What could be more masculine and inviting than a full, bouncy beard?
This is the question echoed daily in the reflections of bathroom mirrors around the globe. Whether you’re sporting a goatee, a balbo or a full-on old dutch, you’re bound to be proud of your incredibly mesmeric bush.
You’ll also realize the importance of a dogmatic self-care routine. After all, it takes effort to look this good, right?
The problem is that some beards, like mine, can become incredibly curly and unruly. We want our faces to be soft and strokable, not frayed and fuzzy.
Firstly, before you even consider the possibility of shaving the whole lot off, I need to point out that beards are not only on-trend, but actually very good for your health.
In fact, according to a recent study, the more facial hair you possess, the less chance you have of getting sick due to your beard’s super-hero bacteria-fighting properties. So whatever you do, don’t give up.
Think of your man-mane as the source of all your powers. It just needs a little TLC to stay in tip-top shape.
It goes without saying that curly hair (including facial hair) is entirely genetic. And while these genes are passed down by our ancestors, I like to think it started with curly-bearded Hercules himself.
After all, men like me and you are often seen in society as stronger, more dominant and mature in comparison to those who are close-shaven – another excellent reason to maximize your beard volume while minimizing the excess fluff.
There are some easy steps you can follow to ensure you get the best results.
What You’ll Need
To achieve the ultimate silky-smooth, full-volume look, you’ll need the following:
- Step 1 – Wash It
Using a pot of carefully selected beard cleanser and conditioner, gently massage your beard using warm water.
Use the ends of your fingers to lather up the product and exfoliate the skin and hair follicles.
I recommend a natural cleanser rich in almond oil for hydration and apricot kernel oil for the softest results.
A curly beard requires extra loving care so that nourishing ingredients will produce the most sustaining outcome.
Never wash your beard with hand soap or harsh shampoos as it’ll dry out the hair, cause irritation and promote an unsightly frizz.
Finally, Pat with a clean towel.
- Step 2 – Trim It
Remember, a curly beard can be deceptive.
While it may look a certain length, once it begins to stretch its legs, you may find you end up with a meter long mane.
While naturally straight beards grow downwards, curlier varieties move outwards.
That’s why a small trim before any straightening or maintenance attempt is essential. You don’t want to put in all this effort only to end up looking like this.
At this stage, a minor casual trim will do. You can then touch it up at the very end if necessary.
Use your beard scissors to cut away any obvious hair that is literally growing in the wrong direction.
Examine your beard in a mirror (using natural daylight) and very carefully prune any brambles that are unlikely to remain faithful to your new look.
- Step 3 – Apply Oil
It also helps hair maintain a healthy shine and adds a layer of protection. While the hair is still damp, spray a very small amount of oil into the palms of your hands and rub together to encourage heat.
Use both an upwards and downwards motion, ensuring you cover its entirety.
Too much product will weigh it down and create a greasy look, whereas too little will fail to have any impact at all.
The oil should last all day and should not require any reapplications.
Why not try a couple of scented varieties for the lady in your life?
Use a soft bristle brush to distribute the oil evenly and style your desired shape.
For ideas, have a browse of some of the latest celebrity stylings.
Why not go out of your comfort zone and try a Dick Van Dike or Hipster look?
- Step 4 – Dry
I recommend you blow dry your beard rather than let it air dry.
Air drying will influence it to kink and curl in all the wrong places.
You can either use a standard hairdryer with a separate fine tooth comb, or a specialized mini hairdryer with inbuilt comb accessory.
If you’re using a regular hair dryer, use a medium power setting as to not blast your beard to the other side of the room.
Carefully and slowly draw the comb through your beard in a downwards motion while holding the dryer about two or three inches from the hair.
Don’t burn your brilliant beard by holding it too close.
If you’re using a dedicated beard hairdryer with an inbuilt comb, then simply switch it on and comb your beard into a lengthways straight position.
Neither of these methods should be time-consuming, although this does depend on the length and thickness of the hair.
Continue this motion until your beard is dry.
- Step 5 Optional: Use a straightener
This is an entirely optional stage.
The way to use hair straighteners depends on just how thick and curly your mane is, and how straight you want it to become.
I recommend you use mini-straighteners rather than secretly sneaking your girlfriend’s full-size GHDs for safety and efficiency reasons.
Start at the top, where the hair is closest to your cheek bone. Locate a definitive horizontal chunk of beard and separate it from the rest of the hair.
Smooth it so its flat and give it a quick comb to prevent knots (if you try to straighten knotted hair, you’ll produce an opposing effect) Clamp the parted hair tightly with your hair straightener and drag it downwards, following the styling pattern you prefer.
Do this at a medium pace, as too slow can cause your beard to fry (nobody likes the smell of burnt hair), whereas too fast won’t have much effect (saying that, if you’re going for a wavy look, a slow pace may be optimal).
If you’re aiming for the dead-straight look, you may want to repeat this action once or twice more. (Don’t worry, the oil you applied earlier also works as a protective agent against heat damage, so your precious bristles won’t turn to ash).
At this stage, take another close look in the mirror for any odd looking hairs. Your beard may be longer than you expected, or have one or two unruly subjects.
Pull your newly straightened beard through your comb and trim any unsightly ends.
- Step 6 – Wax On, Wax Off
The wax is the icing on the cake.
It holds together your look, protects against exposure to wind or rain and maintains a happy, healthy beard.
Rub a small amount of your chosen wax between your fingertips.
Gently rub the product evenly through your beard, working from the top down. Manipulate the hair into your preferred position.
As a general rule of thumb, the more hair you have, the more wax you’ll need to keep a strong hold.
- Step 7 – Keep Brushing It
A soft bristle brush or a comb can easily be transported in your ‘man-bag’ (I know you own one of those!) If you’re out in rough weather, or have had to run to catch the tube, whip the brush from your bag and give your beard a quick brush.
This will ensure that the hairs remain in perfect shape.
Brush your beard into place before bed.
It might sound strange because you’ll probably wash it again in the morning anyway, but this sort of repetitive action can naturally re-direct your hair to grow in a preferred way.
Remember that hair, regardless of where it is, is trainable.
If you follow a daily grooming routine that consists of a thorough wash and condition, careful blow dry and oil / wax application, you may find that over time your wispy whiskers begin to look noticeably neater without much of an effort at all.
Like me, you might embrace the concept of a curly beard, and want to simply neaten it up and keep it manageable.
Alternatively, you may prefer to get rid of those tangles altogether and have a completely sleek, straight style.
Either way, these steps can be followed to achieve a variety of results, ensuring you’re always proud and confident about your day-to-day appearance.