behoove you to speak with your primary doctor, however, as is the case with anything supplement-related.

 

How to Take Vitamin K2

There has been no negative affects of vitamin K through food or supplements, but as always with vitamins: more doesn't mean better. An adequate amount to take per day for a healthy adult would be around 120mcg.

Take vitamin K2 with a meal that contains fat, as it is a fat-soluble vitamin as D3 is.

 

Vitamin B12

Not to be confused with biotin, or vitamin B7. It's actually quite rare for people to have a biotin deficiency, but B12 is much more common.

 

Vitamin B12 Deficiency

This is a common vitamin for people to be deficient in, particularly those that don't eat animal products. Vitamin B12 isn't something that we can produce ourselves, within our bodies. Unlike the sun hitting our skin producing vitamin D, we don't have that luxury with B12.

So if you're vegetarian or vegan, this is a vitamin you'll most definitely want to be supplementing, as studies have shown that these groups of people are highly susceptible to vitamin B12 deficiency.

If you eat meat, you're better off area, although that may not be the case for many people, as B12 is a complex vitamin to absorb for the body. Some people need high doses of supplements to counteract this, or the worst case scenario, having to take B12 injections.

 

How to Take Vitamin B12

No upper limit has been established for vitamin B12 as it has a low potential for toxicity. Many people that take the supplement simply opt for 500 mcg. Unlike a high-potency vitamin D supplement, a high potency B12 can be taken everyday and does not need to be taken with food.

Simply take it with water. Excess B12 and that which isn't absorbed will be urinated out.

 

Why Vitamin B12 is Helpful for Beard Growth

Every cell in our bodies require B12. If you don't have enough, you can develop disorders and risk for diseases. Generally, an unhealthy individual will have thin scalp hair and less androgenic hair (body and facial hair) throughout his body. Aside from the fact that your health would be at risk with a B12 deficiency, a nice, healthy beard is unlikely to thrive in that sort of environment.

With how hard it is for us to absorb B12 through our diets and how low the potential is for side effects, it's smart to take the supplement so that your body has ample amounts of B12, every single day.

There are other B vitamins aside from B12, of which the complex is said to be helpful for healthy skin and hair. Instead of taking just the B12, you could take multiple B vitamins at once.

Take care of your health, and your body and face will show it.

 

Wrapping things up...

These two vitamins are important for not only our overall health, but of course our awesome facial hair as well. While there are other vitamins that people tend to be deficient in, D and B12 are a couple of the major ones in the list.

Alternatively to supplementing just those two, you can make things easier for yourself and take a men's multivitamin. Be sure to read the ingredient labels to make sure that the multi has enough of the ingredients that you want from it.

Remember, fellas: Beard Profile is about making beards better. Whatever beard you can rock right now, if you want to improve it, there are always ways of bringing out its fullest potential. It starts on the inside with your health, but it can be improved also through knowledge, dedication, and patience. Beard onward.

 

Bonus Video!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FWzfVcIKzNo

 

Products Linked in This Article

For quicker reference back to the products we've listed in this article, you can find them easily below.

There are a lot of items that a beardsman can utilize to maximize the look of his beard. Whether you're a beginner with growing out your facial hair or if you've had one for years, you'll find these beard "essentials" quite useful in your beard arsenal.

I quote essentials there as these items aren't actually essential. Rather, they are simply tools that you can use to more easily tame your beard and help grow it to its fullest potential. No more itching, no split ends, and a healthy, presentable beard.
 

Recommended Beard Tools

Beard Oil & Beard Balm

Beard oil and balm are great for moisturizing both your skin and facial hair. Applying either one or both into a clean, damp beard will help provide hydration and protection from split ends.

Oil

Don't get it mistaken: oil does not promote any sort of new facial hair growth, which may be contrary to what several beard oil companies state. In fact, it's entirely possible that the oils on the market aimed at such a thing contain potent plant derived anti-androgens such as tea tree oil or lavender oil. You can learn more about dihydrotestosterone and beard growth by clicking on that link.

If you experience itchiness during your initial beard growth stages (usually around stubble length), oil is a great way to get rid of that. It can be used at any stage of beard growth, including on a freshly shaved face.

Another upside to using oils, balms, or butters is that it can give the appearance of a fuller beard.

