Pardon the pun, but beards are continuing to grow on the residents of the UK. In fact, they’ve become increasingly popular since 2011, with younger Brits increasingly likely to develop some kind of fuzz on their face.
In the five years between August 2011 and November 2016, the number of men sporting facial hair increased incrementally from 37% to 42%. Of this number, an impressive 44% currently have full beards, whilst just 40% of men now regularly sport stubble (this has fallen from 52% in 2011).
We’re also seeing a growing number of men combine thick and fulsome facial hair with a shaved scalp, with Hollywood icons like Bruce Willis and Jason Statham having popularised this masculine and accessible look. In this post, we’ll offer some tips on how to successfully groom your face and head in order to make the most of whatever look you choose to adopt.
1. Take Care with your Neckline when Shaving your Head
If you’ve progressed through the cycle of male pattern baldness and its various stages, you may well have reached a point where you decided to shave your scalp.
After all, this enables you to take control of your destiny and shape your new look, rather than being placed at the mercy of your own genetics.
If you do decide to shave your scalp and maintain a close crop, however, you may want to visit a barber or have a mobile hairdresser visit your home. You should also have your head shaved by a skilled professional once every month, in order to ensure a more even finish that’s easy to maintain over time.
Remember, your hair will naturally grow back lighter once it has been shaved, and this can make the task of creating a close-cropped look extremely difficult.
If you do shave your scalp, you’ll also need to take care of the skin in this area. After all, your scalp is something of a breeding ground for dead skin cells and sebum, with the latter described as an oily secretion from the sebaceous glands.
To negate this issue and avoid other issues such as dandruff, you should also scrub your scalp at least twice weekly whilst using gentle, circular motions. You must also cover the area that stretches from the nape of the crown to the space behind your ears, using a specialist shampoo or a moisturising body wash.
On a final note, it’s also important that you pay attention to your neckline when shaving your head. This is especially important if you have a hairy back, as abruptly finishing your shave with a perfect line between your head and the back of your shoulders can look odd in this instance.
Instead, consider blending this in to create a more natural neckline that’s far more aesthetically pleasing.
2. Take Care of your Beard
Growing a beard can be a deceptively challenging and time-consuming process and one that features three distinct stages. In total, it can take up to six months to fully grow your beard, so it makes sense that you should take good care of this as part of your daily grooming regime.
To begin with, it helps if you match your beard type to the precise shape of your face. This will ensure that you cultivate a complimentary and aesthetically pleasing style and one which can be easily maintained over time.
If you have a square face, for example, you should opt to soften this look by growing fulsome hair on the chin and keeping it shorter on the sides.
Conversely, individuals with a round or rotund face should introduce some shape by growing their hair longer on the bottom and trimming the sides of their beard.
When it comes to grooming, it’s imperative that you understand when and how to trim your beard and maintain its shape. In terms of the former, much will depend on the length of your beard and the style that you’ve chosen, but you should at least try to trim it once or twice a week.
You should also avoid grooming your beard unless you’ve previously taken a shower and washed your face, as this will ensure that your facial hair is free from any natural pollutants that may have become trapped during the day.
You should also consider using a beard balm or moustache wax to keep your facial hair soft and supple, as this will prevent snagging and make it easier to trim over time.
Depending on the precise length and thickness of your beard, you’ll also need to invest in the right tools to help you achieve your goals. Shorter and more sculpted beards should be maintained using a high-quality trimmer, for example, whilst this type of tool is also crucial if you have a consistent level of stubble.
In contrast, you should buy a sharp pair of scissors and a comb if you want to maintain a thick and fulsome beard. Then you should comb your facial hair both up and down to gauge its true level of growth, before trimming from the bottom of your beard and methodically working your way upwards.
3. Tidy up your Ears and Sideburns
As anyone who has passed the age of 30 can testify, hair often grows in the places that you least expect. There’s a scientific reason for this too; as the hormone that dictates male pattern baldness is also responsible for a surge in the growth of ear and nose hair growth as we continue to age.
