No “good beard” is an accident. If you see a guy whose whiskers are well groomed and look healthy, it’s because he’s putting in the time to make it that way. Growing a beard is one thing, but how he cares for it determines how great it looks—even if his beard is patchier or thinner than others.
Guys with good beards don’t have dry or irritated skin either. Their partners don’t suffer from beard burn, and the men themselves aren’t scratching at an itch all day. Their necklines are shaped just right—and yes, their facial hair looks styled in the best way possible, too.
Achieving this on your own comes down to three main things: minding the edges, trimming as needed, and nourishing both your skin and hair. To learn the best ways to do this, we asked a couple experts for help: Garrett Pike, founder and head barber at No Club Barbershop, and Robert McMillen, founder and head barber at Mildred Barbershop. Below is the beard maintenance advice they think every guy should put into practice, guaranteed to result in soft, satisfying scruff.
It’s just a small strip of hair, but the mustache deserves more attention than you’re giving it—namely when it comes to trimming. One key to a successful trim, McMillen says, is to “maintain a normal ‘resting’ face when trimming, to assure your mustache is even with all expressions.” Pike adds that mustache scissors are imperative instead of electric clippers, because thy allow you a more natural result.
“You also need a small comb,” McMillen says. “Comb the mustache hairs straight down to determine how much length and bulk need to be trimmed. Once the length has been determined, the bulk can be reduced by combing the hairs away from the face and removing the top layer. Your comb and scissors should do the trick.”
Here’s some neckline-shearing insight that will remind you of your clean-shaven days: “Most guys treat shaving as a chore and not a process,” McMillen says.
Some guys might think “I need to remove this hair” instead of “I need to keep my skin healthy.” If this sounds like you, then you might be a prime candidate for irritation, infection, and razor burn on and around your neckline. McMillen says to take your time shaving around the beard, just as you would have a full regimen for shaving your face. “Any proper shave takes time, especially when it comes to pre- and post-shave care," he says. "Even if you’re just maintaining facial hair and shaving around certain patterns, be sure your skin is clean. You need to make sure the pores are open beforehand and properly sealed after to avoid irritation.” That’s why you should start the shave with a hot shower, and end it with a cold splash of water before applying a nourishing beard balm barrier.