Letting one’s facial hair grow is an undeniable commitment and not an easy affair. It requires patience and dedication. But one must not forget that hirsute faces do not have to mean unkempt ones. If you are growing out your beard this month, it is important to remember that it needs the same amount of upkeep and attention as a clean-shaven jawline.
‘It is another look, but it is not an easier one,’ points out Michael, one of Truefitt & Hill’s Master Barbers, when asked about experimenting with this trendy appearance. So, even if you have sported a bearded visage for a while, there are certain tricks of the trade you might not be familiar with that should be adhered to. Here, Michael lends his advice on how to ensure that your facial hair is on point as your follicles sprout new growth.
Don’t Go Rogue
‘Men can sometimes assume that because they are growing out a beard, they don’t have to visit a barbershop, but this misconception could not be further from the truth - you still need professional maintenance and advice every once in a while,’ says Michael. The chance to work from home has meant that many men have had the rare opportunity to devote more of their time to experimenting with growing out their mustaches and full beards, unfortunately, they have not always achieved the desired, well-polished result.
Therefore a regular check-in at a barbershop is crucial for keeping a flawless, polished look and a healthy beard. Our expert recommends having your beard hair professionally looked after at least every 4-5 weeks and maintaining the growth between appointments at home. Paying the barber a visit is especially important when you are growing your stubble for the first time. You may be unaccustomed to your freshly grown beard's texture and consistency - be it wiry or fine - and an experienced barber can not only refine, define, and style your bristles but also recommend the appropriate products to help you continue your good work at home.
Get Familiar with Your Tools
While you won’t need the same kit you use to get the perfect shave, your bathroom cabinet should be equipped with a variety of other tools to help you to sport your new look. Consider investing in a beard or mustache comb, as well as a small beard brush and a beard trimmer. Use them to keep your stubble precise and uniform, and remember to direct the comb and brush in a downward motion. A pocket-sized beard comb or mustache brush is the perfect tool to aid you in that, allowing you to keep both on your person when you are out and about. Ensure you start brushing your beard early before it reaches the ‘wild and bushy’ stage, Michael advises – ‘it will be much easier to manage as it grows.’
The next pivotal step in your grooming regime is the decision on whether to use a beard balm or beard oil.
Beard balms are easily absorbed to create a more natural, matte look. Nourish and soften even the toughest bristles with a beard balm that will hold more weight, perfect for shorter, more fulsome beards.
Beard oil, on the other hand, leaves a shinier coating and is excellent for a long beard. Find a beard oil blended with natural oils, such as coconut, avocado, jojoba, and argan, to reduce irritation as well as moisturize and nourish hair and skin alike.
The Areas to Watch
Certain problem areas like the neckline and cheeks are important to keep in mind to ensure that your beard looks refined rather than uneven and unkempt, says Michael. ‘Length doesn’t matter so much in terms of tidiness, but if your neck area is not meticulously looked after, the beard can look disheveled and very scruffy. Whatever the length of your beard, it should be uniform from the Adam’s apple to the jawline, and a trimmer should be used to keep it so.’
It is also important to remember to keep your cheeks clean-shaven and to bear in mind that the defined and clean edges really matter, so use a razor to keep the uneven stubble on your cheeks in line. ‘One wise rule of thumb is to carve a straight line from your mustache upwards on each side, keeping it as close as possible to the natural hairline.’ - says our Master Barber.
Keep a Clean Beard
When it comes to beard care, cleanliness must not be forgotten. As you spend time grooming and maintaining your beard, you will likely notice a build-up of grooming products that may keep your beard from looking its best. Your beard hair should be tended to much like the hair on your head, with a high-quality beard shampoo or cleanser.
Start with a moisturizing beard wash that hydrates as it cleanses to prevent beard dandruff. Lather your beard wash as you would an ordinary shampoo, using lukewarm water to scrub off excess product and the oil from your skin. If you find yourself struggling with dryness or the infamous beard itch, include a gentle exfoliating cleanser in your routine. Ideal for scrubbing off dead skin cells, exfoliants can also prevent ingrown hairs and even encourage your beard growth. Finish off with a beard conditioner to lock in the moisture for the best beard, no matter your length or style.
Follow this regimen about 2-3 times per week, depending on your skin type and beard grooming routine. Dapper fellows who apply ample beard products may need to clean up more often, whereas minimally-whiskered men can observe a less rigorous schedule.
Don’t Neglect Your Mustache
It is also most important to remember that even the simplest mustache needs attention, as it requires regular trimming to keep it off the lips. ‘Whatever your tools, whether you opt for scissors or razor, use great care here,’ warns Michael. To keep your whiskers handsomely groomed, part the mustache in the middle and comb in each direction to keep it tidy, rather than brushing it directly down. This rule applies to most styles, however, be mindful of more theatrical variations. ‘If you are going for a shape such as a handlebar or a horseshoe, wax is needed to give it shape otherwise your mustache will definitely go awry,’ he says. Keep your ‘stache in place with wax made from ingredients like beeswax and shea butter to condition and soften the bristles and offer an excellent mouldable hold for a controlled and well-groomed look.
Your Beard Care Essentials
Suitably informed and suitably armed with the right products and the right tools, your facial hair will have statesmanlike quality, and you will be able to avoid the very common downfall – an unkempt and rather slovenly look, which no gentleman should ever sport. To exhibit that admirable and healthy style, the appropriate tools are a requisite. Explore Truefitt & Hill’s selection of beard care products to find the essentials you need for a beard of the highest quality.