13 steps to the perfect beard: How to fight itching and look sharp for No-Shave November

As those of us who have thrown out our razors this month for No-Shave November are quickly learning, there’s a difference between simply not shaving and growing a beard.

I tend to rock a “beard” as an excuse to avoid the grind of shaving daily, but I recently learned I wasn’t treating my follicle canvas with the respect it deserves.

Nailing It: 13 steps to the best beard


Enter John Scala, founder of The New York Shaving Company, who offered his facial hair tips, so we can look more GQ than just-woke-up.

Some pointers may be more familiar than others, such as trimming the beard to keep stray hairs from running wild, while others were entirely new for me. Here are some of the great tips Scala shared that have given my beard new life:

  • I thought combs and brushes were meant solely for the hair on your head. Turns out you should use them on your beard as well.
  • One of the biggest issues guys face when growing a beard is relentless itching. Turns out beard oils help prevent that irritation. Plus, my girlfriend likes the way it smells. Always a bonus when you can win over the significant other.
  • Pick your lines and shave the edges using a cartridge, safety or straight razor. And, who knew — it takes multiple passes to get a nice, close shave.
  • Once you’ve trimmed, use a beard wash to further combat that itching. 
  • Wrap things up by applying a beard cream to help tame the hair, giving it a more defined, controlled look. Plus, you won’t believe how soft it will leave your beard. 

I’ve been putting Scala’s tips to the test for nearly two weeks now, and the difference has been night and day. My beard is soft, has clearer lines, and most importantly, it doesn’t make me want to scratch it raw. 

You can watch all of his tips here. Happy beard growing!