Earlier this month I sat down with Angela, a beard expert at The Grooming Lounge in Washington, DC. Angela has been trimming beards longer than most of us have been growing them; I always learn something new when I talk with her.
A lot of men ask me what they should expect when they first visit their barber for a beard trim. For the uninitiated, this can be a bit intimidating. After all, our beards are our pride and joy! You do not want to risk someone messing that up. I can deal with a bad hair cut, but a bad beard trim? Absolutely not!
But first, a few tips for those new to beards.
1. You beard grows on average one-half inch per month. Let your beard grow for at least 3-4 weeks before you trim it. This will allow you to see how your manly mane fills in. Resist the urge to trim during this time. It may come in patchy or thin in places. Don't be scared or sell yourself short. Give your beard the time it needs to mature. Also during this time your scruff might start itching. Reduce this discomfort with a quality beard oil or multipurpose beard and face moisturizer. A quality beard balm will also help keep your mane under control and well conditioned.
2. All barbers are not created equal. With the rising popularity of beards comes an increasing number of shops offering beard trims. Be selective. The best way to find a quality beard barber is to ask someone with a well maintained beard. This could be a friend, or simply a stranger on the street with a glorious beard. Don't be shy. We are used to people complimenting us on our beards and we are always willing to help out a new member of the tribe.
3. Visiting a skilled barber is beneficial even if you keep your beard on the shorter side. They can help shape your beard resulting in a balanced and more proportional look.
Its time to visit the barber. Here are some "must ask" questions offered to us by a master beard barber:
1. What are the different style options available for my beard?
Why you should ask this: we all grow different types of beards. Beards run the gambit from thick and full to thin and sparse. Certain styles work better with different types of growth. Embrace what your father gave you!
2. How long can I grow it while still keeping it professional?
Why you should ask this: different parts of the country define "professionalism" in different ways. If you work for Duck Dynasty anything shorter than six inches is unacceptable! On the flip side, if you play for the New York Yankees, you must look like a young school boy. Your barber will have a good idea about the local definition of professionalism.
3. How do I know where to keep my shave line around my jaw?
Why you should ask this: when you smile, your beard should never raise above your jawline. Your barber will help you define this area.
4. What shave product is best to use to maintain clean lines on my neck and cheeks?
Why you should ask this: unless you are going full mountain man, you will need to shave parts of your face and neck. There are some amazing shaving products on the market these days...or so I'm told.
5. What direction is best to comb my beard?
Why you should ask this: different parts of your beard grows in different directions. If you are going for a certain style, it may be necessary to "train" your beard to start falling in a certain direction. This will also help define the shape of your beard.
6. What can I do to keep my beard freshly cleaned?
Why you should ask this: ideally you do not want to wash your beard everyday. Washing with soap everyday will cause your beard to become dry and abrasive. Your barber will recommend ways to keep you beard clean without having to wash it everyday. When it is time to suds that bad boy up, we like to use a specially formulated Beard & Face Wash.
7. How often should I come back to have it professionally groomed?
Why you should ask this: some beards grow faster than others. After inspecting your beard, your barber will be able to recommend a return date to either a) keep your beard style fresh and maintained or b) continue onto the next step if you are developing a radical style.
stubble & 'stache was founded by a former Marine Corps Special Operations Combat Veteran in memory of his fallen comrade. We donate a percentage of profits to organizations supporting those men and women suffering from the mental wounds sustained in combat.
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