Gentlemen, drop the razor and back away from the sink. Beards are back in a big way, and we’ve got the lowdown on how to rock your own without looking like a caveman.
Whether it’s a beard, a moustache or even a carefully cultivated five-o’-clock shadow, the benefits are many: Strategically placed scruff can lend maturity to a baby face, camouflage imperfections, add a distinguished, refined polish to your overall look and—perhaps best of all—reduce prep time in the morning, eliminating the need to stand in front of the bathroom mirror sticking pieces of tissue on razor nicks.
Once you make the commitment, though, be mindful of three basic guidelines: First, much as you would the hair atop your head, make sure that whatever style of scruff you decide to grow flatters the shape of your face. As long as you’ve grown out of your patchy puberty phase, that shouldn’t be difficult, says Emily Warren, Regis Regional Artistic Director. “If you’ve got it, rock it; it’s an easy look to pull off,” Warren says. Second, be sure to maintain it. Facial hair, like all other hair, grows about half an inch a month. Want a robust beard? You’ll clip once a week. Want stylish stubble? Expect to trim every other day. Third, your haircut will have to be polished up to balance the rakishness of some scruff. Whether your cut is long or short, “so long as you have good product in your hair, it doesn’t really matter,” Warren says.
Just remember: Your facial hair should reflect your individuality. “You can blend different looks together and play with your personality,” Warren says. “You can go from grunge to businessman in a matter of a trim.” Besides, if you decide you hate it (or if your girlfriend decides you hate it), your beard can disappear in minutes—or however long it takes you to shave your face squeaky clean. How often does a no-lose proposition like that come along?
1. Tread carefully around the neck and jawline. Tapering looks more natural than a blunt line.
2. Don’t fight your natural hair growth. Ryan’s scruff is sparse on the sides but thicker at his chin. Going tighter and shorter at the chin balances his lean face.
3. Beard Clipper 101: The smaller a guard’s number, the shorter your hair will be, and vice versa. But guard numbers aren’t universal. “If you’re getting a trim on vacation and ask for a No. 1 guard, the result may be very different than what you’re used to,” Warren says.
4. Ryan’s easygoing short cut falls into place on its own. American Crew Defining Paste ($16.95, Regis Salons) adds just enough texture.
1. Keep it proportional to your haircut. “Gerard’s beard is the right length for his hair,” Warren says. “Get this look with a 16th-inch or one-eighth-inch guard.”
2. Add definition to longer, curly hair: Rub a dime-sized amount of Regis DESIGNLINE Texture Cream ($10.95, Regis Salons) between your palms, then apply to hair from roots to ends and let air dry.
3. Sleight of hand when shaping your beard can subtly restructure a rounder face. “Play up your best features,” Warren says. “A squared-off beard adds definition.”
1. Confidence is a must for the mountain man look. Take your cue from Jon and make sure you’re wearing your beard—and it’s not wearing you.
2. The contrast between Jon’s rugged beard and his classic swept-back cut is what makes it work. For a natural matte finish, use a dab of Sebastian Professional Craft Clay ($16.95, Regis Salons) to push hair back from your forehead.
3. Beware: This won’t work for everyone. You’ll need thick, bushy scruff, and “if your facial-hair pattern is broken up, it will look really messy,” Warren says. Better to go shorter than sport a blotchy beard.
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