Some say a beard is a gift to a man’s face. Although not everyone’s glass of g&t, a well-groomed, perfectly formed set of facial hair is well-known to both soften and virilise male features, turning nice looking into handsome, and attractive into full-blown sex god. Throughout the years, I’ve taken into my hands the very hard endeavour of the ‘beard study’; as a fashion industry makeup-artist, friend, lover, and anonymous observer – or even indulging into the widely available tumblrs of ‘beard porn‘ – every follicle has been closely inspected, stroked, adored from a distance, exfolliated, tenderly kissed and examined through a magnifying glass. With that in mind, here’s the list I would recommend both bearded friend and foe. SKIN PREP Start by prepping skin with a good exfoliating product, which will prevent the development of ingrown hairs and help keep breakouts at bay. Depending on your skin type (sensitive, dry, combination, oily, or a particular skin issue), choose a good scrub and use it consistently – every couple of days for oilier skin types, once per week for drier, more sensitive types. There’s a product for every single chap out there, but having a soft spot for good function inside a beautiful(ly rugged) packaging, I absolutely love Murdock Exfoliating Facial Scrub – containg aloe vera, jojoba oil, pumice and herbal extracts – Kiehl’s Facial Fuel Energizing Scrub– which boasts Vitamine E-fuelled apricot kernel oil and skin-awakening caffeine – and Clinique Face Scrub. GROOMING There are almost as many beard styles as beard aficionados out there, and although one cannot change the basics of one’s follicule configuration (colour, hair thickness, abundance vs sparsity, growth timeline, wavy vs straight, etc.), a lot can be said and done in regards to its shape. Strolling around London’s Soho or Brick Lane, most beards one encounters are of the bushy, unkept variety (as seen above). Belonging to hipster-type creatives who find it both rugged and cool – and most definitely easier to maintain than its more polished counterparts – it’s a look that goes well if you work in a creative medium, read Jock & Nerds magazine, and enjoy your shopping spree at Oliver Spencer. The following beard type is probably the most common one, as seen mostly in the faces of longtime beard-wearers. Full but perfectly trimmed, it is the professional type’s answer to the very rugged hipster one, and may be found on the face of school teachers, doctors and architects alike. To keep its classically beautiful shape, make trimming it part of your grooming routine, whether by an expert, or by trimming it at home every couple of weeks. Last but not least, the famous 3-day stubble. Much loved by many reasons – sheer indolence, whilst trying to pursue (but never quite making) the full-bearded look, or by mere chance after being stranded on a desert island (and rescued 3 days later) – this is a look which is perennially sexy, uncompromising, and gives a ‘devil may care’ attitude to its wearer. Seen adorning the faces of younger types (or the young at heart), it remains the best way to test drive facial hair, always keeping in mind that the discomfort and scratchiness one feels at this stage will go away once the hair grows longer (hence not being a good idea to quit just there and then). In order to keep this look without having to resort to shaving, treat a stubble trimmer as your new best friend. CONDITIONING The last step for a sexy beard is, of course. conditioning. Just like hair, beards can grow coarse and frizzy, which can be a look in itself, but if you tend to prefer more obvious grooming, treating your beard as you would you hair is your best bet. Available in two versions, Wild Berry and Cantaloupe, Beardsley Ultra Beard Shampoo is a godsend when it comes to washing one’s beard, as its mild-flavoured botanical formula was conceived with washing around the mouth in mind (no more tasting nasty chemicals!), followed by the Ultra Beard Conditioner for ultra-smooth kissing. And finally, for a complete grooming kit, the utterly fabulous Murdock retails The Mighty Beard Box, a bearded-guy’s dream come true. Containing a brush, scissors, comb, beard moisturiser and an expert guide, it’s an absolute essential for maintaining that ‘straight off the barber’ look or, if you prefer, as a DIY option to their in-house luxury treatment. Share the post "Male of the Species: The Beard" FacebookTwitterShare… 2 Responses Leave a Reply Cancel ReplyYou must be logged in to post a comment.