In this edition of #BarberTalk by New York Barbers, we are going tell you how to ensure your beard stays healthy and in good shape in 3 Steps. We are also going to give you some pointers if you need to trim it yourself!
Step One: Stay Hydrated
The first step to a healthy beard is to keep it hydrated. Just like the hair on your head, your beard needs moisture. If not it can become very dry which will cause itchiness, dry skin and ‘beardruff’ (beard dandruff).
The best way to keep your beard hydrated is by using a good beard oil or balm. A beard oil or balm will hydrate the skin underneath the beard and well as the hair itself. This will prevent your beard from drying out because both your beard and the skin underneath is hydrated. It will also add a nice healthy shine to your beard.
Another bonus of using these products is that if you use a scented one, it acts as a cologne throughout the day. The Proraso range of beard oils and balms work very well in this department with their masculine scent you can choose from:
Wood & Spice, Cypress & Vetyver, Azur Lime and Refreshing Scent. Check them out here.
What is the difference between a beard oil and beard balm?
They are both quite similar in that they will nourish and hydrate your beard. However, a beard balm’s consistency is slightly thicker than a beard oil, which makes it better for sculpting/styling your beard in place whilst a beard oil is more for hydration purposes.
One thing to keep in mind is that not all beard balms are the same. For example, the Proraso beard balm is quite runny, similar to a gel-like consistency. This works really well to hydrate your skin and your beard, whilst also allowing you to sculpt it into shape too.
Compared to the 18.21 Beard Balm, which is the complete opposite consistency. It is a hard, wax-type consistency that is best for big, thick beards that need sculpting into place. Its hydration capabilities are limited as it won’t reach down to your facial skin due to its consistency. It is more suited to be applied to the beard hair itself.
They are both great products but serve their own purposes depending on what your beard needs.
Step Two: Cleanse
It is also important to keep your beard clean, especially if you sport a big beard!
Your beard can attract even more bacteria and dust than your hair can, not to mention any food or crumbs that come into contact with it! So, the key to a healthy beard is to keep it clean.
We recommend washing every 2-3 days. This keeps it cleansed but won’t dry out your beard too much.
Can I just use normal hair shampoo for my beard?
You could, but it will not work as well as a dedicated beard shampoo. The hair on your head is different from your beard hair. You beard is usually thicker and coarser than the hair on your head, and the skin on your face is different than that on your scalp.
After a while, it can make your beard and the skin underneath dry out, becoming itchy and flaky. Shampoo for your hair strips the scalp of its natural oils so your hair doesn’t get too oily, however your beard needs some of this moisture to stay healthy.
Beard Shampoo’s offer a gentler wash by cleansing the beard, but not stripping it of its moisture and drying it out. Your beard will feel better and look better by using a beard shampoo.
Step Three: Trim (if necessary)
Once you have maintained your beard by keeping it clean, hydrated and healthy, it is still going to grow! If anything, it will be growing even better than before if you are keeping it healthy. But if you can’t have it trimmed at the barbershop yet due to COVID-19, it may start to drive you a little crazy and make you want to grab the clippers!
If you must trim it before you rip your beard out of its follicles, we suggest 1 of 2 ways for going about it.
1: Run a clipper length over the whole beard. This allows you to choose how long or short you want it and keep it maintained at an even length. It may not be the shape or style your barber usually does it, but it will definitely be less annoying and look much cleaner, without having to shave your beard off entirely.
2: This option may be better for those with longer beards. Only trim the annoying parts. If you have a longer beard, chances are you don’t really want to lose all that beard growth by clipping it down. Fair enough, but the problem the longer beards can be a lot a lot more tricky to cut shape into. So your best option is to only give it a light trim and trim just the parts that are annoying.
Around the moustache area as the hair starts to grow over your lips – for this you can use some hair trimming scissors and follow along the curve of your upper lip to clear the hair that is hanging over your lips. A clipper can be used for this by guiding the clipper around your upper lip hair, however, the scissors are a safer option for doing it yourself with less risk of cutting too much off.
Trim the unwanted hairs that may start to grow high up on your cheeks for a cleaner look.
Cut off any strays with scissors. Any stray hairs on your beard can be carefully trimmed with scissors. You can either hover over the area and cut freehand or pull the hair/s that are sticking out and cut them.
A clipper can also be used by carefully gliding the clipper across the surface of the beard to trim the flyways, but extra care must be taken to ensure you don’t cut too much off.
Overall, the longer beards are the ones that probably won’t need to be trimmed as often as they are already long. However, if you are someone who likes to keep a shorter beard, as it starts to grow it will become more annoying. Our best advice if your barber cannot do you beard at the moment, if you must trim it yourself, cut it down to one clipper length. It is the easiest and most effective way.