Everything You Need To Know About Beards | SLMan
From Prince Harry to George Clooney to that guy at work who never used to look that cool, beards are giving men the world over an edge. Whether you’re tempted to give one a go, or have already grown one and plan on keeping it, we spoke to Sait, head groomer at Adam Grooming, and Jim Shaw of Essensuals to cover off everything you need to know.

Every other guy is sporting a beard these days. Can anyone?
Jim: Beards and facial hair are so on trend at the moment, however, that doesn’t mean you should just grow one! There is a beard to suit everyone if styled correctly. Having the wrong beard shape can make your face look longer or wider. Always speak to your barber or men’s hairdresser to ensure you have a beard style that suits your face shape, allowing you to pull the look off and look great.

Sait: Whilst most men can grow a beard, it doesn’t necessarily mean they should. Think of your beard in the same way as your hair. If you have very fine hair, you wouldn’t want to grow it long because it would look thin and lank. Some men have naturally patchy hair growth, so growing out your stubble might not be right for them. 

If you’re tempted, what do you need to think about?
Jim: My main tip is to use good skin care products – gentle cleansers, exfoliators and moisturisers – that will keep your skin healthy and allow your hair follicles to grow faster and evenly. Patience is also key – a beard takes time and this means waiting! Try not to trim or shave your beard at all while it’s growing. Give it time to come in fully and, once it’s reach your desired length and thickness, it can be trimmed to suit your style and face shape. Once your beard is how you like it, use beard maintenance products to keep it looking and feeling its best at all times. 

Sait: Decide the style and shape you want to achieve before you start growing. This applies to all styles whether that is stubble, a short beard or something fuller. Secondly, it is important to understand the effect growing your facial hair will have on your routine. Even maintaining stubble takes time – especially if you have to look smart at work. 

What about face shape? Is that a consideration? 
Jim: Yes. Oval face shapes suit most beard styles, but they look best with a beard that’s got clean lines and isn’t too full. For those with round face shapes, they may want to give off the impression of a longer, more elongated face. For square face shapes, I also recommend a messier shape, as more precise beard styles will draw attention to the jawline. For heart-shaped faces, it’s important to keep your beard and facial hair short to avoid your face shape looking smaller. Opt for stubble that’s well trimmed and will not be too overpowering on your face.

Sait: For someone with an oval face, I would recommend a more rectangular, boxy shape to add definition. For someone with a more square shape, I would suggest a softer style to compliment the face. For heart-shaped faces you should be getting a style which is boxy around the jaw, softer on the sides and fuller around the chin to soften the face shape.


And age? Are they a young man’s look?
Jim: Definitely not! A beard is for anyone and is a great look for older men at the moment, as it looks very stylish and can give them a more youthful and trendy appearance.  

Sait: I see lots of men in their later years coming in with fuller facial hair and they look great. The key is beard shape. 

@lelabofragrances

How do you get started? Just let it grow?
Jim: That’s exactly it. Invest in your skincare to ensure your skin is in tiptop condition prior to your beard starting to grow. Then wait and let it grow. You may find there’s an awkward phase when it may look patchy or uneven or not all the same length. Wait it out and don’t be tempted to pick up the trimmer or razor. It will grow!

Sait: Yes, just let it grow! Everyone will experience an uncomfortable stage about ten days into growing a beard when the skin might begin to get irritated. Ten days is the perfect time to go and see a barber because he can help you decide the next step, whether that is maintaining your stubble in a short style or growing it out to something fuller.

So do you need to see a pro?
Jim: You don’t need to see a pro whilst growing your beard in, but I always advise seeing a pro afterwards, when you want to figure out the best beard shape for you, your personality, your lifestyle and, of course, your face shape. The barber/men’s hairdresser you see will be able to create the perfect beard look for you and blend it in properly with your hairstyle, while also recommending the best products to keep your beard looking and feeling its best. 

How straightforward is beard maintenance?
Jim: Beard maintenance requires effort. You will find you’re in the bathroom and at the mirror for longer than usual to comb your beard, apply beard oil and also when you’re trimming your beard to keep it neat and precise. Once you have a routine in place, it will get easier and your skin and beard will always look their best.  

Sait: It’s straightforward once you get into a routine. You will have to spend more time in the morning and evening making sure everything is in order – bear this in mind if you are not sure about growing one. A messy beard gives the impression of laziness, so it is important that you do some maintenance – even if it is just a quick comb. 

Any rules and regs when it comes to length?  
Jim: Always go in contrast with your hair length. For example, if you have no hair, opt for a statement beard. Short hair? Opt for a long, thicker beard. For those with longer hair, go for a shorter beard style. Contrasting hair and beard lengths really complement one another.

