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The Story of My Yeard

August 14, 2013 | By | 8 Comments

BROWN beard BELTFEATUREDOn August 1, 2013 I reached a beard milestone; what the facial hair community would call my “yeard”, having grown my beard for one year.  In celebration of that occasion, I wanted to give you a bit more history on my beard, talk about what I have learned over the last year, including what I would do differently, and offer a bit of beard advice.

You may be asking yourself, “What would he do differently?  Shave?”  The answer to that is a resounding “no”, but I have learned some things in my first long-term facial hair venture, and I think I may be able to shed some light on the subject for those gentlemen contemplating such a commitment of their own.

More History

But first – a bit of history. In The Story of My Beard, I mentioned that around August 1, 2012, when it was time for my weekly beard trimming, I got to thinking that I had never seen how long I could let my beard grow. To let you in on a little bit more personal information, part of what motivated me to grow the beard was finding out my wife was pregnant with our first child. I don’t know what it was about that particular discovery that made me think about growing my beard longer, but ultimately I thought “hey, why not?”, and when people asked, I told them I was going to grow the beard at least until the baby came.

Naturally, many people interpreted this to mean that I was going to take my beard back to its previous length when our daughter was born and I got many questions after her birth about “when are you going to shave? I thought you were going to shave when the baby was born”. I reminded them that I was going to grow my beard “at least” until the baby came.

Prior to our daughter being born, I began to realize that the longer my beard grew, the more I liked it. Initially, at my wife’s request, I trimmed my mustache on a weekly basis until I got to about month seven. Around that time, I discovered beard and mustache care products and decided I would let my mustache grow for a while and maybe style a handlebar mustache from time to time.

Granted, I knew about mustache wax prior to month seven, but in my naivete, I assumed that mustache wax was only used to style a sweet handlebar. I didn’t realize that many wearers of facial hair used mustache wax on a daily basis to train their mustaches and for general daily maintenance of keeping the hair out of their mouths. My search for beard and mustache products is ultimately what led me to form TitleBeard. In scouring the internet for various products, I found an occasional review here and there, but I could not find a unifying site that included reviews of multiple products from a large number of companies, covering both beard and mustache care products. That there are a number of different products available is just one of the many things I learned.

The beard behind TitleBeard - about two weeks past the one year anniversary of my beard.

The beard behind TitleBeard – about two weeks past the one year anniversary of growing my beard (and yes, this photo is just from an iPhone – nothing professional about it).

What I Learned

To those of you considering growing a longer beard, be ready for the snide remarks. If you’re not familiar with Duck Dynasty, you soon will be. If not the show itself, then multiple references to it. Not a week goes by where I don’t hear a joke about auditioning for the show, taking a guest spot on the show, etc.

By the same token, be ready for compliments. Growing a beard is not something everyone can do, and even those who could physically tackle this feat are often prevented from doing so due to work restrictions.  Beards, and facial hair as a whole, have seen a rise in popularity, and as such, are working their way back into mainstream acceptance.  However, as prominent displays of facial hair are more uncommon than not, it can open you up to compliments from those that wish they had the ability and/or freedom to grow their own.

Most of the things I learned come from what I picked up along the way in terms of trimming and grooming, as this was my first long-term facial hair endeavor.  When I made the decision to grow it out, I continued to shave around my cheekbones (and still do), and continued to shave my neck as well, although I have since stopped doing that.  Despite the fact that my law office does not mind a longer beard, I still wanted to have a groomed look to keep up my professional appearance.

If I decided to start over (and circumstances allowed it), I would try to trim as little as possible for at least the first thirty days, and I would recommend this to anyone wanting to embark on the journey of growing a longer beard.  After thirty days, most men can get a solid idea of the shape of the beard and where to trim, if necessary.

The biggest change I would make has to do with my mustache.  Until about month seven, I trimmed my mustache weekly.  Around that time, I discovered a number of facial hair products and realized I could use mustache wax to train and style my mustache and keep it out of my mouth, negating the need for trimming.  Were I to do it all over again, I wouldn’t trim my mustache at all.  I like how my mustache looks now, but I definitely wonder what kind of length it would have if it had been growing uninterrupted as long as my beard.

