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 Messy Look
The beards on Justin Vernon (of Bon Iver, pictured), or Nick Offerman (Parks and Recreation) are burly in just the right way – overgrown but not amorphous. "The key here is to keep it shaped to the face and address the neck correctly," says Mike Sposito, Head Barber at FELLOW Barber Brooklyn. Both the neck and cheek lines are kept natural, but are slightly faded to match the contours of the face, which isn't the same for every guy.
Beard fades can be tricky to do at home since they combine two very nuanced movements – slight increments of length that happen along the same line of origin. Paco O'Keefe, barber at The Modern Man Barber advises to start by trimming the beard all to one length. Then go two sizes down on the guard and shave from the adam's apple to about one or two inches below your jaw; connect the two lengths by blending with number guard in between. It's a little tricker along the cheek line, where manmade lines are more visible. Getting it wrong can ruin any vestige of having an un-groomed beard, but hitting the mark on the spot will turn an otherwise uninviting jungle of face fuzz into a good looking forest.
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