How to fill in an uneven beard
Through thick and thin, the beard has maintained its place as the more manly accessory in the style (the spot right on the chin, that is). But not all men can develop a full face. Indeed, uneven growth, weak connection lines, and an inability to squeeze out as much as a mustache on the cheeks are the same as anywhere else. It’s a cruel fact of life that some guys seem (Brian) blessed with popping cheeks like Vesuvius, who must shave morning and night or start to look like a Victorian cricket captain, to others the facial hair hits puberty then stops, leaving the beards as patchy as a Christmas tree in June. There should be no shame in that, of course – it doesn’t make you less of a man (or does it?) – but there’s no doubt that being able to grow facial hair in great abundance can leave those who cannot green with envy. Don’t worry, gentle-cheeked gentlemen, because there are solutions. Before you start searching for beard transplants on Google (they do exist and the pictures aren’t pretty), here are some wise tips to help you make a barren beard lush.
If you’ve always hesitated the minute your face starts to look a bit like a professional Keanu scruffbag, then step away from the razor. It’s not for you. But if you died on a full beard, it’s worth persevering. Yes, there is going to be a tough month where your beard looks so patchy that it’s like someone has torn entire squares of hair out with duct tape. But once you’ve graduated as a teenager and achieved angler-level length, the solid areas should cover all the holes. It’s the beard equivalent of a comb. And if that doesn’t do the trick, it’s time to work smarter.
Keep things in order
“Some patches you can get by with,” says Denis Robinson, artistic director of award-winning barbers Ruffians. “But if they fall down the middle of your cheek, trim your beard with an inferior trimmer to reduce the contrast.” Which means it’s time to get creative by shaving at the spaces high on your cheek or low on your throat, to create flattering angles for the face. The length of time you shoot for is the five hour shadow of tomorrow. Set your clippers to grade two and go loose all over your face and neck. It’s short enough that the holes don’t look so sterile, long enough that you don’t look like you’re late for school.
Get an advantage
If true lushness is an unattainable dream, increase the contrast. Your sideburns and cleavage may grow like Project Eden, but if you let them go wild you will only make those bare areas even more sterile. A better method is to cut them and add some sharp edges. That means running your trimmer through the fur, then a razor under your Adam’s apple and – as high as your uneven down allows – over your cheeks. It is essentially a high definition exercise. “It can create the impression of a more angular bone structure,” says Robinson.
Don’t get mad, catch up
If you’ve tried everything but your facial hair still isn’t playing ball, a decent beard trimmer can tidy up some patchy, unruly growth. “You can do a sort of contouring, where you determine which strand of your hair grows thicker, versus strands that are more uneven,” says Robinson. Cut the long pieces to match the short, and when it grows up, everything should be even. This is a delicate personal operation, so you might want to visit a barber with firm hands. But once everything is consistent, it’s easier to manage at home.
Treat it right
Okay, so applying moisturizers to your face won’t make those bald spots suddenly grow out of thick hair. But if there is one thing guaranteed to make a patchy beard even more patchy, it’s straight, dry, or dirty hair. So take care of yourself. Treat whiskers down to the follicles with beard oil and alcohol-free beard balm. Using an exfoliator to remove dead cells will also help stimulate the skin underneath, promoting growth and producing a thicker, fuller appearance.
Eat to grow
Whatever you are trying to get your body to do – have bigger arms, better posture – there is no substitute for a healthy lifestyle and diet. The same goes for filling in an uneven beard. Water, along with a diet rich in B vitamins, vitamin C, zinc, iron, and omega-3s, gives hair the nutrients it needs to grow, most of which are found in multivitamins or foods containing biotin, such as eggs, avocados, almonds, cauliflower, bananas, sweet potato, and milk. Niacin is another vitamin linked to hair growth because it improves blood circulation which means the hair follicles get a decent supply of oxygen and nutrients. So while you’re at it, stock up on foods rich in foods like white meat, peanuts, mushrooms, liver, tuna, beef, and sunflower seeds.
Shadow inside lines
It’s time to face the facts, some fixes are not fixable. That’s not to say they aren’t in disguise, mind. To counter stains otherwise impossible to repair, barber Joe Parker advises coloring. “Get an eyebrow pencil to shade out small spaces,” he says. “Obviously you don’t want to look like a mime so make sure you get one that matches your beard color. “
Style it wisely
If all else fails, you can always go for a beard style that works around uneven growth, and there are plenty of options for such an eventuality. The balbo (as worn by sex symbol billionaire and superhero, Iron Man) is one example. A three-part combo – stain, chin strap, and soul patch – it bypasses areas typically affected by patchy growth. This also goes for the Van Dyke and Verdi styles, both of which are variations of a mustache-plus-goatee two-piece (think Johnny Depp’s trademark look). Or if poor growth on your cheeks is your problem, but you can connect the beard and the stain, try a Hollywood, which should be shaved as low as possible on your cheeks.
Don’t: use minoxidil on your face
There are many topical treatments that claim to stimulate hair growth on the top of your head, but unless you really enjoy headaches, dry skin, heart palpitations, water retention, fatigue (shall we continue?), almost none of these should be applied to your face. In the dark corners of the internet, masochists suggest using minoxidil – better known by the popular brand name Regaine – to achieve a Bronson-level beard. Yeah, don’t do that. Aside from all of the above, the risk here is that the chemical (designed for the much thicker skin on your scalp) will be absorbed through your pores and into the bloodstream in amounts you don’t need. to have excessive emergency watch to know, will not be healthy.
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