There is a sudden growth in the beard market. Carrying a long stylish beard is no longer considered wild or unkept, as it once used to be. Today, it’s one of the most in-demand fashion trends. But, as the trends spread, so do many beard growth myths, and there are companies ready to cash on to such popularity. The beard product companies are making a good margin out of this trend. Many men’s fashion companies have suddenly cropped up, selling you everything from beard comb to beard creams, beard oils & waxes, etc. promising you wonders in terms of beard growth and styling.
But, as always, there are more beard growth myths and marketing behind these products than real needs. Let’s bust some of the most common beard growth myths & myths related to beard growth products in the market:
- IF YOU SHAVE, THE BEARD GROWS FASTER & HARDER – NO, it doesn’t. This may the evergreen beard growth myths and is still widely prevalent. It has been debunked more times than any myth related to beard and hair growth, but still, the wrong belief prevails. In the defence forces, it is compulsory to shave every day, for someone keeping a clean shave or a trimmed moustache. If the above myth would be true, then all the soldiers would be carrying a beard like a Santa Claus if they don’t shave.
When you shave your beard, you can only do that finely to the level of your skin surface, where you look clean-shaven. But when the hair growth happens again, or the small stubble starts growing, it just appears hard, as the hair is small and straight. It also stands out against the natural colour of your skin.
- BEARDS ARE DIRTY, CLEAN SHAVE IS MORE HYGIENIC – it may be the other way round. A very interesting research study in 2014 in The Journal of Hospital Infection, by a US research team, led by E. Wakeam, from the Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston, US; compared facial bacterial colonization rates among 408 male healthcare workers with and without facial hair.
They found that, 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. Clean shaven men were three times more likely to carry methicillin-resistant staph auerus (MRSA), and colonies of Staphylococcus aureus on their faces, a bacterium that causes skin and respiratory infections, and food poisoning, as compared to bearded men.
- SPECIAL BEARD OILS/CREAMS/WAXES WILL MAKE THE BEARD GROW FASTER – No, they don’t. This is one of the biggest beard growth myths youngsters have. Firstly there is no special separate oil for the beard. Oils are the same for all bodily hair, be it the hair on the head or your beard. Oils overall act as great conditioners for your hair. Massaging oil on the head or on the beard will give you the same effect. This is because the growth of the hair mainly depends on your genes and then your nutrition. Costly oils in the market in the name of some special beard oils are all pure marketing gimmicks. The oil inside may be good, but there is absolutely nothing special in them that puts them under a separate product or category.
When it comes to genetics, please understand that an individual is born with a certain number of hair follicles, and you cannot change them for life. For some people, the hair and beard growth is never an issue, yet for others, they struggle to get a proper beard due to lack of hair follicles on the skin. So, all the companies offering you magical beard oil promising you thicker, fuller and smoother beard, are simply selling you perfumed oils, and in most cases, chemical-filled perfumed oils. The perfume added is of a masculine odour, which can act like an aftershave or cologne. There are oils like coconut, jojoba, grape seed, hempseed, Argan oil, etc. which just like other oils can help in moisturizing, and keeping dryness away, but growth and density, no they won’t do anything. Beard oils may also give a shine to the beard which may look more attractive to some, but that’s it. The same is the case with waxes and creams.
- IF YOU HAVE A BEARD, YOUR SKIN WILL BE ITCHY ALWAYS – no, this means your beard hair is dry and lacks moisture. Both short or long hair can be itchy, if not clean and dry. There can be other issues like acne on the facial skin, ingrown hair, use of extreme chemical-filled grooming products on your beard or fungal infection.
Keeping your beard, or hair clean and moisturized will prevent such an issue. Remember, if you want to keep a beard, irrespective of type and shape, you should maintain it well, just like your head hair. Trimming, oiling, shampooing, and brushing, etc. are the very basic grooming techniques.
- I WANT TO GROW MY BEARD LONGER AND FASTER – No, you can’t. It’s your genes which decide this.
Let’s understand why. Humans have a tendency to think of extremes. For e.g., if you advice a beginner to lift heavy in the gym, his doubts that he would turn into a bodybuilder in no time. That’s the same stupid thought pattern we have for hair growth too, and many other aspects in life.
When we think about extremes in a beard, we imagine the guys with an extremely long beard, like the ones in a beard competition. Your beard is not going to touch the floor if you don’t trim it. Genes control many things here. Your beard length, density, and time are taken to grow beard/head hair is different for different men, because of their genes. That’s true with hair all over the body.
A classic example here would be Sikhs, many of whom don’t trim their beard at all. Not everyone carries the same beard length. Despite never trimming their beard or hair, there is set length it grows to, which depends on the individual’s genetics. Some are extremely long, and some not, but they can’t do anything as such.
When it comes to growth timing, for some people, the growth of body hair is quite fast, and not shaving for some weeks would mean a dense jungle on the face and head. Even their body hair growth is quite fast. Well, for others, growing a basic moustache may be an issue and may take months. Again it’s your genes to decide it.
Every beard has a “terminal” length at which it stops growing, even if you don’t shave it. It’s the same scenario with, other hairy areas of the body.