In 2018, the fashion-conscious man cares more about what grows on his face than what grows on his head.
But how do you achieve that rugged-chic look?
How do you strike the balance between sleek, stylish stubble and weird, wizardly whiskers?
How to Grow a Beard
First of all, you’ve got to grow your beard. Still, this can be easier said than done.
For those with patchy facial hair, developing a bushy beard can seem an impossible task.
Luckily, with the right guidance and execution, there is hope.
Shave often and against the grain
To encourage your beard to grow, it’s important to shave as often as possible to begin with.
Barber and stylist Luke Davies reveals it’s crucial to shave in different directions, going ‘against the grain’.
He advises: “If you are happy to shave it off for the first three months, to let it grow stronger, it will wake up the hairs underneath the skin.
“If you keep going with the grain, you’re only going to shave off hairs that are above the skin.”
Wet shaves with hot towels
To stimulate hair growth, and to reduce ingrown hairs and spots, Luke suggests regular wet shaves with hot towels.
He says: “If you do a full, wet shave with hot towels, the whole process will open up your pores, and you’ll be more likely to get those hairs to come through.
“Then use a cold towel to close the pores to give it a cleaner finish.”
Diet and Lifestyle
If you want a healthy beard, you need a healthy diet and lifestyle too.
Luke tells TLL: “If you are quite active, and your diet’s quite good, your hair’s going to grow quicker; your beard’s going to grow quicker.”
How to Wear Your Beard
Once you’ve managed to grow your beard out, it’s vital to know how to wear and style it well.
Luke explains: “There’s a thin line with beards looking scruffy and looking trendy.”
Get the right haircut
Different beards and moustaches suit different styles, haircuts and face shapes, says Luke.
“If you have a shorter hair cut on the side, it will make your beard appear a lot bigger.
“If you want your beard to stand out, go for short back and sides with your hair; trim all the edges nice and tight so the beard comes out a bit more.”
Use beard oil and shampoo
Luke reveals some people use beard oils for their hair to smell nice, or to give it a slight shine, whereas others use it to get rid of dry skin.
He says: “I swear by Bear Face Beard Oil, just to keep on top of the stray ends and bring it in a bit tighter.”
To achieve a well-maintained beard, Luke recommends shampooing it every other day.
Never shave higher than the Adam’s apple
Everyone knows neck fluff is a facial hair faux pas.
Luke advises: “My main tip is never go higher than above the Adam’s apple.
“If I’m going to put a line in for a client, I base it just above the Adam’s apple and then take it from there.”
Never dye your beard
Certain people after a more defined beard believe dyeing is the answer.
But Luke tells TLL: “Some people come in and want their beard dyed, but you’ve got to remember your beard’s a lot coarser, so it’s going to dye quicker and go a lot darker.
“I never really recommend dying beards. Because it’s slightly thinner and coarser hair, the dye gets into the beard a lot quicker.”
Size isn’t everything
When beards first experienced their revival, the focus was on getting them as dramatic and big as possible.
Luke confesses: “At the time, the bigger the beard, the better it was. Now shape has come into it–the square shape is quite popular; it can benefit the jaw line and keep it tight on the edges.
“But it’s personal preference and trial and error.”
Brush your beard
Finally, to stay on top of your facial hair, ensure you brush it daily.
Luke recommends: “After the shower, brush it down, because that’s going to make it longer, and it’s going to grow out into the shape you brush it.
“If you don’t brush it, you’re going to get knots and it will become quite tangled.”