A Bit of Beard Advice

For those of you thinking about growing a beard for any length of time, I urge you to consider the points I outline below.  Also, be aware – when it comes to products I recommend, these are all products that I have sampled for an extended period of time and have reviewed here on TitleBeard. There are a lot of products out there, many of which I have not yet tried. But I can speak personally to the ones listed below. I did receive complimentary samples of the products for the review, but was not compensated in any way to review the products, and the thoughts in the reviews are my own.

1) Once your beard starts to get a little longer – if you are like me, you will find that no combination of shampoo and conditioner will offer you the type of manageability you need.  Typically, this stems from the fact that most shampoos, conditioners, and even soaps will clean your facial hair but also strip it off the oils that keeps the hair healthy.  The easiest solution is to invest in a more facial hair specific soap.

I recommend any of the following three soaps; Grandpa’s Pine Tar Soap, Slick Beard Soap from Honest Amish (to order this, simply contact the shop’s owner, Wolfgang, via the Honest Amish Etsy page), or The Longest Yeard Shampoo Bar from The Lascivious Tart.   Any one of these soaps will do a good job of cleaning your facial hair while keeping the hairs healthy.

2) If possible, don’t trim.  If that is not possible, do your best to not over-trim.  Again, the longer you let your beard and/or mustache grow, the the better of an idea you will have of what the overall shape and lay of the beard will be once it gets longer.

3) Start using a conditioning or beard oil product within the first thirty days, and continue daily use.  In addition to getting you into a daily routine of beard care, this will ensure that your beard stays healthy as it lengthens.  For these purposes, I recommend any of the following: Honest Amish Beard Balm, Honest Amish Heavy Duty Beard Balm (especially useful when your beard gets longer), CanYouHandlebar Beard Dry Oil (which you can now purchase alongside a handy Beard Oil Brush), and The Lascivious Tart’s Epic Beard Balm.

4) Once you realize that your beard is starting to get more of a “grizzly” look than not, or if you realize you’re starting to unconsciously chew on your mustache, it is time to invest in some beard wax and/or mustache wax.  For those you new to the wax product world like I was, don’t worry – while there is a learning curve, you will quickly pick up an application method that suits your personal style and keeps your facial hair looking great.

In terms of beard wax, I am happy to recommend Honest Amish’s Slick Beard Wax and Wild Bill’s XXX Beard Wax. For mustache waxes, I suggest you check out CanYouHandleBar Primary6 and Secondary6, Wild Bill’s XXX Mustache Wax, and The Lascivious Tart’s Free Mustache Rides Wax.  I encourage you to check out each of the products on your own (in addition to reading my reviews – see below) and decide which one would suit your personal needs and budget the best.

5) Purchase a brush – particularly a boar bristle brush.  This type of brush is a good brush to help keep your beard from tangling while not being too hard on your facial hair.   There are tons of different types of boar bristle brushes out there, and many can be purchased at any number of local hair product stores, salons, and drug stores.

6) As your mustache gets longer, take a look at a mustache-specific comb.  In addition to keeping your mustache from tangling, it will also help you evenly distribute any mustache wax you decide to use, improving the overall quality and look of your mustache.

7) If you have an interest in competitive facial hair, check out a competition.  Even if you don’t enter, the competition environment is a fun one, many of the competitions benefit worthy charities, and you are almost always guaranteed to see some excellent facial hair.  Some freestyle competitors are artists, to say the least.

8) This is perhaps the most important piece of advice I can give.  Once you start to grow your facial hair and realize what kind of style you like – stick with it, and own it.  Trim some, trim none.  Use a lot of products or use no products.  Grow a beard and mustache, grow just a beard, grow just a mustache, or grow a partial beard, but make your choice and be proud of it.  If you decide you don’t like it, you can always start over.  I’m just over a year into my decision and am looking forward to what the next year brings.

