5 tips for surviving those first beard weeks
Posted on April 30 2018
For most of us, growing a beard is a challenge. It is a test of commitment, perseverance and vision.
Anyone who works in an office also knows the discomfort of those early beard days when your intent isn’t especially clear, and your appearance could be equally attributable to growing a beard, suffering from ongoing domestic plumbing issues, or living in a park.
Unless you are the sort of guy that could grow a full beard at 15, you are likely to spend any number of weeks looking scruffy; potentially dodging senior management and interactions with key clients.
It is all about making your intention clear to those around you.The good news is that there are a few things that you can do to make the process more manageable until your intention is evident - until the order of a beard gradually emerges from the chaos of the facial stubble you might be grappling with now.
- Keep your neckline clean and tidy - This goes a long way toward showing intent. It also gives your partner, colleagues and superiors hope that this is, in fact, an intentional, transitional stage rather than a broader lifestyle decision.
- Be mindful of other details – While you are in that transitional scruffy stage, pay critical attention to the details of other aspects of your personal presentation. A growing beard amongst an otherwise immaculate presentation goes a long way to offset workplace concerns (and a potentially awkward discussion with HR) of a shift in values or general decline. Make sure your shoes are shiny, your shirts are crisply ironed, and suits are well dry cleaned. You might also decide to go the extra yard and add extra detail to your look. If you don’t normally wear a tie, wear one. If you have always wanted to introduce a pocket square to your suit, now might be a perfect time.
- Manage your hair – If you have hair, be conscious of making sure you keep it in good shape. If you rock a shaved head, make sure you keep things slick and well groomed.
- Trim as soon as you can – A beard is a long game. Sometimes it’s worth checking-in with your barber as to whether an interim trim would help even out the growth and show evidence of self-care. This can be a good strategy in terms of a gain in short term evenness and presentation, even if it means a minor setback in terms of gross volume.
- Start maintaining your beard now – while you might not be able to make your beard grow any faster, there are things you can do to minimise the short-term discomfort. Use a beard oil to massage your face, soften the beard hair and condition the skin underneath. This is a good habit to get into now while your beard is short as beard oil plays a pivotal role in reducing “beardruff”, reducing the incidence of ingrown hairs and keeping your skin in good nick. A good beard wash will also clean your beard as it grows without stripping natural oils and moisture from it.
Beards are a great way to change the shape of your face, draw out your features or simply give you a new style. Whether you are heading for the full bushranger look or a curated stubble it is worth the effort.
An intensive short term self-maintenance strategy can make the transition as professionally and personally comfortable as possible.