Once the defining feature of the unemployed slacker, beards 2013 are cool, hip and sexy. You’ve seen short versions on Ryan Gosling and longer ones on all the indie bands.
Whether your look is hipster, vintage, clean cut or somewhere in-between, here’s how to grow a beard.
1. Commit to the beard! That means no shaving for a minimum of 4 weeks and up to 6 weeks. If you’re concerned about look scraggly or scruffy, start growing your beard over a long weekend or holiday.
Keep on growing even if you think you know what you want your beard to be. You may be pleasantly surprised by how facial hair fills in and go for a fuller and longer beard than you first thought.
2. Ignore the comments. Everyone’s got an opinion. Don’t let surprise, reactions, or negative comments bother you. Even though beards are back, people are generally averse to change. On the other hand, don’t let compliments sway you if you’re not into the beard.
Either way, get through the initial month and make up your mind then.
3. Stay fresh. Skin that is used to the cleansing and sloughing of regular shaves may start to feel itchy with the new presence of beard hair. This is a temporary adjustment phase and not an indication of that something is wrong.
Keep skin clean with a gentle shampoo or face wash. There are dedicated beard products from Bluebeards and Jenulence that are are gentler on facial skin and formulated for exposure to foods, drinks, and smoke.
Be sure to wash out the products thoroughly and gently pat the beard dry with a towel.
If skin is still sensitive, rub some moisturizer or oil (jojoba oil is a great multi-purpose cleanser and conditioner) into skin before bed.
4. Shape the beard. So it’s been at least 4 weeks without shaving. Now it’s time to shape the beard. Usually the cheek line, where the beard transitions into the skin of the cheeks is best left natural. You may want to remove obvious strays.
You will want to clean up your beard at the neck line, under the chin and around the neck. If you’re concerned about doing this yourself, many barbers have experience styling beards.
Otherwise, generally aim to clean up any obvious scraggly hairs at the neck. This area is concealed beneath the chin so it’s hard to do significant damage.
The final area of the beard that can be groomed is around the lips. Long hair can start to get in the way of the mouth so keep the moustache area trimmed.
5. Grooming. If you’re happy with your beard, save yourself time and hassly by investing in a beard trimmer. Get a good one that is precise and easy to use, like the Philips Norelco All-In-One Grooming System, Panasonic Milano, or Remington MB-200. You’re saving lots of money on expensive razors and haircuts so don’t skimp on this purchase.
On a daily basis, use a wide toothed comb or brush to remove tangles and gently shape the beard.
6. Keep growing. Now that you have a great beard, keep going! You can go for the clean mountain man look that is seen on more and more models. Or go for an amazing moustache.
7. Shaving. If you want to get rid of your beard or transition into a moustache, the easiest way is to use beard trimmers to remove as much hair as possible. You can use scissors as well but be careful!
Finish with a regular shave (or two) and your chin is back.