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Musings of a first-time beard owner - feel free to advise

As the title says I'm a first-time beard owner... at 60. While I tended to shave a couple or three times a week, I often let my facial hair grow out, sometimes more sometimes less, usually over the Christmas/New Year holiday. This has been the first time I've let it go to a full beard. It's been growing since about the middle of December (so 2 months at this point) and I'm not sure how long I'll let it go. It makes me look like Orson Welles, though considerably less rotund. I go hot or cold on it all seemingly by the hour. The cheeks are filling in, though, on the thin side. I think being salt and pepper makes it seem thinner than it is. They definitely thin out at the sideburns, always have. The mustache and goatee areas are quite full at, as best as I can tell (I haven't measured) about 3/8" to 1/2"+. I haven't trimmed anything yet. I'm working on training the mustache to part in the middle and lay to the sides, and I can get some curl at the ends. The goatee areas are white/silver and very full on either side. I find it odd that the center line, from the soul patch downward seems to be lagging in growth, though still full-ish.

As I said I go hot and cold on it. The fuzziness of the neck and lower sides annoys me, though trimming may help that. I'm quite taken by how wooly and dense the chin/goatee are is. Below that the hair annoyingly grows in the opposite direction - down from the chin then up from the neck! I haven't tried mustache wax yet. Being the cheap SOB that I am, I've tried whatever I already have in the house - a bit of soft Stirling Margaritas in the Arctic shave soap massaged and combed into the mustache seems to work well at making it succumb to my will.

If I do opt to shave it off, I'll wait until my son comes home on break and we can have some fun taking it through different style incarnations as it comes off. I'm a big fan of and quite miss using my RazoRock Gamechanger .84.

If I keep it I'll likely trim it to a goatee with a bit of a handlebar mustache or more likely something approaching a van Dyke (can't wait to counter the Colonel Sanders comments!).

Conceptually I've never really prescribed to facial hair. My brothers have always had beards, but mostly because they were inept at shaving in my opinion. It's just never been my thing. I've always claimed that shaving is what separates us from animals. Besides, I work around too many college students for whom facial hair is thought to be an expedient to maturity. Actually, I kind of like how I look but not how it feels, largely. Though I'm getting used to it. The wife says it makes me look mean, so it's been a success - perceived meanness has always been my defense mechanism (but that's another story).

Sorry for the rambling stream of consciousness. I'd be glad to hear comments and/or advice, or not.

Below is a picture of what I'm working with.

At 65 my beard is the same color as yours with a little darker mustache, and the center line is thin just like yours, I guess it’s normal? Looks great
@Hercule I'm in the same boat as you. My last full shave was Dec 14th. I hated the look and feel of the hair on the neck and the the hair on the cheeks was going wild, so I took it to a heavy anchor beard and like it. I tried the handle bar look previously, but I looked much better with the stache coming around the lips and down rather than curling. I think you could really rock a pointed Van Dyke.

I grew a big stache at the end of 2022 and have been keeping it trimmed with a small pair of scissors, but I need to figure out what to do with the chin. It's about an inch long and flowing around the chin instead of down so it doesn't look shaggy yet. If you figure out a trimming method let me know please.
I think you would benefit from a beard trimmer. The problem is that hair grows at different rates and with different thicknesses over time. Mowing the lawn will even everything out a bit and it will all blend together better. Everyone's beard grows in a slightly different pattern. This is part of the reason there are so many different beard styles. There's no need to carry a full beard if you'd rather not. Just trim it back into a shape you like.
Yes, I agree. It would seem that I am a victim (entirely self inflicted) of not trimming. I'll tidy it up before long certainly, as part of my soul searching as to whether or not I want to keep it. Thanks for the input. I do value it.
Hercule, I'm in my late 70s and stopped shaving in late November. I have since shaved the beard and neck areas, leaving a full, shaggy goatee. Mine looks about the same as yours, except my mustache is whiter. It could use a trim, but so far only trimming hairs in my mouth. I don't plan on much trimming going forward. If it gets too out of control in a few months, I may visit a barber for some trimming/shaping, but I'm liking the shaggy look.

I had a mustache from the early 70s into the mid 90s, and for several years in the 80s grew a beard from Labor to Memorial day. I couldn't stand a summer beard, especially on my neck.
Thank you for the reply and the reflection on your experience. I really haven trimmed anything yet, though I did trim a few under my nose and plucked one that was tickling my nose. I've started to look for mustache wax to hopefully keep the ticklers at bay. The neck area hasn't been a problem. I doesn't go any lower than the base of my double chin /waddle - apparently it's really called a "submental fullness"). As the whiskers grow up in that area, I just brush them up and try to blend them with the ones growing down from the chin. I'll likely soon trim the sides back or off on my way toward a goatee (seemingly VERY popular these days) or a van dyke. I'm still looking for a good example to emulate. I'm more drawn to fuller, trimmed goatee types (though not "anchor" beards) than just an elongated soul patch. Actually, there are some images of Lenin that I like. With a full mustache, parted (not combed down and trimmed) with a bit of curl to the ends, of course.

