“How do I style a beard?” A question that seems to be coming up more and more, as beards are now officially, in style.
Typically, you would let it ride and see how it looks after a few months. If you’re like me and you sit at home all day with no one to answer to, the laziest solution is often the best solution.
This clearly doesn’t work for a lot of men, though, so we must strive to find a better solution. Now styling can mean a lot of different things, so for today’s purposes we’ll leave out anything that the average fella wouldn’t sport.
You know what I mean: the big twirling mustaches and the beards styled into horns; things of that nature.
There’s a few different ways to go about styling a beard: sometimes it’s a periodic touch-up if you have a bushier, fuller beard. Sometimes it’s a semi-daily styling choice if you’re the type of guy to go with the five o’clock shadow look.
We’ll cover the best ways to make these flattering looks, and how to maintain and keep your workload as small as possible. I think why we’re so partial to beards is so that we don’t have to shave everyday; that’s certainly the main reason I have one.
Having a beard is the manly choice, but you need to take care of it too. No one likes a wiry, weird looking beard. You don’t need to be that neat and vigilant, just know that a little care goes a long way. Here are our tips and tricks to styling your beard, broken down by style and measure of awesomeness in descending order.
Full, Bushy Beard aka The Offerman:
I myself, sport what I would call a full and bushy beard so you can trust that I know what I’m talking about. That and, at least if you’ve read our bits here before, you know I’m a lazy so-and-so, so you can at least trust my tips on how to do as little as possible.
Most guys with beards like this like to let ‘em go and hack them down significantly when it becomes too much, or your partner tells you in no uncertain terms that it’s time. That works, and if that’s your jam that’s cool, but I like continuity.
What I do, about once a month or so, is take my trimmer and clean up the sides and the cheeks, and bring up the chin a little bit. I’ll also apply some beard oil, on a weekly basis.
I’m fairly fond of the look where it’s a little shorter on the sides and longer at the chin. Don’t go too extreme here, otherwise you’ll look like this guy.
A solid beard to take note of is that of Zach Galifianakis. He styles it right and always looks on point.
If this style doesn’t work for you, then let it rock but be sure to knock down some of the strays that will inevitably pop up. Once your beard gets wiry things look a little sophomoric, so do your best to stay on top of things.
(Note: don’t style your beard with waxes or anything like that. Be sure to condition and use any oils or balms if your beard is a little dry. You can style your mustache, but leave your beard be.)
How to Groom a Medium Beard Length (aka the Al Borland)
The medium beard is a nice compromise between the Offerman and the five o’clock shadow. It’s what a lot of men would deem the most office appropriate. It’s a beard that’s not too long, nor is it scruff.
Whereas with a bushy beard you can get away with not being overly diligent with the edges or with the jaw line you define, these are things you need to be aware of if the medium beard is your beard of choice. A major problem I see, and what I call the MLB Beard, is when men try and define their own jaw line and it’s significantly higher than their actual jaw line.
It ends up looking stupid because you either are trying to hide the fact that you have a round face (you have failed), or you think a sharp jaw line is quite handsome (it only is naturally).
When it comes to styling this beard, go over it with your beard trimmer every couple of weeks on a setting you feel is right for you (I would say 3-5 range on your standard trimmer). This will keep things fairly full as well as neatly trimmed. It’s a fairly simple way to go about things but will only work if you have a full beard to begin with.
The Five O’clock Shadow aka the Tom Ford
The Tom Ford is a fairly easy look to achieve and, for the most part, works for almost anyone no matter how thick your beard is.
To me, the easiest way to rock this beard is to take your beard trimmer and give it a once-over every few days or once a week, depending on how quickly your beard grows (I recommend a 1 or 2 on your standard beard trimmer).
What you need to be weary of here, like the medium beard, is to not get too aggressive in determining your jaw line. If you think it looks good and your office is okay with it, let your beard grow on your neck.
Similarly, don’t bring it down too low on the cheeks and venture into “chin strap” territory. This is not a good look, and no one has every walked into a barber and said “Yeah, I want to look like a back-up dancer for Kevin Federline.”
This is a fine alternative for those who may get irritated by shaving with a razor too. It keeps you relatively hairless without having to pull out the old straight blade and have razor burn for a week.
Also a handsome look for those with high cheekbones and a well defined jaw. You don’t want to hide those beautiful features but you don’t want to shave all the time either. This is probably what Ryan Gosling does, that handsome devil.
Those are the three primary beard styles any reasonable man should stick to. Find what works best for your face and your commitment level to shaving.
Should your beard be a bit dry and wiry, I highly recommend you take a look at our guide to beard oils and balms. A dime-size volume every day will help to smooth things out as well as condition your beard and moisturize the skin underneath.
Once you have a beard, all you need to do is maintain it and I promise you this is a significantly easier task than shaving every day. My old man has shaved every day (sometimes twice!) for the past 35 years and while I respect his adherence to a schedule and dutifulness, I do not envy him.
That’s a lot of money and time spent doing something most people hate. We’re about practicality here, and there’s nothing more practical than tending to a beard every so often. It’s cheap too!