Balm

Balm, on the other hand, could also be used at any stage but is generally desired for beards that have started growing out and need a bit of taming. Flyaway and uncooperative hair can normally be helped by applying a balm. The ingredients contain stronger-holding compositions compared to a beard oil, allowing the weight of the hair to be added onto while also becoming more pliable due to the oils.

Be careful with some balms as they may contain ingredients like beeswax, which can be comedogenic, or pore clogging. This should really only be a worry if you're using the balm down to your skin, intentionally coating it.

There's also something called beard butter, with a texture similar to lotion. This is a great alternative, especially for guys that generally get a dry face or brittle hair.

 

Our Recommendations:

You certainly won't need all three, but many guys like to experiment a bit.
Notable mention: Mustache wax

After washing your beard, drying it, and applying your conditioner of choice, you'd want to style it. So we'll move onto...

 

Beard Combs & Beard Brushes

As part of your daily styling routine, you'll want a comb or a brush. Preferably both.

Brush

A boar bristle brush is a great tool for exfoliating your face, taming your facial hair, and potentially encouraging hair growth due to the additional blood flow created upon brushing. So that you don't damage hair strands due to the brush's abrasiveness, don't brush more than once or twice per day.

Look out for brushes with synthetic bristles; they're hardly good for your hair or face, so opt to find one with 100% boar's hair. As an alternative to those that cannot use boar-related material or want a gentler brush, a horse hair beard brush might be the way to go. It will exfoliate and stimulate the face much less than the boar hair, however, as it's much softer.

Comb

Combs are a little more versatile when it comes to helping with styling your beard, and they can be used more often. You'll want to choose the width of the teeth based on the texture of your beard — in other words, the curlier your beard, the wider you'll want the teeth on the comb to be apart. The straighter your beard, the closer together you'll want your comb teeth.

If you can, make note of the quality of the comb you're purchasing. If you're going for a wood comb, you'll want one that's of high quality or else its finish may have non-sanded parts that snag onto your beard's hair, causing splits, pulls and general damage to the strands. Wood combs also take on the smells of your balms and oils, which can be seen as either a positive or negative.

 

Our Recommendations:

A brush and comb are fairly essential to maintaining a nicely groomed beard. It's hard to go wrong with the Kent brand, if you're ever in doubt of which product to go for. They're anti-static, handmade in England, and have perfectly rounded teeth.

 

Beard Trimmer

Despite how long or short you rock your beard, a trimmer will undoubtedly come in handy. From minor touch-ups to major trims, these things will have your beard looking right at all times.

If you really know you won't be needing an electric trimmer, you'll at least want a pair of beard scissors to tame your mane. Without these, you won't be able to effectively chop split-ends, which would cause them to travel up to the root of the hair shaft and shed the hair. During the split, the hair simply doesn't look healthy, lowering the overall appearance of your beard.

So catch split ends quickly and trim them before they deepen into your beard.

With a trimmer, it's easy to make a mistake, so set aside some time to do your trims and take all the time you need. The alternative of doing the trimming yourself is going to a barber, but the results will widely vary and it's hard to find a reliable barber with beard trimming talent. A trimmer will also save money in the long run, and you'll be able to do your trims whenever you want, on your own time.

Note that we don't recommend using an electric trimmer to do split-end trimming. Save it for cheek- and neck-line trimming, or general trimming.

 

Our Recommendations:

Notable mention: Shavette or straight razor, for those that want a sharp look on the cheek line.

 

Notable Mentions

Aside from the couple of mentions we gave above, there are a few more things you might want; you may already own them!

  • Cotton towel - an easy one. Try to use a 100% cotton towel when drying your beard after a wash. Also, don't rub your beard dry, simply pat it until it's damp but not too wet. Rubbing your beard, especially while it's wet, can be very damaging. After patting it dry, this is the best time to apply an oil or balm.
  • Beard wash - it really doesn't need to be a wash labeled for beards. Use a natural soap or a gentle shampoo when washing your beard, but try to avoid scalp-related products when washing your face and beard.
  • Beard dye - for those that feel they don't have a full enough beard, but want to rock a full beard. Or, if you just want to cover up some grey hair. A beard dye will give a beard a much fuller appearance as well as a uniform look, dyeing all of your hair the same color (as opposed to our hair naturally having different shades in it).

