What does a good beard look like. It s a bearded world and there s no sign yet that it s going to change,

You might want it to happen but the trend for bearded men is far from over, says barber shop owner Shaun Conaglen. A good beard style.

Especially in New Plymouth, a city he dubs the "Viking capital of the country" and where he is the owner of Jetcharm Barber Shop and Gentlemen's Quarters.

"Every second guy that comes in here has some sort of facial hair. It's probably characters like Ragnar [from the show Vikings] and that tough man of the land look. We're Taranaki hardcore so it fits that image," he said.

It fits his image too. After more than 20 years without one Conaglen started growing his beard three years ago.

He admits wife Cassie isn't the biggest fan but says a lot of women like the look and it comes with fringe benefits.

"I get hit on because I've got a beard. It's a talking point."

Conaglen knows the attention a beard brings will one day turn from alluring to repulsing, but isn't keen to pick when that time might come.

It's following a trend, he says, and fashion changes but bearded men have had respect for millennia.

"Do you know who the first hipster was? Jesus. People trust a bearded man," he says.

How to get a good beard style

The beard's popularity has been good for Ngahina Wharehoka.

The Jetcharm barber recently won the best beard trim in the Master section of the annual BarberCraft competition in Auckland, a title she's very proud of given "it's a man's game".

"I've never really done a competition in my life.

"I like that I won and beat the boys on the day."

Her workmate Lachie Stevens won the same award in the trainee section at the event.

Wharehoka has a thorough approach to facial hair maintenance. Before she can trim a man's beard the first thing she must do is find out what makes him tick.

Because while face shape and the client's current haircut play a part in determining beard style, the biggest influencer is the man's character.

"I can tell you don't mind a few stray hairs," she says as she turns my hobo chic beard into the always popular urban woodsman.

Whats a good beard style

Sometimes barbers can do what they think is best for the client but if they haven't spent the time getting to know what sort of fella they are, they can be left with a beard that doesn't suit the image they wanted, she says.

Wharehoka grew up in the small Maori community of Parihaka in South Taranaki and first got her a taste of the trade working on her father.

"When I was 12 or 13 years old my dad let us cut his hair. He had some crazy haircuts," she recalls.

"I've always been fond of beards. His was the first beard I cut."

Wharehoka, who credits her workmates - in particular Jerome Toa Wairere - with helping her get to the level she's at, says these days she spends just as much time grooming men's beard as their hair.

In her experience there are two types of guys who have a beard. The first is the guy who can't be bothered shaving.

"And others want to be cool," she says.

An unofficial guide to beard styles:

What is a good beard style

Urban woodsman (Hipster beard) - Is bushy but not unkempt, shorter on the sides and long at the bottom, smells of beard oil and is combed. Usually worn by men aged between 25 and 40, and cool dads, who like craft beer, enjoy drinking long blacks with a side of pouring cream (it's the only way to have coffee don't you know) and work in fashion, design, media or advertising.

Professional man (Businessman's beard) - Is a well shaped, short beard with precision angles. It brings out the jaw line and is usually clean shaven around the throat and upper check. Usually worn by men aged between 25 and 40 who wear a suit to work - think accountants, lawyers, real estate agents.

The biker (Hobo chic beard) - Is a large unruly beard that is greying and has been left to grow for decades. It says 'I'm tough don't mess with me' and is worn by bikers aged 50 plus who drink brown botte beer or bourbon.

Posted by at 01:24AM

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