Now that I'm seperated from Uncle Sam I can grow a beard for more than a month at a time.Being new to my job as a Paramedic was leary about growing one . Then I thought what the hell other people grow em at current job and I pay union due's for a reason. Only negative is chin has is white, my inner vain person was thinking about just for men but would look silly as hell trying to pull that off after everyone I work with has seen the grays.
If you can and want to grow a beard give it some time, beards don't develop overnight some taking more time than others.
As for shaving gear have been doing the retro thing for about 6 years now trying to stick it to Gillette and others and their wasteful, expensive products. Have gone through a bunch of vintage and modern safety razors and even gave straights a shot. Previous to beard decision was rotating Merkur Barber Pole HD, Gillette Fatboy,and Gillette Slim. Big fan of proraso creams, tabac soap, and boar brushes having a semogue and Omega in collection, along with Omega Badger. Closet Old Spice fan to boot.