beard-grooming-justin-theroux-gq.jpg Mustache and beard style guide.
Welcome to the rebirth of the mug-rug. It',s not enough that damn near every Hollywood actor and stylish athlete is sporting a meticulously groomed beard these days—now even CEOs in corner offices are bristling, too. And if you',re being honest, you',re ready to join the beard-wagon yourself. Here',s how to do it right
Look in the mirror. If you’,re like me, you’,re probably staring at some stubble—,growing wherever the hell it damn well pleases, a touch splotchier than you’,d like. You shave one day, let your hair grow in for a week, maybe two, then you mow it down and start all over again. This is the Stubble Cycle. You’,re trying to have your beard both ways—,there, but not too there—,which means that you just look like you’,re coming off a drunken bender. As my father often yelled at drivers who obliviously sat at a green light: Piss or get off the pot. Man up. Try the beard. It’,ll take a month, maybe two, to grow in—,but then you will look in the mirror again and you will see a new man, a hairier man, a prouder man.
Some men have facial hair that’,s old enough to drink, but true connoisseurs understand that beards are gloriously impermanent. Athletes break them out for the playoffs. Jon Hamm seemed to grow one after every season of Mad Men—,as if going full Sasquatch were his true resting state—,then shaved when the show started shooting again. Point being, a great beard doesn’,t have to live forever. It can just be a break from the usual. Facial hair is cheaper than a whole new wardrobe, less fraught than a radical new haircut. You might decide to shave off your beard six months later. Or you might fall in love with the resting-Hamm look and keep it forever. —, J.W.
FADING, FAST The secret to a pro-grade beard is a pro-grade neck fade. And look, here’,s pro barber Miles Elliot of Freemans Sporting Club Barbershop in N.Y.C. on how to do just that
"First, trim your entire beard to the desired length before you begin fading," says Elliot. (See "Get into Gear" on the right for hardware.)
Start your neck fade by using the 2 or 3 guard to trim from your Adam’,s apple to where your jaw meets your neck. Then use the 1 or 2 guard to trim from the Adam’,s apple upward about an inch or so. Anything below the Adam’,s apple should be as hairless as we assume Joe Jonas’,s scrotum to be.
Tidying up the cheeks is a delicate dance. With the guardless trimmer, eradicate the outliers. "You don’,t want a line so sharp that your beard looks like a chin strap," says Elliot. In beards, as with breasts, natural is always better.
Mustache and beard guide
"Last, clean up your mustache by trimming any hairs growing over the lip," says Elliot. You’,re a man, not a walrus.
A BEARD IS LIKE SPANKS (IN A GOOD WAY) Have a weak chin? Charlie Brown head? A burgeoning beer gut? You can offset it all with facial hair. Seriously. "A beard hides your face shape, so you can create your own," says Alex Josue, barber at Baxter Finley Barber &, Shop in L.A. Here, advice from Josue on how a well-sculpted beard can lead to a less ugly you
"Let’,s say your face is very round," says Josue. "You want to introduce more angles to it, so trim the cheek line"—,from your ’,burns to your ’,stache—,"to a slightly more drastic slant than grows naturally."
"The high and tight haircut with the short, cropped sides is trending now," says Josue, "but it makes the head more square, right? I like to offset that with a beard that’,s kept short with rounded edges."
"For someone who’,s stockier, bring in the sides of the beard," says Josue. "Just trim straight down from your ears and cheekbones so that part’,s slightly shorter than your goatee area."
"If you’,re tall and lanky like me, you don’,t want sharp points or angles in your beard, or you might look like a super-villain," says Josue. "Keep everything natural and more rounded."
JUST SAY NO TO THE PUFFY TUT There are no bad beards. Wait, yes there are
Prospector Co. | Burroughs Beard OilRub in five drops to prevent dryness (your skin thanks you) and to soften your beard hair (the ladies thank you). $28, prospectorco.com
Know what separates the bearded weirdos from the bearded heroes? Upkeep. You don’,t need a laser-guided vacuuming trimmer—,just a few key tools. —, Kristen Dold
Tom Ford | Beard Comb Two benefits: It’,ll get all the hairs moving in the same direction. And it’,ll make your hands feel huge. $35, tomford.com
Wahl | Stainless Steel Li+ Trimmer Thanks to an adjustable guard and a lasts-for-ages battery, this is your primary weapon in tending a beard. $70, wahlgrooming.com
Billy Jealousy | Beard Control A tiny bit of this stuff will tame big wiry beards so you don’,t look like you’,re fronting a ZZ Top cover band. $20, billyjealousy.com
Prospector Co. | Burroughs Beard Oil Rub in five drops to prevent dryness (your skin thanks you) and to soften your beard hair (the ladies thank you). $28, prospectorco.com
You’,ll see beard shampoo on the shelf of those twee, sage-scented drugstores that call themselves apothecaries. Keep walking. "Regular shampoo or conditioner works just fine on a beard, so long as it’,s not a harsh dandruff wash," says Rob McMillen, head barber for Blind Barber in N.Y.C. More important: Scrub well enough with your daily face wash to clean out all the junk—,dirt, bacteria, lunch—,that’,ll be hiding inside your beard. —, K.D.
Mustache and beard style guide
A rule of thumb for keeping your facial hair sex-friendly: As below, so above.
Ideally, your face will travel to the same delicate places as your junk, and unruly, scratchy, stubbly hair is as problematic on the face as in the ol’, pubic region. Many a lady has seen Yosemite Sam fall onto a cactus and thought, "Been there, girlfriend." So ercise care.
If you’,re lucky enough to have a big, lush beard, keep it neat of silhouette to avoid poking her eyes during sex. If you have a shag rug on your face, comb out the trash and loose whiskers—,no woman likes stopping the action to pick lumberjack floss from her teeth.
Alternately, if you’,re keeping your beard fairly short, run the back of your hand over it to be sure you won’,t cause thigh-burn while going down on her. And for the love of God, refrain from aggressive sanding motions while you’,re there. She’,s a lady, not an antique credenza. —, Julieanne Smolinski