There is certainly an art to perfecting facial hair. Meet an expert in the art of grooming and beard care.

By Ingrid Wood

Goatees, mutton chops, chin straps, chevron, lampshade, walrus, horseshoe… whatever your beard or mustache style, if you want healthy whiskers you need to take care of the skin beneath it.

When Kevin Leboeuf transitioned back to civilian life following years in the Canadian Armed Forces, he was able to grow a beard for the first time in his adult life. The irritation and discomfort of that initial growing process led him to buy his first bottle of beard oil. Concerned with the beard oil’s harsh chemicals and toxic ingredient list, his partner Alicia Philips quietly started investigating safer and gentler beard and grooming solutions. Kevin’s pain became another man’s gain when Educated Beards, a premium beard grooming range made from 100% natural and organic ingredients, launched in 2017.

© Educated Beards

If you’re a serious bearder, you will know that to sport a good beard, you need good products. “The right skin care can prevent problems like acne, breakouts, dry skin, beardruff (a beard’s version of dandruff) and itch,” says Shaun Wiegand, founder of Shift Hair & Beauty which imports Educated Beards, among other brands, to South Africa. If you want to look more Brad Pitt than caveman, here are some tips for mastering the art of beard-growing:

  • Keep it clean

Many men want to grow a beard but shave it off before it really gets going because it starts to itch. The itch is caused by the beard robbing the natural oils from the skin, explains Shaun, which is why you should always cleanse your skin and beard (or mustache) daily and follow up with a nourishing beard oil. If you don’t cleanse often, dirt, oils, pollution and dead skin cells will build up on your skin, clogging pores and irritating the skin which can also lead to beardruff. A good beard wash should be high in oils, free of parabens and sulphates and should gently exfoliate the skin, while hydrating it. Don’t use soap or even shampoo as your scalp is different to your facial skin, so shampoo tends to dry out the beard further. Follow up with a beard oil to replenish the lost oils and nourish the beard and skin. Shaun recommends rubbing the beard oil into the skin and the beard.

  • Avoiding ingrown hairs

Cleanse as above, as clean pores will allow hair to pierce through the skin easier. Then use a beard brush to gently exfoliate. Peppermint contains menthol, an organic ingredient that increases blood circulation, getting the blood flow to the areas that need them – like your beard hair follicles, which is why it is a great ingredient to have in your beard oil if you suffer from in-growns.

© Educated Beards
  • Unruly beard

As your beard grows, it’s essential to continue trimming and treating it. Always oil your beard before combing or brushing it. Brush in the direction of growth which may also help train your hair to grow downwards, and if your beard is longer or denser, tame it with a beard balm. Avoid balms that contain coconut oil as they tend to leave a greasy film. Cut off dead ends regularly. Ideally make a regular trip to a barber that offers bespoke services (and a whisky while you’re treated) like Medellin or for a full range of men’s services, try Sorbet Man.

Beard Buzz

  • According to Data Bridge Market Research, the beard grooming products market is expected to reach USD 38.14 billion by 2030.
  • The same research says beard oil is expected to be the fastest growing product type segment because it has high moisturising properties and is suitable for all skin types.
  • Beard-spo is the buzz word for beard inspiration, referring to the inspiring images and tutorials on social media platforms targeting beard lovers around the world.
  • Cutthroat or shavettes are razors which look a bit like a switch blade, used to shave the face or groom the neck. They were used a lot in the old days and have come back into fashion.
  • The yeard is the year-long goal of growing out a beard.
  • For other cool beard buys: Bluebeards Revenge; Jack Black; Le Labo; Acqua di Parma; Clarins Men.
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