Beard grooming: What you need to know

by Anya Jaremko-Greenwold

Taking proper care of your beard is a nuanced, ongoing process. Brendan Vlass at Hair Fusion knows just the right techniques – and he’s willing to share.

Shaving

“They say ‘a well-lathered man is half-shaved,’ so preparation is key,” said Vlass. Some men have tough skin and can get away with scraping a blade over their face without any preparation or priming, but Vlass doesn’t recommend that – it’s too hard on your skin. “When a barber does a shave, we use two or three hot towels and a lot of lather all over the face, plus a cleanser to take the extra buildup off,” said Vlass. If you have to shave every morning, shower every morning to get your face hot and moist. Use moisturizer. “I don’t recommend big blade razors, Mach 5 and all that,” said Vlass. “You’ll be more prone to ingrowns.” He also warns against electric razors for the same reason. “For the guy at home, I’d suggest the double-edged safety razors. But don’t trim your own beard! It’s hard, and will oftentimes be uneven. You try to even it out, and it just keeps getting lower and lower … next thing you know, you have a chin strap.”

Products

As your beard grows longer, it will need treatment and help to flourish. You should use oil or conditioner, drink plenty of water, take your vitamins and have a good diet. Vlass particularly recommends a beard oil, which is “designed to nourish your beard and the skin underneath – I make my own, using fractionated coconut oil. A lot of people use grape seed oil, apricot kernel, carrot seed … there’s all sorts. It doesn’t really matter. Then you doll that up with essential oils for a nice scent.” Beard oil works like a leave-in conditioner (so don’t wash it out). The best time to apply the product is promptly after a shower, when your beard follicles are nice and open.

Brushing

Think you only need to brush the hair on your head? Think again. Brushing and combing your beard is important, too. Vlass proposes the use of a sawcut comb, or a good bristle brush like Boar’s Hair. “If you spend a little more money on a good brush, you’ll have it a long time – and it makes a huge difference.”

Hair-loss prevention

“The other good thing about brushing and combing the hair on your head or face is the stimulation of blood, which promotes growth,” said Vlass. Most people don’t realize how well blood flow assists with hair growth! “That’s the best thing a man can do to prevent baldness – all day long I recommend that,” said Vlass. You can’t get hair back once it’s gone, but you CAN make what you do have a little fuller.

Anya Jaremko-GreenwoldDGO Staff Writer

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