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.
The Extreme Beard
"Confidence is going to be the main factor that lets a guy pull off a stronger, creative beard of unusual proportions," says Ramos, lead barber at Baxter Finley Barber & Shop. In other words, you might want to think twice about the extreme beard unless you're a defensive end for the Pittsburgh Steelers (Brett Keisel) or Zach Galifianakis.
"But we do recommend regular maintenance to avoid getting mistaken for Chewbacca." That means a light, once a month clean up just to make sure the look you're going for isn't being mistaken as a nebulous mound of hair with a mouth. Washing and conditioning as you would the hair on your head is also part of this game, and it's a good idea to comb it out every so often to stop the fuzz from looking tangled.
The longer the beard, the drier the hair and the skin below it becomes so it's a good idea to use a strong moisturizing conditioner and follow up with either a beard oil or balm, making sure to rub the stuff all the way down to the root. Wash your face regularly but one thing Ramos says to always avoid is an abrasive face scrub, "you'll spend years getting all those little particles out of your beard."
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