Five ways to tame a grizzly beard

They might be stylish. They might be convenient. But like grizzly bears, grizzly beards can be wild, untamed and prickly old things if not taken care of correctly. So here are five ways to tame the beast – with a little help from me and Brisk beard care…

1. Keep in trim.

A neat beard is a sweet beard so ensure you keep your face fungus tidy with the help of a decent, adjustable beard trimmer. Use a brush or comb to straighten the hairs out before trimming and always trim your beard when it’s bone dry: hair expands and relaxes when wet so if you trim it when it’s damp it’ll look shorter once it dries. Remember, too, that your beard doesn’t have to be the same length all over. By cutting it a few millimetres shorter under the chin you’ll create a much softer, more natural transition line. You can do the same if you have a bushy beard and very little hair on your head – by ‘fading’ the sideburns up towards the head you’ll prevent a jarring divide.

2. Comb and condition.

As with relationships, beards tend to be trickiest in their early stages. The first few days of growing one can be uncomfortable and challenging: your new chin accessory may itch, tickle and feel strange to begin with. But there are things you can do to minimise any initial discomfort. Applying a little Brisk Beard Oil throughout the growing process will help keep hair soft, manageable and conditioned. Quickly absorbed and non-greasy, it’s the perfect for  minimising the itch and there are four versions to choose from: Tea Tree; refreshing Citrus; warm and masculine Cedarwood; and Unfragranced if you prefer to smell au naturel. You can apply using your fingertips or use a moustache comb or beard brush to distribute it evenly throughout your beard

3. Give your beard a blow dry.

Yep, you can blow dry the hair on your face just like the hair on your head. Simply use a small brush or comb to ease the hair downwards with the help of a hairdryer on a cool setting. Once dry, apply a little beard oil to finish off.  This a great way to tame unruly beards, fill in small bald patches and to ensure your beard looks neat, tidy and at its fullest.

4. Dodge dandruff.

If you were to run your fingers through you beard right now chances are, you’d trigger a small snowstorm of skin flakes (go on, try it). If you do, don’t feel too bad – beard dandruff is an occupational hazard of having facial hair. It occurs because hair tends to draw moisture away from the face, leaving the skin beneath dry and dehydrated.  On top of that, because you’re not shaving regularly any dead skin cells can build up beneath your beard.

Thankfully, minimising beard dandruff is simple: firstly, cleanse your beard thoroughly with Brisk’s Beard Shampoo, which is designed to cleanse without stripping skin and hair of its protective oils. By massaging in with your fingertips you’ll quickly dislodge any stray dead cells. Choose between the Unfragranced Beard Shampoo or the Tea Tree and Cedarwood version. Tea tree is known for its anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties so is great for ensuring your beard is clean and fresh. Then apply one of Brisk’s Beard Oils (my own favourite is the Citrus one) to ensure hair is conditioned and the skin beneath it is hydrated. Again, make sure you massage in with your fingers to ensure it reaches the skin beneath.

5. Be patient!

If your face furniture looks patchy and uneven in places be patient. Like raising a child you never quite know how your beard will turn out until it’s fully grown. If it looks patchy don’t panic – as it grows in length some gaps will fill in naturally. Yes, it will look a bit wild for a while but keep it clean and conditioned and show it some love and you’ll soon have a beard that’s tamed and looking top-notch.

About Brisk

Brisk Beard Oils combine nourishing natural almond, avocado, argan and jojoba oils in an ultra-light formula that’s highly conditioning is quickly absorbed. All Brisk Beard Shampoos  are designed to leave  facial hair  clean, soft and manageable and are paraben & sulphate free. Available from Waitrose, Boots, Superdrug and from briskgrooming.co.uk.

A Brisk/Grooming Guru Promotion

A hair care brand to swear by.

products_1851_natural-shampoo_0I’m always on the lookout for interesting grooming brands from across The Pond and Hanz de Fuko is certainly one worth looking out for. Hailing from San Francisco it might have a name that’s a danger to pronounce but it certainly ticks all the right boxes in terms of essential hair care. As well as looking cool, it’s packed with stuff you want to see in your products –  like organic ingredients, antioxidants and essential oils –  and free of stuff you don’t, like parabens and sulfates. I highly recommend the Natural Shampoo which is pH balanced so as not to upset the scalp and has a scent somewhere between mint, eucalyptus and cherry aid, but my testers with a little more hair also rate the styling products like the brand’s fragrance free Claymation clay-wax. Check out the range at nivenandjoshua.com

A grooming product worth investing in…

the man combAs someone who’s self employed and who has a multi-pronged ‘portfolio career’ (or so I’m told) I’m acutely aware of how much time, effort and money it can take to get new projects off the ground, so I have huge admiration for anyone trying to bring a new product to market. Which is where Arthur Randall comes in. The man behind DAFT  (Design And Fresh Thinking) he’s using Kickstarter to put his (rather cool-looking) Man Comb into production.

