A beard is not just a facial hair style, it’s an event. From the Milibeard to Jeremy Paxman-gate, the mere hint of a famous person growing a beard can set the internet alight and leave a slew of hashtags and comment pieces in its wake. Different beard trimming styles.
But it's not only celebs and politicians on the receiving end of beard-related hysteria. The decision to grow a beard can plunge even the meekest man chin-first into the spotlight as family, friends and colleagues offer thoughts and feelings on their new facial hair.
This attention might not be such a bad thing, if only it arrived at a more opportune moment. It’s one thing having people gawp at your chinstrap when it’s fully formed, but another to have them judge the shapeliness of your facial hair when you’re still in the process of trying to grow it out.
Here, we've clustered together some helpful opinions on how to grow facial hair. Spoiler alert: it’s worth it in the end.
Do: Set a clear end goal to work towards
“Find an image online or on Instagram or a Tumblr or some feed you’ve seen, and take a picture. It’s like going to the gym, if you haven’t got a goal in mind then you’re just going for the sake of going.”
Do: Break up the process with a trip to your barber
“Coming through from freshly shaved, the stubble tends to be very sharp and itchy”, explains Denis Robinson, Artistic Director at Ruffians.
“After two to three weeks, depending on how fast the stubble grows, I would recommend visiting a barber to have it smoothed over with the clippers. Then you can discuss where you’re going with the beard in terms of what shape it’s going to be.”
Different beard trimming styles
Do: Keep it clean
“Make sure the skin is clean, otherwise you can end up with beardruff [beard dandruff]”, warns Dylan MacGreggor, a barber at Gents of London. “Your skin will go dry and start to go flaky or scaly. I’m an Aussi so I use a face wash brand called Neutrimetics, but Dove is a really good brand for face wash too."
D an Gregory concurs. “It’s worth scrubbing the beard once or twice a week. What’s really good is a brand called Cornerstone. We use it quite regularly. It’s not too harsh, it’s not too strong on the beard.”
Don't: Use beard wash
“There isn’t too much difference between a shampoo and a beard wash”, says Dan. “I wouldn’t put anything on my scalp that I wouldn’t be happy putting on my face."
Do: Get to know your trimmer's grading system
T his can help prevent confusion when updating your barber on how you've been maintaining your beard. “Some clients come in and say 'I use an 8', and we say, 'oh that looks like a 2 to us' in the clipper grade," Dan explains.
“The Babyliss iStubble is awesome. It’s almost like a digital size guide, you just press up to go higher, but it tells you in millimeters as well which is useful because it allows you to tell somebody ‘on my Babyliss iStubble I’m a 4.8 millimeters’, for example.
"You don’t have to attach guards to it or anything like that. It has a guard on it that’s already attached, you can pull the guard back and it clips back, and it allows you to shape it all the way down to zero if you want a short stubble or a line.
“If you don’t like to use a razor but you still want the sharp lines, you’ve got the Panasonic ES-LT6N.
"Foil shavers generally don’t cause any skin rash or irritation. I always try and stay away from the oscillating blade [rotary electric shavers], because if you’re cutting it in an oscillating turn it can cut the hair at an angle and that can cause irritation.
“You’ve also got razors like Wilkinson Sword that have a flick trimmer where you can pull the head back and it exposes the blades, or a Quattro where you’ve got one blade at the back.
"A few of the Gillette ones have a one blade on the back as well. They’re good for getting the line in, and then just flip it round and shave comfortably with more blades.”
Do: Ditch unwanted curls by combing, blow drying or applying moustache wax
“If you have tight curls, I’d suggest getting an afro comb ”, Denis suggests. “After you’ve showered, towel dried and applied beard oil, just comb it through and then pat it into shape and let it dry on its own”. Working a little bit of moustache wax through the beard can also help achieve the desired shape.
Do: Keep stray hairs in order
“If you’ve got a few long hairs that are sticking out longer than the bulk of the beard then fluff your beard out by brushing against it and then snip them off using a small pair of scissors”, Denis advises.
Different styles of beard trimming
Do: Use a beard oil or beard balm made from natural ingredients
“Most are made from a carrier oil and another oil, typically seed or grain, so flaxseed or canola or rapeseed, something like that", Dylan suggests. " The Bearded Bastard do a nice Woodsman beard oil, with a nice woody scent to it. It’s also going to help with styling. It’s not going to give you a lot of hold but it’s just going to keep it in place.”