Grooming the Perfect Beard

Look, let’s take a minute and be honest: some good looking men grow ugly beards. I know, it’s a lot like telling beautiful couples that their kids are… well… ugly. How dare I say such a terrible thing, right? Hey, it happens. More to the point, ugly beards are avoidable. There are great products on the market to help tame those unruly whiskers, and help show you how to groom a beard.  And, there are a lot of different places you can turn for stellar beard care. I’ll mention two of my favorites later on. We have to get two key truths out of the way before moving on. Brace yourselves.

You might not be able to grow a real beard. Period.

how to groom a beard

There are a lot of men that simply can’t grow a beard. There’s nothing wrong with that. One of my best friends cannot grow a beard no matter how hard he tries… or doesn’t try. He’ll get a little stubble on his chin and some random sprouts mid-cheek, but nothing else. He’s a non-beard man for life. Where it all goes wrong is situations in which a man believes he can grow a beard, but his face simply won’t make it happen. If you’ve got patches, you’re in this category. No matter how much you know how to groom a beard, you’re out of luck if you can’t grow one. If you’re hell bent on having some facial hair, find your best feature and try just that part out. Some people have great luck with a soul patch under their bottom lip. Others, it’s all about the moustache. Experiment a little – just don’t end up looking like a porn star from the 1970s.

You have to give it time to become respectable.

Beards a like wild cats. They attract ladies (when cared for), they are masculine and majestic (again, when cared for), but they’re also completely indifferent to your intentions and can ruthlessly cut through whatever you throw at them if provoked. Okay, so the ruthless cutting analogy was a little dramatic… it’s my beard talking. Forgive me. My point is, you have to give your whiskers time to grow out into a fullness and shape that commands attention. Grooming, however, while you’re growing is of the utmost importance.

Here are a few keys to growing and grooming the perfect beard.

1 – Invest in beard care products.

how to groom a beardWhether this is your first time or you’re a seasoned vet on the journey to Beard Country, USA, having a few beard care products in your arsenal will make a world of difference. A healthy beard (and one that’s not ugly) needs only a few items to make it happy: beard conditioner, oil or lotion, and a comb or brush. I cannot stress the importance of a brush. Simply brushing your beard makes you look far less like a hobo.

I purchased the Billy Jealousy beard kit from The Motley and could not be happier. It’s really the bare essentials, and that’s all you’ll need – especially if you’re only getting started on your way to Beardhood. The kit comes with the Beard Wash, Beard Control, and a boar’s hair brush. I already had a comb, but I prefer the brush. Immediately, the difference was night and day. My girlfriend even commented that it made me look much more put-together with all my whiskers softened and facing the same direction. Beard oils and conditioners are truly worth their weight in gold. Invest in some and soothe those angry hairs.

2 – Get a beard trimmer. Yes, really.

Think of this as getting clothes that fit you as you lose weight. Let’s image Mike at the office has started losing weight. Over the last few months he’s gotten leaner, but he hasn’t updated his shirts or slacks, so while his body looks better, his overall appearance is sloppy. When he finally purchases a few tailored shirts (probably from us), he’ll suddenly look leaner, meaner, and sharper. This is the same thing a good trimmer can do for your beard. It will keep those wild hairs under wraps. For the stragglers that like to ignore the conditioner and oil, this is the absolute best bang for the buck. They can be had for $12-$100 on Amazon. Get one. Now.

3 – Shape it correctly.

This is important because there are two thing we need less of in the world: neck beards and chinstraps. Let’s get a few things straight on this topic, because I don’t want people to read this and think you’re not allowed to grow and hair below your chin, or trim it lower than your cheekbone. A rule of thumb is to shape the top of the beard with a straight line from your earlobe to the corner of your mouth. This is different for each person, that’s why its a rule of thumb. Personally, I like to cut about a quarter-of-an-inch lower and keep the line straight. It’s just personal preference.

No Chinstrap Beards
No Chinstrap Beards – you’re not a Backstreet Boy
No Neck Beards
No Neck Beards

As far as the neck beard goes, here’s a video to tell you how the beard should be shaped on the neck and jawline, so you can get a great look and be your own version of a Dan Bilzerian beard. It’s a great video from a great beard with a man attached to it.

4 – Create a beard care routine.

This is much less of a hassle than it sounds. They say it takes 21 days to form a habit. Think of this as an exercise in forming great habits in the how to groom a beard game. Make time to wash your beard, oil or condition that bad-boy, and brush it. Granted, it’s not going to take you very long do these things, but they’re still important. If you neglect your routine, you’ll neglect your beard, and the world around you will notice. Don’t be that guy. Make a commitment to wash and condition the beard in the shower, and comb/brush it in the morning and throughout the day. A little care goes a long way, and you’re in it to win it, right? Damn right, you are.

5 – Get yourself a beard-friendly barber.

how to groom a beardThere are two things I love in this messed up world: my lady, and my time at the barber. I’m a bald man, so I’m not there for the latest hipster haircut. I’m there to have a skilled, passionate professional take care of my beard and scalp. I go in for a straight razor shave of my head, neck, and beard lines, and a thorough conditioning and trim of my wild face jungle. Words cannot express the cascading waves of relaxation that accompany the feel of someone else caring for your beard and scalp.

All pleasantries aside, a good beard-centric barber will give you a leg up on making your beard look and feel fantastic. Your barber will be able to trim and shave from a perspective you can’t get by yourself in your bathroom mirror. They’ll also be able to treat your beard and skin to products you probably don’t have at home. If you’re in the Chicagoland area, I cannot say enough great things about Beardgaard Barbers in the West suburb of Batavia. When I’m up in the Windy City, I make sure I visit Tyler and Natalie.

BONUS – Choose the right beard style for you.

I’m adding this because I simply had to share it. Beard Institute did an incredible article on choosing the correct style for your face and personality, and I feel it’s my duty to bring it to you. Learn more about the right beard style for you. You can also check out reviews on some of the best beard oils out there.

Did I miss anything? Do you have something to add? Share it in the comments.
If you’ve got a favorite grooming product, please share that too!


BONUS Material – Check out this bonus episode


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The Author

Blake Hammerton

Blake Hammerton

Blake Hammerton is the founder and coach at The Sharp Gentleman, and helps men earn more respect while gaining confidence in who they are. He is a certified relationship coach and loves writing about men's fashion, style, character-building, relationships, travel, adventure, and more.