No More Laissez-Hair
The latest looks for men’s facial fuzz require meticulous preening and targeted products.
Sideburns, 5 o’clock shadow, mustaches and beards—whether of the Duck Dynasty or GQ persuasion—are at the height of facial hair fashion, but gone are the days when a man could just use the electric trimmers, slap on some aftershave and go. Men have segued into the world of manscaping.
“Manscaping is a way for us guys to say we take care of ourselves,” says barber Lew Sanders of Floyd’s 99 Barbershop in Orlando. But is facial hair right for everyone?
“I think everyone can pull off facial hair if they keep it presentable and up to date,” says Erika Hammer, manager of Lady Jane’s Haircuts for Men in Winter Park. Unless—and often even if—men are striving for the big, bushy beard look, this requires some professional intervention.
“The biggest mistake men make is they just don’t know how to trim their beards. They start growing them, but they don’t know how to do the upkeep,” observes Robert Showalter, owner/manager of MENZwork Studio in Orlando.
“Have your barber or stylist give you a lining to follow,” Hammer recommends, and then follow the line to ensure its straight.
For the 5 o’clock shadow look, Showalter suggests using an adjustable blade trimmer that is available at drugstores. Then put the guard setting according to what works best with your face shape. “If you have a round face and you take it to a weird length, some of your hair can stick out, and it just makes you look like a cactus,” he says.
For best results, barbers recommend limiting the use of home shavers to reduce skin irritation. Instead, visit your barber or stylist as often as needed, depending on the rate of hair growth, to keep your facial hair neatly trimmed and to avoid rookie mistakes such as accidentally carving uneven patches into your growth.
Stylists say men should remember two obvious but often forgotten truths about facial hair: It’s hair, and it’s on the face. “Men need to wash facial hair like they do their hair—not just for their beard hair but for the skin underneath. They need to be reeducated about the proper way to take care of it,” Showalter says. Clean and condition your facial hair daily using the same shampoo and conditioner you use on your head, making sure they’re sulfate- and paraben-free.
Because facial hair is so much coarser than regular hair, Showalter recommends rubbing leftover body lotion from your hands onto your facial hair to keep flaky skin from getting trapped in your beard. Facial scrubs, according to Sanders, help remove dead skin and cleanse pores. Men can augment home care with exfoliations and facials, available at many barber shops and salons, and take advantage of products that promote hair health.
Nourish and define your facial hair with beard wax and paste, maintain pH with beard tonic, and don’t forget to add a little shine. Says Sanders: “You can look like a superstar with just a little bit of beard oil.”
Take care of your facial hair and skin with these products
For the Do-It-Yourselfer
Wahl clippers, trimmers and shavers are designed for wherever hair grows. Shown: Lithium Ion+ Stainless Steel Trimmer, $69.99. Available at Target.
Moisturize your scruff and smell like the great outdoors with Prospector Co. Burroughs Beard Oil, $28. Available at Cloak & Dapper, clkdpr.com
The Skin You’re In
Paraben-free and hypoallergenic, St. Ives Blemish Control Apricot Scrub cleans pores and keeps skin flake-free, $3.69 for 6 ounces. Available at Target and Publix.
Free and EasyInfused with essential oils, Kevin Murphy “Stimulate Me” wash and rinse (shown) are targeted for specific hair types, $28 each. Available at MENZwork Studio in Orlando.