The popularity of Black men growing their facial hair and sporting beards is not about the mere presence of a beard or mustache on a Black man. It is a matter of identity expression and reclaiming cultural roots that have often been lost or forgotten for one reason or another.
As more and more Black men start growing their beards and opting for a 'fuzzier' look, proper beard care is a must. Black men need to recognize the need for specialized products and grooming routines that cater to their unique hair textures and specific skin care needs as well. It is not only about looking good but also about nurturing healthy, well-maintained beards that serve as a reflection of self-respect and cultural significance.
Beard Growth Issues Faced by Black Men
Many of the challenges that Black men face with growing a beard are connected to hair texture and grooming issues. Ingrown hairs, dryness, and uneven growth are common problems requiring a personalized approach to beard care. And in a market that has, until recently, been sorely lacking in products designed for Black male skin and hair, Black men have had to resort to “getting by” with products that just don't cut it. But with better products now available, it is time to take back the beard care routine and overcome these common issues!
1. Razor Bumps and Ingrown Hairs
A common issue that Black men face when growing beards is dealing with razor bumps or ingrown hairs, also known by the pharmaceutical name, pseudofolliculitis barbae. Black men’s facial hair is often thick, coarse, coiled, or kinky and grows backward into the skin causing inflammation. This is due to shaving against the direction of the hair growth pattern, which can be more than just one direction. Bearded hair on the jaw and cheek may grow toward the mouth or ears but may grow in 2-3 different directions on the neck.
Tips to identifying beard growth patterns and help prevent ingrown hairs and razor bumps:
Wash your face, beard area, and neck then rinse well, allowing the skin to stay slightly damp
Brush hairs downward and then upward for each section of the face and neck
Observe the direction of any hairs still sticking up
Locate angles in the opposite direction to determine your hair pattern
2. Patchy Beard with Bald Spots
A patchy beard with bald spots on Black men may stem from various factors like genetics, aging, skin conditions including ringworm, alopecia, poor diet/exercise habits, and stress. Genetics determine some men’s hair growth patterns while certain skin conditions or alopecia can disturb hair follicle function. Maintaining a nutrient-rich diet and adequate water intake, exercising regularly, and taking measures to manage stress promotes overall hair health.
Tips that may stimulate beard growth and help fix a patchy beard:
Eat foods rich in protein, Omega-3 fatty acids, Zinc, Beta-carotene, and Vitamins A, C, & E
Use a quality essential oil, balm, and/or conditioner on the beard
Brush the beard regularly to slough off dead skin cells and unclog follicles
Consider consulting a dermatologist for personalized advice or treatments and explore grooming techniques to enhance your unique style while embracing your distinctive facial hair pattern.
Beard Care Advice for Black Men
For the best beard game, Black men need a routine tailored to their unique hair textures. Start with a gentle beard wash using sulfate-free products to cleanse away dirt, dust, pollution, food, or other particles from the beard. Make your beard softer and easier to maintain by moisturizing daily with oils or balms with natural ingredients while avoiding products containing silicones.
Another key step in beard grooming for the Black male today is detangling and training facial hair to grow in one direction by regularly combing the beard. Also, getting regular trims is crucial for preventing split ends, and shaving in the direction of hair growth on each section of the face and neck prevents ingrown hairs. As far as razors are concerned, black men should avoid using multi-blade cartridge razors or electric razors and choose single-blade or safety razors. It is also advisable to change razors often to ensure as smooth and clean a shave as possible.
Getting a beard and mustache that you can be proud of is easy. Most men just need a little help now and then and some guidance along the way.