Barber

Having the best beard is not only a dream, but a reality.

With the cold weather transitioning from fall to winter, most men will keep their manes. No-shave November has come and gone, and what got left behind is men with patchy beards, Grizzly Adams beards and everything in between. However, having a beard does not mean that it looks good. Just like hair it takes proper care, training and even product to make a good beard look great. With the help of some fellow beardsmen and their stories, having a handsome beard is very achievable.

There are a few men who are in Milledgeville and thought I’d ask them on some of their healthy habits to maintaining a strong beard.

The first was Chuck Wills. He is a senior rhetoric major and has a handsome beard. Chuck has been growing out his beard for the past 3 years. Though it is short and kept tight, that doesn’t mean it is bad. “I don’t think I’ve been clean shaven in 3 years. It’s been a long time,” said Wills, “It has had different sizes, but I don’t think I’ve had baby face in probably three years.” Though he does not use any specific product for his beard, he does have a healthy routine when it comes to the shower. “I shampoo and condition whenever I wash my hair, which is probably like 2 or 3 times a week. I just use what I use for my hair. It has biotin which helps strengthen the hair,” said Wills. Another thing that Wills mentions is his genes. “I’m lucky that I am a quarter Lebanese. I am blessed with a very nice beard and very smooth skin.”

Some people don’t have the genetic make-up to grow a great looking beard. Some people’s genes are that of little facial hair, or just very patchy beards. That is totally okay. There are some growth supplements that one can take, but I consider that cheating.

But Wills had a great point about not washing his beard every day. Washing it every day can dry your skin out causing you to have poor hair. Conditioning it, just as it does for your hair, it conditions your beard. No one enjoys having a sharp-edged beard.

Next beardsman I came across was Dylan Fletcher. He is a sophomore communications major, and has been a part of the bearded community after he graduated. He attended a private school which required him to shave — what a shame. “I’ve been growing it for 2 years now,” said Fletcher. As far as grooming goes, Dylan is very persistent with keeping his beard very trimmed and clean. He said, “I shave my neck area with an actual razor at least twice a week, but I trim it once a week with an electric razor.” Along with trimming, Fletcher does use and encourages using product. “I use Mountaineer Brand. It’s a balm used with tea tree oils and all that stuff and [I] rub it in there…. It smells manly, like I hopped out the shower, but a shower I took outdoors. Like I just took a shower under a pine tree. It keeps it moisturized, feels good, smells good.” As a word of advice, he said “to use product because it makes it better. It keeps it nice and soft and not prickly like some peoples.”

Dylan Fletcher has a great point. Product is great for facial hair grooming. Using a beard oil and a balm can make a night and day difference in the way you can make your beard feel, look and, yes, smell. With the hair on your face, it can absorb all of the oils on your face that your skin needs, so what beard oil does is it provides oils that your skin needs to keep it healthy and prevent it from drying out, which can cause brittle facial hair. The balm serves as a stylistic purpose. It can help form a hold and keep that hold as well as keeping the beard hydrated as you go about your day sitting at the office, chopping down trees to provide your house with firewood, or fighting off any bear that comes across you fishing for salmon with your hands.

Something that Wills and Fletcher both touched on was that they both mentioned ingredients. Ingredients are something that I look over when I go grocery shopping, but when it comes to beard product, this is something that you cannot overlook. Ingredients are important because what you are buying will be sitting on your face all day or until you next wash. Because of this, you need to make sure that the ingredients are all natural. Any good oil is mainly consumed of a combination of some if not all of these oils: jojoba oil, sweet almond oil, vitamin e oil, or grape seed oil. When it comes to balm, they will include some of these oils as well as shea butter, cocoa butter, almond butter, and bees wax for hold. The rest of the ingredients for both of these should include different essential oils that will provide the balm or the oil with different kinds of scents. You don’t want to put something on your face that you don’t know what it is. Most chemical compounds you don’t know what they are and are not explained on the package or product, so it is a good idea to steer clear of those. One example of those is Old Spice. They are now producing facial hair products. Their oil is made up of 4 or 5 different compounds that I do not know how to pronounce. I would stay away from that.

Dean Crawford, a barber at American Barber in Cumming Ga, has been on and off with his beard the past years he has worked as a barber, but has worked with many customers who want a trim or shave or shaping done with their beards. “In the shop we normally get anywhere between 10 and 20 customers who want something done to their beards,” says Crawford. “When someone wants something done to their beards, I try to be as specific with them as I can. Different people have different definitions as to what ‘trim’ means, and I want to be on the same page as the man who is trusting me to make his beard look as sharp as possible. Whether that be a trim, to shape the beard, the take out some bulk, to clean the neck and cheeks, I want to the person sitting in front of me to understand that I understand and am on the same page as them.” Crawford does offer some product for his customers. “I am a big fan of Grave before Shave. It is something that we have been using before I came here in 2015, and it’s great. I’ll ask the him if he wants any product when everything is all done before he checks out and pays. Some say yes and some say no.” As far as advice goes, he did have a few things to mention, “A good beard will come with time. If you keep trimming it every day or something of the nature defeats the purpose of having a long beard, unless you are looking for a short neat beard. But great facial hair will come with time, so don’t get frustrated if it doesn’t look like how you want it after the first week or so. And as far as grooming, wash it, condition it, and throw on some product. Most people don’t understand the benefits of using a balm or an oil in your beard. A few drops of some oil or a small dollop of balm can change the look and feel of your beard.”

Now what? You’ve heard from real people with real beards and have had experience with facial hair. But where do you start looking for some great product? Well for Fletcher, he went to Walmart with his mom, “I was with my mom in Walmart and she was like, ‘why don’t you get some product for your beard?’ And so we got some. I love my mom.” So don’t be afraid to check your local stores, especially with your mom. Walmart does carry some good products for a decent price. If you are looking for something that is a little bit of a higher grade than Walmart, Amazon has tons of great products. If you have prime, you’ll get it in two days. But picking a scent can be difficult. You don’t want to pick a 2 oz bottle and hate the way it smells. Artius Man and Badass Beard Care both offer sample packs. Both companies or based in America and all products are made her in the U.S. Badass Beard Care is a company out of California and is completely run by U.S. veterans. Also, in all their products, one ingredient is “pure badassery.” You can get as many samples of different scents of balm and/or oil for free, however you do have to pay for shipping, but it’s typically around $2.00. If you want to just jump right in and go for a bottle of oil or tin of some balm, Beardbrand is one of the pioneers in facial hair grooming. They even went on Shark Tank, but sadly did not receive any partners. However, this did not harm their business. They offer two different lines of product: solver line and a gold line. Silver is more of a base line and gold is a high-end line another great company to look at is Honest Amish. They offer a handful of products for a very reasonable price.

With all of these different tips and stories, it boils down to a few points:

1) Don’t be afraid to use product. It does help you have a better beard.

2) Use a wash and a conditioner. Don’t wash every day, and when you don’t wash it, condition it.

3) Comb it when you hop out of the shower. Nobody like hair with tangles, especially on your face. This can also help train the hair and shape the beard the way you want to.

4) Patience is key. With great hair comes patience. Good things will come to those who wait. In this case, a kick-ass beard.

With all of these different stories and companies and tid bits, you are now able to take on the world and display your manly mane for everyone to see, and truly show everyone how much of a man you are. So go on you tree shopping, bear fighting, ass-kicking, and beard growing boss.

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