You don’t choose facial hair; it chooses you. But not all are worthy. That’s why so many find cultivating a decent crop of face topiary like trying to farm the Sahara. But even if you’re one of the unchosen, not naturally gifted in the way of the beard, the right bit of nous can still help you on your way toward achieving stubbly glory.
It’ll take a little effort at first, but the rewards are worth it: beards open doors and blanket the wearer in glory. To that end, the experts at London barbershop Ruffians revealed to us their facial hair secrets. Use them well, young Padawan.
Before we get to the growing, you need to start with a totally level playing field. Shave. Specifically, shave properly = steamed pores, new blades, hot water – to allow a healthy and consistent growth. This will form the foundation upon which your impending man mane will be built.
Keep your skin well nourished on a daily basis and use a razor instead of an electric shaver, which can cause ingrown hairs.
Pro tip: beards are best worn on the outside of your skin. Use a scrub each day from here on out.
Daily Facial Scrub, available at Ruffians, priced £9.95 for 100ml.
Depending on where you sit on the official hormone scale (from Justin Beiber: 0 to Tom Hardy: 10), your growth will either be glacial or like an avalanche. Either way, when it shoots into sharp stubble, you’re at stage one. Congratulations, beardsman; the membership welcome pack is in the post.
It’s important to continue to exfoliate and moisturise to encourage growth further. Then decide what shape you’re going to rock. Here’s where it’s worth a chat with your barber to assess what beard most flatters your face shape. Perhaps look at your favourite hirsute celebs for #Beardinspo. We’d advise something more George Clooney than Lewis Hamilton.
The right beard can add weight to your jaw and deliver a more masculine profile photo. At this stage, you need to leave it to grow under the chin at first, potentially keeping the cheeks tight as the undergrowth does its thing – this forms the weight and basis of any good beard if something long and exciting is your goal.
Tighter beards require a tighter regime, so invest in a Gillette Fusion ProGlide Styler to tidy up the cheeks. Too fine a line looks fussy (we’d remind you of the Lewis Hamilton point again) but trimming away the excess beneath your eyes means instant cheekbones.
Take the clipper head off and shave away from your jaw to avoid accidental overtrimming, then cut the moustache above the lip, too.
Gillette Fusion ProGlide Styler, available at Amazon, priced £13.40.
November looms and doing your bit for charity in the form of a Movember effort might be on your agenda. And why not? The moustache is the velvet smoking jacket of facial accessories: it’s categorically masculine and Tom Selleck has one. We’re on board.
For more serious shaping, Wahl beard trimmers are peerless. Deploying one of these marks you out as a follicular connoisseur and allow you to take the chin, cheek, neck and jaw areas down to zero, but still gives you the option of a leaving a little length if face adornment du jour, the ‘beardstache’, is more your kind of thing.
Wahl Beard Trimmer, available at Amazon, priced £64.99.
Kudos, sir. You’re the proud owner of facial hair in some form or another. But the work isn’t done. Properly maintaining a beard makes or breaks your look, as wispy curls do not a handsome face rug make.
After showering, try blow drying the hair in the direction of growth to straighten it and show its true length. Then apply a beard oil judiciously. Too much will make you look greasier than Sepp Blatter on date night, but just the right amount adds a the kind of healthy gloss that fills the beardless with envy. And your enemies with terror.
Argan Beard Oil, available at Ruffians, priced £35 for 30ml.