going natural, again

Last night during a brief visit to a major shopping mall, within about fifteen minutes I saw two different full beards with natural cheek and neck lines. In a post last year, I commented on how full beards with both the cheek and neck lines left natural are rarely seen. The perceived social pressure to shape them — at least the neck line — is pretty powerful. It’s so powerful that guys are often so quick to shape them that they do it prematurely and wreck their beard-growing attempts. About the only ones who let the beard go all natural are the homeless. It need not be that way.

Both of the full beards seen at the mall were neat and well-groomed. They looked completely respectable and presentable indeed. The natural cheek and neck lines gave them a distinctive and, well, “natural” look. The men were not scroungy at all. They were well-dressed fathers with young children.

The all-natural look with natural cheek and neck lines may not work for every guy, but guys should not be so afraid to try it. Give it a try and see how it does. When giving it a try, don’t make a half-hearted attempt and give up after a few days. Let it grow out enough to catch up with the rest of the beard. If more guys have the courage to go for the all-natural full beard, the look will gradually gain more acceptance. Go for it.

19 Responses to “going natural, again”

  1. Aldon Says:

    I don’t like hanging out at the malls and I’m not homeless, but, I let mine grow the way God put it on my face.

  2. Steve (not Beardguy) Says:

    “Going natural” is almost as far as I’ve been willing to dare myself. Am I correctly assuming that you mean, “not even scissors”?

    I’ve called it “going scissors-only” for myself because I did keep it shaped the two different seasons I went as far as the natural neckline.

    My natural neckline is at the level of the larynx (“Adam’s apple”), which means that allowing a natural neckline is culturally risky for me here in the Los Angeles area.

    I’ve gone scissors-only twice now. I filled in down to the natural neckline while keeping everything shaped, and I’ve enjoyed it both times. Alas, I haven’t yet built the courage to keep the natural neckline for more than a few months at a time. I have been keeping the natural cheek line, though. Oh the advantages of being older!

    Two surprises were

    1) that my beard showed a slight curl inward below the mandible, with the ends of the hairs pointing slightly outward at the level of the natural neckline. Ha! It’s not just in book illustrations! I trimmed the outward bottom of the curl away in 2004, so I let it go a little farther in 2006 and felt relieved to find that it didn’t stick farther forward than my moustache and goatee portions.

    and

    2) that my goatee keeps a length limit while the rest of my beard does not (maybe it does too, but I didn’t reach it in either season).

    The next time I believe I won’t lose income for it, I’ll go scissors-only again. After the beard is uniformly gray or white, I might even keep it scissors-only.

  3. Steve Says:

    Steve,

    What I meant by “going natural” here is not to shape either the cheek or neck lines by shaving or defining the edges with a trimmer. I think that your “scissors only” accomplishes the same thing. You could still trim the length with either scissors or a trimmer — just leave the neck and cheek lines defined as they naturally grow. That’s basically how the two “naturals” were that I saw the other day. The cheek and neck lines were natural, but the overall beards were neatly trimmed.

    I’m glad to hear that you were sufficiently courageous to go natural or “scissors only” twice. Even though you’ve returned to defining a neck line, it’s good to hear that you are leaving the cheek line natural. Thanks for sharing your experience and observations here.

  4. chuck Says:

    i have an issue with the natural cheek line,normaly i keep a pretty straight “chin curtan” or thoreau style beard but when i grow it out i tend to develop an itchy rash on my cheeks.
    are here others who experience this? has anyone found a treatment ?

  5. Aldon Says:

    Chuck, When you shampoo your beard, do you get all of the shampoo rinsed out? Also, do you use a conditioner? Some times the shampoo and / or conditioner can cause a reaction.

    I use Pert shampoo with conditioner already in it and rinse well. Of course different people have different reactions to the same product.

    It could also be that you need to let it grow out a little longer. I usually cut my beard about once per year and if I cut it too short I get the “itches” untill it grows out a little longer.

  6. Aldon Says:

    I’m sorry! I responded to Chuck earlier and my reply popped up as possible spam. I used the name of a product without thinking. I will reply again w/out the product name if it gets stopped.

    I did not intend to promote the product.

  7. Richard J. Coleman Says:

    Im a 20 yr old student from the uk…. and very often (when im not hounded by work to shave it off :'( ) i grow my beard…. i always let it go natural.

    hoping for a full beard pic to be added here soon (may trim it as my long hair can hide the fact its usualy intrimmed :P )

  8. Freddy Says:

    I’m thinking about growing my beard again. I can grow a full beard, but the moustache doesn’t connect and the moustache is also not thick enough. The rest of the best is OK after about 1 month or more 2 weeks.
    I’m thinking about using the chin strap style. I like it. Especially because I’m growing my hair again, and this style goes well with long hair.

