Winter is upon us, meaning days are getting shorter and beards are getting longer. Whether you’re embracing the longer style for men’s health awareness, or simply for the warmth, proper care will make your beard look good and feel better. Take care of yourself this November — and beyond — with this guide to beard maintenance.
Popular Beard Styles
One of the simplest beard styles comes from plainly not shaving for a few days. Some may be blessed with perfectly even-growing hair, but most of us have hair that grows in patches or varying levels of thickness. In this case, you’ll need some shaping to achieve the “effortless” stubble look. Use a set of clippers 1 or 2 times a week to maintain the stubble or it could appear unkempt.
A goatee is one of the most basic styles of facial hair and is the basis for several other looks including the Van Dyke and circle beard. For a goatee, leave facial hair to grow only on the chin, and not on the cheeks. Shorter is better for this style, making it a little more maintenance-heavy. In addition to keeping the length shorter, you’ll need to keep the edges clean as well. Shaving every day to every other day is strongly encouraged with this look.
The Van Dyke
Not to be confused with the goatee, the Van Dyke is made up of a full goatee paired with a full mustache. The two are not connected and the cheeks should be cleanly shaven to keep that distinction. It’s especially important that the beard stays short here to give the style the clean look it requires.
The circle beard takes the goatee and Van Dyke a step further, and the mustache and beard combine to form a circle. This style can be a little fuller, and therefore requires less maintenance than its cousins. However, there still shouldn’t be any hair on the cheeks, so keep the edges clean to maintain the shape. This style is particularly good for drawing attention to the bottom of the face and creating a stronger jawline.
The Chinstrap Beard
The chinstrap beard can be a risky move. Without proper care and styling, it can quickly veer into the “creepy” territory. This style is characterized by facial hair on the chin that’s connected to the sideburns, creating an outline of the face.
This is the most maintenance-heavy look of all the styles listed here. Keep it shorter and clean to maintain the shape — the cheeks and necks should be clear of hair. The rounder your face shape, the thicker your chin strap should be. This will give you the illusion of a more defined jaw.
The Chin Curtain
The chin curtain is a fuller style of facial hair where the hair is connected to the sideburns. It’s grown without a mustache or any neck hair. After you’ve grown the length you need for a chin curtain, consider going to a barber for the shape.
It’s much easier to follow the outline done by a professional than to create your own shape. After the initial growing and shaping, maintenance is fairly simple. All that’s needed is clean edges and shampooing the length.
Like the Van Dyke, the Balbo is made up of a disconnected beard and mustache. However, the beard of the Balbo extends past just the chin to either side of the jaw bones and includes a soul patch. The mustache remains tailored, while the beard is slightly fuller. Because it’s made up of so many different pieces, this style is more maintenance heavy when it comes to shaving. The Balbo requires patience and a steady hand to preserve the distinction.
The Full Beard
This style requires a couple weeks of patience and the right genetics. After four to six weeks, you’ll have the length needed for a full beard — 3 inches is about standard. While this style doesn’t require as much shaving or shaping, you’ll probably experience some beard itch. Make sure to keep your beard clean with shampoo and conditioner and a high-quality moisturizer.
Just like that hair on your head, a beard requires attention and care to look good. We recommend that you go to a barber for the initial styling of your beard to set your facial hair on the right path. From there, creating a maintenance routine can make a huge difference
Since the hair on your face tends to be thicker and denser than the hair on your head, washing your beard with shampoo doesn’t have to be a daily ritual. Instead, aim for 2-3 days if your hair is thinner and about once a week if you find your beard is thicker.
If you’re particularly physically active, take that into account as well. The more often you work up a sweat, the more often you’ll need to wash your beard.
Conditioning will keep your beard soft and clean — this is something most people elect to use every day. Whether you go for a rinse-out or leave-in variation is up to you. Beard balm will also keep your beard look soft and clean throughout the day. Make sure to brush through the product to evenly distribute the product.
Beard oil is another product you can use to keep your facial hair and skin moisturized. Made with ingredients such as jojoba, grapeseed, or argan oil a little goes a long way in keeping your beard soft. Especially if you have longer facial hair, this product can be a great investment
If you take our advice and go to the barber for your initial styling, upkeep shouldn’t be too difficult. Electric clippers will do the trick if you’re just keeping edges clean, but a razor can be useful for more complex shapes.
What style are you rocking this November? Let us know in the comments.
Read next: What Type Of Facial Hair Do Women Prefer?
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