Are you a manly man who unapologetically loves his beard and would not part with it for anything? Or are you tired of fitting right in with the hipster crowd and seemingly almost every man out there with a beard? Whether you want your beard or not, properly trimming and caring for your mane and skin is more vital than many of us men care to know. A properly groomed and maintained face not only looks and feels much better every day, it can lead to better overall health and happiness, and who doesn’t want more of that in our lives?
Most men know several basic tips on how to shave, but there are several additional details that can really take your facial hygiene over the top, and they don’t require too much extra effort at all. So whether you need a quick refresher or are new to the skin care game, read on to enlighten and enhance your manliness.
The Tools for the Job
No matter what you’re trying to achieve, you need the right tools to do it successfully. Shaving is no exception. What you’ll need at the most basic level is a good sharp razor, a beard trimmer or clippers, some quality shaving cream, and some sort of moisturizer or beard oil for when you’re done with the shave or trim. There are many other specialty products that can take your face care over the top, and we’ll go over those later, but those are the bare minimum tools you need to keep great care of your face, with or without a beard.
As you well know, there are far too many types of razors available out there, so basically which one you choose is up to your own preference. The absolutely necessary requirement for all razors when using them is that they are sharp and clean. A sharper razor means a smoother shave and a cleaner razor means less irritation. So keep ’em tidy, gents. There are also many types of beard trimmers out there, you just want one that is able to cut the hairs pretty close to the face.
For shaving cream or gel or foam or whatever, the higher quality you use the better and cleaner your shave will be. Look for products that are glycerin based rather that menthol based. Lastly, for the moisturizer, the same applies for that as with the shaving cream. The higher the quality, the happier you’ll be. Look for moisturizers that use natural ingredients like aloe or tea tree or other natural oils as these are less irritating for your skin.
The last step in your preparation to shave or trim your beard is very, very important. You want to make sure your face is clean and warm and slightly damp. This opens up your pores and greatly facilitates a better shave. So, it is usually best to shave after you shower, and you can even use a warm towel press to keep your pores open and clean and ready for the cut.
How to Trim Your Beard
If you decide you want to keep your lumber-beard, keeping it groomed is very under appreciated. Keeping a clean and even trim and shape for your beard makes it so much more appealing for anyone staring at your man mug. First, when growing your beard out, you don’t really want to trim it for the first couple of weeks as the hairs grow out and fill in. Once it’s nice and full and a little scraggly, the trim becomes vital. The best way to keep your beard looking neat and amazing is to keep the neckline trimmed. No one likes to see your extra hairs trailing down and trying to form a bridge with your chest hair. It’s just not cool.
The general rule of thumb for keeping your neckline shapely is to follow just under your actual jaw, as in your entire jaw structure of your skull. Not the part where the front of your chin ends. Trimming your beard that high will make you look childish and will make your neck look much bigger than it actually is.
So to find you actual jawline, take a one or two finger-length above your Adam’s apple. That is the starting point for your trim. As you hold your head up looking in the mirror, create an almost straight, slightly U-shaped line across your neck and that’s the line you take to trim your beard. It’s easy to feel your jaw as you follow that line with your fingers. Using your beard trimmer, trim everything below this line you traced. You don’t need to shave the hairs completely off, just keep them very short. Your longer beard above that will make the shorter hairs look more natural than clean baby skin down there. Keep this neckline trimmed and your beard will always be looking tip-top.
Once you have the neckline looking dandy, you can trim any extra long or scraggly hairs that aren’t up to par and you can also shape or fade your beard in certain areas if you so desire and have that facial hair density. Generally, you don’t want any hairs too high on your cheeks or uneven with the other cheek, and you don’t want hairs in your mustache unevenly hanging over your lip. Early on though, you don’t want to do too much trimming or you won’t be able to grow the exact beard you wanted because you are always trimming it.
How to Shave Your Face Clean
If you’re sick of the beard hiding your handsome face and want the smooth feel and the cool breeze blowing on your skin, it’s time for the beast to go. The first step you should always take is trimming your beard down to very close to your face using your beard trimmer. This makes for a much better shave once you begin using the razor. Trim the hairs down and wash off any loose hairs with warm water to keep your pores open and ready. At this point if you have sensitive skin or want a really close shave you can apply some shaving oil, but it is not necessary if you don’t want it.
Now it’s time for the shaving cream. Again, an additional option here is to apply the cream with a shaving brush in a circular motion to improve the lather and thus make the hairs stand up even more. This is not necessary but I’ve found that it does make a difference for a cleaner shave.
Now that you’re lathered up, use your razor shave with the grain of your hairs. This is especially important to do if you are shaving your face clean after having a beard for a period of time. It creates less drag and irritation for your skin and you are much less likely to pull a hair out or create any razor bumps if you shave with the grain. When you’re done with the shave and it’s not close enough for you, you can always go back and shave again against the grain to make it literally skin tight.
Another important step is to use your off hand to hold the skin tight around the blade. This allows for a closer shave as well. Lastly, and also quite critical, is to not press the razor too hard into your skin. This will create much less irritation and you’ll be less likely to cut yourself. Also remember to use smooth strokes and to rinse your razor under hot water after every 2-3 strokes. All of these little steps create a vastly improved shaving experience and result.
When you’re done with the shave, rinse your face with warm water and inspect for any missed hairs. Use the razor to clean those up. When your face is to your liking, rinse with cold water and pat dry with a towel. This helps close your pores and cleans any remaining shaving cream or oil off your face. Remember to clean your shaving supplies after each use to keep them sharp and bacteria-free, and to make your next shave just as good as this one. Now your skin should be smooth and clean and fresh and ready for showing off!
One last little tip, every once in a while, go get a real shave from a proper barber. It’s wonderful and relaxing and they are the better at shaving your face than you ever will be. It’s worth it to occasionally pony up the dough to have this done. Try it out, especially if your beard is looking particularly daunting to shave, you won’t regret it!
Aftercare for Your Face
If you have a beard, you generally don’t shampoo it each a every day because that could really dry it out. But you still need to keep your skin clean and the hairs soft. The best product for this is beard oil. This is basically a leave in conditioner for your beard that softens the hairs and hydrates the skin. Choose a better quality one with natural ingredients, as you will only be using a couple drops for each use so it lasts quite a while. Just rub a few drops throughout your beard each morning after your shower and possible trim and you should keep your face mane looking and feeling fresh.
If you went the soft and smooth skin route, use a nice, natural aftershave moisturizer to keep your pores clean and your skin soft. Try to avoid a product that is alcohol based as it can burn and dry out your skin. This is a very important step to maintaining the health and appeal of your facial skin. A little moisturizer after each shave goes a long way. Don’t be too manly to use it. Skin health is often overlooked in the level of overall health and can be a great way to stay generally healthy. Plus, what woman doesn’t like a man with better skin?
Your face is important. I think you all know that. It is the first and main point of visual contact you make with people day in and day out. It is the most essential element of your style and hygiene. But many of us men don’t take proper care of it. Whether you have a bold beard that perfectly accents your face shape and attitude, or you have a neat and clean face begging for a touch, how you trim, shave, and maintain your facial hair and skin makes all the difference in your appeal and message. So taking the extra time and using the correct tools allows for a much better looking and feeling face. Don’t be so manly you neglect essential facial care tips and miss out on the life of a properly groomed man. A properly styled beard even has important implications about your work life! Take care of your face, fellas.