Growing a beard takes commitment. It might seem odd that growing your facial hair takes as much time and effort as shaving it off every morning, but trust us, caring for a beard requires as much attention as your barnet – for those of you hirsute and manly enough to retain a full head of hair.
I’ve maintained a short beard for the last decade, a decision taken initially as I wanted a break from my shaving routine (too much early morning concentration) and to counterbalance the fact that I could count as one of the 60 per cent of British men afflicted with male pattern baldness. Much to my relief, my wife liked the bearded face when it first appeared and so it’s stuck.
Moreover, many of Hollywood’s leading men are partial to a furry face, from George Clooney’s current salt and pepper dusting to Tom Hardy’s substantial action man foliage, so there’s plenty of men to look to for inspiration. Like hair-dos, beard styles drift in and out of fashion (see most of edgy North East London for today’s prevailing look), so it’s best to look to men in the spotlight for guidance on what’s in.
Above all, whether you’ve been rocking a beard for years or you’re thinking of growing one out for the first time, remember it’s a labour of love. Brush it, moisturise it and trim it regularly to keep it looking presentable – particularly when it’s half-formed. Getting to optimal levels of thickness can take months, so it’s not something to do half-heartedly.
To aid you in your quest, we’ve chosen five of our favourite grooming go-tos, so there’s no excuse not to keep yours in tip-top condition.
1. Murdock: Beard Conditioner
Murdock London takes men’s grooming very seriously, having started as a traditional London barbers outfit in years ago, the brand now offers a comprehensive range of men’s skin and haircare essentials. We love this silky-smooth beard conditioner, which will turn your beard baby-bum soft, if you use it regularly. The formula contains a wheat protein extract that actively works to strengthen hair (important for those that have weaker patches of growth), reducing breakage and combating brittleness. The conditioner’s citric helps to maintain a healthy pH balance in the facial hair too, locking in its natural oils rather than stripping them out. Apply to a towel dry beard post-shower and you’ll feel the benefits all day long. No blow-drying necessary here, even if you’re sporting a beard of ZZ Top proportions.
£18, shop now
2. Mr Natty Beard Brush
Mr Natty knows a thing or two when it comes to men’s hair. After several years honing his craft as a barber, he saw an opening for a range of polished, easy-to-apply products to tame our furry faces. I can attest to their efficacy personally, but it’s also worth saying that the Mr Natty beard brush gives a whole new meaning to polished performance. Made from beech wood, it has pure boar’s hair bristles that are cut to different lengths for a deeper reach into the beard. Use it daily to encourage your hair to grow in a uniform direction, reduce fly-away hairs and release sebum oil from your skin. Check out the Mr Natty masterclass film LINK on how to maintain your beard for more tips.
£12.50, shop now
3. Tom Ford Beard Oil
Mr Tom Ford is a man of many talents, and although he’s not a barber, he is a man with a beard. It’s no surprise then that his luxurious grooming products are as impressive as his menswear. This indulgent Tobacco Vanille beard oil has a natural warmth and richness to it, care of its smoky, woody notes, topped with subtle hints of almond oil. It’s also infused with vitamin E and Jojoba, so it’ll nourish your beard as well as tame it. Work through in the morning’s for a slick start to the day. It’ll keep your hair smooth, soft and healthy – particularly on days when your beard’s exposed to the elements.
£42, shop now on Mr Porter
4. Buly 1803 Horn effect Acetate Beard Comb
If a beard brush isn’t your thing, a beard comb might well be. Much like a brush, combing your beard regularly will help to promote healthy growth, keep it smooth and strengthen the hair over time. This handsome acetate comb from Parisian perfumer Buly 1803 has been hand cut in Switzerland with a helpful curved handle and fine teeth to clean-up any pesky little stragglers. It’s important use a comb like this when you want to cut off non-compliant hairs, too, or to trim around the moustache area. Invest in razor sharp scissors for razor sharp accuracy. This comb also comes with a soft travel pouch, so fits perfectly into a jacket pocket or bag for any last minute facial hair checks pre dinner date or important meeting.
£24, shop now on Mr Porter
5. Philips Series 7000 Less is Mess Vacuum Beard Trimmer
There are many excellent trimmers on the market, each of which aims to be smarter than the last one. The Philips Series 7000 is the smartest we’ve found. You might have guessed that it incorporates a fine-scale vacuum system, to hoover up bristles as you go. Philips say it’ll capture up to 90 per cent of loose hairs per shave, which can only be a good thing as you race through your daily grooming regime. The ergonomically designed trimmer feels comfortable in the hand and it’s a manageable size to travel with. It’s also waterproof, which is a notable bonus. Set your preferred trim length (anything between 0.5 and 10mm in length) with the rotating wheel on the handle, and the attachable comb will lift and guide hairs as your go, making for an even trim. Trust us, this is a clever piece of kit and it’ll save you time and mess in the mornings. We’re always being told that ‘time is money’, so we think this’ll pay for itself pretty quickly.
£54, shop now