Would You Slather on Beard Balm? Here’s What Happened When I Did

photo credit: DocChewbacca Behind you via photopin (license)

I’ve grown some things in my time.

Three girls. A blog following. Up, kind of. I’ve grown a sometimes-unruly mop of hair, eyes on potatoes, and a ragtag soccer team or three. Growing, though, isn’t always a slam-dunk. I’ve grown restless, I’ve grown weary, I’ve also grown impatient now and again.

Maybe, if I had some sort of ointment, something magical, to make stuff grow better.

I’m talking about a beard, guys. A magic potion that will help me grow something rad, a face rug that extends ear to ear, a beard worthy of lumberjack status. At least of Kenny Loggins or Kenny Rogers but probably closer to Roger Rabbit.

When Lovely Beards asked I wanted to check out organic beard oil, I had to take a chance.

Beards and I have never been bros. When I stop shaving, people ask absurd questions, like, “do you have a place to sleep tonight?” or “need a ride to the shelter?” They’ve never vocalized it, but I see evidence that they’re sizing me up for mange or some such affliction.

It’s just a beard, right?

I just don’t grow a very lovely beard, that’s all.

I haven’t given it time, really. One of my girls used to paint her fingernails all the time, in such pretty, glittery paint. She took her time and did it right, as right as a little girl could. Then, she’d grow impatient. She’d wrestle or play LEGOs or Play-Doh and ruin the job.

That’s how I got with beards.

I’d panic. Not panic. That’s the wrong word. I’d punt on second down. That’s more accurate. I’d give up, and shave before my beard could even grow out enough to be itchy. And that’s the thing with beards, right? They’re itchy.


Ground Zero

On the first morning of a recent trip to Myrtle Beach, I started on Ground Zero of my beard project.


The first day didn’t come with fanfare or robustness or anything close. I didn’t look like ZZ Top or Socrates or Ambrose Burnside. I just looked like a dude with metal shavings on his chin, silvery, non-descript shavings that looked more like lack of upkeep than a plan. Could something like shea butter beard balm help?

That’s the thing – I knew growing a beard wouldn’t change my life. Not really.

Why would I do it?

The idea became more than a test of beard products for me.

It helps that it made a difference, though. I alternated every day between a vanilla and sandalwood beard oil and a gingerbread beard balm. I smelled like Christmas and it made me feel handsome. Truth is, I was just still a 45-year-old dude with a starter beard.

Most of that, gray.

No one’s stopped me in the cookie aisle at Publix. No one has stopped traffic or even stopped watching CNN long enough to say something about the beard I’m growing. It’s just, there, and really, it’s there because I want it to be.

It’s soft, thanks to a couple of beard care products.

It’s soft and gray, and it hasn’t covered everything yet. It’s long enough to straggle. It’s long enough that I felt it sway in the breeze on a warm Carolina afternoon with the windows down. My beard felt … nourished? Is that the way I want to go with it? Yes. Nourished.

Like, it wasn’t a mistake.

Measures of growth

Current status: Moderately fuzzy, with a side of Grace.

“You look like one of those old president guys,” Grace told me up close, as she inspected my beard mess. “Is that good?” I asked her, evoking images of a young Abe Lincoln or at least Charles Evans Hughes, the last bearded presidential candidate. (He lost in 1916).

“No!” she said, smiling. This beard, though, has shifted something.

Maybe it’s coincidence. Maybe it has more to do with me doing something I never have, to a greater extent than ever. Like when I actually ran a 5K, because of my daughter. I’m keeping a calendar these days, and although I’m not perfect at checking my blood …

I, dress better.

Like, ties and slacks. Like, less frequent days in fake glasses. Like folding and organizing clothes in my gym bag so that I don’t have to rummage as much. When you’re not rummaging, you’re doing other good things, even if that’s just walking with confidence.

To me, I’m doing what my father did and his father before him. Like Confucious and Leonardo Da Vinci, but also like Andrew Luck and also James Harden, which illustrates just how widely this thing can swing. But it’s all good.

And see, that’s growth, to me.

Note: I received free products to try from Lovely Beards in exchange for writing a review on my blog.




  1. I think the scent would drive me crazy, but I have this wild curly beard that wants to go all over the place and is practically impossible to trim, so I think a beard balm might help.

    1. The scent isn’t too strong, John. I found, honestly, that I was averse to it at first, but got used to it. I have a few stragglers on my face, but for the most part, the balm really calms down the chaos. Highly recommended, friend.

    1. Thanks, Yvonne! I read somewhere that men past age 50 shouldn’t grow beards any more, because they look nothing but haggard – so I have a handful of years to live the beard life.

    1. Thanks, Susan! The whole family took in a hockey game recently, but only she and I wore team shirts.

      Time will tell whether I can manage the full beard, but I’m on my way. I rocked a mustache back in middle school, and again for Movember – I felt like I should have been on America’s Most Wanted!

  2. Hub has always had a beard – I’ve only ever seen him clean-shaven in high school and college photos. He’s had everything from a full-on Grizzly Adams to the goatee or VanDyke or whatever we call it these days. Or are they different…? I forget. I can’t imagine I’d ever get him to try this stuff (such a purist), but maybe. 😀
    Love the deep thoughts behind the beard balm test.

    1. I always wonder if years-bearded men have faces still underneath, Lisa. The VanDyke looks rad. I should try one.

      Remember the Apollo Ohno soul patch? Or Seneca Crane’s on Hunger games? I’d try that.

      Glad you appreciated the deep thoughts – when I do a sponsored post, I don’t want to not do what I do, you know?

  3. Grow that beard! I’ve never grown a full beard. I could, but DW says she won’t kiss me any more. I’d rather get kissed than have a beard. But right now I’ve gone a week and half without shaving so I’ve got pretty good scruff happening and she hasn’t mentioned shaving. I’ll see how much longer I can go 🙂

    1. Doing my best, my man! I had it trimmed in Mexico, and it feels like it’s now growing out slower.

      You’re making the right choice between getting kissed and growing the whiskers, Eric.

      Has she mentioned the whiskers yet? Maybe she likes them.

  4. The gray is very distinguished! I thought I saw a silver hair in the mirror this morning, but it was only very very light auburn. I hope that when my hair starts to lose its color, it goes all white right away!

Leave a Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.