Many people grow a beard initially for a number of reasons. These include:
- Some men hate shaving
- Some men find they are too busy to spend time shaving properly every day
- Skin irritation/shaving rash
- Protection against the cold
Whatever the reason, once the decision has been made other conscious decisions have to be made. How long will I grow it? CAN I grow it? Will I be allowed to grow it (by partner, employer etc)? What style should I adopt? Etc, etc.
Short beards are easier to maintain and many find that their partners ae more accepting of a short beard which is well maintained. Typically I find myself maintaining sort beards which range from a goatee which is clippered so short that it resembles a shadow to a full beard clippered to number 3 (9mm). A well maintained beard is often considered smart and business like, although stubble may often be considered scruffy. However, stubble with sharply shaved edges at the sideburns, cheeks and throat may equally be considered rugged but smart. They can be maintained with relative ease at home but beware that mistakes will be easy to spot and difficult to rectify – you may have to start again!
Mid-length beards can either appear distinguished (especially grey beards) if they are well maintained or they can have the opposite effect and make the wearer appear tramp-like if unkempt. It is at this length that growth patterns begin to become obvious. Some beards kink to one side, look fuller on one cheek than the other or simply grow in different directions. General grooming and use of beard oil may help to maintain a smarter, sharper look but beware, hair does not grow symmetrically and it may be a case of simply making the most of what you have.
Long beards are the objects of desire for many beard wearers, wannabes and many women too. It is at this stage that it becomes most difficult to maintain without help. They become coarse, grow ‘tufty’ at the corners of the jaw, bushy at the sides, divide in the middle and it is almost impossible to see underneath. Regular maintenance, although difficult, is essential and can be aided with the use of beard oil or, in the case of wispy beards, beard pomade.
A good beard oil/pomade will not only condition and feed your beard hair, giving it a healthy looking sheen, it will also stop the skin underneath the beard becoming dry and flaky.
So, why visit a barber if it can be done at home? A barber (ideally one trained in beard trimming) will be able to provide the following benefits:
- The ability to see your beard as others see it from various angles as opposed to a reflection in a mirror. The ability to see the best lines and growth patterns unhindered cannot be understated. We have all had difficulty observing our faces from all angles in the mirror, whether shaving or beard trimming, haven’t we?
- Unrestricted use of two hands and numerous professional tools.
- Being able to use the experience of dealing with numerous beards and growth patterns to be able to advise you on what will most likely suit/work best for you.
- Most people don’t own a straight razor. These create the sharpest lines compared to a razor with a disposable cartridge style head as there is no plastic casing obscuring the view of the working edge of the blade.
- Professional grade hair clippers are far more powerful, sturdy and reliable than those your Aunt Doris is likely to buy you from BHS for Christmas.