Beards are great for rubbing when deep in thought; they block the sun from burning your face; they hide neck flab; and they suggest a life free from razor burn. But while facial hair may be a product of natural processes, beards won't take a healthy shape without a little help.
Trimming, shaping, fading, cleaning, combing, and conditioning is all part of the game and changes depending on what style you want and type of facial hair you were born with. There's no one correct way to have a beard, so we asked barbers from across the country to weigh on what guys should be doing to grow, maintain, and care for the most popular styles of facial hair.
Long but Neat
"There’s a reason Napoli kept his playoff beard into this season," says Rob McMillen, head barber at The Blind Barber. "It's just a good looking beard." It works because while it’s got more mass than your average tuft of facial hair, it also has order. Helping a longer than average beard to not consume your entire face means treating your face a little more like it is the top of your head. McMillen recommends washing and conditioning every three to five days and regularly brushing though the hairs with a comb.
"The longer a beard gets, the more important it is to pay special attention when washing your face," says Ramos, lead barber from Baxter Finley Barber & Shop, who recommends using a face cleanser at least once a day. After, using a daily beard oil or balm keeps the hair and skin beneath it nourished, cuts down on unruly frizz, and keeps all those facial follicles in flowing order.
The neatness is attained by cutting erratic fly aways and trimming the cheek and neck line at least once a month, probably twice. But before all that, it takes anywhere from six months to a year to cultivate a beard of such considerable proportions and you should have a pretty thick and dense face full of hair if you want it to look healthy.
Credit: Michael Ivins / Boston Red Sox