Pumpkin spice lattes, sweater weather, or the return of boots. Whatever your cool-temperature vice may be, gentlemen, consider adding a beard into that mix.
Over the past decade, facial follicles have been making a comeback to mainstream culture. You no longer need to ride a Harley or be a hipster to cultivate a beard. Seeking inspiration? Take a look at Jon Hamm’s facial forest or George Clooney’s silver stand. Not convinced? On the local level, consider former Colt Jeff Saturday. You, too, can be the charmingly hirsute talk of the town. All you need are the right tools to maintain a tightly kept beard.
Tip No. 1: Let It Grow
A good beard needs at least a month to take shape on the average man’s face. Don’t be afraid to let it fill in but always remember no one looks good with a neck beard. (Yes, I’m talking to you, Mr. Luck.) While your face fills in, be sure to shore up that jaw line each day; this will not only look better but will also enhance your profile.
If, after a month, it appears that you are growing patches of mold on your face, it may be time to admit that you are just as manly with a clean-cut mug.
Tip No. 2: Shape and Trim
Once you’ve sprouted a Jeff Saturday replica on your face, you may wonder next, “How do I decide the best shape for my face?” Enter The Art of Shaving and 4:59 Barber Lounge, both located at Keystone at the Crossing. Each location offers prices ranging from affordable to luxurious with a bevy of options including haircuts, skin care, and—most important—beard maintenance to pamper yourself. (Yes, guys can use that p-word.) Certified professionals will walk you through the process of proper shaving techniques, shaping, and trimming. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. (By the by, the Fashion Mall's Art of Shaving was a Best of Indy 2012 pick for Best Straight-Razor Shave. Have at it—in the warmer months.)
Tip No. 3: Maintain
Just like the hair on your head, your beard needs to be cleaned and cared for. Don’t neglect your newfound friend! Consider using your normal conditioner in your beard once a week while you shower but always wash it whenever you scrub your face. One item I keep in my proverbial beard belt at all times is a beard oil, applied once a day after said showering. This oil is made to keep your chin crop growing thick even as it moisturizes the dry skin under your beard and softens rough hair. Beard oils can be found at numerous shops, including the aforementioned stores. My personal favorite comes from the Etsy shop DreamBeard. For just $15, your beard will stay both healthy and soft, something your significant other is sure to appreciate.
With the cooler months upon us, you have nothing to lose by going bearded. If you need a good excuse to kick off your growth, consider participating in Movember, an annual fundraiser aimed at raising awareness about prostate and testicular cancers, as well as mental illness among men. Then, if your significant other protests the sprouts adorning your countenance, just say you’re doing it for a worthy cause.
Remember: Let it grow, always shape and trim, and do maintain that new facial friend.
Pictured: "How to Groom a Gentleman's Beard" diagram/kit by Ello There, available at Homespun.