Growing a Beard for Manliness and Profit
Since the days of the Romans, the popularity of wearing a beard has swung back and forth. Sometimes they are held up as expressions of proper manliness, and at other times they make people think you’re a slob. As one of the bearded faithful, I can tell you that properly-groomed beard is quite awesome. Did you know they also help you save money?
If you’re 30 or over, you probably remember the days when the first multi-bladed disposable razor hit the scene. The message was that the more blades you had, the closer your shave. The underlying message was that if you didn’t have a close shave you would never get a woman’s attention. I’m here today to tell you that’s bollocks. Women’s tastes in facial hair range all over the map, and close-shave fans might be surprised at the number of women that attend bearding championships.
Now they have disposable razor heads that have five blades. Five blades! There was a time I tried to join the shaven crowd, and the only thing a multi-bladed razor did for me was make me swear having to clear my thick stubble out from between the blades with each swipe. Even with the help of a trimmer, there was no hope for my face. Foaming gel was useless as well, except to tell me which spots I missed.
Disposable razors get expensive very quickly if you’re a dedicated shaver. A guy can spend upwards of $130 a year just on the razors alone, plus the cost of shaving foam. That’s not to mention the loss of time each day devolving your face back to feeling like a baby’s bottom. Still, if you’re a die-hard fan of the razor cult, here are some things you can do to save money with your shaving:
1. Blot-dry your blades after each use.
Water is the enemy of metal. Oxidation will kill the edge of your blade. By blot-drying it before putting it away, you can help slow this process down.
2. Resharpen the blade.
Some people swear by running the head of the razor against a pair of blue jeans about 10 times before shaving. Run the blade in the opposite way that you would shave
3. Store the blade upright
This helps water come off the blade easier. Again, rust and oxidation are the enemy.
4. Get rid of those disposable razors and get a safety razor or a straight razor
If you’re going to shave at all, why not do it right and get a real razor? When I did shave myself (shamefully) I had to use a safety razor. Safety razors actually get the job done. The heads are heavy and will pull their way through thick hair. I also seemed to cut myself far less with them than with a disposable. However, for the ultimate in stubble clear-cutting technology, the old straight razor is the best way to go. Get some good instruction first and the right maintenance equipment, because they can be very dangerous.
Or, like any sensible man wanting to preserve his virility and his wallet, you can just grow a beard. Here’s how to do it.
1. Accept your genetics and be patient
I was fortunate that my beard grows very quickly. Some men have very slow beards, or very patchy ones. This is largely beyond your control. If you’ve been trying to grow a beard for at least a year, you’ll have a good idea of what your face is capable of. Then you can find a style that works for you.
2. Tough out the ugly period
Yes, unfortunately, there will always be some portion of the bearding journey where your face won’t look very good. For some it’s the initial growth period as stubble starts to reach outward. For myself, it’s when the hair starts to get long enough to support itself a good distance, but isn’t heavy enough to droop downward. I look like I’ve shocked my face in that phase. Bear with it. It gets better.
3. Bear the itch
This is the major downfall for most people growing a beard. They complain of itchiness. There are a couple of ways to deal with it. The first is to wash it regularly. Beards can get an “itchy scalp” just like the top of your head without regular maintenance. If you run your fingers through it and it’s oily, go wash it before it gets too bad. If it still itches, reflect on the itch as boyishness leaving the body, or your inner virility itching to take on all comers. Pump yourself up with manly thoughts!