There is a lot of misinformation out there about beards. As more and more men embark on the bearded journey, rumors are spread and myths are perpetuated – so much that even veteran beardsmen may have a hard time distinguishing fact from fiction. We’re here to clear the confusion.
Below, we debunk seven of the biggest beard myths we’ve encountered. Know a beard myth not on this list? Share with us in the comments below, or on social media!
1. Beards are itchy
The beginning of your beard-growing journey can be a little uncomfortable. As hair grows to the prickly stage, it can cause itch and irritation. This itch is aggravated if you have curly or wavy hair that curls back into your skin. However, within a month this itch will start to die down.
To drastically reduce the itch in these initial stages, take care of your beard! Clean it daily with shampoo, follow up with conditioner, and work in a few drops of beard oil. It sounds simple, but these few steps will leave you feeling hydrated, comfortable, and irritation-free.
2. Beards are uncomfortable during the summer
Quite the opposite. Beards shield your skin from the sun, keeping you cooler. Here’s a little tip that’ll have you grateful for your summer beard: grab a spray bottle and give your beard a spritz. This turns your beard into a mini AC unit, holding in moisture that’ll feel especially awesome when you catch a nice breeze.
Another major benefit is that beards provide UV protection from the sun’s damaging rays.
3. Beards grow at a uniform pace
Different areas of your face grow at different rates. The chin line tends to grow faster, while your cheeks are slower to fill in. If you were led to believe otherwise, it’s because many men trim the longer areas to keep everything uniform – and seemingly growing at the same pace.
We suggest letting it grow to a good length and then trimming as necessary.
4. Shaving your beard will make it grow back thicker
Many dermatological studies have confirmed shaving does not alter the width or rate of growth of individual hairs. Shaving does, however, give the appearance of thicker hair since hair naturally tapers at the end. When you slice the shaft, you expose the thicker part of the hair near the skin. So stubble seems thicker, even though it’s not.
If you shave off your beard, you’re actually setting yourself back. The average beard grows ½ inch per month, meaning you’ll have to wait at least a few months before the beard reemerges.
5. Beards contain poop
In 2015, the headline “there’s feces in your beard!” was trending everywhere. But here are the facts: the story originated in Albuquerque, New Mexico, where a local news station reported a microbiologist finding enteric bacteria in men’s beards – not actual poop. Enteric bacteria exist in many places, including your stomach, on your skin, and in general nature (foods, plants). It also poses no harm to your health.
In fact, your beard may be more hygienic and bacteria-resistant than clean-shaven skin: in 2016, researchers found that clean-shaven men are more likely to harbor infection-causing bacteria resistant to antibiotics than bearded men. The researchers say this may be due to micro-abrasions caused by shaving the skin.
The beard swab samples revealed the presence of a microbe that effectively killed other bacteria around it. Dr. Adam Roberts, the scientist behind the study, is now trying to develop the findings into antibiotics.
6. Bearded men have to shave before a job interview
There are some professions – catering, for example – where having a beard may not be ideal. But in general, over the years employers have become more open with personal grooming choices. Even the U.S. Army and New York Police Department have recently allowed men to grow beards. Few hiring managers will discount you just because you have a beard.
And your beard will make you stand out in the interviewing process.
7. There are patchy areas that will never grow in
Going back to #3, different parts of your beard will grow in at different rates. So if you have a patchy spot the first few months, wait it out. Eventually the spot will fill out. Practice patience and you will be rewarded with a godly beard in due time.