The highs and lows of growing a beard

Our grooming columnist, author, podcaster and Insta-star Matt Farquharson, aka @papa_pukka, talks about growing face fuzz

Some time in the mid noughties, I started to develop a spare chin. This presented me with a choice: adapt my diet and exercise regime, or stop shaving. So I stopped shaving. I was hoping for a fulsome, Victorian-style chin jumper, which was popular at the time. But, instead, I looked like someone had glued the contents of a barber’s dustpan to my face. It also grew at different speeds, from semi-lustrous goatee to great patches
of hair-desert in the middle of my cheeks.

I persevered, with little concern for the tittering around me. For the decade and a half since, I’ve inexpertly dragged a beard trimmer across my follicular folly every few weeks to stop me looking like an am-dram Fagin.

But I’d been hiding the lower half of my face for so long, I was worried about what might now be there. So, one day, I took it all off. I worked my way through all the stages men do when removing beards: I first gave myself
a ‘full biker’ (mutton chops and goatee), then a
handlebar and sides, followed by a ’tache only, ending with upward strokes and moisturiser until my flesh was as soft as a baby’s bottom.

The results weren’t kind: years without daylight had made my lower face look like a patch of old beige carpet that’s been covered by a sofa. Extra bits of neck had developed, giving me a chin gusset with the consistency
of slightly collapsed Brie. It was troubling to see, but important to know, and I’ve decided to stay indoors until it’s all covered up again…

Matt and wife Anna Whitehouse’s book, Where’s My Happy Ending? Happily Ever After And How The Heck To Get There, is out now.


Matt’s facial hair hits

Woody’s 2 in 1 beard conditioner (113ml) because the hair might as well be as soft as possible.
Johnny’s Chop Shop Beard Oil (30ml) – with aloe vera and green tea, hydrates the skin under the hair, too.
BaBylissMEN 11 in 1 Carbon Titanium Trimmer can be used dry or wet with foam, even in the shower.