The Beginning of a Beard and Where it Will Take You

—Josh Lawson

There can be many different forms a beard takes over the years. As we change as a person, so does our beard. Eric is 36-years-old, and his beard journey started in high school. The mirror was his best friend, as he was always looking to see if his sideburns were coming in, but he was a late bloomer. He was young in his grade, always the skinny kid, and took much longer to reach puberty. His first experience with a beard was his sideburns, then decided to grow his chin in college. That was all he had the confidence to do at that age.

This continued the entire way through college. After that, he went into the workforce and began experimenting with a beard. Toward the end of college, the counselors he had kept telling him that if he ever went for a job interview he needed to shave. It was around this time that he was starting to feel more confident about his facial hair. Naturally the beard he always had started out lighter, so it was never noticed when it first started, but always shaved every few days to keep it short.

Once he got a job, he didn't really care about shaving too much. He let it grow for a week and would try different styles. The chin strap, the handlebar mustache, and a few other crazy styles. He never took his beard growth seriously. He wanted to grow a beard, but never fully committed. After moving to Charlotte, he really felt the pressure to stay completely shaven. The company always put on a huge amount of pressure for their employees to wear a suit and tie while staying professional.

After working there for 5 years, he felt really burnt out on maintaining the look of his face and tired of them forcing him to keep it that way. Around year 4, he stopped caring so much what they thought of him and joined a few nonprofits that involved him growing a beard. That was his first time growing it all out. He did it for a month and remembered just how much of the hair grew on his neck. He even had facial hair when he got married, but made the mistake of shaving too high on his chin. For the most time, he kept a two-month beard. At that job, he was let go because of the recession, and that was the final push that allowed him to grow it all out to the best of his ability.

Another reason for growing it out was because he and his wife were moving to Spokane, and he figured everyone there had a big burly beard and wanted to fit in with them. But once he got there, almost no one had facial hair. He got a job at Merrill Lynch as a financial advisor and shaved the beard off again to get it. His main insecurity is all about wanting to fit in, but he's always felt he was meant to have a beard no matter what length it was.

He worked there for about a year and a half, and that was the culmination of him being done conforming to society and working a job he didn't love. It was soul-sucking and eating him from the inside. That's when he first grew out his iconic beard. He took it three months at a time and was really active on Jeff's Beard Board. There was a lot of pressure to keep on growing, and he felt lost when he hit the yeard. So he did beard competitions and really became immersed in it all. He fell in love. It was at the 2012 Oregon Beard Competition where he met Urban Beardsmen and came up with the idea for Beardbrand.

He's found a lot of enjoyment from a well-kempt beard, and sharing the tips he learned from his journey. The beard is a portal into self-improvement. Use it as a way to invest in yourself. The attention you give your beard can parlay into your hair, skin, style, and personality as well.

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