I’ve just been looking at men and their majestic beards on the tumblr account Hell Yeah Beards of Reykjavik which got me thinking about just how awesome beards are. Don’t get me wrong, I love a clean look as much as the next girl, but a man with a good beard is also so, so sexy.
But as many of you men know, keeping a good beard isn’t easy. Some of you can’t grow a beard (no worries, just rock the clean shaven look!), some of you don’t have the patience, some of you don’t know the 411 on how to maintain a beard. No worries. I did the research and short of trying to grow a beard myself, I am bringing you a comprehensive guide to achieving and maintaining a gangsta beard.
Why Grow a Beard?
Pfft! Why not? Shaving is the norm that growing a beard actually requires courage and commitment. What a great way to discover yourself and what you’re made of. And remember that according to the Journal of Marketing Communications men with beards are more trustworthy than their clean shaven counterpart. But before you grow a full on beard, check out this great chart on the Trustworthiness of Beards (not based on scientific fact doh!) by designer Matt McInerney to make sure you don’t end up on the untrustworthy side of things.
Now, before we go any further, what not to do:
You’re Doing it Wrong:
Please don’t be these guys…
The soul patch
The over stylized
The douche bear
The unkempt full beard
What type of beard should I grow?
What kind of beard you have is a very personal decision. Some men like a slight graze and maintain the five o’clock shadow, some men prefer a more fuller beard, while some guys go all out and grow a ZZ Top-esque beard!
It depends on your face shape and also on your mood I suppose.
How to Grow a Beard:
Step 1: Stop shaving. Like, seriously. This is the most important step.
Step 2: Patience young grasshopper. Depending on which style you’re going for, and how quickly your hair grows, wait at least a week (5 o’clock shadow) to 4 weeks before you start shaping.
Step 3: Don’t give up. Give yourself and end date (around 6 weeks in) and commit to it.
So, there you have the basics of the beard; now we get to an important part, the grooming. You see there is a big difference between a man who has grown a beard and a man who just didn’t shave. And that difference is noticeable!
Zach Galifianakis might look unkempt in his role in the Hangover, but if you notice, his beard is always groomed and trimmed – like a boss! Now, I’m not saying you have to have a beard like Mr. Galifianakis, but beards are no trifling matter. If you can afford it, have your beard professionally trimmed at the barbers, if that isn’t realistic, then here’s a handy guide on how to groom your beard:
Basic tools include:
• A good trimmer: A good trimmer will let you change the trimmer levels (for a closer shave or to leave things slightly longer), cordless (this is great if you’re not grooming near a power cord), and is rechargeable. When you’re in the middle of a shave and run out of battery, being able to recharge your trimmer will be priceless.
• A sharp pointy scissors: If possible get a professional barber’s scissor. If not, get something that is pointed and sharp.
• A good mirror: If you want, you can get a magnifying mirror, but I’m sure you’ll get by without one. You could also get a three way mirror so you have an eye on the parts you can’t see in a regular ol’ mirror.
• Fine-toothed comb: These are great for combing through your beard and moustache before cutting.
• Never trim your beard when it is wet. Like all hair, beard hair gets longer when wet and you risk trimming a little too much.
• When trimming your moustache, comb it down first with a fine-toothed comb. Depending on your preference, you can either use a trimmer or a scissor. Start in the middle and trim to one side of the mouth and then to the other. A general guideline is to not shave the top of your moustache line unless you want to look like John Waters.
• If you’re using a scissor, then comb through the moustache or beard and cut the hair outside the comb. This takes a lot of practice, so take your time and remember, it’s always better to have trimmed less than too much.
• Don’t pluck stray hairs. Remove your trimmers guard (setting zero) and shave off the stray using that.
• Once you’ve trimmed your beard, shape it. Make sure you maintain the correct beard line. Check out our guide for achieving the elusive manline.
• How closely your trim depends on what kind of beard you are going for. For a Ryan Gosling-esque beard, set your trimmer guard to 3 and buzz your beard.
What not to do:
The trick with facial hair is that you don’t want to cross that fine line of being too manscaped or too manicured, nor do you want to appear too wild or unkempt.
• Don’t shave your beard right up to your chin. There is a beard line, and shaving above that can give you the appearance of a double chin.
• Don’t rush through your grooming session. This isn’t the races. Give yourself ample time to trim, shave and shape.
Hope this guide has helped you with your beard lads! Let us know what other tips you have on beard grooming!