For fishermen, farmers, hipsters and hedge-dwellers alike, beard maintenance is an entangling issue. Should your facial shrubbery be manicured like the gardens of a stately home, or left wild and unkempt like an ancient woodland? Should you be drinking pints of Bovril each day to enhance its magnificence? Is a pink and sparkly ‘My Little Pony’ brush really the best tool for working out tangles? Musing on these vexing conundrums and myriads of others, we decided to put together our top tips for beard maintenance.
1. Good beards come to those who wait
If you’re just starting out on your beard journey you may well be experiencing the itch. This is the point that lesser mortals give up and reach for the razor, but remain steadfast, young sapling, there are greater, hairier, far less itchy days ahead. After 4 to 6 weeks you should have a bountiful bush of hair with which you can consider landscaping.
2. Consider the topography when landscaping
Work with the shape and features of your head when considering the form of your beard. Those with a square head, aka Mark Webber Jaw, should go fuller at the chin and prune the sides shorter. Round heads should aim for a longer beard at the chin, keeping it short at the sides. Oblong faces should trim along the bottom, keeping it fuller at the sides. Oval faces, well any beard will suit you, so go nuts! Triangular faces should consider thick ‘Brunel’ mutton chops if they taper to a point at the chin, and if they taper at the forehead, a long triangular beard is best so that the head forms an overall rhombus- everybody’s favourite quadrilateral.
3. Do your housework
Just like carpets, beards need to be cleaned at regular intervals. In fact, a lot more often than carpets. Ideally you should shampoo your beard at least 3 to 4 times a week, or in other words there should be the remnants of no more than 6 meals in your facial hair between cleans. Don’t use soap as it will dry out your hair and skin underneath. Just use the same shampoo you use on your hair, and if your chin-bush has the texture of a wire brush you should also consider using a conditioner- one that doesn’t need to be washed out is the best.
4. Beard Oil
While the thought of beard oil might conjure up images of dirty faced oilrig workers, a good beard oil can provide many benefits. It’ll keep it soft and conditioned and prevent the tips of the hair becoming sharp and irritating. It will also help to prevent the collection of ‘beardruff’ so you can avoid the snow storm of dead skin every time you move your head quickly. When selecting your oil make sure it’s non-comedogenic - this means it will not block your pores and help to avoid the dreaded sub-beard spots.
5. Beard Optimisation
There are a few products knocking around which claim to enhance beard growth. There is no scientific evidence that ingesting anything in particular directly benefits hair growth. However there is plenty of evidence suggesting that a poor diet is detrimental to hair growth- so save your money and be a good boy and eat proper meals! Train your beard. Just like head hair it takes a while for your follicles to adjust to your style. Use a broad-tooth comb to tame it and keep the hairs going in the direction you want. Eventually they’ll fall into line.