It looks like you're getting ready to grow your beard. It's why you're reading this, right? That's awesome! Welcome to an amazing community of bearded men from all walks of life. You've made the commitment, so let's get down to it!
We'll be starting with really basic stuff, but it's best to build on a good foundation of knowledge. So, if some of this is too basic for you, feel free to skip ahead to a section more suited to your level of beardedness.
A beard is any form of hair on your sideburns, cheeks, chin, and neck. Most of the time it's accompanied by a mustache, but this is your world - you do you. So, a goatee, mutton-chops, a soul-patch - all of these are still considered a beard. For the purposes of this guide though, we aren't going to zero in on any one style... just facial hair in general.
While I wish every man's face had a beard, let's face it - not every man can grow decent looking facial hair.
First and foremost, it all boils down to genetics. Your genes are your body's roadmap, and if that map doesn't lead to Beardtown... sorry dude. It's not random enough to be considered a "genetic lottery", but it can seem that way. My father and older brother are both taller than me, but neither one of them can grow a full beard. I have my maternal grandfather's hair, but he couldn't grow a beard either. I'm the anomaly in my family.
If you have the genetics, all you need is time. You may not be able to grow great looking facial hair in your teens and 20's. Age is a big factor. My beard looked patchy and ridiculous up until my late 20's, and I had pretty much lost hope - but I kept trying. Through my 30's, I saw my beard go from patchy to full. And now, in my 40's, I've got a full beard that I love.
Don't give up!
Step one - STOP SHAVING! And that's it. (Okay, I'm obviously kidding.)
There's a bit more to it if you want to be successful at growing a beard. The number one reason men give up and shave is... THE ITCH! Ugh... it can be slightly irritating, to just downright awful and unbearable. It can derail the birth of any beard. But, why does it itch? The simple, straight forward answer is: because you've been shaving. Shaving does 2 things - it pulls the hair out, cuts it, and the cut end goes back below the surface - and it exfoliates dead skin cells. When you start growing your beard, those hairs that have a nice, sharp end on them from being cleanly cut start ripping out of your face. This causes "micro" tears on your skin, which then causes mild to severe irritation. As your facial hair grows longer, dead skin cells can become trapped, also causing mild irritation. The new hair also wicks away your natural oils from your skin. All of this is a recipe for beard itch.
This is the point where you need to change up your grooming routine. You should stop washing your beard with the shampoo you use on your head. It isn't formulated for the skin on your face - which is very different from the skin on your head. You should stop washing it every day. Unless you work in a dirty, sweaty environment, just rinse it out thoroughly with cool to lukewarm water daily. Only wash it 1 or 2 times a week. Over-washing is counterproductive to getting rid of itch, as it strips your natural oils away. When you do wash, use a beard-specific bar soap or wash that is gentle on your face.
This is also where Beard Oil comes in. Don't listen to the internet trolls that tell you using product in your beard isn't "manly". Those guys have NO IDEA what they are talking about, because most of them haven't tried it. Beard oil is the best thing to come along for beards since the trash can was invented to put your razors in. A premium Beard Oil will contain ingredients that are known to moisturize and protect your skin and facial hair. Look for products that contain Jojoba, Argan, Sweet Almond, and Grapeseed oils... all of which fit the bill for healthy beard growth without the itch.