You don’t have to be a style guru to know that beards are back in vogue. Let’s face it, every Tom, Dick, and Harry nowadays have a beard. From Balbo to finely honed goatees, facial hair is now as important as your hair and every single inch is an extension of your unique style. That said, how many actually sports a healthy, non-gross and lustrous facial mane? Just like your hair, delicate care must be taken in treating your beard. If I dare say so, it needs more care! I have been wearing my beard for close to 2 years now and looking after it can be a handful. But with tips and hacks learned along the way, I have now managed to minimise time spent, to achieve maximum output – the results; neat healthy beard. Only a few minutes of maintenances a day. How I hear you ask ? Well… this article is going to guide you through the subject of beard grooming and maintenance.
For reference purpose, this is me with and without beard. While I am salt & pepper up top (more salt..), my beard somehow comes out completely salt..almost Father Christmas like, or on a good day, ehem.., rugged Sean Connery like.
Keeping It Clean
Let us begin with how to keep your beard clean. Men use logic. Men like convenience. So the convenient and logical way to keep your beard clean is to use the same shampoo that you use on your head. After all, it’s all hair, right? Well, somehow, it’s not that simple. You see, your scalp and your facial skin are very different. Even the hair on your face and head are different. The shampoo you are using is formulated for your head hair and scalp. The ingredient in it will remove the natural moisture away from your beard and face, leaving it dry, unruly and itchy.
So, what exactly can I use? You may ask. Well, let us go back to that convenience factor. Having a soap that you can use on your body, beard and face is the most convenient option if you ask me. There are so many soaps that are made with great ingredients suitable for your beard and body. These body soaps are full of moisturizing agents that will nourish your beards. While I would love to sound like a hipster and tell you that I use a super fancy, all-natural, handmade from tears of Jebus, expensive $50 soap (the size of $0.50 cent coins..), I really only used Lynx Men Body wash, which you can find at the supermarket. The missus tends to get them for me when it’s on special.
Well, among one of the most annoying parts about keeping a beard is how some parts of my skin would get dry and flaky. Kind of like.. dandruff. Which is a bit odd, because I don’t get dandruff. So, to prevent the recurrence of dry flaky dandruff on my face, I use a good facial scrub. Exfoliating the skin around the beard keeps my skin looking clean and fresh. It also provides my beard with a healthy growing environment. The facial scrubs I am currently using is the St. Ives Apricot Scrub. Somehow, this product is friendly enough on my skin to be used a few times a week. Again, am pretty sure the missus got this for me while it was on special.
Beard can get gross easily- all that food, sneezing and sweating. Plus, if you are a tradie like me and are out and about for most of the day, exposed to the dust, dirt and what not, it does get disgusting. I don’t get the chance to wash them often, so the next best thing is to clean it, using wet wipes. Don’t have to be fancy here, any cheap baby wipes or a bit of wet towel is good enough.
If you are one messy gumball, a good extra measure is an antibacterial beard balm/wash. Something that helps softens, but also kills microscopic organisms.
How often do I clean it?
If you really need to ask… now where near enough mate! You likely now know what to use, but how often do you use it? A couple of factors come into play here. Do you have an oily face? Do you often work outside or in a dirty environment? If so, you need to wash it every day. If you are a paper pusher and don’t sweat much, washing with soap it every other day is sufficient. This may sound unsanitary or weird, but it really isn’t. The best soap in the market is still going to wash away your body’s rich natural oil. So, it’s best you keep the washing to a minimum. On the days that you don’t wash your beards, just rinse it out with Luke-warm water. But I wash it with soap every day – I would like to be kissed by the missus everyday thank you very much.
Balms and beard oil
Well, you want to make sure that your beard feels soft, looks great and isn’t itchy, right? That’s where beard maintenance and care product comes in. Beard balms and beard oil are a necessity. They replenish the moisture to your face and beard, making it soft. And, they can make it smell good.
How do beard oils and balms work?
The beard hairs, ‘wick’ rich natural oil, away from your skin causing your face to dry out. In turn, your skin starts to produce more Sebum to compensate. This overcompensation will likely cause you to have an oily face. How does beard oil help? Well, beard balms and beard oil helps to condition the beard hair, and moisturize the delicate skin underneath. This keeps your face from overproducing natural oil (Sebum). It makes your beard more manageable and soft. It works like a magic serum. If there is one beard grooming thing I am fussy about, it is this. I swear by these two moisturising product, the SFSC Beard Oil or the Aesop Aloe Vera OIl. The latter is not a beard-centric product, but it is fantastic as a moisturiser, to treat cuts, redness, enlarged pores and it also do not make your face feel greasy after application.
How much should I use?
If your beard looks really oily after using it, you are using too much. On the other hand, if your beard dries out completely during the day, you are not using enough. This doesn’t always mean you need to use more in one application. You may need to use it twice a day instead. This isn’t rocket science, it something you will figure out quickly.
If you decide to use balm and beard oil together, that is fine too. Just reduce the amount of oil you normally would use. Always apply your oil first, and then the balm.
Make it Look Nice, Neat & Pretty
Combing and brushing
If you have long-ish beard , you also want to think about combing and brushing. For brushing, many will recommend a quality beard brush. Purchase a quality brush that is able to carry oil and balm from the skin to your beard hair. Use it right after you apply your beard oil or balm. For combing, don’t use that cheap 1 dollar comb that you bought at the local supermarket. Treat your moe and your beard with respect bruh! You don’t want a comb that will yank or pull your beard. This causes hair loss and split. This is what I spend time looking for. My beard brush is an Italian made brush by Morgan’s. The best $30 I have ever spent
How can I make my beard grow faster?
Your skin, hair and beard, are a direct reflection of your health. If you want a healthy beard you need to eat well, exercise and sleep well. Do you know that your diet can influence your hair growth? A diet that is rich in vitamin C, iron, omega-3 and zinc gives your hair the nourishment it needs to grow faster. This is of course, on top of being shown some love. Washing it with a high-quality shampoo twice a week and combing or brushing regularly help to stimulate the skin underneath.
As you may know, intense stress can stunt hair growth and trigger conditions that ultimately lead to hair loss. The remedy is getting enough rest, working out to release stress (boost testosterone) and make out time to chill and relax.
Trimming your beard
Okay, I cannot stress this enough. Trimming is an important beard care to keep your beard looking healthy and well kept. For the best result, don’t use trimmers to trim your beards, use scissors instead. Scissors allows you to fine-tune your beard’s shape. Try following the natural contour of your face when trimming. But of course, if you don’t have a steady hand, this can prove to be disastrous. Or get your missus to do it for you.
Don’t trim a wet mustache or beard. Wet hair is longer. When it dries you may find out that you have trimmed too much
Like the hair on your head, beard needs regular maintenance: conditioning, trimming, washing, and yes, even brushing. To keep your beard looking good, you are definitely going to put in some work. So I hope these tips and hacks have been useful to help you solve your beard woes or better still, inspire you to grow one!
Like this gentlemanly article? How about a gentlemanly article about Men’s Wardrobe Organisation ?