Men have always grown beards for as long as history allows us to remember. Photos of grizzly bearded men have emerged in family portraits and history books for as long as I can remember, as well as the generations of men before us.

Yet it wasn't until recently that the spotlight had been pointed directly at the beards and not the person wearing them. No Shave November originally started in an effort to make men’s cancer more known and taken seriously, but gradually became a one month challenge to see who could sprout the thickest, untrimmed face-hugger in the room.

Which isn’t a bad thing at all! Cancer awareness is always awesome. If being able to keep spirits lifted while spreading knowledge of such a great cause is possible, it has been with the joined forces of men and boys alike throughout the month of November!

There is only one thing wrong with designating a single month to beard growth — it’s impossible to grow a mane-like beard in such a short time… Men rush to barber shops on December 1st in order to rejoin their regular, close shaved look. I’m here to tell you that growing a beard IS THE NORMAL THING TO DO! It should be respected as much as it should be praised by those in the proximity of the epicness it projects!

It takes special care, upkeep, maintenance, and most of all the patience to grow a badass beard. Having these qualities alone and without the beard make you quite the alpha. So why not take the extra step of showing it daily and wearing it with pride on your most noticeable feature, your face?

If you’re anything like me you can respect what goes into having a strong beard, so I wanted to take this opportunity to share a few tips I’ve picked up along my journey of growing and maintaining a savage fucking beard.

1. First Thing’s First: You gotta Let That MOFO Grow

I turned 32 earlier this year and am just now able to grow a full beard. This isn’t because I was unable to before… I just thought I was. I’ve always had excellent mustache and chin growth, but my cheeks don’t really grow well, and my sideburns [still] don’t connect to my chin on the right side of my face.

I would try to grow it for a month or so then I would lose hope and shave it off again. PATIENCE… My roommate has a beautiful beard to his chest, handlebar mustache, etc, and told me “You just gotta let it grow, ya fuck!” Yea, we’re those kinds of friends. So with a bit of hesitation, and a few awkward and patchy weeks out of the way I started to notice the few hairs I did have on my cheeks getting longer and beginning to cover my bald spots.

At about 2 months in it still looked like hell, but it was starting to come together a bit better. Fast forward to 4 months and I had a full beard. (I’ll spare you the play by play) I still have the same bald spots, they are just now covered by the thinner hairs that I actually allowed to grow. You see, not all of your hairs are going to grow at the same pace or thickness, and it’s impossible to know how well they will come in if you don’t give them the time they need to mature.

Most people say that the 3-month mark is the sweet spot to know where you stand, but if you’re anything like me you’ll want to give it a solid 4–5 months before you make a final decision to chop it or keep it. As I said before this will take patience — only the strong survive.

2.You Have To Take Care Of Your Skin

Your follicles are like an old friend that you talk to once in awhile but probably haven’t made the best effort in keeping in touch with recently. Why do you have to be such a dick? They were your friend! Sorry, got a little too real there for a second.

Really though, it’s okay to admit that you don’t think it’s very manly to exfoliate and moisturize your face. I wasn’t always up to speed on the small things that make a huge difference where facial hair care is concerned. That’s why I’m telling you where I screwed up!

In lightly massaging your follicles and giving them the stimulation they need to remain happy, the skin underneath your beard has just an as important role. Whether you have dry or oily skin there are [sort of] one size fits all steps you can take to keep the hair growing strong, while not making things worse for the rest of your face.

Washing and moisturizing your face daily [twice a day for some] will remove the crap it picks up throughout the day, while also keeping it from producing excess oil and causing breakouts. With that being said, the skin under your beard needs special attention. Special beard washes are needed to prevent drying out, as well as moisturizers like oils and balms to keep it growing at a regular pace without unwanted breakage and splitting.

3. Keep It Moisturized

Paying attention to your beard is a key factor in making sure it stays healthy and is growing to its full potential. This isn’t a “set it and forget it” scenario. It’s kind of a pain in the ass until it becomes routine really. But you know this already, and want to go the distance! So make sure you keep that beard from drying out.

Moisturizing daily is the key. Getting a good beard oil and applying it 1–2 sometimes 3 times a day until you’re healthy is of utmost importance. I oil once a day now, generally right after a shower, but in the beginning, I allowed my face to get really dry because I had no idea what was needed so it took a bit to repair what I had screwed up. Now after a few weeks of multiple oil applications, I’m for the most part golden at once a day.

You can use coconut oil [I do myself at times] but keep in mind that it will harden and begin to flake; you will definitely want to wash and reapply daily if that’s what you choose to use. I prefer beard oil, followed by a good beard balm to tame any wild hairs I have not cooperating. I also like to use a mustache wax on special occasions to keep everything as uniform as possible, when it calls for it.

Any chump can grow a beard, but maintaining it and making sure it’s healthy, shining, strong, and attractive takes time outside of just laying back and growing it. Nobody likes face dandruff…

4.Don’t Be A Bitch. Fight The Itch.

At some point when you decide to stop hacking of your lady pleaser, you’re gonna hit that terrible stage… The stage that I’d imagine Satan himself takes part in. You’re gonna have the itchiest face in the world for a while, but don’t fret, it should only last a week or so.

When you shave your face it cuts the hairs at an angle and pretty much turns them into little spears that, when curling up, will start poking your face and neck. I’m being dramatic obviously, but I gotta make sure you want this! If you’re gonna bitch out and shave it when it becomes uncomfortable you might as well shave it now — I’m trying to save you some time.

Good news is that if you keep shampooing and moisturizing regularly it will soften the hair and make this stage more bearable as you wait for the hair to grow long enough to curl under and quit stabbing you.

It goes by fast, I promise. Combing the hair regularly, and brushing it with a boars hair brush will help train the hair as well, and help it sit comfortably on your face. This is actually training for the future and will teach your hair early on to not grow out fluffy and poofy. It’s win/win.

5.Shape That Face Up

So you’ve made it this far… Hmmm maybe you do deserve to have that beautiful panty wetting face fluff — I’m proud of you. You’ve decided to take the time that most men only dream of in order to obtain something the majority of women dream of. Now, what do you do with it? You’ve kept it healthy and strong, but how do you wear it?

Well, that my friend is entirely up to you… but I do have some recommendations for maintaining a presentable look. Once you’ve conquered the art of growing it, you’ll need to take some time to sculpt it to your personal liking. I would HIGHLY recommend going to a proper barber and telling them what you want, as well as hear them out on what will work best for your growth and current style. From there you can use their initial cut and lines to maintain it at home.

The beard takes way too long to grow and is far too easy to mess up. Take the extra steps to getting it done right and following up on that. A lot of dudes are going for the full beard look yet fail to remember that it still needs to be taken care of.

Of course, regular appointments at the barber can get costly, so I will simply tell you that in order to keep it clean looking you’ll want to place two fingers on the center of your Adam’s apple and shave no higher than where the top finger meets your neck. Make that your baseline for your neck and jawline if you’re going for the natural look.

As far as shaping your beard and taking care of any crazy rogue hairs, make sure your beard is fully dried, brushed, and combed first. Keep in mind that your beard isn’t going to sit as slicked down as the hair on your head, so don’t go crazy with trimming stray hairs.

This is a mistake we’ve all made, and I hope you take my advice and avoid doing the same. Just snip a few of the WILD hairs that look like they don’t belong. I mean really wild ones because anything other than those belong there.

Now take care of that beard, and may it grow to be mightier than any other it comes in contact with! As always, keep it classy.

- The Brotherhood