Because the hair on your face is somewhat different than the hair on your head, caring for your beard requires a modified set of instructions. It is important to keep your beard clean and well-conditioned. For this task, simply use the same shampoo and conditioner on your face as you do your head. If your beard is gray, conditioning is key because grey hair can grow thicker and more bristly than colored hair. The conditioning will help soften the beard and might actually get you kissed once in awhile. For unruly beards, a dab of beard conditioner (such as Craig's Beard and Stache Butter) will tame those whiskers. In addition to cleaning and conditioning, keeping your beard well maintained is essential. Following are my six tips on caring for your beard.
Seek Professional Help
To give your beard the best shape possible, find a good barber and have it trimmed professionally. Finding a good barber can be tough these days, but they're out there. After your barber has professionally shaped your beard, you can maintain it easier at home.
Use a Shave Oil
A clear shaving oil will allow you to see what you are shaving and will help ensure clean lines around your beard. For this purpose, I love The Gentlemens Refinery Pre Shave Oil.
Invest in a Good Trimmer
A quality trimmer is key to a well groomed beard. Choose a trimmer with an adjustable trimming guide for mistake proof trimming. Stay away from scissors as you'll have a hard time getting an even trim If you really want to go all out, buy two clippers. A full sized clipper (like those a barber uses to cut your hair) will make overall trimming easier, while a small fine-toothed trimmer will cut closer and allow you to get a clean outline. For trimming, I recommend the Andis Headliner PLS.
Comb it Out
Using a fine-toothed comb, keep your beard smooth and free from tangles by running the comb through the beard in the direction of the hair growth.
If your beard is graying or a dramatically different color from the hair on your head, there are dyes specifically formulated for facial hair that are safe to use at home. Follow the instructions on the package carefully to ensure good, even coverage and never use beard color immediately after a shower. The essential oils produced by your skin will help prevent staining of the face, but these oils are stripped away by showering. Avoid using color treatments designed for your hair as these are not formulated to handle the tougher hair on your face. Just for Men makes brush-in color gels that work well.
Use a Mirror
Invest in a wall-mounted mirror with a telescoping arm. This will prevent you from having to lean across the bathroom counter and ensure you can get close up.
A well maintained beard can look great on the right face and offers a nice change from time to time. If you get tired of the beard and decide to go clean shaven, follow our Guide to Shaving.