Facial hair has been around for as long as there have been humans. A good beard can signify that the man behind it is healthy, virile, and well-taken care of. And that is a look that is always attractive.

But a scraggly or ill-kempt beard can be off-putting. It screams to the world; I just don’t care! And no matter who you are, that’s not the look you’re going for.

If you’re new to facial hair, welcome! You’re in good company. Some of our most beloved presidents have been bearded (remember good old Honest Abe?), and many Hollywood celebrities are growing beards to complement their look. Have you seen Kurt Russell in The Hateful Eight or The Santa Claus Chronicles? That’s one for the ages.

Today we’re going to take a brief look at the history of beards and beard trimming before helping you navigate the sometimes-complicated world of facial hair in the modern day. By the end, you’ll feel confident and secure in your ability to let your best self-radiate out to the world.

History

It seems like facial hair style changes every ten years. The looks that were in style in the nineteen seventies are coming back around. Back then, big, wooly beards were the height of sexiness. Burt Reynolds, Grizzly Adams, and James Brolin all boasted healthy, thick beards at one time or another.

But the beard is even more connected to American history than that. During the civil war, facial hair was extremely popular. This was partly because so many soldiers were unable to meet their basic needs, let alone find the time to stop and shave. Of course, there were others, like General Burnsides, famous for popularizing the sideburns, who used their facial hair as a status symbol. If you’re interested in learning more, click this link https://www.insider.com/evolution-of-facial-hair-2018-11#1800s-sideburns-1 for an abridged history of the last two hundred years of stylish facial hair.

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Back then, the cost of maintaining a neat goatee or mustache kept some people from deciding to grow one. Waxes and pomades were an added expense that many could not afford. Only a barber had the necessary tools to ensure that hair was trimmed neatly and close to the skin without causing razor burn or other skin damage.

That was also during the time when barbers often served double duty as a town’s dentist. You better believe there was no Novocain a hundred years ago. Instead, barbers pulled teeth without any kind of pain numbing. If you’ve ever wondered why a barber pole features red and blue stripes, it was a way to indicate to the public what skills the barber had. A red stripe is how he let customers know that he was also trained to perform dentistry.

For many men, then, visiting the barber brought up painful memories. Not surprising, then, that many chose to skip it and instead shave themselves clean. Today, the two services are completed by different people who have been extensively trained in their selected area of expertise. No worries about razor burn on top of a pulled wisdom tooth!

For centuries, facial hair was styled and maintained with a straight razor, a tool with a long handle on one end and a sharp blade on the other. You’ve probably seen one of these before; if not, click here for more information. Today, stylists use electric clippers to get the closest, most accurate shave possible.

What to Know

So, what do you need to know about modern day beard maintenance?

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It depends on your current goals. If you’re trying to grow your beard out, it’s best to wait a while between trims. Most stylists would recommend between six and eight weeks. But don’t wait any longer or you’ll risk split ends.

If your beard has already reached your desired length – whether it’s Sean Kingston short or Charles Darwin long – it’s time to up the trims. Plan to tidy it up every three to four weeks. Of course, if you are like Jack Donaghy and you think that “your hair is your head suit,” you may want to trim up every week or even every day. That’s extreme, though, and not necessary.

Beard Trimming Styles

Styles

What styles benefit from a good trim?

The answer is, most of them look best when kept well-maintained. There are many different styles to choose from. Goatees, van dykes, mustaches, soul patches, and more will all look better when neat. There’s nothing worse than a Raffi-style mustache that’s taking over your top lip!

Are there any downsides to trimming your beard? It’s possible. If you trim it yourself and cut too much, perhaps. Or if you try an intricate cut or style, you might end up having to shave it and start over if you make a mistake. Having a trained stylist do it for you is your best bet.

Use beard cream in order to help keep your hair looking smooth and shiny. It can also calm any flyaway hair to make you look sleek and polished. Others choose to add oil to their hair. There are many different scents to choose from. You could opt for a food scent like coconut or almond, or you could choose sandalwood, beer, or tobacco. Your barber might have a good recommendation for your hair type.

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When to Trim?

We’ve already discussed how often to trim your beard above. But are there any other times when you should consider getting it freshened up?

Whenever you want to make a good impression, it is the perfect time to clean up your facial hair. Many drops into their barber or stylist before a job interview in order to look their best. Others do it before a first date, a planned proposal, asking someone to prom, or announcing their album drop. Whatever the occasion, you’ll look and feel your best.

Having a beard makes you part of a noble human tradition spanning decades. Like anything worth doing, having facial hair is worth doing well.

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