Once a sign of laziness since the 1990's, beards have become synonymous with being manly and even sexy to many women. Much like the Beatles, it happened quietly and then seemed to explode overnight into a well known sensation. Credit primarily goes to large movements such as 'No Shave November' for turning beards into a social norm along with those who refused to conform to what was considered appropriate in a work environment.
So what else is there to discuss when it comes to beards? It's pretty obvious: stop shaving, battle the itch for a while and call it a day. With the impending Summer season, many of my clients are starting to shave or lower their beards for the hot weather so I wanted to discuss maintenance for your beard and most importantly, your skin. The primary cause guys cite when asking to shorten their beard or remove it entirely is because it itches or with the heat causes their skin to break out. A fun fact I tell my clients is that they don't need to remove their beard to prevent break outs or to feel a bit cooler. Yes, having a furry woodland creature attached to your face definitely makes your face a bit warmer but if you really love your beard then utilizing these steps and products won't be too much work.
While scouring the internet for fun beard images for my Instagram, I came across this gem and knew I needed it for my next article. Side note: I was also so excited that I saved it and clicked out of the website without copying the source (smooth Cassie). So to the original author: please step forward so I can credit you appropriately! Anyway, like I was saying, this diagram shows how you can keep your beard without coming off unkempt or making your daily shave a total pain.
First things first: no beard should (typically) ever go below or above the laryngeal prominence, commonly known as the Adam's apple (between B & C). The reason? If you're going for a beard that's naturally shaped, anything below (C) will appear messy while anything above (A) will appear manicured and will require a constant clean up. Some guys don't mind constantly cleaning up this line, similar to shaping the neckline round or square, and that's okay! This is for the guy who wants a beard with minimal work.
Second, your smile line! It is a personal weakness when a man smiles and his beard isn't interfering with his awesome bone structure. Nobody is saying you have to constantly clean up your smile line (D), but we don't want your beard hairs reaching below your eyes either. The same is to be said for the guys who cut super deep into their beard when shaping it. If you're going for a chin strap or some other shape then that is one thing but when attempting a natural and full looking beard this line is the best option. An easy way to find your perfect smile line is to find the center of your ear (the tragus) or the under part of your cheek bone and connect with the corner of your lip or mustache. It's that easy, I promise!
Now that you've established you wanted to keep and care for your beard, we've discussed how to properly clean up the lines, the only thing left is to determine how long you want it. Earlier I mentioned how my clients are interested in beard care due to the Summer heat that's coming. I figured the best way to help you understand is to just lay out the numbers and descriptions. Side note: these descriptions are derived from my professional experiences and personal opinion after listening to feedback from clients over time.
000 Practically clean, closest to using wet razor
1/2 Close to 5 o'clock shadow, barely there stubble
1 - 1.5 Close & Clean, still a shadow but more of a grown in look than 1/2
2-2.5 Keeping some length but not too full, still more of a manicured look.
3-3.5 Ideal length for a natural, full beard. If a client wants clean but not manicured, we go for this.
-Trim below the jawline 1/2 setting lower, this allows your beard to still appear full but not too messy/full along the neck (like Ryan Gosling).
-Shampoo and condition your beard just like any other part of your normal routine. This will help prevent skin break outs from dirt and oil and will also keep your beard more shapely.
-Invest in a small personal clipper for time in between visiting your barber if you don't go often. The Andis Charm is a favorite and I keep it in my kit at all times. It not only has 000 but additional attachments for beard trimming.
-If you don't want to remove too much length and only want to clean up scraggly hairs, go with the hair rather than against it. So if your hair grows down (like most beards), you will start at the top of the beard going in the same direction. Use the number you'd normally use to trim (not lower!) and this will be an easy clean up.
Next week is part two! We will discuss products you can use to wash, maintain and shape your beard. Barbers, do you have any awesome tricks you tell your clients regarding beard care? Guys, do you have any questions beyond what was discussed? Remember, if you have any suggestions for products or tips feel free to e-mail at HerChairHisHair@gmail.com.
Always check back Monday and Thursdays 11:00 AM EST for tips and product reviews!