If 2013 wasn’t the year of the beard, 2014 will be. Well-groomed facial hair was well-represented on the red carpet of the Oscar’s as well as on fashion runways. Don’t just grow a beard because it’s a trend – do it because it’s so much faster and easier to maintain than a clean shaven face.
After spending a few days hard at work beard growing, there are two maintenance steps. Facial hair sometimes comes in with different colors than the head, especially for red or grey hair. This means it grows at different lengths in addition to different directions. Therefore, the first step is using clippers and scissors to get hair a uniform length and get hair off the lips.
There are a few professional quality clippers available for home use. Here are our some of the best beard trimmers:
- Philips Norelco QT4070 Vacuum Beard, Stubble and Mustache Trimmer Pro – For a precise trim with more length, this is the razor for you. It has 18 settings from 1/32″ to 23/32″ (1mm to 18mm) as well as 1/64″ (.5mm) stubble setting. Even better, the integrated vacuum system captures cut hairs for mess-free trimming.
- Wahl Professional 8655-200 Peanut Clipper/Trimmer – A smaller version of this professional-grade brand, the Peanut is all you need to trip your beard. The lightweight and portable trimmer has 1/8″, 1/4″, 3/8″, and 1/2″ (3, 6, 10 and 13 mm) cutting guides.
- Panasonic Milano Series ER-GB40-S Hair & Body Trimmer– Winner of a 2013 Mens’ Health Grooming Award, this water proof shaver is one of the easiest to use. A quick adjust dial with 19 length settings between 1/32″ and 3/8″ (1 and 10mm), this shaver eliminates the need for numerous attachments.
The second part of maintaining a beard is grooming products. You can use regular conditioner even though beard hair is coarser than the hair on your head. The main difference is that facial skin is much more sensitive than the scalp. A range of excellent beard grooming products have cropped up along with the beard trend. Many are gentle and all-natural to cleanse and moisturize facial hair as well as skin underneath. Here are some tips for growing and grooming your beard so it’s soft and itch-free.
Roald Dahl actually wrote The Twits to “do something against beards”. One of his attacks was Mr Twit’s leftover filled beard, depicted here.
While a good once over with a napkin at each meal should take care of any wayward bites, beard cleansers remove oils and everyday buildup while adding a healthy sheen. Look for an all-natural product and of course one with a pleasing scent.
- Mr. Natty Face Forest Soap Beard Shampoo lightly exfoliates facial skin with an energizing rosemary and mint aroma.
- Mr. Beard Wash Daily Beard Cleanser is formulated for dry beards and gently cleanses and moisturizes the skin underneath, improving tone and texture without over drying.
Beard itch goes two ways. New growth can feel itchy from within to you and from without to anyone you get close to. Fortunately, there are products that make your beard comfortable for everybody.
- Bluebeards Original Beard Saver – Winner of the 2014 Grooming Lounge Handsome Award, this product will serve you through the lifetime of your beard. It helps prevent new-growth itch by removing dirt, oil and unclogging pores while softening facial hair and skin. For established beards, this product also tames unruly strands.
- One of the main causes of itchy beards is ingrown hairs, especially for men with lighter hair color that can be prone to ingrown hairs. The solution is two fold. Use an exfoliating cleanser with salicylic acid like this one from St. Ives that can be found in any grocery or drugstore. Back that up with Anthony Logistics for Men Ingrown Hair Treatment to remove dead skin, help fight bacteria, and free trapped hair. It also moisturizes and soothes skin
There are a few ways soften bristly beards from the outside. First, there are oils and conditioner that moisturize hair. There are also physical products that sand down prickly stubble. Conditioning products also protect the beard from the elements so rub a dab through hair before heading out on the slopes, for a day of sailing, or a trip to the swimming pool.
- Honest Amish Beard Balm is a popular formula of organic oils and butters that add shine, control, and conditioning while taming rogue beard hairs.
- Mr. Natty Natty’s Bring Me Sunshine Frank’s Beard Oil Elixir combines vetiver, citrus, black pepper, and grapeseed oil to cleanse and soothe your “face forest”. The result is an end to prickles or flakes with a pleasant citrus scent.
- The Soft Goat is a disc that smooth the hard edges of individual hairs, leaving softer hair.
Do you have to brush your beard? Of course not. But you should. Like the hair on the head, brushing distributes natural oils, stimulates circulation, and gets rid of dry, flaky skin.
The best one to use is a boar bristle brush because the texture draws dust and excess product out of hair and thoroughly coats the beard with natural oils, leaving a healthy, shiny, and protected beard. Brushing may be enough moisturizing for your hair type. Just be sure to rinse the brush out with warm water ever other week or so.
All-in-One Beard Grooming Kits
If you don’t know exactly what you need yet, try lots of options and save money with a kit. There are a few out there:
- Billy Jealousy Beard Envy kit with beard wash, beard control, and a boar bristle brush.
- Bluebeards Ultimate Beard Maintenance Starter Kit with beard wash, beard saver, and the Kent 81T Mustache & Beard Comb.