Beard Care: Tips & Tricks to Keep Your Mane in Check
The acceptability of facial hair has varied throughout time and culture, and even when it’s acceptable, appropriate beard care is typically required. Luckily for the manliest of men, we’re at a moment when beards signify virility, style and overall masculinity. Of course, it all comes down to those two magic words: ‘beard care.’
Of course, many guys don’t even attempt to grow a beard because it gets so unruly. They just fail to understand how having this piece of amazingness on their faces can work. If you’re one of those people, you couldn’t be more wrong. No one’s facial hair looks perfect the moment they wake up. By utilizing these beard care tips, you can keep your mane in check while looking awesome.
Wash and Condition Your Beard
We were taught from an early age that washing and conditioning our hair is a necessary task to look presentable. This is certainly a good lesson to go by, but there are far too many guys who think they can apply the same rules to their beards. While washing and conditioning are both essential for appropriate beard care, the techniques you use on your dome shouldn’t be co-opted for facial hair.
Your beard has natural oils, and by using regular shampoo or even cleaning with the same frequency, you can dry it out. This is a major contributor to unruly facial hair. In most cases, a longer beard should be washed once a week and conditioned somewhere between three and four times during the same period. This should only take a couple minutes, so your date from last night will still have hot water.
You also need to make sure you use appropriate shampoos and conditioners. The type you use for your ‘mop up on top’ can be damaging when it comes to beard care. There are countless specialty products made specifically for facial hair that you can buy online, at your barbershop or even the nearest Walgreen’s. Always remember in these situations, though, that you get what you pay for.
Once you’ve got the right products, just make sure you brush your beard before showering. This gets rid of dead skin cells and loose hairs. Quick disclaimer: all beards are different. You may need to tweak your regimen for the perfect balance of softness and manageability.
Invest in a Good Beard Brush
One of the most overlooked steps in how to grow a manly beard is investing in a great beard brush. Like traditional shampoos and conditioners, your run-of-the-mill brush just won’t cut it when it comes to facial hair. You want something that will help distribute the products you use (more on that later) along with your skin’s natural sebum oil.
When you’re looking for the best beard brush, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a guy who doesn’t swear by boar-hair bristles. The sturdy bristles will massage your skin, and this in turn stimulates improved blood flow and hair growth. It’s also great at keeping beards clean, but the coup de grâce is how well it manages wayward hairs.
Of course, most boar bristle brushes won’t easily fit into your front pocket. They could, but you might get a few looks down there throughout the day. Instead, buy yourself a wooden beard brush. A 100% sandalwood comb goes with me everywhere, and it does wonders at shaping my facial hair, removing loose hairs and distributing my body’s natural oils throughout the day.
The same rules for choosing shampoos and conditioners apply when selecting the right beard brush/comb: pay for quality. If you opt for the cheap route and snag a $1 item off Wish, rest assured that you’re only getting $1-worth of beard brush. That’s if you get it at all – international shipping is a nightmare.
Proper Beard Care Requires Beard Oil
Many guys who give up on growing a beard – some people call them wimps, but I don’t know – do so because of itch, dandruff or an overall wiry appearance. In many instances, though, this isn’t your beard’s fault. Cold climates, hard water and a variety of other common issues can cause these problems. Fortunately, beard oil can combat many of the complications nature throws your way.
These products usually contain two main ingredients: carrier oils and essential oils. The carrier oil is what will give your beard its soft and upkept appearance. Manufacturers typically use argan, jojoba, grapeseed or coconut oils as a carrier. The essential oil is really just to provide a few extra vitamins and give your beard a great fragrance.
Don’t worry, they make non-fragranced beard oils too. Although, you really should try out a few fragrances. At the risk of sounding weird, they can be sublime.
There are countless combinations of ingredients to choose from when it comes to beard oil. And as with most things in life, they’re not all created equally. Due to the differences in beards, oils will provide varying results between guys. Some may leave your hair still feeling dry, and others may make it too shiny. Try out a few beard oils before settling on your favorite.
As a quick side note, check out the BSG Mag for other personal tips on making your beard, hair, outfits and everything else look their best.
A Little Pruning Goes a Long Way
Whether you want the Riker look from Star Trek: TNG or you’re going for the full ZZ Top, trimming your beard is essential. While this may seem counterintuitive to guys who want the longest beards possible, it’s actually a necessary task to get rid of split ends. By ridding the face of damaged portions of your beard, you’ll keep it soft and give it a more well-kept appearance.
If you’re not quite sure how to prune your facial hair without potentially messing it up, you should get a professional beard trim at least once. This will give you a chance to ask questions and take notes about the most appropriate way to handle this necessary task. You can also get general tips during your appointment and leave knowing that you look great.