In conclusion

The beard oil to keep your facial hair soft and healthy in between your trimmings and brushing, the balm to tame and condition it; having these tools in your arsenal will greatly up your beard game and routine. It becomes somewhat of a ritual when you take care of your beard and are fully aware of its existence and needs. It's a feeling that's hard to describe, but one that's fueled every time you style it.

Do you have any must-have tools in your inventory? Join up and let us know over on the beard boards.

Growing a beard isn't as easy as many people seem to assume. Sure, there are a lot of men out there that can get insane beard growth with just a couple of months of growing under their belt, but most men in the world don't have it so easy. It's not as simple as picking up some beard oil, rubbing it into your face everyday, and waking up one day with an awesome beard.

On the contrary; it takes time and dedication to grow your beard to its fullest potential.

Throw out the notion that you'll have a beard in two weeks. If that's the mindset you have, you'll be sorely disappointed. Regardless of the style of beard you're attempting to grow, two weeks is not enough time for anything but stubble. Don't get me wrong, a stubble beard is a great look to have as well, but we're talking about full beards here.

With all of that said, let's get down to the rules of bearding. Keep in mind that these points are purely opinion, because obviously there are no actual rules or commandments of growing a beard (aside from the possible religious views, of which we won't get into). You're a grown man and you do what you want!

 

Rules of Growing a Full beard

 

Grow your beard for at least three months before giving up


Yes, three months. The number 3. That's twelve weeks. Many men will recommend thirteen weeks, which is an appropriate amount of time to see the potential your beard has.

You won't see your beard's potential at one month. Stick with growing it out for the minimum amount of time before you decide what sort of beard style you're going for, or if you'll be able to grow a full beard at all. You'll be surprised at how different your beard can look from week 2 to week 12. Even after three months, your beard still isn't quite set in stone yet. You have the slow starters in your hair cycle that haven't quite started growing yet, as well as the current hair that's just not at a long enough length to start covering any patchiness or spots.

Length matters. More hair matters. Give your beard time to start revealing itself.
 

Don't trim too often, and never shave


Your beard will lengthen at a snail's pace if you insist on trimming often. The best thing you can do if you want to grow your beard out is to keep away from any trimmers and shavers. As the hair gets longer, you might want to keep an eye on split ends and use a pair of small scissors to snip off the splits before they travel too far down the hair shaft, causing you to trim deeper.

Our hair doesn't grow at the same pace throughout the face, so there is an upside to trimming: it allows the beard grow out more evenly. Keep in mind, however, that we're hardly symmetrical to begin with. Don't trim too far down or too often, as chances are you'll end up making a mistake and taking too much off. Most guys are fine to let the entire beard grow with very minor scissor trims. Scissors leave less room for error in comparison to using an electric trimmer.

Lastly, never trim your beard, or decide to do anything that cuts, while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. This will almost always lead to regret. It probably doesn't need any further explanation than that.

 

Don't judge your own beard too harshly
 

This is one of the biggest pitfalls for to-be bearded men. We judge ourselves and our appearance much more harshly than others do, which leads to comparing our beard growth to that of other men. Most people won't notice the little flaws we all have in our beards, such as that tiny patch on the jaw or that the upper cheeks are slightly thinner.

Remember to own your beard and embrace its pattern, texture and color. Something you perceive as negative may very well be a positive in the eyes of others. 

 

Set a goal
 

You should be setting some type of goal for your beard growth. Whether it's to get it to a certain length in inches/centimeters, or how you want it to look in general, a set goal makes it much easier to stay on course. Without a goal, it's easy to convince ourselves to trim or shave, and easier for others to convince us to do so as well. Keep a goal in mind and strive for it until you get there.

If it helps, look at pictures of other bearded men via Google (or even here on the beard forums!). Don't compare your beard to that of others — simply look at different styles and aim for that style.

 

Utilize positive motivators
 

Keep yourself motivated! It can be easy to succumb to societal norms (i.e. clean shaving), so do your best to stay as positive about your beard as possible. Don't let those one or two random people get you down when they tell you that you should shave, because it's likely to happen. Instead, think about the times when someone has complimented your facial fuzz and focus on that.

