So last October when the clocks went back I announced that I wasn’t going to shave until they went forward this year, my wife didn’t need to tell me what she thought as it was obvious by the look on her face.
Up until that point I had a goatee beard with moustache and I had been that way for about the last 15 years, I had made a few attempts to grow a full beard but itchiness and a clearly unhappy wife had sent me reaching for the razor and I sculpted back the goatee.
So I started to grow a beard, which I thought was a case of just leaving the razor alone and sure enough it got itchy, however this time instead of reaching for a razor, I reached for Google. That is when I first realised that there was a massive beard care industry and that these rugged looking guys were Grooming their beards, so I picked an oil and it was Scruff Stuff and I won’t lie, I chose that brand because the subscription has an offer where your first bottle is only £1. It turned out to be an excellent choice though, James who is the bearded guy behind the brand has a real talent for blending oils.
I had already been blogging and I had blogged quite a few product reviews for products that made disabled life easier and so I added the beard oil to the reviews. It was then that I was offered some free beard oil if I wrote a review and so of course I accepted.
It’s now nearly the end of April and the deadline for shaving has been and gone, I’m hooked, I love having a full beard.
However I have learnt that having a beard isn’t on par with a hairstyle choice or a lifestyle choice, when you have a beard people believe it’s okay to express their views truthfully. Now this happens to most bearded guys that I talk to, people think it’s okay to say things like “you look like a terrorist”, “you look homeless” and many other classic hilarious (not)comments.
I am now happy when I see myself in a mirror (crazy I know), the beard has made me take care of my appearance and its been a while since I felt that way. I used to take great care in my appearance and daily grooming but since I lost my mobility and my life to pain, I haven’t felt that way or bothered taking care of myself.
So in a way this beard has saved me, it’s saved me from an implosion caused by my current situation and the stigma of being disabled.
I have now reviewed 42 beard care products and I have a queue of oils, balms and waxes waiting to be tested and reviewed and I also have a list if over 30 companies that are sending out beard care products for review. I never could have imagined that the reviews would take off like this, it has somehow given me a sense of purpose and helped to focus my mind on something other than the pain. I have also gotten to know a lot of fellow bearded men and created a Facebook group called ‘Guardians of the Beard’ (taken from the film Guardians of the Galaxy). I still have to be careful not to over do it, I have limited energy and includes mental energy and so I can’t spend too long blogging or on social media, I am a spoonie, which is a person living with a chronic illness, the link explains what it is and why.
The product reviews are written on here (WordPress) and they are shared on Twitter, the Facebook page, Pinterest, Google + and Instagram and I want to say a big thank you to all the companies that send me the products to review.