Beard Maintenance 101
Considering how wild and rugged a beard can look, there’s actually a considerable amount of upkeep and grooming to be had whilst sporting one. In the past few years the beard has become an iconic look to have as part of the early 2010’s and the acceptance of beards as a mainstream fashionable look has really taken off. When once a beard was considered untidy and messy, now, if well kept, it is considered an acceptably trendy look – even in a professional setting. There is a huge difference between an unkempt beard in comparison to one that is well groomed and maintained.
But growing the beard in order to look like the Dapper Gentleman we aspire to be is only half the battle, once grown to the desired length there’s regular beard maintenance required in order to keep the unruly look on your face acceptable. It will also require a few changes and new additions to your grooming routines. Keep in mind the following things to keep your face presentable and your beard in tip top condition:
Washing and Conditioning the Beard.
Yes, just like the hair on top of your head, you need to regularly shampoo and condition your beard. You can use your standard hair shampoos and conditioners for this, but special beard conditioning kits are available with ingredients that are a lot kinder to the more sensitive parts of your face.
After shampooing as normal, using a conditioner can soften the coarse facial hair slightly, making it easier to shape and keep clean and ultimately stop any serious tangles. Once done, pat the hair dry with a towel and avoiding the use of a hair dryer. You’d use the best shaving creams and razors to get rid of facial hair whilst reducing irritation, why is maintaining your beard with the best products any different?
Combing Your Beard
Just like brushing the hair on your head, your facial hair needs regular brushing too, at least once a day and it can be done right after you shower. Traditional combs can cause to much snagging while brushing, so a wide tooth comb is essential. Comb the hair gently when it’s dry working with the direction of the hair as you work your way down the neck.
Trimming & Shaving
Many people, particularly men, believe that facial hair grows quicker than any other part of the body. Whilst the movements of your jaw for eating and talking stimulate blood flow to those parts of your face, thus aiding hair growth, the hair on your face grows no quicker than any other part of your body. In fact in just one month your facial hair could gain just half an inch. With the ritual of shaving daily and seeing a shadow cast under your chin by bed time it’s easy to see how people think it. Regular beard maintenance and good hygiene can help speed up the growth of your beard, and eventually the day will come when your stylish beard starts to look a bit scraggly.
Depending on the length of your facial hair, and your desired look you have two options. Trimming with scissors, or shaving with an electric beard trimmer. Razors offer more control over shorter styles of beard and can give neat shapes and lines where you want them. Scissors are best for bigger, fuller beards with longer length allowing you to work your way through the hair with scissors and a comb to strip away excess hair.
When getting your haircut at a Barbers or Salon, you can ask them to trim or style your facial hair for you. If this isn’t your thing, (or you’d rather not let them loose on 4 or 5 months of growing achievement) then bust out the scissors or beard trimmer and get cracking!
Make sure when your trim, whether using the beard trimmer or scissors, that your facial hair is fully dry and clean. This way it will be easier to work with than when it’s wet, and you won’t risk cutting too much off. Always cut a little bit at a time, unlike mistakes in a haircut, the beard is on a prominent part of your face and an uneven or poor trim can be obvious and difficult to rectify.
Start at the top of the jaw on one side and work down to the chin, then start from the jaw on the other side and do the same. This should give your an easy way to create an even beard length and will enable you to compare both sides evenly.
Always remember, you’ll never really notice a well maintained beard, but you’ll easily notice a scruffy and unkempt one. Smart beards are trendy, but not properly maintaining one can have a counter-effect.