The truth is, there’s a lot of contradictory information floating around out there, regarding beard grooming. You look at one website and see one bit of advice, only to turn around and see the exact opposite advice on the next site. Beard forums are no better. It seems like every beard owner has his own secret method for keeping his beard groomed. How to groom moustache and beard.
Of course, you can groom your beard however you want. I don’t proclaim to have the be-all-end-all answer to your beard grooming future. What I can offer you, though, is the most up-to-date beard grooming information currently available, and the beard trimming tips that work best for the vast majority, surely, making things much easier for you and giving you a better end result.
Let’s start with why you need to groom your beard at all.
Why Is Beard Grooming Important?
Whether you keep a beard or not, facial hair growth is pretty much inevitable for most guys. That means you either have to get rid of it, or groom it in some way. A lot of guys these days are choosing to embrace their face fuzz and grow a beard.
Firstly, let’s talk about the kind of guy who grows a beard. Growing out a long, full beard is a journey. Not a lot of people see it through to the end. That’s why spotting an epic beard is so amazing (not to mention encouraging for beard novices).
Therefore, if you’re on this journey, congratulations for sticking with it and seeing it through. This article is going to help you out.
If you plan to keep your beard around for a significant amount of time, knowing the right way to groom it, is crucial. It is the difference between a wild bush growing from your jaw and facial adornment, that others are envious of.
Aside from getting the look you want, there are also some practical reasons for grooming your beard:
One, beards catch a lot of stuff, primarily food and drinks. I mean, it surrounds your entire mouth area, so it makes sense that food and your beard are going to collide at some point. It goes without saying, the longer the beard, the more careful you’ll have to be about keeping food particles out of it.
Two, some people are going to give you a hard time about your beard. For the most part, I say ignore them because they’re clearly unenlightened. On the contrary in some cases, you can’t just ignore beard complaints. For example, when your boss expects a certain amount of tidiness, or when your partner wants to get close.
On account of this, when certain important people complain about your beard, it helps a lot to show them that you can keep your beard looking neat and clean, and out of the way.
I mean, you could ignore your boss or partner, but you’re definitely going to have repercussions for that. Whereas, if your buddies or some over-opinionated stranger gives you a hard time, you can shrug it off.
Three, some aspects of beard grooming are actually really important to the health and appearance of both your facial skin and your beard. Ergo, if you want to keep your beard from looking scraggly and dandruff-free, you need to follow good grooming habits right from the beginning. Otherwise, the skin beneath your beard may start to have issues and result in itching.
Maintenance trimming is also important, even if you want to grow your beard long. That’s because some hairs are going to grow at different rates from others. Although you want to let the hair grow without interruption, (particularly when initially growing your beard in), your beard is going to look a lot better if you trim away any deviants that don’t stay within the main shape and length of your beard.
Also, you may occasionally get split ends in your beard hairs, giving you a bedraggled look, which is probably not what you were going for. Again, trimming and other grooming tips will help to mitigate or even prevent damage.
Should You Groom Your Beard Even If It’s Short?
Now, when you think about beard grooming, you’re probably thinking about all that combing, brushing, and oiling that goes into long beards. That absolutely is a big part of the beard grooming process! Though, even you guys with short beards need to develop a grooming routine.
It doesn’t matter if you plan to always keep your beard short, or if you’re just currently in a shorter stage of growth, on your way to your yeard. All beards need TLC.
With regard to beard oil, short beards can go with or without, it largely depends on whether your face tends to be on the dry side or not. Beard hairs tend to suck up whatever natural oils your skin will provide for them, so if you don’t make a lot of natural oils to begin with, you’re going to want to supply moisture to your beard. Otherwise, you’re going to have really dry, itchy skin under your beard.
Not only that, the dry skin can turn into flaking skin, known as “beard dandruff”. Nothing looks worse than skin flakes in your beard.
Moustache grooming tips
Even short beard hairs can have a mind of their own sometimes. A little time spent combing the beard can help it look tidier. That being said, short beards tend to look tidy already for the most part, thanks to being trimmed into a shape that closely matches the shape of the face.
You’ll find that all the typical maintenance that goes into any other beard, also goes into caring for a short beard. For instance, you’ll want to wash your beard regularly, even if it isn’t long enough to get food particles stuck in it. Washing helps keep the skin beneath your beard healthy.
The main part of grooming that will probably be more time consuming for short beards rather than longer ones, is trimming. Obviously, a short beard needs to be trimmed more regularly to keep it short and looking neat. Trimming a long beard generally needs to be a little less particular.
How to trim a short beard
Trimming a short beard also involves some shaping, but it’s not difficult, given that you’ll just follow the natural shape of your jawline. Now, to be clear, these tips are for a short, full beard. That means your facial hair covers the jaws and chin, and connects with your sideburns and mustache.
The first thing you need to do is grow out your beard. While growing it out, you can start using beard oil at any point, especially where the beard seems to need more moisture or feels rough. Your beard is long enough when the hairs stop curling inward, making your face feel itchy.
Basically, when your beard stops being annoying, you know it’s at a good length to maintain. This can take several months.
That’s right. Let your beard grow for a few more weeks after it has reached your comfort zone. Even if you want to shape it or try to make it look less scraggly, just leave it alone for now. Most elements of beard care involve waiting.
The one exception to this is, hairs which are growing outside the area you consider your beard. Go ahead and shave around the upper cheeks and neckline, no worries there. Of course, you can also let those go in the beginning if you want to, just to see where you really want the lines to go. It helps in not removing too much in those areas and accidentally creating a less full you’re ready to trim the short beard.
