Photograph by Pat Mateo
Style Grooming

Watch your diet, and other musts when growing and maintaining a beard

Here are some pointers when doing the dirty work
Barry Viloria | Feb 17 2019

The beard can do a lot of things to your face: fuzz on the jawline splits a double chin, a goatee elongates a short face, and a patch of stubble suggests manliness in a baby face. The desired effect varies with every style of facial hair.

Growing and maintaining a beard will depend on your goal. It's challenging to keep it groomed, perhaps even more difficult than styling your hair. But all men just want one thing, really: a neat, well-trimmed beard that says classy and not dirty.

Picking up from The Art of Shaving (2002) by Myriam Zaoui and Eric Malka, Vault puts together key tips when grooming facial hair: First, decide on growing one. By now, you must have learned that the speed of your growth mostly depends on your genes. Growing one requires "scheduling"—from the growing to the shaving to the trimming. It takes on average of a week to a month to achieve a certain style. It's suggested to develop a beard during the holidays. Closely monitor it every day so you can set the pace to trim it.

Barbers use a hot towel to soften the beard before shaving. At home, it is recommended to wash your facial hair with cleanser and use warm water.

CONSULT A BARBER 

Trust a professional especially during the first days or weeks that you are trying to achieve a style. Let the pros shape and cut it the first time. Afterwards, you can maintain it on your own.

 

GET THE RIGHT GROOMING TOOLS 

Invest in the essentials. For shaving: a straight razor, a shaving brush, and pre-shave, shaving, and aftershave products. For trimming: an outline; a clipper, a trimmer, and a pair of scissors. 

Preshave oil and shaving cream are applied as part of the shaving ritual.

TRIM

A full, wild beard is inconvenient and unattractive. If you want your beard short and it grows quickly, tend it three or four times a week. If you want it longer, tend it every 10 days to two weeks.

 

MOISTURIZE TO MAINTAIN

Take care of your beard like you would the hair on your head. Use conditioner over shampoo. This will keep the beard satiny and less bristly, and, thus, less itchy. Watch your diet. While it's a myth that some food or vitamins aid in faster beard growth, it's true that food with amino acids and protein is needed to grow hair. That's why those who are deficient in iron are likely to have thinner beards.

Use cold water after the shave to close your pours and apply aftershave balm to sooth and moisturize your skin.

WATCH YOUR DIET

While it’s a myth that some food or vitamins aid in faster beard growth, it’s true that food with amino acids and protein is needed to grow hair. That’s why those who are deficient in iron are likely to have thinner beards.

BEARD TRIMMING

Barbers trim the beards using a fine comb and scissors. At home, it is more convenient to purchase an outliner to get it done. You can adjust the length with the guards provided. Much like shaving, it is always recommended to groom a clean beard.

BEARD SCULPTING

Sculpt your beard to keep that clean look. Barbers can do it facial hair using a straight edge razor. A certain bit of dexterity is required when sculpting your beard at home. For those looking for an easy solution, use an outliner to create the lines of your beard. As an option, you may use a straight edge razor to get a clean finish but is not always necessary.

 

Photographs by Pat Mateo

This story first appeared in Vault Magazine Issue 17 2014.