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Beard Basics: The Do's and Don'ts

Beard Basics

Beards have been on trend for the majority of human history. The first recorded instances of barbering as a profession date all the way back to 5000 B.C. No matter where or when you look in history, facial hair in all its varieties have been staples of men’s grooming and fashion. Considering growing one? Already have one and want to up your beard game? When compared to the hair on your head, a beard is in a league of its own: you have to treat it right, and there are some do’s and don’ts you always want to keep in mind.

Do – Use dedicated beard products.

One common mistake men make is using head shampoo on their beard, but you can’t approach beard maintenance with the mentality of “Hair is hair, what does it matter what products I use?” The fact is, the hair on your beard is much different from the hair on your head – it’s thicker, coarser, and more wiry. In order to properly cleanse the hair on your head, hair shampoo strips more of the natural oil your body produces. You need more of those oils in your beard to keep it smooth and nourished. That’s why you need to use a dedicated beard wash: it cleanses the beard and skin underneath without stripping away too much of the oil. And while you’re at it, add a beard conditioner or oil to your beard regimen. These can help supplement your natural oils to keep the beard extra soft and healthy.

 

Do – Focus on shape, not size.

A common misconception about beards is the idea that bigger is inherently better, but to make the most of a beard, you want it to look neat and tidy. Sure, a thick, full beard is glorious, but if you pay no mind to shaping and trimming it regularly, you will look disheveled at best, and like a caveman at worst. This is easily solved by investing in a quality beard trimmer, or better yet, visiting your local barber. If you really must do it yourself, do plenty of research before giving it a go.

Do – Brush your beard daily.

Not only will brushing your beard daily help maintain a neat, well-groomed appearance, it also helps distribute the natural oils through the hair, keeping it nourished from root to end. Use a wooden, wide-toothed beard comb or a boar-bristle brush. If you want to keep it looking extra clean, blow-dry your beard a few times a week. Brush through your beard from the inside so the bristles face out, and direct the blow-dryer down as your brush through it. Keep the dryer on the warm setting – too much heat can cause the beard to become brittle, but no heat will keep it from drying in a timely fashion.

Don’t – Cut your neckline too high.

A quality beard isn’t just about the shape, it’s also influenced by the lines – where the beard stops and starts on your face. Where you place your lines can drastically affect the look of your beard, and a common mistake men make is cutting the neckline too high. A simple way to get a clean, well-placed line is to start with a guide – press your trimmer flat against the line below each of your ears, then work your way to the center, keeping the line balanced along the point where your head meets your neck, just above your Adam’s apple. The angle and lines of your beard should accentuate your jawline, not expose it.

Don’t – Trim your mustache too short.

Depending on the style you’re going for, mustache widths and lengths vary, but one thing to definitely avoid is cutting your mustache too short in comparison to the rest of your beard. You want the two to be balanced, and keeping the mustache too short can throw that balance off.

Don’t – Neglect your sideburns.

Yes, this is a blog about beards, but the sideburns are also a crucial element. They need to be kept in check, and letting them get too unruly will widen your face. If you keep a short haircut on the sides and a thick beard, you need to be sure the sideburns taper in between the two lengths: shorter at the top of the ear and gradually getting longer as you move into the bulk of the beard, and while you may be able to trim the bulk of your beard yourself, tapering sideburns requires a technique that really should be done be your barber.

Tools and Products: How to Keep Your Beard Fresh

Through our own research and personal experience, we do have some favorite tools and products to up your beard game. As a note, we are not affiliated with these brands; they are simply products we love, and we want to pass our knowledge of them on to you. 

There are countless beard trimmers with a wide variety of features on the market, but if you’re looking for one ultimate tool to keep in your arsenal, check out the Hatteker Beard Trimming Kit. You can find it on Amazon for $50, which is a great price, even if you were just purchasing the trimmer itself. Instead, you get the trimmer, with an LED battery life display, so you never end up with a dead trimmer and a half shaved beard. Included in the kit is a hair trimmer head, a beard trimmer head, a detail trimmer head, a body groomer head, a fine-point nose and ear trimmer, and six guide combs (one of which is fully adjustable via a dial). The machine itself also has an adjustment switch to get lengths in between the available comb options. It has a full sixty minutes battery life and has everything you need to look fresh, head-to-toe. 

In terms of products, Billy Jealousy is a brand we’re fans of. They have a whole range of beard-centric products, including waxes, washes, conditioners, aftershaves, oils, and more. They’re made in America, cruelty-free, and use natural ingredients, leaving harmful sulfates, parabens, and pthalates at the door. If you’re looking to get a collection of beard products going, start with their Devil’s Delight Beard Kit . For only $25, you get full-size bottles of their beard wash and beard conditioner in the Devil’s Delight scent – an intoxicating mash-up of sweet black pepper and sandalwood, and a favorite among clients of our barber on staff. Also included in the kit is a boar-bristle brush – densely packed with bristles and soft on the skin. Use the products and brush daily to keep your beard looking fresh. 

As mentioned above, beards are a tale as old as time. They’re a men’s grooming staple, and growing one can absolutely accentuate your look and make a statement about who you are. But they are their own sort of animal – they require a completely different level of care than the hair on your head. Use these tips, tools, and products to put your best face forward, and grow a beard that some men can only dream about. Rock the beard, gentlemen, but always, always remember to do it right.

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ABOUT

Cait Lambert

Cait Lambert is a barber and freelance writer. In addition to her work in men’s grooming and lifestyle, she has also written numerous fiction pieces: two screenplays and a YA novel. She lives in San Diego, CA, with her dog, Toni. Follow her on Twitter - @caitwrites

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