A Complete Guide to Beard Grooming
Facial hair has shot up in popularity- it’s truly become the realm of the stylish. From models and movie stars to what I call “the urban beardsman” your average style-conscious beard-wearer-fuller beards especially are sweeping the nation.
Google Trends, which tracks “hot searches” to see what’s popular on the Internet, reports that searches for beards reached an all-time high in March 2013, after skyrocketing in 2012. This spike isn’t restricted to trendy cities, either: the searches at least are nation-wide, and beards are sure to follow.
We can look to a couple of sources to see where this upswing is coming from. Film director Ben Affleck sported his beard while accepting the Best Film Oscar for Argo, and George Clooney attended the same event with his famous salt-and-pepper scruff. What’s more, major men’s magazines have run articles about beard grooming and styles, making the look a recognised part of a stylish man’s repertoire.
Beards have gone corporate, too. Gillette has engineered the Gillette Fusion ProGlide Beard Trimmer and Styler, specifically for those who want tailored and sophisticated facial hair. Although those seeking truly full beards will discard trimmers altogether, this major release specifically for facial hair goes to show how it’s risen in the world.
And in America’s trendiest neighborhoods, beards already reign supreme. A recent section front page article in the New York Times about Williamsburg, currently the most famous and trendy neighborhood in Brooklyn, NY featured its author trying to integrate into the particular world of the borough. When he walks down Bedford Avenue, its central street, he describes the population as “a veritable ocean of beard.”
Of course, these are just some facts and figures about one bearding trend. Really the possibilities are endless. To get in on the trend or start your own, let me share some of my best beard grooming tips.
Beard Growing Tips
Hair is little dead pieces of you slowly coming out of your body. If they lived a good life, then they will exist as a good hair – otherwise your beard will look unhealthy. So to have the best beard you will start with a healthy diet and foods high in protein.
The higher protein diet will help boost your testosterone which is a key factor in beard epicness. You’ll want to make sure to get your veggies: peas, broccoli, chickpeas, and spinach are especially high protein vegetables. Another way to increase your testosterone is to exercise regularly-lifting weights in particular.
If you eat a perfectly balanced diet, you won’t need to take any vitamins or supplements. However, if you suspect your diet is less than ideal you may want to consider adding these beard-assisting supplements: biotin, fish oil, and a multivitamin. Or you could simplify your life and take the Vitabeard vitamin. Keep stress and smoking to a minimum and you will be living up to your full beard growth potential.
Beard Maintenance Tips
Once you’ve got your beard growing at its best, you’ll have to take care of it to keep it that way. This starts in the shower: you have to resist the urge to shampoo your beard everyday. Shampooing beards puts a lot of strain on hair because it strips out the natural oils that keep your beard healthy and moisturised. I try to shampoo only once or twice a week and always use conditioner after a wash. Bluebeards makes a beard wash specifically formulated for your beard.
Immediately after the shower, while your pores are still open, is the best time to add some beard oil to your face and beard. Beard oil is a leave-in conditioner that will help keep your beard soft, shiny, and prevent against beard dandruff. Personally I use Spiced Citrus Beard Oil (shameless plug – it’s my line of beard oils), but I have also heard good things about Frank’s Beard Elixir.
From there, you’ll need to minimise the damage to your beard. Excessive brushing, blow drying, or just stroking can lead to split ends and bald patches. I know, I’ve got a fiddling OCD habit myself. If you are the type to play with your beard, try to keep objects near by to keep your hands occupied – a stress ball won’t bring you near as much heartache. Trimming regularly will help remove split ends and even out fast growing hairs.
For your combing needs, try to get a saw-cut and handmade comb like a Kent comb. These combs will glide through your beard like a hot knife through butter and create little to no static. If you are a brush person, avoid the nylon brushes and go for a boar’s hair brush. The hairs help redistribute your natural oils rather than stripping them away.
Beard Styling Tips
Now that your beard is healthy and strong, you’ve got some style options. Besides your natural full beard, your Garibaldi and Verdi are the most common full beard styles. The Verdi is a shorter beard with larger moustache, and the Garibaldi is a full round big bushy beard.
If you can’t grow a full beard, I like to say, “grow whatch you got.” You can go for the moustache only, partial beard (chops), or goatee. If you’ve got a nice ‘stache then you may want to play around with some moustache wax. There are a lot of options on the market and you’ll have to decide which is the best.
A high hold natural beeswax mustache wax will give you a lot of flexibility, but is slightly challenging to apply for newbies. Bruce Roe, a world moustache champion, recommends using Brother’s Love. It’s a creme based product that goes on easier and stiffens to a hold. It’ll leave a chalky residue whereas the wax leaves a waxy residue, so pick your poison.
To help tame your beard you’ll want to go with a beard balm or a standard hair styling product like American Crew Fiber. Once these elements are in place, you’ll have a kickass beard that’s manly, stylish, and just plain awesome.