We've all done it. All beardsmen (and prospective beardsmen) have looked at another beard and said "Well damn - how do I get a beard like that?". It's natural for us to compare ourselves to others in our appearances and our accomplishments. We're conditioned at a very young age to do this, and while it's beneficial from time to time, indulging in comparing yourself to others can lead to focusing on what you can't control.
Comparing yourself to others once in a while helps keep your hunger (a core value of Beardbrand) alive and kickin'. Having a reliable baseline to compare yourself to when tracking progress isn't a bad thing. If you compare yourself to others and it generates envy or frustration, then it's time to reel it in and focus on what you can control.
What does this have to do with the perfect beard? Well, the perfect beard is going to be different for everyone, and there are only so many factors you can control. You can't control whether your career is accepting of beardsmen, you can't control if you have thinner mustache hair, and you can't control if someone you know has a beard you wish you had.
All things considered, there are a few things to consider when deciding what a perfect beard is for you. Here are things to think about when aiming for your perfect beard:
What's Up With My Genes?
Your genes are ultimately going to control the overall look, shape, and texture of your beard. While I'd love to have a thick blonde and white beard at 30, my heritage ensured that my beard was first black and brown, is now salt and pepper, and will be thoroughly grey and white before I'm 35. It's also curly, and I have two patches on my neck that I style over diligently.
By the transitive property of beards and genetics, I can deduce that my perfect beard is not going to be a blonde Nordic hairscape of straight and patchless growth that doesn't grey until I'm 65.
We always encourage our community to "work with what you've got," and we stand by it. Your perfect beard is within reach, no matter what kind of facial hair you have!
Are You Comfortable?
Growing a new beard comes with skin changes, some itchiness, and getting used to the man in the mirror, but we're talking about comfort on a bigger scale here. Here are some questions to ask yourself when determining if you're comfortable:
- Do I like how this facial hair looks on me?
- Do I feel like it's *me* in the mirror?
- How does my beard feel when I exercise?
- Does this look give me confidence, or take away from it?
- Do people treat me differently because of my beard... and do I even care?
Your perfect beard is going to be comfortable for you. If something about your beard makes you uncomfortable consistently - whether it's how it literally feels on your face or how it feels to your spouse, it's time to evaluate if a new look might be the new perfect beard for you.
What Are My Priorities?
This is going to sound strange, but it's true: Sometimes fixating on the beard can hold you back. If you're gunning for a new job at a corporate office, for example, it can hold you back if you don't polish up for a dapper look.
Take a moment and think about your goals and priorities. What's important to you? Is it a lucrative career at a major corporation? Perhaps wearing your spouse's favorite look is the name of your game. My priorities involve being my most authentic self at all times - including how I look at the office - so I've avoided working for companies with a dress code.
Sometimes we have to make do with compromise, but that doesn't mean compromise is forever or that it's always terrible.
- Your current employer or industry does not favor beardsmen
- Your spouse loves a 5 o'clock shadow on you but encourages you to be yourself
- Your kids love a long beard they can grab
- Your personal preference is a Bandholz beard, but work has a strict dress code
Meeting these situations halfway with a close-cropped beard may be perfect for now - at least until your employment situation has changed. Once you have a new job, you can look at your options again. Regularly assessing your priorities and where your facial hair falls in them is going to ensure you've always got the perfect beard for the chapter in your life.
Conversely, perhaps other things are holding you back from the real you. If your job doesn't want you to look or act like yourself and that's a big problem for you, it's time to scope out other opportunities and assess your priorities again. If you love having a beard but dread your morning routine, maybe it's time to bust out the clippers and cut your length by half. Having the perfect beard is about making sure you know who you are, you know what's important to you, and aligning your lifestyle accordingly.
What Do My Loved Ones Think?
First things first: don't go asking your loved ones if you have the perfect beard. Their answer is going to reflect whatever their perfect beard is, and Beardbrand is about you being the best version of yourself.
The people you care about are more likely to give useful feedback, though. Asking them what they think can be a good temperature check on your facial hair and how it relates to your priorities.
- Wil (me) has a dense beard with a few inches of growth (and he digs it)
- His mother dislikes facial hair but can't imagine him without a beard
- His father doesn't care either way, but can't imagine him without a beard either
- His spouse thinks he looks his best when he can style his beard, and said his mustache looked "pretty good"
- His friends all agreed that the mustache was not his best look
- His siblings think that both the mustache and goatee weren't his best looks
So in this scenario, Wil's loved ones gave him some pretty useful feedback. His parents make it clear that facial hair is part of who he is, and his friends and siblings agreed that previous manicured looks weren't the best. His VIP loved one (spouse) loves it when Wil sports a beard long enough to style.
So while no one told me whether or not my beard was perfect, I got some useful and valuable feedback: This beard works for me, and I'm comfortable with that... (and maybe I was right in thinking I shouldn't give the 'stache another shot because I didn't love it, either).
Have I Tried Other Looks?
This one's pretty simple. If you've been rocking only one look and you're wondering if it's the right one, try something new. We've got a whole library of videos and how-tos for inspiration.
If you're afraid of changing up your look but feel it's time to try something new, remember this: you're never going to know unless you try, and your facial hair will keep on growing. You can also change your hairstyle, the clothes and accessories you wear, and the colors in your wardrobe before committing to altering your facial hair.
If your beard is working for you and you've got no desire to change - beard on.
You do you.
Related Articles To Help You Out:
Thickfreakness: How To Grow a Thicker and Fuller Beard
How to Trim Your Beard Like a Pro
The Bigotry Towards Beardsmen Has Shifted
My Biggest Beard Mistake