Flip open any mens’ magazine, head to your barber or take a quick walk around Melville and it’s hard not to notice the care, attention and sculpting that goes into many beards on display. Head online and type the words ‘beards’ and ‘care’ into Google and you’ll find the net teaming with blogs, think pieces and shops offering tips, guides and products to help you get the most out of your facial hair.
As James Du Plessis, owner of the beard care product company Hairy Eye, says that the over the past few years the market businesses like his has developed and grown. More and more men, he says, consciously choose to embrace ‘facial hair’ as an individual expression of their personal style, turning what was essentially a trend into a lifestyle. As such, beards need more care than ever.
“To most people, caring for their facial hair involves occasionally washing their beards and the odd trim. But there’s more to it than that,” says Du Plessis.
“When someone makes the decision to grow any form of facial hair, it is critical that they embark on a grooming regime as a matter of course. One cannot choose to grow a beard and only start using beard grooming products per se after a few months.”
“By following a beard grooming regime from the onset, one will ensure that the process of growing ones beard out, will essentially become a pleasurable experience, rather than be faced with constant itchiness and discomfort that one is usually faced with in the initial 4-6 weeks, this discomfort usually motivating ones decision to shave.”
So whether you’re a hipster or not, it’s worth getting into a routine in which you look after your facial hair. Washing, conditioning and oiling a beard not only gives it a rather aromatic sheen, it also helps with skin and stubble issues, dryness and irritation. The role of beard grooming products and a beard-grooming regime is critical to ensure that one’s beard and skin is nourished and healthy.
Now this may all sound intimidating (or a little odd) to someone just starting to grow a beard. Du Plessis says the best place to start, though, is at your local barber.
“The importance of a good Barber in terms of beard grooming cannot be over emphasized. A Barber fulfills numerous roles, not only to advise a client with respect to beard grooming products and how they are intended to be used, but also to provide advice with respect to overall grooming, including trimming, shaping, product use and more,” he says.
Where once beards were simply a style selection , now they are lifestyle choice. Between the fonts of knowledge online, the ranges of products available and the culture that has grown up around them, it seems that more than ever before, beards are a serious business.