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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.