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Grooming Essentials For Men

By Sean Mahon

Posted: 24th March 2015 12:41

Beards

As we edge ever closer to ‘peak beard’ (the point where so many people have one that it actually becomes uncool) it is more essential than ever to stand out and express your individuality in the way you sculpt your facial fur.

With a huge range of styles, products and techniques on the market, it can sometimes be difficult to know where to start. There’s an awful lot at stake; the wrong grooming regime can take your facial hair from a Tom Selleck all the way down to an Adolf Hitler. Yikes. Here’s a few of the non-evil styles to aim for, along with the essential products needed to perfect them.

The Full Beard

Forget those scraggly thin beards everyone seems to be wearing; you’re going the whole hog. A full beard has an air of majesty that will turn heads and break hearts. Girls will want to be with you, men will want to be you, and silken-maned Lions will accept you as one of their own. But a beard of that magnitude requires maintenance. Unfortunately you can’t just throw away the razorblade and hope for the best. Just like the hair on your head, beard hair needs to be thoroughly washed regularly in order to be kept in top condition. Beard hair is tougher and wirier than the hair on your head, but thankfully there’s a range of products specially formulated to keep your mane looking magnificent.

Beard Soap

Bars of beard soap are a popular way to keep full beards clean and healthy. Made of a range of natural ingredients, they condition the hair on your chin whilst moisturising the skin beneath. Grandpa’s Pine Tar Soap is a traditional soap recipe that is great for not just the beard but the whole body. Its earthy scent may not be for everybody, but it projects a certain manly musk that some will find irresistible. Cap'n Billy's Beard Bar, made by New York-based Fire Island Soaps, is a more aromatic affair, being made of a blend of coconut oil, olive oil, honey and honey bee propolis, to keep your beard smelling fresh.

The Sculpted Beard

Perhaps the full beard feels too shaggy, too unkempt for you. In which case, the sculpted beard is a beard you can really set your watch to. Shorn every day to a precise length and width, a sculpted beard can be one of the sharpest facial hair looks around. All that regular shaving can be a little hard on the skin though, particularly if you’re sticking to such a precise look. Keeping your skin supple and hydrated is a top priority when shaving every day in order to avoid cuts, rashes and ingrown hairs. The best way to prepare for a shave is with a solid pre-shave routine.

Pre-Shave Oil

Pre-shave oils such as Gentlemen's Tonic Pre Shave Oil are best massaged into your beard along with water, so using them during a bath or shower is ideal. The oil works to lock in the moisture and the heat of the shower opens up your pores, allowing for maximum hydration. The Bluebeards Revenge Pre Shave Oil is formulated with “bluebeards” (people who, after shaving on a morning, have a five o’clock shadow by lunchtime) in mind and works to help keep skin supple and healthy despite a sometimes aggressive shaving routine.

The Designer Stubble

If keeping up with a full beard is a bit too much commitment for you but you enjoy having a rugged, slightly unkempt look, shaving intermittently will give you a layer of ‘designer stubble’. Having a few days’ worth of growth can give your face the hint of a beard without all of the hard work. In order to make this look work, though, you need a trimmer that can cut evenly and consistently, avoiding any raggedy edges or uneven patches.  An electric beard trimmer is the ideal modern solution.

Beard Trimmer

Electric beard trimmers come in a wide range of shapes and sizes, often with adjustable blades that allow for a personalised shave. The Philips Style Xpert BT5260/33 Precision Beard Trimmer features a variety of settings depending on which final look you’re going for, including the three-day growth designed stubble on its lowest setting. If you’re looking for something that gives you the ultimate in control, go for the Remington MB4555 Touch Control Beard Trimmer, an innovative device that allows you to alter the speed and length of your trim mid-shave.

The Handlebar 

For the bolder facial hair adventurer, or perhaps for the aspiring dastardly villain, the handlebar moustache is the peak of grooming perfection. Characterised by long, combed mustachios that taper into a curl, this ancient facial hair style was even worn by the Celts before it gained its reputation as the mark of a well-groomed, if slightly unusual, gentleman. Traditional techniques of mastering those upturned extremities involved using curling irons, hard soap and hair wax, but in modern times several products are made with your handlebar in mind.

Moustache Wax

Captain Fawcett Sandalwood Moustache Wax is a handmade wax that comes in a convenient pot which fits right in your pocket for those on-the-go moustache adjustments. With excellent hold to keep your curls intact all day long, it also has a pleasant but gentle scent – very important for something that’s going to be so close to your nose all day!  If your facial hair is of the stubborn, curly variety, Mohawk Hardened Moustache Wax might be more up your street.  With an unrivalled hold and hardened finish, nothing keeps your handlebar in better shape.

Clean Shaven

There’s no doubt about it, maintaining facial hair can be tough work. Even our faces need a break every now and again, surely?  Why not go for a fresh-faced holiday? The clean shaven look is also perfect for the older gentleman looking to regain some of his youth. Beware though; be sure to have your passport to hand when going clean shaven, as you may find you need it if you want to successfully be admitted to bars, casinos and any film rated higher than 12A. Watch out. Baby-faced assassin, coming through!

Shaving Cream and Shaving Brush

Even if you’ve been shaving for years, there’s still probably room for improvement. Maybe you even grew the beard in the first place to avoid the torture of neck nicks, burning aftershave and razor burn turning your face into a pale blotchy pizza. Seek out a barber-style double-sided razor like the Parker 99R Heavy Duty Barberpole, which has removable razors that are much more cost effective than disposables. The Taylor of Old Bond Street Sandalwood Shaving Gift Set includes a badger-hair brush and shaving cream that massage facial hairs, making them stand up and easy to cut without damaging the skin.

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