From your ears to your sideburns and the inside of your nose, you can quickly develop a mass of thin and unruly hairs that can undermine even the most stringent grooming regime.
So how do you deal with this sudden and unwanted hair growth? To begin with, you’ll need to remove the hairs dotted around the top of your ears at the point where they meet your head, ideally by shaving these when you tend to your scalp.
As for those pesky hairs that grow on the auricle at the bottom of your ear, you can use a compact beard trimmer to remove these quickly and easily.
We’d also recommend investing in a good nasal trimmer, as this helps with the safe removal of nose hairs on a regular basis. These hairs grow to be extremely long over time, so it’s important to trim them before they start to protrude from your nose.
Another important point of focus is your sideburns, as you may need to tailor these once you’ve shaved your scalp and grown a beard. More specifically, they’ll need to be trimmed and tapered to create a balanced look, whilst it’s also important to blend these into your beard where possible.
Use scissors or a beard trimmer to remove any stray or excessively long hairs too, as this is the kind of attention to detail that elevates any grooming regime.
4. Tackle the Eyebrows – But Try Not to Remove These Completely
The notion of men shaping their eyebrows is relatively new, with the iconic monobrow still in vogue as recently as the turn of the century (we’re thinking of the Gallagher brothers, of course).
Whilst the younger Gallagher still sports a stonking monobrow, however, he’s now in a minority and a growing number of men take steps to groom their eyebrows on a regular basis in the modern age.
Grooming your eyebrows represents a delicate balancing act, however, as the last thing that you want is to remove too much hair or leave them looking perfectly shaped. Even a relatively modest trim and the removal of rogue eyebrow hairs can cause issues, as even the tiniest slip can leave you with a look that’s just a little too “gangsta”.
To avoid this, try to focus on regularly maintaining your eyebrows and trimming any excessively long hairs. This is probably best done with a small and compact pair of nail scissors, as these enable you to tackle one hair at a time and prevent you from overly sculpting your eyebrows.
You could also use tweezers to achieve a similar objective, also this can be a little more painful as they’ll remove individual hairs from the root.
These tools should definitely prevent you from leaving your eyebrows a little too sparse, whilst also maintaining a neat and masculine shape.
5. Never Overlook the Importance of Skincare
Last, but by no means least, we come to the often-overlooked issue of skincare. This has become a major grooming concern for men during the last few years, with a 2016 report by Allied Market Research estimating that the value of the global male skincare industry was worth a staggering $166 billion.
If you’re going to take care of your skin, however, you’ll need to create a considered regime that you undertake on a regular basis. This should start by washing your face with a good cleanser, and ideally one that’s entirely organic and free from components such as alcohol (which can dry out your skin over time).
You should definitely avoid harsh soaps or face scrubs, as this will create a more wrinkled appearance that does not age well over time.
Even if you have a beard, you’ll need to take care of the skin underneath your facial hair and the surrounding areas.
This means applying soothing and all-natural beard balms that can penetrate the skin and keep it moisturised, whilst a hydrating after-shave can also soothe your face and protect it from the rigours of shaving, sculpting and trimming.
When shaving your beard into a particular shape or removing the hair from certain areas of your face, you’ll also need to use a high-quality razor that minimises the impact of friction on the skin.
You should also choose a razor that’s durable and suits your skin sensitivity, as this will deliver a smooth and close cut over a sustained period of time.
Even from a financial perspective, investing in a high-quality razor makes sense as it can be used regularly and over a period of years. Otherwise, you’ll need to continually buy cheaper and less effective razors and see the costs mount gradually.
On a final note, remember to apply moisturising and alcohol-free shaving gel to provide an additional barrier of protection whilst shaving. You should also apply this and shave whilst having a shower, as this will ensure that your skin is being purged of any toxins and allergens at the same time.
The Last Word
By following these five steps, you can create a diverse and comprehensive grooming regime that is as manageable as it is effective.
You should also continue to experiment with your grooming regime to find out what works for you over time, depending on your schedule, beard type and any defined allergies that you may have.