Sait: Take into consideration other aspects of your life. Do you have time to look after a longer beard? Will your work be okay with you growing facial hair? If you have a longer beard already, I would suggest keeping it no longer than two finger lengths, otherwise it can look scraggly. 


Should you consider your career and industry when growing a beard?
Jim: Yes, particularly if you are in a very professional job or one involving food. However, your employer should make you aware of this when starting. You will tend to find those with very professional jobs require their beard to be neat and trimmed at all times. Those who have jobs within the food industry will be required to do the same, or have no beard at all, due to hygiene reasons.

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Sait: Some workplaces do not allow you to grow anything more than a 0.5 grade. However, I think stubble is becoming more common now that uniforms are being relaxed. I get a lot of City professionals coming in to maintain their stubble, proving that you can look smart while still sporting facial hair.

How do you grow a fuller beard? 
Jim: Moisturising with serums and oils is essential. Daily washing will clean pores and regular exfoliating will stimulate circulation, allowing your beard to grow faster. Regular beard trims every four weeks will ensure your hair grows in thicker and healthier. Lifestyle plays a role in your beard looking its best. Testosterone production, which provides your beard with a thicker appearance, can be encouraged by exercising, having enough sleep (eight hours!) and improving your diet.

Sait: The most important step is combing. Do this seven to eight times a day to massage the skin and stimulate blood flow. The more you comb your facial hair, the healthier it will grow in the shape you desire. If you are looking to grow a fuller beard, we would suggest getting a trim every two to three weeks, just to tidy up the edges. If you're growing a shorter beard style, we would recommend incorporating a weekly trim into your routine.

Any top tips for trimming at home?
Jim: Always invest in a good-quality trimmer. Sharper blades will provide a neater trim and be gentler on your skin. Cleanse your skin using a face or beard wash and ensure your beard is dry before shaving. Use a beard brush or comb to flatten the hair into its position to be trimmed. I would advise using a longer guard first so you don’t trim too much hair off. You can change your guard setting once you’re confident. It’s important to shave in the direction your hair grows in, with short strokes to avoid damaging the skin. Be sure to go down a guard or two when blending in your sideburns for a natural yet defined finish. This guard can also be used to define your neckline and ensure it looks clean and tidy. Finish off your beard trim by distributing some beard oil throughout, combing it through to give a healthy appearance.

Sait: As a rule of thumb, you should shampoo and condition your beard as often as you wash your hair. Use a brush to ensure your hairs are in the same direction and to get rid of any dust or oil that will be within your beard. Start from the bottom up. Work from your chin upwards and follow the contours of your face for the best trim and to ensure uniformity. Apply beard moisturiser, serum or oil. Blow-dry this into your hair before trimming. Choose a trimmer from Wahl, which does the most durable and high-quality trimmers on the high street.

What is the best way to get an even shave when doing it yourself? 
Sait: Take a shower – pores open because of heat and skin feels softer and supple. Use a moisturising cream first, then use a shaving brush with shaving soap (not foam) in a circular motion all over your face, for at least a few minutes. Soap is more moisturising than foam and it softens the bristle and skin. Use a single-blade disposable with a safety guard; Bic is a good brand and a safety guard makes it impossible to cut yourself. Shaving against the direction of hair growth can cause ingrown hairs and spots. You should shave with the grain for a smoother finish. Avoid pressing on your razor too hard and always use slow and steady strokes for the best result.

What’s the best after-care product?
Sait: Either a beard oil or a beard balm. The purpose of beard oil is to smooth and nourish facial hair rather than skin. Beard balm is more effective on short stubble. Grizzly Adam Beard Balm is a great option. For wax, I would recommend The Bluebeards Revenge Moustache Wax. There are also some great beard oils out there. Look for one that includes hemp or castor oil as it will leave you with a super soft and nourished beard. For those looking to splurge, Penhaligon’s Sartorial Beard Oil is a great option.

Finally, can you recommend some products for over-sensitive skin?
Jim: Pre-shave creams are particularly popular and can be applied after washing and before shaving. They soften your hair and prep your skin for the razor. If you are prone to coming out in a rash or burn after shaving, a lotion or balm is great to soothe irritated skin.

Sait: Go for products without alcohol or chemicals, and preferably organic. If you get irritable around the beard area, use more of your usual face moisturiser rather than trying something new. To get rid of beard dandruff or itchy flaky skin, use a beard balm, a comb and condition your beard. To apply, place a small amount of balm in the palm of your hand, then distribute it all over your fingers, applying to the skin in circles to start the hydrating process at source. 

 
For more styling tips, follow Jim on Instagram. 
 
Book an appointment with Adam here.

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