You’ll need a quality beard trimmer, barber or hair scissors, and a beard and mustache comb. Make sure your beard is dry before you start trimming. If you trim wet hair, the hair looks longer and you might trim more than you meant to.
Comb your beard and mustache in the direction you want the hairs to lie. Then put a guard on your trimmer, that’s a little longer than you think you’ll need, just to be safe.
To shape and reduce length, run the trimmer with the direction of hair growth. Running it against the growth will thin out the beard. You can do that, but most guys don’t want or need to thin their beards.
Check in the mirror to make sure you trimmed evenly all across the beard. You can change the guard to go a little shorter if you want, ensuring you go over the whole area again.
After you’ve trimmed the beard to the shape and length you want, it’s time for the scissors. Using scissors on a short beard is super easy. All you really need to do is trim any stray hairs that stick out from the shape you want. This helps the beard look tidier.
What else do you need to know? What if you want to grow that beard out? Let’s move on to some grooming routines that all beards need.
Beard Grooming Essentials
Here’s your essential to-do list for beard grooming and maintenance.
Washing Your Beard
Everyone needs to wash their beard. What do you use? Some guys stick with their facial cleanser to clean the beard and the skin beneath. Others prefer to use a beard shampoo, specifically designed for cleaning the beard and mustache area.
Whichever you use, you should massage the cleanser down to the skin below your beard. That’s where dead skin cells and dirt can build up. Moreover, if you don’t take care of the skin below your beard, you can end up with annoying and uncomfortable skin issues.
Absolutely do not use shampoo made for the scalp on your beard. It’s just not the right product for the job.
If you have a shorter beard, then a regular facial cleanser is just fine.
After you wash your beard, be sure to apply beard oil to replace the lost moisture from natural oils. This will work much better than trying to apply moisturizer to the skin beneath the beard.
Again, the beard hairs steal moisture away from your skin, so if you apply a quality beard oil made from natural ingredients, that leaves more of your skin’s own oils to keep the skin itself healthy and adequately moisturized.
If you don’t add oil back to your beard, you’re going to end up with a dry, brittle beard that is scratchy and more likely to get split ends. Simply put, the beard just won’t look or feel as nice as it could. That’s especially important if you plan to have a special someone running their fingers through your lustrous face locks.
Trimming Your Beard
Whether you have a long beard or a short beard, you’re going to have to trim it eventually. I’ve already covered the basics on how to trim a short beard. The only other thing you need to know about that is, that you’ll probably need to do a follow-up trim about once a week.
For longer beards, trimming is a little different. For starters, you should not use trimmers on a long beard. Most of the guards just aren’t made for long hairs, so they won’t be much use.
Instead, comb downward through the hairs with your beard comb, and trim the hairs that stick out between the comb’s teeth. You can do this to shape your beard and reduce the length if it’s gotten a bit too long.
As with a short beard, you want to trim your beard when it’s dry so you aren’t misled about how long it actually is.
If you really don’t like using scissors, you can use a trimmer with no guard. Just run the open trimmers over the teeth of the comb, again, only getting the hairs that poke through. This will help you keep everything even.
There’s really no right or wrong when it comes to trimming your beard. It depends what shape you want. You can create a slimmer facial profile by trimming the hair on the sides of your cheeks closer than the part of your beard on your chin and jaw.
When you’re done going over everything with the comb and scissors or trimmers, comb the beard again, and look in the mirror to snip off any hairs that noticeably veer from the rest of your beard.
Training Your Beard
There’s a little-known secret held only be beard masters, and that is trimming is not the only way to tame a beard and make it look more presentable. The other thing you need to do -- unless your beard just naturally lays perfect -- is to train your beard.
Training your beard means coaxing your hair to lay down in the way you want it to. How do you do that? In the same way you would train hair on your head to part a certain way or lay down, actually.
The first step is combing or brushing your beard every day. Brush it into the shape you want it to keep. The daily shaping will eventually become the way your hair lays on its own.
If you have especially rebellious strands, you can brush your beard after washing and while blow drying it. Blow drying will help hair stay in the position you brush it.
Of course, brushing can only do so much. It will help hair lean more towards the look you want for it, but it may need some training assistance. That’s where beard products come in. Applying some kind of holding product like a balm or wax will get you the shape you want and hold it neatly in place.
Over time, your beard will require less wrestling to get the products to hold it, the way you want. That’s beard training.
Applying Beard Products
Beard products are a part of training and styling your beard. Most of the time, the only styling product you’ll need for your beard is styling balm. Wax is generally reserved for mustaches, unless you plan to make a really creative look with your beard, that you want to hold in place. Wax can also be used to keep your beard straight when out and about.
Old west mustache
For most guys though, balm gives a flexible hold that keeps your beard looking natural rather than plastered in place. The best way to apply balm is to use small amounts applied in sections throughout your beard. Don’t put a dollop in your palm and apply it all at once.
What Not To Do When Trying To Maintain Your Beard
I’ve covered most of the do’s and do not’s throughout this article, but here’s a quick reminder of the things to avoid:
Don’t skip on maintenance trimming
Don’t leave food or dirt in your beard
Don’t forget the beard oil
And don’t take it too seriously; have fun!
Grooming a beard is a necessity for those keeping their face fur. Just like any other body part, it has minimum maintenance requirements. Keep it clean and moisturized, and have fun trying out different lengths and styles.
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