Beyond No-Shave November: Beard Maintenance Basics

by Jake Hollister, Contributing Writer

Ricki Hall, influential tattoo and beard model. Source: Man in Pink

No-Shave November is finally over! This article goes out to the troopers who’ve braved the No-Shave November challenge and decided to keep their precious facial hair (or anyone with a beard for that matter). After November, some students become first time bearders and have no idea what to do with the unorganized mess draped across their face. So here are some tips, styles, and products to help swing that beard in the right direction.

The key to a good beard is not its fullness, color or shape. Everyone has different natural tendencies in their ability to grow a beard, so what really makes or breaks your facial hair is the level of dedication to trimming. Even when going for a rugged and unkempt style, just the smallest intervention with a trimmer can make all of the difference in separating a guy who looks like Chewbacca and a man who has got it all together.

Beards vary greatly in shapes and styles. But what’s trending in beards right now seems to be somewhat polarized. Larger beards are a big time trend right now. For those looking to grow out their facial mane, the key to trimming a long beard is to have it follow the jawline, so it doesn’t look like a hanging mop. However, with a longer beard comes more responsibility. It soon becomes an entity that needs to be treated like the hair on the top of your head, meaning regular conditioning, brushing and application of beard products.

On the opposite end of the beard spectrum, short and well-kept beards are trending as well. These short styles consist of Rugged and Natural Neck with Trimmed Cheeks. The Rugged is maintained by fading the cheek and neckline, keeping everything in its place, but still allowing for the beard to grow in its most natural state. The Natural Neck with trimmed Cheeks consists of trimming the neck just above the Adam’s apple and trimming just below the cheekbone. Regular trimming to keep the beard short will keep the wearer looking fresh and clean cut.

Beard Oil
Source: Shoppist

Now, no matter how long a beard grows, something needs to eliminate the itchiness and stringiness of natural beard hair. Beard oil and balm are essential in maintaining that healthy beard look. Oil moisturizes act as a leave-in conditioner. They keep the beard soft and help keep the skin below the beard healthy. Balm does the same thing as oil, though it also adds a styling component for longer beards. No matter what you preferences are, there are some great brands for beard oil/balm: Beard Brand, Dream Beard, Honest Amish, and Dr. Ganix. Each product ranges from $15 to $30, keeping your wallet nice and full.

Beards are a great way to strut masculinity and shield your precious face from the cold. Hopefully, with these tips in trends and maintenance, the beards at UW-Madison will be bigger and better looking than ever.

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