November puts a spotlight on a usually taboo topic: men’s health. And since the Movember movement began, it has been gaining more traction, with thousands of men around the world participating in growing out their facial hair. But what is it about beards that make such a difference?
We spoke to Samson Kovacs, who has founded an online community of men who talk candidly about their own health struggles and how their beards have helped them through difficult times.
My own beard journey has been wild — I’ve sported stubble, a handlebar moustache and right now a fuller beard.
I was struggling with my own mental health during the lockdown and didn’t know how to speak up about my feelings. With barbers also being shut, my beard started to grow out and I knew I needed to try to adapt to all these sudden changes.
So, I slowed down and began to invest in me-time — something that I’d never really done before. And this life-changing moment inspired me to create BEHEARD, a community for beard-lovers to ‘be heard’ and feel empowered enough to share their real stories and grooming tips.
One thing that BEHEARD members often say is that beards can help increase your confidence. They’re a great talking point and can immediately help break down barriers. Beards are the backbone for so many men’s groups and online communities like BEHEARD, where there is a real feeling of connection, support and friendship.
Like Movember, my mission with BEHEARD community is to raise awareness for men’s mental health and get guys talking about issues they don’t normally speak about. The best mental health tips I’ve picked up along the away are:
1. Be open with family and friends – if you’re struggling, let the people around you know.
2. Don’t feel the pressure to always be active – social media can often make you feel that you’re not doing enough, but it’s best to do things at your own pace.
3. Limit the time your online – we’re living in uncertain times, so make sure to take regular social media breaks to avoid seeing anything upsetting. Use any time you would spend on it, relaxing and focusing on yourself.
My own beard journey has been wild — I’ve sported stubble, a handlebar moustache and right now a fuller beard. And, my grooming routine depends on the weather and how much time I have in the mornings.
Once or twice a week, I shampoo my beard, often using the same shampoo as I would for my hair. As my beard is coarse and wiry, I also use conditioner in-between wash days to keep it moisturised.
Before styling, I like to use oil on my facial hair while it’s still damp to soften it. I usually use heat on my beard to help shape it, then follow up with a balm to tame any flyaways and again, nourish it.
The TIGI Bed Head Grooming Lion Tamer Beard and Hair Balm is great for this, as it’s not too greasy and leaves my beard and skin underneath feeling soft. I’d suggest it for guys with longer, heavier beards like mine.
For the finishing touches, I like to use a hair clay, like the VO5 Matt Clay, to make my beard look fuller and give it some hold, so the shape I’ve created can last all day.
Practising self-care and keeping up a good grooming routine has helped my self-confidence and mental health. Through my beard, I’ve learnt the importance of personal wellbeing and self-motivation.
*As told to Amra Markic