Having had a chance to see the prototype (I am combing my beard with it in between typing this) I can tell you it’s a beautifully designed product, made with a high level of craftsmanship and the leather holding pouch, which you can attach to your belt, is absolutely lovely. It’s useful too: not only can you comb your beard and hair with it, you can open bottles with it too. And an immaculate beard and barnet is worth celebrating right?

For more info or to get involved visit Arthur’s Kickstarter project page here.

How to concoct success

4ca9f7a8bfd38f9e04160fef12d83221Given that we’re very much in an age of ‘bespoke beauty’ and are constantly being told that today’s ‘Millennials’ are fiercely individualistic it’s no surprise to see the emergence of a shampoo you practically create yourself.

The brainchild of Alex Epstein, Concoction is essentially a bespoke shampoo where you select one of four bases and then pimp it up with the help of two ‘superserum shots’ of your choice. These serums, contained in dinky vials, are tailored to hair colour, texture or need (there’s one to add volume for example) and, along with the base shampoos, there are a whopping 256 possible blends, which certainly elevates it above any shampoo currently on offer in terms of a tailor-made feel.

alexIf you’re a fan of reality TV you’ll remember Alex from The Apprentice a couple of years back.  Though he never made it to the final (I suspect he was was too nice to) he’s one of the few contestants to actually do something with their entrepreneurial nous.

I met him briefly at the launch of the range at Selfridges a few weeks back and even though the poor guy hadn’t slept for 24 hours and was clearly running on nothing but adrenaline his enthusiasm for his brand was utterly infectious. In my book, anyone with that much passion for a product deserves all the success in the world. But passion aside, Concoction actually has a winning formula: a great idea + fantastic execution + all-important efficacy. More than that, though, it has something that’s genuinely rare for a beauty product – it’s huge fun.

Concoction is available exclusive to Selfridges.

Fore more information go to concoction.co.uk

And the Bafta for Best Beard goes to….

300-BenAffleck-DETAILS1-091412-jpg_172406The newspapers might be full of reports about how the little black dress reigned supreme at tonight’s Baftas but for me it was all about the facial hair. And I’m not referring to the women (Helena Bonham-Carter sorted out that little problem years ago). No, I’m talking about acting’s male elite, because this year’s Baftas saw the emergence of a new hirsute hierarchy in Hollywood. Facial hair was everywhere – from Affleck, Clooney, Phoenix and Jackman to Bardem, Mendes, Pegg and Wishaw. Even host Stephen Fry was sporting suitable face furniture for the event.

My Twitter feed, meanwhile, was positively bristling with excitement at the amount of unashamed beardage on display. So who, some of my followers wanted to know, won the Bafta for Best Beard, in my professional opinion? Without doubt, it was Affleck, whose facial hair is on a par with that of Jake Gyllenhaal’s and is everything a good beard should be: thick, even and neat without being overly manicured.

What struck me most tonight, though, was how far we’ve come in embracing the beard. Where once facial hair would elicit derision now it gets admiring oohs and ahhs from both men and women. Affleck’s family may well have hated his beard when they first saw it but it certainly hasn’t done his career any harm – the opposite in fact – and along with the raft of other actors currently sporting facial hair, it’s proof that 2013 isn’t the Year of the Snake at all – it’s The Year of The Beard.

David Beckham reveals men’s worst grooming mistake

It could have been anything: rushing the morning shave, not wearing enough deodorant or just overdoing the aftershave, but when asked by Men’s Health what men’s biggest grooming mistake was David Beckham revealed his personal bathroom bête noir to be…overplucked eyebrows. Bad memories of the above advertising shoot maybe?

Check out the Icon Stylefile featuring Becks in the December issue of Men’s Health.

David Beckham cleared of causing offence with H&M ads

In a victory for common sense (and in the Battle of the Bulge) the Advertising Standards Agency have rejected claims that pictures of a be-quiffed David Beckham modelling his bodywear range for H&M were offensive and unsuitable for children to see, announcing that the pics were ‘unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence’.

