Beard grooming part 1: 6 simple rules to always follow
The last few years have seen an increased interest in male facial hair. Studies have investigated evolutionary reasons for beards, researchers continue to unravel the biological mechanisms that promote the growth of the testosterone-fueled hair and psychologists are trying to understand the effects of beards on men and their impact on the laws of attraction.
Beards have been shown to protect from UV rays - fuller ones more so. They, however, can’t provide as much protection as sunscreen would. Women don’t necessarily find bearded men more attractive but are more likely to associate facial hair with maturity, higher social status and higher intellect. These findings change with geography and can also be contradictory - the aesthetic effect is, after all, subjective.
But keeping aesthetics aside for a minute - there is still a need for proper grooming techniques and rules to follow. Poor shaving habits can also lead to conditions such as folliculitis in which the hair follicles become inflamed. Staph bacteria, which live on the skin, can enter the follicles if shaving too closely or if aftershave isn't used afterwards.
Since beards are very much in vogue, here is a guide to grooming and maintaining that mane that you are so proud of.
1. Good beard health starts with good skincare
Shaving or trimming can be a painful process for some men. Beard hair is coarse and the rigidity can lead to inflamed follicles post-shaving. It is, therefore, good practice to bathe with warm water before shaving. This opens the pores and causes less friction. Washing the face with cold water post-shave also lowers the likelihood of infection by closing pores.
2. Soften the hair with conditioner
It is good practice to use beard oil or conditioner before shaving as this softens and detangles the hair. Then, use a hairbrush to brush against the grade so your facial hair is standing on end. This gives an idea of which strands are longer and the shave is more balanced.
3. Use a clipper to cut stray hair
There are always outliers when it comes to facial hair - start by clipping these off before using a broader approach.
Also Read: 5 beard myths busted
4. Focus on the neckline
The neckline is important since it acts as the lower border for the beard. Conventionally, neck hair does not go below the Adam’s apple. Take your middle and index finger and place them over your Adam’s apple. Use this as a point of reference and trim the hair ear-to-ear in the shape of a U. This technique gives body to the neck without the beard looking overgrown.
5. Styling comes with fading
Once you've established the southern border, you can focus on grades. Set your trimmer to a lower setting (how low depends on how deep a shave you are going for, 3-4 mm is standard) from the edge of the beard to an inch within. This will add texture to your beard. Increase the setting as you go deeper in. The moustache and the hair around your mouth grow faster and denser, and it is good practice to leave these longer.
Pro tip: If you're using a new trimmer, start with the highest setting so you get an idea of the grade without making a mistake.
6. Use a razor after you are done trimming
If you want a clean shave, it is a good idea to start first with the trimmer. It is easier to shave a stubble since there is less resistance and a lower likelihood of cuts and scrapes. It is also good practice to shave with the grain to minimize friction. Plan a day or two between going clean-shaven and any important appearances since, even if you take precautions, you might get a few small cuts.
For more information, please read our article on Folliculitis.
Health articles in Firstpost are written by myUpchar.com, India’s first and biggest resource for verified medical information. At myUpchar, researchers and journalists work with doctors to bring you information on all things health.
The information provided here is intended to provide free education about certain medical conditions and certain possible treatment. It is not a substitute for examination, diagnosis, treatment, and medical care provided by a licensed and qualified health professional. If you believe you, your child or someone you know suffers from the conditions described herein, please see your health care provider immediately. Do not attempt to treat yourself, your child, or anyone else without proper medical supervision. You acknowledge and agree that neither myUpchar nor firstpost is liable for any loss or damage which may be incurred by you as a result of the information provided here, or as a result of any reliance placed by you on the completeness, accuracy or existence of any information provided herein.
Updated Date: Dec 13, 2019 18:48:09 IST
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