Sunday, 11 August 2013

Grooming - Beards and Stubble

In the first of a series of posts on grooming, I am taking a look at how to keep and maintain a great beard.

The beard is the most masculine and rakish of styles. Despite what some may think, growing, keeping and maintaining a great beard is as much work as shaving and keeping hair free (at least at the start). As with every style and trend, getting the look right depends on your style and finding one that suits you. There have been some great beards and there have been some pretty awful ones. The three images below are examples of great facial hair. 

Kanye West keeps a relatively clean look, and shows how to detail properly. 

Hugh Jackman's beard makes him look even more rugged and masculine than he undoubtedly already is. 

And my favourite of the three is Prince William. This is an epic beard that looks incredibly rakish, classical and the epitome of the gentleman. 

There is no place on The Rakish Gents for how not to look, but with beards the general consensus is that a bad one is one that is grizzly, groomed poorly or not at all or a beard that has several different colours in it (greying or with dyed streaks of colour). Avoid these pitfalls at all costs. 

The key to keeping a good beard, is to keep it neat. It is not a lazy alternative to not shaving and should be looked after and tended to, to ensure that it looks the best it can. A good trimmer is essential. There are great beard trimmers available on the market and I would recommend one that has a range of settings so you can adapt it to suit your style. If you are planning on keeping a full beard, it would be wise to invest in some scissors to sort out any stray hairs. It is a myth that once you start growing a beard, you can get rid of disposable razors - you will still need these to shape, detail and tidy. 

Shaving regularly acts as a exfoliator for your skin, so this is lost when you have a beard. To keep your skin feeling and looking refreshed, a good exfoliator like the below one from Clinique is recommended. 

It is also important to remember to moisturise and to keep your skin feeling and looking bright, clean and well looked after. If you are keeping a full beard, you may want to also consider using conditioner which will avoid dryness. The below moisturiser from Kiehl's is one of the best available. 

Personally, I prefer well groomed stubble over a beard. It is not seen as scruffy and can look rather stylish and sophisticated. Stubble is also a good way for someone with a baby face to look older and quite handsome. Stubble requires more work than a beard, and maybe even more work than clean shaving but once you have the shape and style right, and develop a pattern of grooming it is an easy look to keep on top of. Again, the below looks are great examples of getting stubble right. 

Ryan Gosling 

David Beckham 

David Gandy

Shaping stubble keeps it looking clean and neat, avoiding any scruffiness. This is achieved by keeping the lower neck and top of cheeks clean shaven and giving it a clean line. This should not be too neat though if a more natural (and stylish) look is what you are after. Much of the above steps are required, with the added inclusion of a shave oil which does not lather. A good shave oil will allow you to keep that jawline looking neat. The below from Murdock London is one of the best. 

To keep the shape you will need a good razor, electrical or wet shavers depending on what you are after. I have found that a disposable razor will do the job. To maintain the length, a good stubble controller like the Babyliss For Men i-Stubble is recommended. You can use it as much or little as you want and has great control settings. 

It is the use of such a controller that makes having stubble so much easier than clean shaving. Once you have your shape, it will be easy to keep on top of. 

I hope the above tips and recommendations will be of some use to those of you that are venturing into the rakish world of facial hair. 

No comments:

Post a Comment