Face it men, a thick healthy beard just doesn’t blossom over night. But if you give those chin hairs the tender loving care they deserve, you might just have a beard as legendary as Zeus’. To demonstrate some tips and techniques for cultivating impressive facial hair, we’ve turned to Eric Bandholz, founder for Beardbrand and the proud owner of a full, lustrous beard.

Here are some of Eric’s helpful tips on how to grow, style, and maintain a beard so that it flatters instead of flunks: 

1. Healthy Diet

Hair is little dead pieces of you slowly coming out of your body. If they lived a good life, then they will exist as a good hair — otherwise your beard will look like shit. So to have the best beard you will start with a healthy diet and foods high in protein.

2. Vitamins

If you eat a perfectly balanced diet, you won’t need to take any vitamins or supplements. However, if you suspect your diet is less than ideal you may want to consider adding these beard-assisting supplements: biotin, fish oil, and a multivitamin. Or you could simplify your life and take the Vitabeard vitamin. Keep stress and smoking to a minimum and you will be living up to your full beard growth potential.

3. Shampoo, Just Not Too Much

Once you’ve got your beard growing at its best, you’ll have to take care of it to keep it that way. This starts in the shower: you have to resist the urge to shampoo your beard everyday. Shampooing beards puts a lot of strain on beards because it strips out the natural oils that keep your beard healthy and moisturized. I try to shampoo only once or twice a week and always use conditioner after a wash. Bluebeards makes a beard wash specifically formulated for your beard.

4. Beard Oils

Immediately after the shower, while your pores are still open, is the best time to add some beard oil to your face and beard. Beard oil is a leave-in conditioner that will help keep your beard soft, shiny, and prevent against beard dandruff. Personally I use Spiced Citrus Beard Oil (shameless plug — it’s my line of beard oils), but I have also heard good things about Frank’s Beard Elixir.

5. Grooming

For your combing needs, try to get a saw-cut and handmade comb like a Kent Comb. These combs will glide through your beard like a hot knife through butter and create little to no static. If you are a brush person, avoid the nylon brushes and go for a boar’s hairbrush. The hairs help redistribute your natural oils rather than stripping them away.

If you struggle with a patchy beard like some men do, you may consider using a beard roller. The science behind it is fascinating but essentially, a beard roller encourages those patchy areas to grow thicker, leaving you with an awesome beard.