So you’ve decided to quit your life as a baby-faced All-American type (or New York Yankee) and grow a beard. Congrats. (No, really: Beards make guys look like boyfriend material in a woman’s eyes, according to research.)
But like any transition, growing out a manly beard takes some adjustment. As you start on your journey toward Paul Bunyanhood—or at least the intrepid ruggedness your great-granddad would’ve been proud of—keep these key pointers in mind.
Expect a wait
Usually, going from a clean shave to an even remotely full beard will take at least a month, depending on how quickly (and how thick) your hair grows. Bide your time and resist shaving or excessive trimming. This is the time in the beard growing cycle that divides men from boys. Besides finding out if you can actually grow a beard, you’ll discover just how strong your willpower is by resisting the urge to shave it off.
The itch is nothing to worry about
If you’re not used to letting your facial hair sprout, you’ll probably start to get itchy around week one. Don’t worry—this isn’t the sign of a rash or Phase 1 of an STD. It’s natural, because the facial hair you’re growing will make your face so dry, it’ll practically collect dust. To help resist the urge to claw at your face and to soften the beard’s coarse texture, apply some baby lotion to your furry mug. You can also try a beard oil or conditioner, which will help keep things smooth and freshen up your scruff as you grow it out.