Sometimes the compliments don't come until you've grown the beard out into a fuller state, and that's okay. It's normal for people to dislike the initial stages of your beard and then eventually realize how awesome it looks on you.

Remember that beards aren't for everyone, and it's something that people seem to want to express. Whether that's due to beard envy or them simply not liking facial hair, it doesn't matter. It's your beard, it's your face, it's your decision.

 

In conclusion

Beards take time and dedication to grow out. It requires that we, as beardsman, block out the haters. Those closest to us that know us mostly as clean-shaved will normally be the biggest deterrents when it comes to growing out our beards. Push through it, keep your goals in mind, and grow that beard out.

If you need more motivation, have any questions or just want to share your progress, don't forget about the beard board.

Peppermint essential oil can help your beard's growth through various factors. Unlike many other essential oils, peppermint oil isn't anti-androgenic for humans, so its method of growing or regrowing hair isn't through blocking DHT. For those of you that are aggressively balding, this essential oil may be helpful, but isn't generally what you're looking for to halt the balding.

The good news for the guys that only want to grow a better beard, without the potential of hindering progress through blocking DHT, is that peppermint has been shown to be more effective than a 3% minoxidil solution.

Not sure why DHT is so good for beards? Read the article: Understanding the Importance of DHT for Health and Beard Growth

 

Study Shows Peppermint Oil Promotes Hair Growth

In this study, we can see that a 3% peppermint essential oil solution promotes hair growth by inducing an early anagen stage (the stage in which the hair grows and isn't resting or shedding) and increases vascularization of dermal papillae. Essentially, it enhances blood flow and helps bring more nutrients to the hair follicle, allowing it to grow in fuller, healthier, and faster.

In addition, "PEO showed remarkably increased IGF-1 mRNA expression at week 2, whereas MXD at week 4," the study states. IGF-1 is short for insulin-like growth factor 1, which is a hormone that has anabolic effects. For our hair, this means thicker hair, as IGF-1 controls the differentiation of hair shafts. 3% PEO works faster and remarkably better than a 3% minoxidil solution. And, as many Beard Profile readers know, minoxidil can considerably help men grow their beards. That's not to say that PEO works better than minoxidil for stimulation of new hair growth, however.

Not only does PEO promote the hair to grow faster and thicker, it also increases the amount of activity of the hair follicles. In essence, hair follicles don't all grow at the same rate or at the same time; with PEO, it's possible to kick start additional follicles into growing out your facial hair, which would make one's beard appear thicker, faster, due to the increased hair follicle density.

[above figure]: the growth promoting activity of hair follicle number. At week 2, the hair follicle number of PEO group was 473% and 218% greater than SA and JO groups, respectively (p < 0.05). At week 4, PEO group had 740% and 307% more hair follicles than SA and JO groups, respectively (p < 0.001), comparable to MXD group. We also found that the number of hair follicles increased as hair regrew.

Anecdotally as well, many men have noticed increased growth from PEO within a few weeks. This includes those that have used both minoxidil and PEO together, and those that have used only PEO. This has also been noted over at The Minox Beard Spot on Facebook.

 

How to Dilute PEO

Peppermint oil can be diluted in a variety of ways, but the easiest way is to use a carrier oil like jojoba. We have a guide on how to mix beard oils, which uses jojoba and peppermint as an example. It's as easy as counting the number of drops you use compared to the amount of carrier you're using.

Most guys will use a 5% solution, as opposed to the 3% featured in the mouse study. Bear in mind that the higher the percentage, the more you'll feel the menthol from the peppermint. From what we've seen, most guys love the feeling, but some find it a bit overwhelming. Don't go higher than around 5%, and do not use peppermint directly on your face without first diluting it. More is not better when it comes to things like this, so take it easy and play it safe. Most essential oils can be toxic in high amounts and many are certainly caustic if applied directly to the skin. With that said, there's no reason to be scared to use essential oils, so long as you're following basic guidelines.

 

Where to Buy Peppermint Oil

Essential oils are very common and can be found in many places — particularly peppermint as it's a popular one with a great smell. Anywhere that sells aromatherapy products should have it in stock, but you may be better off purchasing it online as it's usually much cheaper. You'll want to grab a therapeutic grade PEO, like Majestic Pure from Amazon.