    Do you have any tips about styling a chin strap?

    Thanks

  9. Matt Says:

    Does anyone have some style advice for or have decent pictures of Van Dyke beards?

  10. Philip Elliott Says:

    Well, it’s falll again & I’ve decided it’s time grow my beard. Each year it feels like a ‘work in progress’ & this year bought my self a Wahl beard & goatee trimmer. My thing is I lke my beard very close as I’m short & a clean neck line. Ideas as to how to get a ‘close, thick’ beard as that’s what I’m after with a very defined line

  11. George Says:

    I’m growing a natural lined full beard right now. It’s been a few days past 2 months now, and it’s coming in great. I do have a question for anyone out there. Does anyone what what styling product to use? I’m trying to train the mustache to go out to the sides instead of down into my mouth, and I think a product might help with this. I really don’t want to trim the mustache area, but it is creeping into my drinks and food! Any help would be appreciated!

    Thanks,
    George

  12. Steve (not Beardguy) Says:

    My mustache grows mostly forward and down too. I tried growing it longer and waxing it sideways (with a wax for mustaches). I got disappointing results. Either I didn’t let the mustache grow it long enough, or wax does not work on a mustache with a growth pattern like mine. I trim my mustache now so that some of my upper lip is visible while I’m not smiling and none is visible when I do smile.

  13. Steve (not Beardguy) Says:

    One of today’s more prominent naturally bearded men is Aubrey de Grey, a British biologist who researches the molecular causes of aging and ways to prevent it at the molecular level.

    He is featured in the latest issue of _The_Week_ magazine (November 16, 2007; vol. 7, issue 336). On pages 52 and 53, there is a reprint of an in-depth article about him from the _Washington_Post_ by Joel Garreau.

    _The_Week_ includes a photo of de Grey from the lower hem of his tunic-length (but not tunic-style) shirt up. His beard has grown down to about the bottom of his ribcage, and the outer fringes of his mustache are wider than distance between the outer edges of his earlobes. The only visible part of his lips is a little bit of the lower. He does not seem to use any wax or other products to change the shape of his beard and mustache.

    Garreau’s article was a response to de Grey’s recent victory in the _MIT_Technology_Review_. De Grey had convinced that journal to host an international debate on paper about the scientific legitimacy of his research topic. He won.

    De Grey himself is 44 years old. In the photo, he has more gray hairs on his scalp than in his beard and mustache. I can assume from the article’s description of his personality and character that he does not color any of his hair.

  14. Steve Says:

    Thanks, Steve!

  15. Nick Says:

    I never thought I would post a blog on this subject but I think I will today. I left every hair on my body, face, neck and head untouched for 9 months (with the exception of my moustache which I trimmed so that I could comfortably eat). I have a very dense red beard which grows very rapidly and my neckline connects to the hair on my chest shoulders and back. My beard also reaches up very high on my cheeks and stops just about an inch under my eyes. This was one of the bravest endeavors I have made in my life and some of the experiences were priceless. Part of my inspiration to make this attempt was due to my interest in other cultures/religions and researching the reasons in which they choosed to remain natural in appearance. I researched Rastafarians, Sikhs, Muslims, Judaism, the Saddhus of India, as well as found Christian documents of such practices like the Nazarites in the old testament of the Bible. The research that I had been doing changed my beard growing endeavors into a mystical journey of the mind and soul. The physical discomfort of the summer heat ended my journey last July and now I maintain a fairly trimmed beard with a shaved neckline. I do not know how my life will play out in the future but I hope to always stay bearded. I don’t have any dogmas about my beard however, it just reminds me of the journey I once took. I don’t think that I would last very long at a job that required a clean shaven appearance as part of the uniform. (The term clean shaven is horrible by the way. I showered daily and used shampoo on my head and beard so I was always clean. I am a very hiegenic person). My beard ended up reaching close to my heart before I cut it (The Kaballah says a mans beard connects his head to his heart). I am thankful to Beards.org for bringing the topic of beards to the forefront and enjoy reading the stories and blogs. Peace to everyone who reads this.

  16. Steve Says:

    Great story! Thank you, Nick!

  17. jake klobusicky Says:

    Cavemen rocked! Because they didn’t have razors.

  18. jake klobusicky Says:

    Hasidic jews,bikers and orher men with ZZTop beards rock!

  19. Jake Klobusicky Says:

    Steve,I think every guy should grow a zz top beard.

Leave a Reply