Beard Basics: The Do’s and Don’ts

— GROOMING —

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. Visit her at www.barberwithapen.com and follow her on Twitter - @caitwrites

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Hairstyles for Your Face Shape: What Works, What Doesn’t

— STYLE —

Hairstyles for Your Face Shape: What Works, What Doesn’t

Haircuts are important.

They say a lot about who you are as a person. But just as important is ensuring that your hair works with what you’ve got. It’s not a one-size-fits-all situation: different styles work with different face shapes. Like you want your suit to work with your body, you want your hair to work with your face. You can use angles, lengths, and textures to accentuate features you love and minimize features you’re not such a fan of.

There are six standard types of face shapes: heart, square, rectangle, oval, round, and diamond. There are a few other shapes that are more rare, but they are more subdivisions of these basic face shapes and the same principles apply.

What’s Your Shape?

In order to determine what kind of face you have, take a look at yourself in the mirror for a little bit. Pull back your hair if it’s hanging over your forehead. The shapes and angles you want to take into consideration are the width of your forehead, cheekbones, jaw, and chin. In addition, you also want to look at the length of your face from top to bottom, and take a look at the ratio between length to width.
  • Round has similar width at the forehead and chin, with rounded edges, and the cheekbones are the widest part of the face.
  • Oval is similar to round, in that it has rounded edges at the forehead and chin, but the length of the face is a bit longer, making it longer than it is wide. Like a round shape, the widest part of the face is the cheekbones.
  • Diamond also has the widest part of the face being the cheekbones, but the forehead and the chin come to points, with a more drastic angle inward than that of an oval face. 
  • Square faces are just that: squares. They typically have similar widths the whole way down – the forehead, cheekbones, and jaw are all about the same distance apart, with a relatively flat chin. The length of the face is close to the width going across, giving it a uniform shape.
  • Heart face shapes have broad foreheads and pointy chins, and follow an inward trajectory the whole way down from top to bottom, so that the widest part is at the forehead and the narrowest part is the tip of the chin. 
  • Rectangles, like square, have similar widths going from top to bottom, but the overall length is a bit longer than the width.

Fear Not: You Have Options

If you have a round face, your best bet is to keep the sides short; however, it’s crucial that you don’t round out the haircut where the top meets the sides. You want to have a sharper angle in that transition, to create the illusion of more angles in your face. It’s best to keep the top a bit fuller: buzzing it just accentuates the curve at the top of your head, which widens the cheekbones – already the widest part of your face. Keep a bit of length up there: you have a number of options, but as long as the top is longer than the sides and the intersection of the two has an angle, you’re good to go. You can keep the top spiky and textured, or you can comb it over and slick it back, or you can wear it longer and down over one side of your head. It all depends on if you’re going for a more classic look, or something more on-trend and modern.

With oval faces, your goal is to balance out the proportions. While it may seem counterproductive to do something longer on the top and shorter on the sides, you have to look at the hair and the face in this case as two separate entities. When you have that contrast between the top and the sides, it will act as its own shape to complement the oval, rather than diminish it or accentuate it.

Diamond faces require some finessing. You want your hair to have a softer look – fewer angles in the hair will balance out the sharp angles of the face. You want the top to be a bit longer than the sides, but don’t make this contrast too drastic: avoid close fades on the sides. Having a bit more length on the sides will broaden the otherwise narrow forehead. Another thing to avoid is having a fringe that hangs over your forehead. This will make the forehead look narrower than it already is. Keep the sides a bit longer, and the top a bit longer still, but avoid too much contrast and definitely don’t go too short with the sides.

Square faces are typically the easiest shape to work with. You have lots of options. The goal is to accentuate your face shape, rather than diminish certain aspects of it. Rejoice! You’ve been blessed. One way to accentuate your face shape is to keep the sides pretty tight: it will highlight the equal proportions you have all the way down your face. You can pretty much do whatever you want with the top: some things that work especially well are undercuts, where the top is disconnected from the sides, with no blending between the two. The undercut is a really fun, edgy haircut that doesn’t work for a lot of shapes, so if you’re interested in rocking it, go ahead! You can get away with it.

Heart face shapes have relatively mismatched top and bottom proportions, so your goal is to balance the two out. You want there to be considerable length on the sides to increase the appearance of width in the cheekbones. You can either grow a fringe that sweeps across your forehead, to diminish the width you have there, or you can wear it up but keep it proportional to the sides. The goal is to keep the sides and the top at similar lengths: too short on the sides and it emphasizes the width in the top half, too long on top makes the upper half appear too heavy. Balancing the lengths on the top and the sides can even out your overall face shape.

When you have a rectangle face shape, your goal is to avoid elongating your face any more than it already is. In this case, your best best is to keep the top and the sides pretty close in proportion. If you have a look that is more top-heavy, it will draw out the length of your face. To avoid that, keep the top and the sides at pretty similar lengths. In addition, you don’t have to worry about having too round a transition between the top and the sides, as that will help to balance out the angles of your face.

There’s a Hairstyle for Every Man and Every Shape

As you can see, as much as you want to choose a style that suits who you are as a person, it is also crucial that you choose something that works with what you already have. Even for the most difficult face shapes, there are lots of options – the number one thing to remember is your proportions. You can do lots of different things with each of these face shapes, as long as the proportions and length ratios work with your face, rather than against it. Use these tips to go forth and get yourself a cut that puts your best foot – and face – forward.
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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. Visit her at www.barberwithapen.com and follow her on Twitter - @caitwrites

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Features, tips, insights

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Be in the know.

“An investment in knowledge pays the best interest”
—  Benjamin Franklin