I'm still on the fence about keeping it all and may opt for a Labor to Memorial day beard as many do. My son has been supportive, mainly because he's trying to grow his own facial hair (he's 18 and at college). The wife says absolutely nothing about it, though early on she said it makes me look mean. (Lamentably, we have come to have an unusual relationship - a long story, don't ask.) So I'm doing it entirely to please myself. But I can't get past the fact that it isn't me. Surely I'm over thinking it (as I am wont) and looking for rationalization where none is needed. Everybody else be damned! (See the kind of crap that goes on in my head....)

Sorry for rambling and thanks for listening.
I'm liking mine for now, as does my wife and married daughter. I even had a guy near my age come up to me in the grocery, saying he liked it and wished he could grow one. I don't plan on jumping thru hoops as seen on the internet to keep it neat. I've been using a hair trimmer without combs to trim my cheeks and neck. Been buzzing my own hair without combs since covid closed barber shops, but I do miss a clean shave. Warmer weather will be the test.
The best compliment I had was two weekends ago. My 8 year old grandson was spending the weekend with us. His daddy has a chest length full beard, no mustache. I'm growing the ring (mustache connecting to a chin beard). I asked him if he wanted to grow a beard like his daddy's when he gets older. He said he wanted one like mine! I try to keep it well groomed, but I cannot grow it too long or the wife complains.
I've been looking into home brew mustache wax. The ones I've seen make it seem easy enough - 2:1 Beeswax and cocoanut oil (melted together of course) plus a few+ drops of essential oils of your choice. I just might give it a try. I've also heard tell that Burt's Bees lip balm does quite nicely as well.
Hello Hercule,

Congratulations on embracing the beard life at 60! Your detailed description of your beard journey is fascinating. It sounds like you're navigating the world of beards with thoughtfulness and a sense of humor.

I must say, your mustache is impressive at two months, and the Van Dyke style could indeed suit you well. It's great to hear that you're considering different styles and experimenting with mustache wax. The idea of having fun with different styles with your son sounds like a fantastic plan!

It's interesting to read about your thoughts on facial hair and how it relates to your identity. It seems like you're enjoying the process of exploring this new look, despite the occasional doubts. Ultimately, the decision to keep or shave your beard is entirely yours, and it's great to hear that you're doing it for yourself.

Thank you for sharing your journey, and I look forward to hearing more about your beard adventures!
I've been looking into home brew mustache wax. The ones I've seen make it seem easy enough - 2:1 Beeswax and cocoanut oil (melted together of course) plus a few+ drops of essential oils of your choice. I just might give it a try. I've also heard tell that Burt's Bees lip balm does quite nicely as well.
I'd have to go back in time to recall what I used to do, my memory isn't the greatest for details. But I think I landed on 3:1 as my preferred ratio when using beeswax and coconut oil. 2:1 just didn't hold, especially in warmer weather. I also experimented with other oils. My wife may remember. I'll ask her. I think I may have used coconut and something else, actually, but the final ratio was still 3 or 3.5 beeswax to one unit of combined oils.

Use a double boiler method and you're golden.
Getting the ratios right, as far as I can tell, seems as much an art as anything. Your case is the first I've heard going as high as 3:1. That's good to know as I try to find my own sweet spot. For the time being I'm using Burt's bees lip balm, which does a fair job of keeping things in line but with not so much hold. I was quite aghast to learn that those doing beard/mustache competitions often use glue sticks. I'm not that desperate for holding power yet.
Nice beard my friend. I think you'd benefit from a nice cheek and neck tidy up with the DE razor. There's plenty of YouTube videos about how to do it. I enjoy the videos from https://www.youtube.com/@GregBoswell428
A decent trimmer would be good to keep it a length you like. I have the Philips Norelco 5500. It works well. Trim with the grain for a fuller look or against the grain if you want all of the hair the same length.

This is as far as I got. After a lot of soul searching I shaved it off last night. It was fun while it lasted and in hindsight I kind of liked how I looked and certainly would have appreciated some trimming and refinement. But it just wasn't me. I had fun taking it off in stages and wish I had the gumption to have kept the van dyke, though it seemed very much like a caricature. The wife, after the fact, said it made me look like the Burl Ives (actually she initially referenced the Snowman in the Rudolph the red nosed reindeer TV show) and preferred it to the Civil War general look of the much narrowed the goatee. I had some fun with the mustache too as it came off, trimming it to a tooth brush a la AH/Chaplin. But that just looked stupid. I'm sure I'll let it all grow out again over the next Xmas break. I usually do.

Now I just have to get used to seeing myself clean shaven again. Suffice it to say I much prefer looking in the mirror and seeing my dad instead of my ******* brother.

My thanks and appreciation to all who commented and offered encouragement, advise and insight. See you again next year!
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