No Shave November is nearing its annual end, and many of our baby-faced brethren have evolved into full-bearded beasts. But whether you're waiting for next year to start your foray into facial hair or you're itching to start now, there are tips and tricks to make sure you and your beard look your best.
For beard beginners, growing a beard might be a daunting task. Your beard might not be growing as fast as you want or you might have dozens of questions. The Central Florida Future has talked to industry professionals and students alike to get the low down on how to care for your beard and take it to the next level.
Derek Brown, a recent UCF graduate with a degree in technical communications, has been growing his beard out for the past several months and instead of shaving it off or trimming it, Brown decided to continue to let it grow for No Shave November.
In regard to maintenance and care of his up-and-coming beard, Brown describes his technique as "all-natural and full-on hippie."
"I haven't touched my beard for over a month now and it seems to take care of itself," Brown said of his low-maintenance style.
Though he does take a laissez-faire approach to his beard, there are some tricks of the trade he's learned from research he's done about proper beard growth.
"As for washing, [I'd say wash your beard] as little a possible," Brown said. "I've read too many harsh chemicals and too much hot water can damage skin and hair and remove natural oils, so I've limited washing and [I] use cool to icy cold water in showers."
To avoid going shampoo-commando, however, Brown has found some alternatives to make sure his hygiene stays intact while he's growing out his facial hair, though right now, they haven't had a test run.
"I've read about using baking soda and vinegar for shampoo replacements," Brown said. "I still haven't worked up the courage to try that."
But while Brown has a hands-off approach to his beard, UCF-area barber Jamaal Phelps-Bey recommends taming your beard as it grows out.
"Trimming it even helps it grow out and keep it cleaner," Phelps-Bey, a barber at Floyd's 99 Barber Shop in the Plaza at University shopping center, said of the importance of trimming. "I normally have customers growing it out to keep it even for the most part."
But while Phelps-Bey encourages trimming to keep your beard in check, Hareton Tejada, head barber at Floyd's, recommends daily cleaning for your budding or bushy beard.
"Your face is just like your scalp," Tejada said. "[Your beard is] like hair; shampooing it every day and conditioning it is key."
Tejada also recommends that people looking to tame and manage their beard take advantage of beard oil and wax.
"Brushing and beard oil give it that [soft] touch of the beard," Tejada said. "Beard oil or wax helps keep it nice and lying down with the stylish look."
Floyd's 99 Barber Shop carries the Bearded Bastard brand of beard oil, which comes in woodsman or simply-vanilla scents for $20.
But while men are taming their beards or taking a back seat while they grow, how do their partners feel about potential new, prickly additions to the relationship?
Sarah Bloom, a junior hospitality major, may not be a fan of the scruff, but said she appreciates people growing it out for charity.
"I don't particularly like my boyfriend doing it, because I don't like scruff on whoever I'm kissing, but I still think it's great and for a good cause," Bloom said. "As long as it brings awareness I don't see any harm in it."