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

Philips allow you to brush up on your shaving – literally.

philipsAlthough I spend the majority of the year sporting a beard even I’m a sucker for a piece of high-tech shaving equipment. Impressing me at the moment is the Philips Shaver Series 9000 s9111/43 Wet & Dry Shaver (why do shavers never have simple, memorable names?). Anyway, as well as being beautiful to handle this particular shaver has a feature I absolutely love – you can detach the rotary shaving head and add a detail trimmer or (and this is the best bit) the face cleaning brush that comes with it.

This means the the shaver also doubles up as a face polisher and exfoliator, allowing you to remove dead cells, clean your face more throughly than if you were just using soap and water and also boost circulation to the skin. Shavers are always investment purchases – and this one is no exception – but the addition of a cleansing brush definitely softens the blow – not to mention your skin. Clever.

 

EXCLUSIVE: new report reveals the truth about facial hair

MAN WITH BEARDIn grooming terms, 2013 has been all about one thing: the beard. In fact, so huge has the trend for facial hair been that it has prompted Remington to analyse the chins, cheeks and upper lips of 470 infulential men culled from a whole series of independent lists  – like Forbes’ Highest Paid Sportsmen one –  to create a kind of “Facial Hair Index”. From actors, musicians and sporting heroes to academics, magazine editors and leading businessmen, no man escaped their scrutiny (don’t you just love the fact people actually get paid to do that kind of stuff?) and what they discovered is fascinating…

FACT: More men have a beard than don’t. 

For sure, it’s a close call but 54% of the men looked at for the report had a beard or at least some designer stubble. Smoothies, you’re in the minority!

FACT: Beards are favoured by cool, creative types (except magazine editors).

According to the report three quarters of leading actors and 70% of musicians have sported a beard in the last year. The vast majority of magazine editors and authors, however, are clean shaven. In fact, 80% of them are. Mark Twain and Earnest Hemingway must be turning in their graves.

FACT: Sportsmen think facial hair is a winner.

A whopping 80% of our sporting heroes have, er, ‘sported’ stubble or a beard in the last 12 months. Bad news for companies wanting to promote their razor blades with a tennis/football/F1 star huh?

CTk21Qm3JvMFA2RujoQ11NLEVpFamJPDqxYc8IH20AUFACT: Beards still don’t mean business.

Despite the popularity of facial hair, being clean shaven is still seen as the ‘professional option’ with 76% of CEOs preferring to be clean shaven.

FACT: The richer you are the more likely you are to be clean shaven.  

70% of the billionaires or millionaires analysed were clean shaven. They can afford the razors clearly. And probably people to shave them.

FACT:  Beards aren’t seen as the intelligent option. 

There was a time when no self-respecting professor or corduroy-clad university lecturer would be seen dead without a beard. How times have changed. These days 73% of leading professors are clean shaven. What’s more, 63% of men with the highest IQs also shun the face fungus.

So what does all this mean? Well, I guess it reinforces what many suspect about facial hair: that even though it’s been this year’s most popular fashion accessory it’s still very much the preserve of hispsters, creative types and (though the survey doesn’t mention it it) burly gay ‘bears’.

Much to my dismay, as a facial hair fan, it also shows that beards are still regarded with considerable suspicion. The fact that academia and business shun them re-inforces the idea that men who sport beards aren’t serious or dynamic (though clearly facial hair hasn’t held Sirs Sugar and Branson back). But hey, don’t despair if you have a beard, goatee or ‘tache – one thing the study does highlight is that beards are still fantastically cool.

Cidofovir: an end to facial hair forever? I don’t think so…

I read with interest yesterday that tests have been taking place at the University of Pennsylvania into using the drug cidofovir to stop stubble in its tracks and put an end to men’s need to shave once and for all.

An anti-viral drug previously used to treat people living with HIV cidofovir has the side-effect of ‘local alopecia’ and, as was the case with Minoxidil (the active ingredient in Regaine and one originally used to treat high blood pressure), its alternative money-spinning usage is clearly a big draw to its manufacturers.

The study, published in Archives of Dermatology, appeared to show a reduced hair count in the men who used a 3% dosage of the cream, opening the door for a product that could prevent stubble once and for all. The big question, of course, is will men use it?

It’s one I’ve asked numerous times in articles and on message boards and the resounding answer has always been no. Creams and balms already exist (Clarins and Clinique both do them) that reduce stubble growth a little but they’re hardly hero products men are falling over themselves to have in their grooming armoury.

