The BEARDFORGEN – it will grow on you

SLt M.X. Déry

Photo by Katelyn Moores

SLt M.X. Déry, MARPAC Public Affairs ~

After years of churning in the rumor mill, the BEARDFORGEN is finally here! While the new regulation has no meaningful impact on sailors of the Royal Canadian Navy, who could previously grow beards with the approval of their coxswain, it does allow members of the Canadian Army and the Royal Canadian Air Force to grow beards.

As a beard grower myself, let me just say, welcome to the club! Now you too can grow, groom, shampoo, and otherwise care for a beautiful, healthy beard using balms, oils and soaps.

But before you throw out your razor, stop shaving and arrive at work with patchy stubble, keep in mind you’ll want to prepare for the new bearded you.

First of all, can you grow a beard? And I mean that literally and figuratively. In a literal sense, we are not all blessed, or cursed depending on your point of view, with great facial follicle density. A loose collection of long, stray hairs does not a great beard make.

Figuratively, do you have permission to attempt to grow a beard from your unit chief? Typically this is a simple one-page memo asking for permission to cease shaving, and the chief will tell you to return in a month for inspection. During that month, you won’t be allowed to shave at all.

While that may sound grand, not being able to shave your neck means the three week itchiness can be quite unbearable if you are not prepared.

Beard balms and oils can help get over that three week hump. They are leave-in conditioners that hydrate the beard and the skin underneath. They come in different fragrances, or scent free, and in different levels of hold, from firm to relaxed

With any luck, come inspection day your beard will be full and the unit chief will agree that you look like a sailor from days past, but now you need to maintain it.

You’ll still need your shaving cream and razor, since you now need to shave your neck and any stray hairs on your cheeks in order to keep in line with the regulations.

Next, you’re going to want a good set of clippers with a decent variety of guides, depending on the length you will keep your completed beard. Trimming your beard will leave clippings around the bathroom sink, so keep a hand towel to keep the sink clean  or you risk annoying all who share the space with you.

Lastly, if you are going for a proper length beard, you’ll need a comb and maybe even a brush. The two centimetre maximum of bulk, as specified in the regulations, can mean very long beard hair and you don’t want them tangled.

Develop a daily routine to care for your new furry friend. Shampoo every day, trim, shave neck, apply balm, comb, brush, and clean sink. If your plan was to save time in the morning, perhaps you should continue shaving, but if you stick with it and you’ll be the proud owner of a great CAF beard. Send us a picture at

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