I'm often asked by my fellow bearded brothers various questions about maintaining the hair we all like to let perch on the underside of our faces. In the bearded community, strangers and friends alike often discuss the best ways to manage our face rugs and keep them looking luscious.
So, for my grizzly confidants across the world, here's a few products you should own if you want to treat your beard with the respect it deserves.
1. A good moustache comb
Having a good moustache comb is vital to keeping your manly mane tamed and looking neat. Get rid of those pesky knots by investing in one.
It's important not to just use a regular old comb you'd use to straighten up your barnet - moustache combs are specifically made to ensure the teeth are the right width for facial hair, and they're a lot less sharp. They also tend to be anti-static.
I use: Carter and Bond.
2. A really good beard oil
Along with combing to stay looking sharp, using a beard oil is undoubtedly one of the top priorities for anyone with a beard, or anyone who aspires to grow one.
They essentially condition the hair and your skin, because letting your facial fuzz grow out sucks a lot of the nutrients from your skin and causes a lot of irritation. A good quality beard oil will soothe the skin, fill it with good stuff, soften the hairs so they aren't so abrasive, and make sure your beard hair stays healthy. That means less hair falling out, so a thicker, more awesome beard.
They also have the added benefit of smelling really nice, so you don't need to use aftershave, and they tend to be a fair bit cheaper than your average eau de toilette too. You can also pick up beard balms and beard "elixirs" which basically do the same thing.
You can check out some of my beard oil recommendations here.
3. A really good moustache wax
Wax isn't just for people who want that old-timey/hipster style curly handlebar moustache - it's also really good at keeping the hairs from sticking up (which is just really irritating) and keeping them out of your mouth (which is literally the worst).
A good quality moustache wax will be formulated to provide some extra goodness to your follicles too, just like the aforementioned beard oils.
Also, if you've got a hairy thing hanging around underneath your nose, you really want it to smell good.
4. Beard soap
Yep, I bet you didn't know you could actually buy soap and shampoo specifically for your beard, right?
The truth is, your regular shower gel probably isn't doing much harm to your facial fuzz, other than drying out your skin a little. But getting a specially formulated product could be the kick your beard needs to make it even more epic.
Like beard oil, these special soaps also have strengthening properties that will keep your beard looking fuller, as well as making sure the skin underneath is healthy and moisturised.
I use: The Bearded Chap Beard Soap.
5. A precision razor
I'd always recommend getting your beard shaped by a professional if possible, but sometimes you just need to tidy up the edges and stop errant hairs from harshing your vibe.
There's a plethora of products available, from the classic straight razors to laser-guided trimmers, and all sorts in between.
6. A beard brush
No, it's not the same as a moustache comb. And no, it's not like the brush you use to shine your shoes.
A beard brush can be really useful in styling your beard and making sure it's neat, but it will also help you evenly distribute your beard oil, making it almost as invaluable as any other item on this list.
I'd recommend shopping around for the perfect type of brush for your beard style.
7. A good barber
Not everything in your beard regimen is something you can keep in the bathroom cabinet - when it comes to cultivating an absolutely perfect facial masterpiece, a good barber is your best friend.
I've had some bad haircuts and some good haircuts in my time, and I've also had some good beard trims and some bad ones. It takes time to find a place that works for you, makes you feel comfortable and takes the time to do exactly what you want. That's incredibly important.
On top of that, you want someone who knows beards, and knows them well. A lot of average barbershops don't really know much beyond the basics. You want someone who knows the ins-and-outs of every follicle and can give you an essay-long answer to any question you might have. That's when you know you'll get the best advice, and walk out with your beard looking the best it possibly can.
I use: Ruffians.
With these seven things under your belt, you're sure to have a better looking beard in no time.
The best place to buy your beard products is always online. Your local pharmacy might have some, but they probably won't have a full selection (unless it's the Boots in Shoreditch, maybe). There's so much variety available, it's best to pick these things up on the web.