This might just be mandatory if that hot girl from Tinder is coming out with you tonight. Oh, and don’t think your beard won’t help. Studies show that women prefer bearded men when it comes to settling down and having kids. So, you’ll have that going for you.
Many guys skip the trimming step because they have spots where their hair doesn’t grow in properly. It’s okay to still do a little pruning while avoiding these areas. If you want to deal with this issue head on, though, hair restoration procedures have moved into the area of men’s beards. You can learn more and schedule a consultation with Barber Surgeons Guild by clicking here.
Train Your Beard
There are no two beards on the planet that are exactly the same. Many guys base the shape of their beard entirely upon this fact. There are even those who become a little disheartened if their texture includes curly or wild hairs that just won’t lay down. Come on, though, do you really think there’s not a single great beard out there whose owner has this exact same problem?
The reality is that we can train our beards to do exactly what we want. As soon as you get out of the shower, grab your boar bristle brush and go to town on your beard. Spend a few minutes brushing it in the direction you want it to grow. This won’t necessarily get rid of all the curls or stray hairs, but it will condition your beard to grow how you want it.
You can also use your sandalwood comb throughout the day to help train your beard to stay put. Plenty of guys also use a good beard balm with strong hold to maintain the shape they want, and this can go a long way in controlling growth as well. If you think balm is overkill, applying a little heat while brushing your beard in the morning is beneficial as well. Just don’t overdo it.
Go Straight Up ‘80s On It
You’ll find numerous pages online warning guys about applying heat to their beards, but much of this fear is overstated. While I wouldn’t take a straight iron to the magnificence on my face, a blow dryer and round brush can go a long way. Yes – exactly like the ladies used for those ridiculous Aqua Net hairstyles back in the ‘80s. Don’t worry, though… you won’t look like the next star of Stranger Things.
The great thing about using a round brush for this technique is that you can force curls out. While your beard is still slightly damp, brush it down while applying a bit of heat from a blow dryer. From that point, come up under your chin and twist the round brush into your beard. Ladies who do this to their hair are trying to make a curl in a certain direction, but your goal is to undo a curl that’s sticking out from your face.
While twisting the comb against the unwanted curl, continue to apply heat. Your blow dryer should be at least six inches from the hair and on a low setting. Once the hair is straighter, hit it with a blast of cold air. There is debate over whether beard oil should be applied before or after this technique, but just try out both and see what works best for you.
Get the Sculpting Right
All the work you put into your beard will be for naught if you don’t sculpt it properly. This is another instance when a professional barber could come in handy, but it wouldn’t hurt to know how to keep everything sculpted between trims. Unfortunately, there are no firm or dead set rules for doing this. Your chosen style will dictate the appropriate sculpting method.
For guys who are sporting shorter beards, one important rule is not go too high with your neckline. This is one of the many grooming issues people notice, and while you may think it’s drawing attention away from a double chin, it’s in fact highlighting it. This line can be clean or faded, but just make sure it’s not too high up on your neck.
If you’re going for a longer beard, you need to seriously take the shape of your face into consideration. Round and square faces should have longer length on the chin with shorter hairs at the sideburns and cheeks. The opposite is true for those with triangle, rectangular and oblong-shaped faces. It’s all about sculpting your beard to complement your face.
While it may seem completely unrelated, maintaining a healthy diet is essential to controlling your beard. Everything on and in your body reacts to what you eat, so be particular with what you put into it. Foods high in Vitamin H, for instance, improve cell generation and hair growth. Grab some avocado, nuts, eggs and salmon at the grocer to get high levels of this vitamin.
Carrots, sweet potatoes, kale, pumpkin seeds and asparagus, on the other hand, will pump you full of Vitamin A. This will help produce a shinier beard appearance. Clams, oysters and crab will also balance your glands so that your body produces the right amount of natural oils. This will keep your beard softer and more manageable.
For one tip you can never go wrong with, though, drink plenty of water. A full eight cups a day will keep your body hydrated, and this means a softer beard. If you’re not getting enough of other nutrients, gulp down some vitamins and supplements with your water to maintain healthy levels.
Beard Care: Yeah, It’s Worth It
If you’re just thinking of growing out your beard, maybe you think the necessary work is ‘high maintenance.’ For those who already took the leap, though, the extra few minutes a day is undoubtedly worth it. The benefits of sporting this – let’s face it, status symbol – are numerous and undeniable. Whether you’re attempting to cover up that double chin or find a long-term partner, a beard is the way to go.
If you’re trying to decide on the right style of beard, dealing with light patches or have any other aesthetic issues you want help with, reach out to the experts at Barber Surgeons Guild today.