Sure, on paper a life sans stubble sounds like a great idea: no more five o’clock shadow, no more boring daily shave, no more expensive blades to shell out on, but in practice I’ve discovered men are remarkably attached to their facial hair. And why wouldn’t they be? After all, an end to all the down sides also means and end to the main upside too which is that a beard, ‘tache or goatee is a cheap and effective way to change your look whenever you fancy. Women have make-up to play with and men have facial hair.

And let’s not forget that facial hair is fundamentally a secondary sexual characteristic – there to indicate masculinity and the presence of testosterone. It isn’t just about fashion: Anthropologically speaking it has function too. In fact I believe research has shown that women are programmed to find three days’ worth of stubble particularly attractive.

There will be those, I’m sure, who find my attitudes decidedly retrosexual and, since I have beardage myself I am slightly biased, but the day I’ll believe men want to live without facial hair is the day women say they want to live with it. Now there’s a thought – a cream that makes women grow facial hair…

Grooming Guru Essentials: The Remington Touch Control Beard Trimmer

Nobody knows more about beards than me. I’ve had one (if you can call my patchy approximation of one a beard) for over ten years now – co-incidentally ever since the hair on my head parted company with my scalp. And what I don’t know about beard trimmers ain’t worth knowing. I’ve tried them all, and the one I use myself is a trusty old Remington MB320C (snappy name huh?). It’s robust, easy to use and, crucially, manages to get into those difficult-to-trim places like under our nose. I’ve had other trimmers that break, snag or simply can’t manage to do the job properly but this one is great.

But now there’s a new kid on the block – the Remington Touch Control trimmer – the world’s first beard trimmer to feature a touch screen control technology. Given how everything is touch control these days I suppose it was inevitable that trimmers would be too.

So how does it rate? Well, it’s a sexy old thing, certainly much slicker than my old model and the big advantage is that the touch control allows for precision length control (unlike the 1 – 7 settings of old). In fact, you can move it in tiny 0.1mm increments, allowing you a whopping 175 length options and making it pretty much the ultimate in bespoke beardage.

What’s more (and this is a massive plus as anyone who’s ever used a beard trimmer will know) there’s a locking function which means the settings won’t accidentally alter mid-shave. You can even vary the speed of the shave and it can also be powered via your computer’s USB. More importantly, it delivers a great trim so I think the Grooming Guru can confidently declare Remington ‘Best for Beards’!

The Remington Touch Control is available from all leading retailers priced £59.99

Grooming Guru Essentials are the products I genuinely love and have used as part of my own routine.

Nivea For Men’s Sensitive Hydro Gel – the perfect cure for ‘stubble dandruff’!

Having sported a beard (or at least something approximating one) for something like 10 years now I’m acutely aware that it can bring with it a few little ‘problems’. Apart from the itchiness and odour isssues after you’ve slurped your way through a bowl of spaghetti vongole (my fave pasta dish) there’s the dreaded ‘beard dandruff’ to contend with too.  And there’s nothing worse than scratching your chin and ending up a snowglobe.

Part of the problem is that stubble tends to wick moisture away from the skin where it’s allowed to evaporate. This means that the skin under your bristles often ends up dry, flaky and itchy. The solution, of course, is to use a good moisturiser. Unfortunately, many can leave sticky residues on your beard so Nivea For Men have come up with a stubble-friendly version.

Their Sensitive Hydro Gel is the ideal way to hydrate skin under stubble because it’s lightweight, non greasy and easily absorbed. Since it also contains organic Chamomile and Aloe Vera it also has skin-calming, anti-inflammatory properties too.  If you’ve got stubble this is an essential.

Nivea For Men’s Sensitive Hydro Gel is available from Boots.

Grooming Guru Essentials: The Razorpit

Let’s face it, whilst shaving might be a pain in the neck it’s the constant expense of buying blades that’s the real killer. And that’s before you consider the eco-nightmare of tossing all that metal and plastic into the bin. Well, that’s where this genius little device from Denmark comes in. It uses a small silicone plate to miraculously sharpen blades and keep them free of dead skin, stubble and grime (a much better solution than cleaning your razor with a toothbrush which can dull the blades). The result? Your razor stays sharper, for longer. I must admit I was sceptical at first but tried it on a blunt blade I was about to throw out and it gave it a whole new lease of life. Ok, so there’s an initial outlay but you’ll soon recoup that trust me. Cutting-edge stuff, if you’ll excuse the pun.

Buy RazorPit – Razor Blade Sharpener from Jesper Hvejsel on Vimeo.

 

To buy the RazorPit click here.

Grooming Guru Essentials are the products I genuinely love and have used as part of my own routine.