For reviews on all of the products I mentioned, check out the TitleBeard Product Reviews page.

Want to share your own facial hair story?  Feel free to comment below and tell us about your own facial hair experience.  I look forward to your stories!

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Category: Facial Hair, Featured, My Beard

Comments (8)

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  1. Title Beard says:

    Shannon,

    Thanks for reading, and for sharing. There are a lot of products out there, and I’ll be reviewing them until they run out :)

    I’m just happy to help out other beardsmen where I can – given that you’ve been growing your beard for a while, never hesitate to share – I know the readers like hearing of different people’s experiences.

    -Brian
    TitleBeard

  2. Shannon says:

    I just found your page on instagram and then this site. I like your writing style and reviews of the different products. I have had my full beard for a few years now and have just recently found out about beard oils and wax products. I really wish I would have found your site when I started growing my beard, but you live and learn. I have had facial hair of some type IE. very long goatee, side burns and even a well trimmed beard for most of the last 15 years but only a few years ago let the beard go long. Its kind of fun to see peoples faces when you walk in a bar or walk past them on the street. You would think some people have never seen a long beard. I am now getting close to super wizard length of my beard and have no desire to cut it off at all. Like you I have found that if I speak to at least 10 different people on any given day that I do not know well I will hear at least one duck dynasty reference. It does get old but all you can do is smile and go on with your beard life! Keep up the good work and thanks for your reviews!.

    SD

  3. Jon Conley says:

    Very cool story! I am 21 days into my “yeard” journey. The itching has finally stopped and I’m enjoying the “shock value” at work and the comments from people who either can’t grow a beard well or who’s wives won’t let them grow anything at all.

    My story began in December when a bunch of friends convinced me to make them some beard and mustache products. I own and operate a local soap company, so I figured why not? Once the products were done and packaged, they all busted my chops and said “how the hell can you make and sell beard and mustache products when you don’t even have a beard?” So, here I am..lol.

    I do keep my upper cheek and neck shaved, but I thin the rest will be left to go wild! Maybe this will give my products some credibility…lol. Let me know if you would like to do a test and review and I’ll get some product right out to ya!

    Cheers!
    ~Uncle Jon

  4. Dtown says:

    Glad to find this site! My wife is 5 weeks pregnant and keeps challenging me not to shave, nothing better than landing on a page like this when I have reservations as an executive board member. I’ve had a weak beard in the past that I was not impressed with due to social expectations. This time I’m going full beard in a professional setting and if anyone questions it I will make them feel bad about their judgement by telling them “my wife and I had three miscarriages and she really wants me to grow a full beard for good luck!” so many reasons to love a good woman and one more when she can get you a corporate excuse to grow the beard you’ve always wanted.

  5. Title Beard says:

    Alan,

    Thanks for your comment, and thank you for reading! Best of luck in your beard growing adventure – for me, it’s been a great learning experience and I’m happy to share what I’ve learned with others.

    Happy Bearding!

    -TitleBeard

  6. Alan Galicia says:

    Hi, I am a amazed on how well presented your website is and how inspiring your story is, I just recently shaved my I guess “longish” goattee (about 3 inches long) and I am now totally regreting it after reading into your page, I saw ur page on instagram and I got excited about growinga full beard, ive never done it and I am glad your reviews are here to ease my journey, thanks for the great effort you put out for us with goals of growing a glorious beard like yours, thanks again!

  7. Title Beard says:

    Hey Shaun,

    Thanks for reading, and for your comment! Glad you’re enjoying the site. Like I’ve said, when I started growing mine out I couldn’t find a site that contained reviews of multiple products from multiple companies. I hope that my experiences in growing my own can help others out there who have questions or are thinking about growing a long beard. Congrats on your four month mark!

  8. Shaun Kane says:

    Hey, just wanted to say I am thoroughly enjoying your website. I am nearly 4 months into growing my full beard although I have had quite a long “goatee” for a number of years. My goal is Viking standards in length but who knows may go wizard!!! Anyway thanks for the reviews and the small look into your motivation and ideas.

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