The kind you buy should be steam-distilled rather than extracted by using an alcohol.

 

Wrapping up, it looks like peppermint is a great option for those looking to up their beard game, without hindering progress by using DHT blockers like rosemary or lavender (despite them smelling so good!). Stay vigilant when buying products for your beard, scrutinize everything, and beard onward.

 

Products Linked in This Article

For quicker reference back to the products we've listed in this article, you can find them easily below.

While this article won't focus on beard growth, we should all know by now that beards are the product of hormones — particularly the androgens testosterone and dihydrotestosterone. Most people out there have heard of testosterone and know of some of its benefits, but DHT is a lesser-known, more potent form of testosterone and an important factor in many aspects of men's health (and beards). Increasing testosterone generally means an increase in DHT, which is what we'll be focusing on in the coming points.

 

How to Increase Testosterone and DHT

  1. Eat clean and healthy

    The types of food we eat can directly influence our testosterone levels. What we need everyday, in particular, is a good portion of healthy fats. This will be saturated and monounsaturated fats, a few examples being: avocados, eggs, butter (grass-fed source), olive and coconut oils, and red meats. You'll want your fat intake to be about 40% (20% protein, 40% carbs). This also means that you should somewhat limit protein and opt for carbs and fats.

  2. Stop consuming so much sugar

    Too much glucose intake leads to a spike in insulin, which is a cause of lowered testosterone. You don't need to cut it out of your life entirely, but limiting your intake by getting rid of the candy and soda could help tremendously.

  3. Do some strength training and/or high intensity interval training (HIIT)

    Go with high weights and make the session intense, or give sprinting a try in 30-second intervals. Intense training has been shown to greatly increase testosterone levels, as opposed to simple cardio like jogging (which tends to have no impact or possibly even a negative impact on T levels). Have some whey protein after a workout, within about 1-2 hours after completion, preferably as soon as possible.

  4. Lose weight (body fat, not muscle)

    Fat is linked with heightened estrogen levels, which lowers testosterone naturally as estrogen is synthesized from testosterone. Less testosterone and higher estrogen also means less DHT production. If you're doing the three points above, that should be sufficient to cutting the unwanted pounds.

  5. Have caffeine

    This one might seem contrary to what certain individuals think, but caffeine itself has been shown to be healthy, and studies have also noted an increase of testosterone when taken before intense workouts. That's on top of the increase that happens when working out hard without the caffeine. If you drink coffee, that's great. Just remember to limit or exclude sugar from your cup of joe and go easy on the cream. If you can, drink it black; less calories, and much healthier that way.

  6. Supplement with creatine and boron

    Creatine is one of the most scrutinized supplements on the market. Creatine monohydrate is cheap, safe to use, and is an effective way of upping your testosterone and DHT levels. Boron, on the other hand, is not as well known but studies have also shown this supplement to increase testosterone. You'll need more than what labels tend to recommend, taking about 6-10mg per day instead of the standard 3mg. It's not bioaccumulative, so it won't build up in your system, and is only toxic at high amounts such as 25mg+ per day. Don't go near that range, of course.

  7. Reduce your stress

    This one is definitely easier said than done, but stress is a huge factor in many negative things in life, including the blocking of testosterone due to the excess cortisol that's released. If you have problems with stress, find ways to limit it. Perhaps take part in meditation, yoga, and breathing exercises.

These points are simple to follow, but ultimately very effective at giving your testosterone and DHT a boost, with one of the best side benefits: more beard growth. Stay away from over-the-counter testosterone boosters, as it's very unlikely that most products on the market will work other than being a placebo that potentially keeps you on the right track with the rest of these tips. Save the money and grab some extra gym gear or organic food to get your mind focused, and beard onward.

 

Products Linked in This Article

For quicker reference back to the products we've listed in this article, you can find them easily below.

This is a bit of older news, but like with the myth of shaving to grow a fuller beard, it's still something that seems to be circulating when beards are mentioned. In 2015, a news station in New Mexico claimed that beards are as dirty as a toilet. The first thing we have to realize when reading news articles, is that many times stories are made simply to generate interest — even if they're wrong or feature incorrect or insufficient information. It's a great way to keep articles coming and money generated.

