To shave or not to shave? With the spring heat finally here for good, that is the question many bearded men have a difficult time answering. Do you go clean-shaven and risk the baby-face jokes that are bound to ensue? Or will you brave the heat and humidity in exchange for an itchy and sweaty beard? Both options sound unpleasant, but fear not. There is a happy medium that can be achieved if you take the right steps to groom your facial hair properly.
We talked to professional barbers Ramsay Gorosieta and Damien Reyes for some insight and tips on how you can take your winter beard into spring. Gorosieta and Reyes are barbers at Birds Barbershop in Austin, TX, and both have several years of experience in cutting hair and shaping beards. Birds Barbershop was recently awarded Best Barber Shop in Austin, TX, by The Manual, so these guys definitely know a thing or two about proper grooming.
If you’ve been growing your beard all through the winter months, be sure to do your spring cleaning. Pick a quality beard oil and add that to your grooming arsenal. They fight the dryness and itchiness that plagues many and provide the moisture to keep your beard looking right. Gorosieta went local and highly recommended Woodsman Beard Oil by Bearded Bastard. The 1 oz. bottle is made by hand in Austin, TX, scented with Texas cedar, and produced with natural oils that keeps facial hair soft and moisturized.
While beard oils are probably the most popular option, Reyes says there are two products that are even better. “Your favorite shampoo and conditioner. Most people forget that it’s hair and needs to be kept just like the hair on our heads.” Heat causes sweat, and sweat causes stench. So remember, hair is hair and whether it’s on your scalp or your face, both deserve to be treated the same. Try something like Professor Fuzzworthy’s Beard Shampoo. It comes in a solid form as a 100% natural bar, and is made with Kunzea oil which does wonders on irritated skin and halts the itch.
Trimming and Tapering
Tapering is a popular hair trend that many men have adopted, and it can also be done when trimming your beard. Rather than long on the top and short on the sides, the beard will be longer at the chin and tapered up the sideburns and neck. Your winter beard is likely to be long, so determine how much you want to trim, set your guard, and taper up for that happy medium. The guard is likely to be the biggest factor in finding your happy medium. Be sure to adjust your guard as you taper to fade your beard into your hair. If you try this at home, Gorosieta says, “Raise your jawline and taper towards your neck.” Reyes concurs, “Taper in the sides on the cheeks, but keep the length on the chin.” Tapering requires a good tool so it’s worth investing in a trimmer that gets the job done. Try the Phillips Norelco Beard Trimmer 7300. It comes with 19 length settings, a long lasting battery, and a contour comb that provides a much more even trim.
Visit Your Barber
Who is man’s best friend? A man with a dog would likely pick his dog. A man with a beard would pick his barber. Your barber knows everything there is to know about your hair. Whether it’s wavy and curly or straight and fine, he knows it all. Would you trust anyone else hovering over your hair with a pair of scissors?
Gorosieta is probably a best friend to a lot of folks in Austin. He says that in order to keep your beard shaped, you should visit your barber every 4 to 6 weeks or whenever you come in for a routine haircut. If you are a part of the “high and tight” movement and prefer to have your beard tapered with your hairstyle, Gorosieta says you should drop by every two weeks for an edge up.
It’s much easier for a barber to shape your beard than attempting to do so at home. Achieving a symmetrical neck and jaw line are difficult to do standing in front of a mirror. If you opt to skip the barbershop and try at home, Gorosieta says, “To get a symmetrical neck/jaw line, start by picking the length at the Adams apple. Then, follow the jawline from the bottom of the sideburns down to the spot picked. Don’t forget to keep your cheeks clean. Shave starting at the sideburns and work your way to the mustache. It is easiest to have your barber get a clean symmetrical line and then keep up with it at home as needed.”
As long as you follow these guidelines, choose the right products, and visit your barber routinely, you can take your winter beard into spring without having to lose it.