Guys: you don’t grow a beard, you keep a beard. If you do nothing, the hair on your face will grow. Your beard will be there unless you elect to shave it so if you are going to be a person with a beard, you’re not growing it--you’re keeping it!
Now the question is--how are you keeping it? Do you feel sharp rocking a 90’s R&B chin strap with perfect edges? Maybe you love the way your super long ZZ Top beard makes everybody wonder what cool design is hiding on your shirt. Or perhaps, your goatee puts the perfect dash of mystique in your persona as a magician. Whatever the style, I applaud you. Beards are fantastic!
Here are my favorite tips and tools for keeping a great beard:
1. Shave like your grandpa
If you’re using a multi-blade cartridge razor to shave your face, just stop. If you want to sculpt the perfect beard, “press and drag” cartridge shaving is dead. How are you going to get clean lines with 2, 3, 4, or even 5 blades?!
That being said, nothing matches the accuracy of a single blade. It also produces less waste so it’s better for the Earth and it’s way easier on your pocket! Our Q Brothers Safety Razor is a great value, but there are other options, from the super affordable to the bathroom showpiece.
If you’re not ready to transition to using a shaving brush and traditional soaps, try one of these great options from Jack Black or Baxter. They have an added bonus of being see-through which makes lining up your beard even easier!
2. Moisturize and brush
Lots of guys want to keep a beard but after a week or two, they get too itchy. To avoid this, you need to moisturize your beard and brush it thoroughly, to spread that moisturizer through each and every hair.
In the early stages of a beard, I recommend sticking with oil until you’re through the initial itchy phase. Once you’re at a decent length, your skin will adjust to your new facial environment and then you can decide whether you want to use a balm or an oil. A balm will give you more hold because it contains a little wax while a beard oil will give you luxurious softness and a bit of shine.
I personally like to keep both on hand. My favorite balm from Sweet Comb Chicago is from a local beekeeper, and my favorite oil is the one I created, Q Brothers Beard Oil. The balm is great for when I’m going out and getting a little dressed up and I have the oil for everyday use to keep my face super soft for snuggling on the couch with my kids. Some days, all I need is my brush! It redistributes the natural oils that are already on your face and stimulates circulation in your skin.
3. Get some little scissors
One of the best ways to sharpen up your beard is by trimming the flyaways. Flyaways are little hairs that just don’t want to play with the rest of your facial hairs--they stick straight out or curve the other way and no amount of brushing is going to change their mind. I use these super sharp Japanese mustache scissors from Seki Edge for flyaways and for extra carving along the neckline of my beard. I also have round-tip scissors for safely trimming nose hairs and reaching any tricky parts around my nostrils, making sure my beard has a healthy separation from my nose hair. In fact, you can use the round-tip facial scissors for both jobs! The extra safety of the rounded tips is probably a good idea when you’re just starting out.
Keeping a beard also makes you better at shaving. Once you’ve seen your beard’s true desires, you understand why. For example, it might feel fine to shave against the grain on the left side of your neck but the same thing leaves you razor-burned on the right. Or, perhaps once your hair hits a certain length, you’ll see it grows at a slightly different angle or has a little swirl in one spot. That’s something you’d only deeply understand if you’ve kept a beard!