It’s like pet therapy, where a person under stress holds a dog during a tough moment, but more … personal.
So now men with particularly luscious, soft beards are hanging out at supermarkets and letting people run their fingers through those shampooed jaw-locks.
And it pays handsomely. Tempting, isn’t it? Meaningful work, a billowing bank account, and you only have to grow a good beard.
Ah, but that’s easier said than done.
Luckily, a healthy beard has the same needs as healthy skin. You may believe that you can’t grow a beard, but actually, it just needs a more fertile body.
What the heck, since you’re taking care of your face, let’s be beard therapists. What does it take to get bushy - and make your skin shine at the same time?
If your beard seems uneven it might be genetics or the normal patchiness of a new beard, but often it’s sleep deprivation.
The body repairs itself when you sleep. That means growing new skin and hair.
And if you interrupt something when it’s half done, it stays that way. Your body is no exception. That’s why we have a body clock and floods of melatonin that put us to sleep every night.
Of course, your instincts only think it’s night time when the lights go out. Do you keep the TV or computer on until bedtime? Try unplugging earlier. You should find it much easier to get to sleep - and stay asleep.
What else do skin and hair have in common? They stay strong if you get your B vitamins.
A good beard hungers for vitamins B3, B5, B6, B12 and Vitamin H.
Wait, one of these things is not like the other.
That’s because funnily, Vitamin H counts as a B vitamin. Trust me on this. It’s called biotin and you’re constantly using it to grow hair.
I don’t know why it’s called Vitamin H. Scientists named it or something.
B vitamins are in many staples, such as fish, eggs, avocados and leafy greens. Vegemite too, if you’re a fan of the Black Dread. SkinB5 Acne Control Caplets would help nicely.
Look for vitamin C, iron and zinc too.
Good oils and protein
I’ve blogged about how important it is for vegans to get their B12. You’ll also have to figure out your plant-based oils, like olive oil and nuts.
For the rest of us, meat that makes you feel good makes your beard great.
Salmon, tuna, trout. The more protein-rich cuts of meat like chicken breast, round steak and turkey in general.
Exercise, especially weightlifting or other activities that create testosterone, will help too.
Now you’re equipped for your new life in beard therapy. Pack your things, make a sappy social media post, leave it all behind and get to work in a packed shopping mall. Remember to shampoo, condition and comb. Try some beard oil. Life is about to get easier for you and everyone you touch.
Peter Matthews is a freelance writer, trained counsellor and beard haver living in Melbourne. He’s never put all three into one job. Until now.