The ruling went on to say that it deemed the poses and facial expressions of Becks ‘mildly sexual at most’ though it did acknowledge that some viewers (those who aren’t that partial to ink one suspects) might find the images ‘distasteful’.

I can only assume the threeyes three – people who complained included the boss of a rival firm and two pensioners in possession of futuristic X-ray specs. Anyway, panic over.

Hairspray for men: still taboo?

Of all the grooming products for men hairspray has to be the hardest sell. In the last few years there have been attempts to flog men everything from eyeliner (marketed as cringe-inducing Guyliner) to false eyelashes (risible) and hair dye (successful apart from the ads which are clearly dubbed by the hard of hearing). But hairspray for men? It’s the toughest nut to crack and presumably an ad agency’s worst nightmare. Which is sad really because I’ve always thought it was one of the most useful products a man can have, especially for those ‘thin of thatch’. Seriously.

Weirdly, companies had no such qualms about selling this most glorious of grooming products to men in the past. Over the years various attempts have been made to get men to play with the spray. Even grooming behemoth Gillette had a go by proclaiming that ‘wet hair was dead’ and the dry look was hip with this glorious ad…

Then in the Seventies there were some truly hilarious attempts to win men over with hairsprays with names like Cossack and Falcon. Why they didn’t just come clean and call one Phallus I don’t know (I’m checking to see whether the name is registered for male grooming products the moment I finish this post).

The adverts for such products are always fun to watch, of course. Take this one for The Natural Way (which sounds faintly like the name of a Nudist Colony to me) for example…

I myself, when I had hair, had absolutely no problems carrying the can. In fact, back in the Eighties I used so much of the stuff that if my hair didn’t smoke when I dried it I felt something must be very wrong with my styling technique. Quite often I’d use a whole half can of hairspray to ensure I had suitable height and rigidity.

Eschewing expensive brands, I used Boots’ own hairspray which was essentially Bostik in a can (you never knew whether to style your hair with the stuff or just sniff it from a plastic bag) which left your hair littered in white flakes after a night out. In fact, so ‘claggy’ was it that the first time I used it I woke up the following morning thinking I’d developed contact dermatitis.

Why am I telling you all this? Frankly, I have absolutely no idea, except to say – men, hairspray rocks!

I mean, If you’ve got one of those deconstructed quiffs so popular at the moment it’s great. If you’ve got thin, fly-away hair that waxes just weight down it’s great. If you’ve got the kind of spikey do usually only seen on male Russian Eurovision entrants it’s great.

And I’m telling you it’s positively manly stuff, thereby giving you permission to spray away unhindered by any self-limiting notions of girliness.  Hell, Schwarzkopf even do a gym-bag-sized version in their excellent 3D styling range. It’s unscented and, helpfully, has ‘Men’ written on the can so what’s your problem? If you want great-looking hair don’t just pray – spray!

David Beckham gives good hair

As someone who sported his own quiff many years ago (yes, there was a time when I had hair) I’m insanely jealous of the height David Beckham’s achieved with his in these pics taken by Doug Inglish for the new issue of Men’s Health. In my book, the quiff (the ultimate salon-produced penis substitute) is still the greatest male hairstyle ever and this one, styled beautifully by Ken Paves, is sublime. There’s much to envy about Beckham – the wealth, the body, the cultural influence –  but it’s his hair (that ever-so-versatile hair) that impresses me the most. Beautiful game? Beautiful mane more like.

Ahhhh, no more Omega 3 ‘fish breath’!

You gotta laugh. One day I’m writing about casual celebrity encounters in restaurants and the next I’m reviewing fish oil but there you go, that’s the beauty of blogging. And of not being remotely snobby about what I write about.

So anyway. If, like me, you regularly take omega oil supplements you’ll be all too aware of the unwanted ‘fish burps’ they can illicit (a real pain when you’re at a product launch trust me). So it’s with considerable relief that I’ve come across this Omega 3,6 and 9 supplement from Paradox.

The fact that this particular supplement is blended with pure olive oil, along with lemon oil, means they don’t have that fishy repeat. Since omega oils are thought to be good for skin and hair (some studies have shown that a deficiency can lead to dry skin) that’s good news for my looks – and even better news for my friends.

Paradox is available online and in store at Boots, Holland and Barrett as well as other independent health food stores and pharmacies.