The thing about this KOAT article (the station that came up with this huge, viral rumor), is that it is not scientific and words were taken out of context to form the story. What happened, was a TV anchor had taken swabs from a "handful" of men's beards and sent them into a lab to see what microbes were found. What the microbiologist came back with was the presence of enteric bacteria, which normally resides in the intestines.

Those are the types of things you’d find in feces
- Microbiologist

Going off this, the TV news station thought it was enough to justify spreading falsity by twisting words.

The fact is that "We, as a society, are literally bathed in feces," a microbiologist from New York claims.  Anything that a human touches, there is bacteria. Another fact: our kitchens and other areas of the home are actually more bacteria laden than our toilets are. Fecal bacteria is found everywhere, it's not simply exclusive to beards. The same bacteria that was found in beards is also found on our skin. Doh!

In an actual scientific study, it was found that men with beards have a reduced likelihood of antibiotic-resistant bacteria being present on their skin.

We compared facial bacterial colonization rates among 408 male healthcare workers with and without facial hair. Workers with facial hair were less likely to be colonized with Staphylococcus aureus and meticillin-resistant coagulase-negative staphylococci ... Overall, colonization is similar in male healthcare workers with and without facial hair; however, certain bacterial species were more prevalent in workers without facial hair.
- Journal of Hospital Infection

While colonization is similar, there are benefits to having a beard over being clean-shaved, though both have the same bacteria that may be found in fecal matter. Keep in mind that while the bacteria may reside in feces, it doesn't mean that they're the same thing as poo. Wash those hands after wiping to avoid that.

To conclude this article, I'll drop this video of Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Scientific Studies. This must be one of my favorites, and points out why the media reports incomplete information, trying to pass it off as science.

Combs and boar's hair brushes are important tools for any man with a slightly larger beard, with brushes being a little more versatile as they work well for those that have shorter beards too. Keeping these tools clean and sanitary should be a priority in your beard maintenance, but they don't need to be cleaned often (barring you're not a barber, in which case they need to be cleaned in between every customer they're used on).

Your combs for personal use really only need to be cleaned every month or two, with acetate combs like Kent needing cleaning less than often than wood combs, since you can rinse your plastic combs through water after every use, whereas you don't want to be constantly getting your wooden combs wet — if you do, it's fine and you just need to wipe them dry. Boar's bristle brushes need cleaning only about 3-5 times per year, depending on your usage of it with oils and how much your facial skin flakes on you.

 

How to Clean Your Beard Combs

Grab a semi-large bowl or small tub; something large enough that you can place your combs into. If you've just cleaned and sanitized your sink, you can fill that up instead.

  1. Fill the chosen container with warm tap water
  2. Grab a shampoo bottle and squeeze a little bit into the water
  3. Mix it up with your hands or stir with your comb
  4. Place comb(s) into the container and allow them to soak

For a lot of combs, this should be sufficient enough to get them nice and clean. Consider using a small scrub brush and agitate the combs with it to get them extra clean. This is particularly important if you use oils in your beard, so you can remove any build up and residue on your combs. If you don't have a cleaning brush, use a cloth and soak it in your shampoo-water solution. A brush will be more efficient at getting in between the comb's teeth, however.

 

How to Clean Your Beard Brush

Use the same water you just placed your combs into to save time.

  1. Dip the bristles of your brush into soapy water solution
  2. Use your fingers or the cleaning brushes to wipe debris from the top of the brush
  3. Use a thinner cleaning brush to wipe in between the boar bristles to reach the wood and remove the skin flakes that are on the base of the wood

If you own a pair of electric clippers, you'll likely have had a thin cleaning brush that came with it. Those are perfect for reaching through the boar hair and getting to the wood.

After cleaning the brush, use a dry cloth to dry it as much as possible and set it bristle-side down to complete the drying. Optionally, completely dry it using a blow dryer.

 

Regular upkeep of your valuables will keep them doing what they need to: caring for your beard hair and the skin underneath it, without spreading unwanted particulates. A clean comb and brush is a clean beard!

 

Products Linked in This Article

For quicker reference back to the products we've listed in this article, you can find them easily below.

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