I have wanted to do a post like this for the longest time and a conversation on Twitter presented me with the perfect person. The feedback from the Guy’s Guide To Natural Hair Care For Men post also spurred me to post this. So if you are/know a guy struggling with growing/maintaining a beard or just generally feel like feeding your eyes, read till the end.
My name is Oluwarotimi Alabi. I usually go by Rotimi. I’m 26, I’m from Lagos. Yes, Lagos. (Some people will say Lagos is no-mans land. It isn’t. Lagos has a long, rich history but that’s for another day). I’m a fashion entrepreneur (majorly a stylist and budding designer) I also have other passions I pursue and hope to make into businesses in the long run which includes but are not limited to Food (lover and self-taught chef) and media (I used to work as a presenter at R2TV, I’ll get back into media soon enough)
How long have you groomed your beard?
This is a difficult question to answer because I never actually kept track of when I started growing my beard full time. But I’ve been able to grow a full beard for a while now, maybe a decade. I used to shave it down to the skin after it grew for a while, and after then, I just stopped shaving it altogether. But I’d say maybe 5 years.
At what age did you start growing a beard?
I could grow a full beard at 16/17. I’m sure of that. But I never really allowed it grow fully back then.
I didn’t really have any experiments, none of that rubbing methylated spirit daily, let’s just say I have good genes. After years of shaving the beard, I just decided to stop and allow it flourish.
First reactions from family & friends.
This is always hilarious to recall. Anyone who knows any proper Yoruba parent might have an idea of the hell I went through. My parents would call me and complain. Then they’ll threaten me and give me an ultimatum to shave. I remember my mother saying “omo kankan to ti ile ire jade o ni ri baayi” meaning “any child from a decent home will never look like this“. Of course my father hated it more than my mother but it never really helped his argument that there was a large black and white photo of him in our living room from way back sporting a full beard! In my mind, I’d always roll my eyes and say “yeah right“. They eventually come to live with it even though my father still complains from time to time.
For reaction from friends, everyone loved it. Even a good number of my uncles. They all loved it. A few aunts would complain, but in the end, they would say “that’s how your girlfriends like it abi?” and laugh it off.
What is your beard care regimen like?
The beard has a higher tendency to hold more dirt than the hair on the head, from food to sweat and dust everything just seems to stick so the major work is cleaning it. I shampoo and always follow up with a conditioner. Then, I use my beard oil first – The Anfani beard oil which contains cedar, lime, patchouli and some other natural oils), then I use a beard butter that I make myself which contains raw Shea butter, whipped and then Coconut oil, Neem Tree oil, Tea Tree oil, and a few other essential oils I can get my hands on are whipped into it. Sounds like a lot but you can easily purchase a beard butter. Sometimes I add perfume oils into the mix because smelling nice is always in.
When I’m feeling fancy, maybe every fortnight or once a month or when I have time off a very stressful schedule, I do a deep conditioning treatment. Unlike natural hair, I can’t heat up my beard so I allow the conditioner sit on my beard for about 30 minutes then I rinse it off. I follow up with a Bergamot-based hair cream or Emily Millionaire Coconut Oil & Herbs,
What are your holy grail product(s)?
Virgin Coconut oil and raw Shea butter (at least, if you can’t make a beard butter or buy one).
Difficulty(ies) so far with beard care?
To be honest, I’ve found that my beard can’t grow beyond a certain length without split ends and breakage (between 3 and 5 inches), so I trim it from time to time. Once a month or in two months.
Do you think your beard makes you more attractive to the ladies?
Lol. This shouldn’t even be a question. I’m actually laughing out loud. Of course, it does. To a lot of ladies. The only exception is those that aren’t attracted to facial hair, and even at that, they still compliment me. Even guys can’t hold back sometimes, they just have to say how nice my beard is.
Advice to men trying to grow/groom their beard?
First thing I always say is “If there are no follicles, hair will not grow”. It’s like expecting something to germinate when you didn’t plant a seed. If there are follicles, just give it time an attention and it will grow. For those already sprouting hair and want it to flourish, take good care of it.
Shampoo and condition regularly.
- Make sure your beard is never truly dry. Never comb your hair dry, best to comb it immediately after the oil and butter have been massaged into it. Oils help with retaining moisture, butter and balms lock in that moisture.
- Invest in a good wooden comb. Plastic combs pull out hair.
- Don’t be afraid to trim, It helps it grow healthier.
If you have specific questions concerning beard care you would like to get answers to, kindly send me a mail firstname.lastname@example.org and this post would be updated with them.