The death of the itch is near!  I can feel it, and so should you.  Right now, my beard is beginning to show an intelligent shape rather than just patches and thick 5 o’clock shadow.  My beard has never really been one to grow in patches, though.  But if a stranger were to describe me today, one of the first things worth noting would be that I have a beard.  This is because my beard has pretty much laid down its path of where it’s going to grow and is now just growing thicker on top of itself.  You’ll notice richer colors, and you should be able to barely stroke your beard hairs, especially near your lips and chin.  It’s not much, but this should be a stage to give you high hopes.  You’ll also be relieved to learn that it is probably the last week you’ll have to deal with much itch.  In fact, it’s no longer about hairs curling inward back toward your face.  Not only will they start to calm themselves as you grow toward week 4, but your face is almost desensitized to your new beard.  It will soon stop feeling like a foreign entity and more like a friendly, welcoming part of you.

The beard is 3 weeks old now, and the itch is almost gone. Still looking nice and short. Dressed up to help out with a wedding venue at The Page House in Georgetown, TX.

The beard is 3 weeks old now, and the itch is almost gone. Still looking nice and short. Dressed up to help out with a wedding venue at The Page House in Georgetown, TX.

But my beard hair is still just short enough to not interfere with eating food.  Later, when my beard gets to be 1 inch and beyond, I’ll have to be careful of how I eat in public if I want to save face…  So for now, I’m enjoying eating all the messy Texas cheeseburgers, hot wings, soups, and ribs without worry.  A lot of beardsmen don’t even worry about getting their beard messy, no matter how long it is.  But I’m different and like to keep my beard clean as well as I can, which means using a lot of napkins.  No one wants to see my rabid dog face after eating some dripping-wet hot wings as I look up to say “Hi!”  I’ll talk more about bearded eating etiquette in a month or so.  For now, you just savor every last dripping mess you can…

messy dog face

Yes, you can eat however you want while you have a beard. Just keep telling yourself that you don’t care what others think… Yeah, that’ll do the trick…

One tip on keeping yourself looking sharp no matter what stage of beard growth you’re undergoing is to keep your neck area shaven.  Of course, the choice is yours, but you may be surprised at just how much of a difference you look when presenting yourself sans neck hair.  I personally like to shave as low down as my collar so that no hairs protrude.   The focus is my stylish beard, not the undergrowth that looks like I haven’t looked in a mirror in a while.  But again, this is all for personal choice depending on what your goals are.  If you plan to forever forbade the razor, then you probably have your nose up in the air right now.  But if you’re wanting to ease your way into the eyes of your family who may not be so pro-beard, this will go a LONG way.  Trust me.

Consider shaving clean your neck hair. Many men go even closer to the chin (smaller red line), but this is really only done for men who don't plan to grow for length. You'll want a little more hair under the chin to grow long around month 2.

Consider shaving clean your neck hair. Many men go even closer to the chin (smaller red line), but this is really only done for men who don’t plan to grow for length. You’ll want a little more hair under the chin to grow long around month 2.

You may also consider cleaning up the hairs around your mouth without cutting or shaving any important mustache or beard hairs.  This is tricky and needs to be done with caution.  Mustache hairs are very hard to come by, and you can set yourself back a long way with a slip of the wrist.  If you’re going for length, you may want to just forget it and leave those hairs around your mouth alone for another month or two so you can see exactly what you’re doing.  Also, don’t forget about the hair on your higher cheeks.  These will likely grow in patches or very random sprouts (they do for me).  You’ll find that in about 3 months, those hairs will match the rest of your beard.  But in the first month, they are more of an eyesore.  If you don’t care, let them fly!  But I personally drag a razor just once over this area during week 3 to clean up a bit.  I might do this only one more time later, and that’s it.  They grow fast, so they’ll catch up with the rest of your beard when the time is right.

Hair on the upper high cheek area just doesn't make sense in the first month. It grows faster and with less logical shape than the rest of your beard. Even for a 6-month sprint, you'll have plenty of time during month 2 or 3 to grow these in a more blended state as it will match the rest of your beard then. Lightly drag a razor over this area in month 1 and maybe 2 to clean up.

Hair on the upper high cheek area just doesn’t make sense in the first month. It grows faster and with less logical shape than the rest of your beard. Even for a 6-month sprint, you’ll have plenty of time during month 2 or 3 to grow these in a more blended state as it will match the rest of your beard then. Lightly drag a razor over this area in month 1 and maybe again in month 2 to clean up.

Your hairs are likely still too short to style with any product, but in the event that they aren’t, stick around for my next blog.  You may notice some stray hairs known as “fly-aways.”  These are what get bearded men into trouble when they really want to grow their beards longer and thicker.  But they can’t help themselves to trim away these longer-looking hairs.  This is a no-no, and the light use of beard balm will fix this without raising a blade of any kind to your precious hard work. Fly-aways behave the exact opposite of those high cheek hairs.  They don’t grow as fast as the rest of your beard, because… they ARE your beard.  You can’t expect your entire beard to grow at the same length, so let these sprinters go and in a few days, the rest of your beard will catch up.  The fly-aways will slow down and things will look uniform again.  But like I said, by week 3, you’ll very likely not need this, so just stick with beard oil every day.

Week 4 is next, and it’s full of good times.  You can pretty much say goodbye to all itch and finally have the introduction of length to play with.  If you want to curl your mustache at any point, you won’t want to miss this article.  It is an extremely crucial time to decide where you want to go with your beard, otherwise you’ll try re-correcting your hair and have a battle to overcome.  Happy growing!