Best beard for men. How to grow a beard: 3 styles, plus grooming and shaving tips,

Put down the razors, gentlemen. Rugged beards are among the hottest trends heading into 2013, and they're inexpensive to grow and maintain. How to style the beard.

"It really is as easy as just not shaving for a few days," says Josie George Blackburn, the general manager and house barber at the Reagle Beagle in Lakewood.

But you have to groom the look or risk crossing over into caveman territory, Blackburn says.

"We want to give clients a tailored look they can maintain themselves," she says. That's why the staff at Reagle Beagle consults with each guy who comes in the door to learn about their occupation, time constraints and grooming expectations, and to talk about how his face shape and hairstyle tie into the whole look.

"Each man is different, so each look is different," Blackburn says.

The most popular look right now is a pompadour (long and combed back on the top and shorter on the sides -- like on Jon Hamm, below) tapered into a five-day shadow, she says.

The look requires more styling than some men are used to, which is why most guys interested in trying it quietly head to a trusted barber.

"They don't want their buddies to know they're doing it, but they can blame us, 'Yeah, she talked me into it,' " Blackburn says.

Hair and facial hair styles

Looking for a cheap, easy way to change your look? Try one of these bearded styles.

Reagle Beagle is located at 17617 Detroit Ave. in Lakewood and offers a full range of salon and spa services for men, including haircuts and styles, color, shaves, massages, manicures, waxing and tanning. It also serves beer. Call 216-228-9677.

This ruggedly handsome beard/goatee style works best on men who have thick, full hair and can grow a dense beard. (Not you? Blackburn recommends using your fingertips to massage your face in a counter-clockwise motion while watching TV to help circulate blood to stimulate growth. Pay extra attention to keeping your face clean and pores/follicles clear.) Let a beard grow in over a couple of days, then use a straight razor to clear away all but the upper lip and chin. Depp shaves the area that would connect the two, but that's up to you.

Skip the razor for about a week to let your beard grow in, then clean up below the chin and jaw line with a tapered neckline. If you struggle with growing in a full beard, this long stubble look is for you, Blackburn says. To finish the modern take on Don Draper, ask your barber for a cut that's longer on top and tapered on the sides. Style it in a slightly puffed pompadour, combed back with a little lift.

Best suited for the younger set (though Cuba Gooding Jr. rocks it at 45), this style is named for the thin line of facial hair all the way down the jaw line. Your face shape should determine how thin you shave the line -- thicker straps will complement a narrow face; thinner straps look best on a round face. If you're not sure, ask your barber. "No matter how nicely you wear your beard, if it's the wrong shape for your face, the whole look is off," Blackburn says. Some men opt to include a goatee, like Gooding Jr., while others do just the jaw line. The thin facial-hair style works best with a short, tight haircut.

1. Hold a hot, wet towel on your face until the towel cools.

2. Lather your face with shave soap applied with a brush (yes, this means getting yourself one of those nifty mug and brush sets).

Beard grooming styles

3. Reapply hot, wet towel and hold until it cools.

4. Apply a men's shave oil, such as American Crew or Origins, to soften and loosen the hair.

5. Reapply hot, wet towel and hold until cools.

Source: Reagle Beagle barbershop in Lakewood

1. Using the wrong blade. Some men need a steel blade, while others need clippers. If you're getting bumps or "barber's beard," try a different type of blade until you find one that works for you. Josie George Blackburn, general manager at the Reagle Beagle barbershop in Lakewood, prefers a straight-edge steel blade to get the ultimate shave.

2. Letting skin hang loose. Hold skin taut to get a close, precise shave.

3. Shaving in all directions. Are you getting nasty bumps and nicks? This is probably why. Only move the blade against the direction of hair growth.

Beard design ideas

4. Skipping the preparation. Yes, we know you're in a hurry, but trust us. If you take the time to prepare your skin, you'll be amazed at the results.

Source: Reagle Beagle barbershop in Lakewood

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