The Ultimate Beard Styling Guide
Jeff is back after a brief hiatus, and he's here to deliver the ultimate guide to styling and grooming your beard just like he does. He gives us the details on how to go from his fresh-out-of-bed look to a perfectly groomed mane.
There are a few specific problems that he's working on today: His beard is extremely puffy and uncontrolled, and he has strong waves under his chin. His mustache is growing into his mouth, and his hair has twists and knots around his neck that look even more bizarre the longer you look at them.
First things first - run into the shower.
We advise against using the same shampoo and conditioner that you use on your head, and Jeff agrees! The skin on your scalp is much more resilient than the skin on your face, so commercial shampoo is going to dry your beard out. Furthermore, commercial conditioners usually have silicone as a major ingredient rather than a natural ingredient. Silicone emulates the feeling of a smooth beard without actually nourishing it.
Once he's out of the shower, Jeff pats his beard dry rather than thoroughly drying it. He uses the moisture to help style and groom his beard, so he leaves a significant amount in (this will vary from beard to beard, from person to person).
PRO TIP: Your beard and skin absorb moisture more readily in the presence of water, which is why it's helpful to apply beard oil or utility balm when your beard is still damp.
Once the beard is damp instead of dripping, Jeff moves on to his mustache.
Jeff uses a round brush and a hairdryer to style his mustache, which is still damp from the shower. He sets it to "hot", but on a low-pressure hair setting for a more gentle styling session that won't damage his facial hair. If your hair dryer doesn't have a lower pressure setting, keep it away from your face to control the heat more (read this article for important info on using a hairdryer).
He presses the round brush into the mustache and lip while rolling it "downward" and drying the hair (rolling the beard "upward" will drag your beard hairs up, rolling "downward" brushes your beard down). This dries the hair evenly and also styles it into place. After it's dry, he brushes it out from the center of his lip to set it away from his mouth. Check it out here (video starts at 2:34):
The Cheeks and Sideburns
The next part Jeff works on is the beard line on his cheeks. The cheek area has the highest "puff" factor that he's trying to groom away, so again, he pushes the brush down *into* his cheek while he styles in order to control that volume.
He uses that same rolling technique to evenly style the hair as he brushes down to his jaw while he dries. Jeff is sure to follow the brush stroke with the hair dryer to minimize potential heat damage while styling.
PRO TIP: Using a specialized nozzle affixed to your hairdryer will help you focus the heat and minimize damage even further.
Once his cheeks are under control, Jeff employs the same techniques to his sideburns, which he styles at a downward 45-degree angle towards the back of his head, which is how he keeps them looking relatively straight. Here's the clip to help you out (video starts at 2:59):
Something you may experience at this point when styling your beard like Jeff is puffy beard corners - where the back corners of your beard grow out from your jaw and create a strange silhouette. Using the rounded brush, Jeff uses a specific technique to hook the corners of his beard *under* his jaw while he dries. It's hard to explain, so check it out here (video starts at 4:02):
He's also brushing while he styles it this way. In his words: "Heat, Curl, Pull". Apply heat, curl the round brush *under* to hook the puffy corner of the beard, then pull the brush through while you heat to style it accordingly.
One the corners of the jaw are done, Jeff moves to the chin and works on the front of his beard. He utilizes a similar (but ultimately different) technique from his lower lip to his chin, in which he rolls the round brush “upwards”, dragging the beard hair up and out to give it volume away from his chin.
When he’s styling the “root” of the hair in his beard, the round brush is pressed against his skin in order to train the roots in the right direction. When he’s styling the ends of his beard, he makes sure that the rounding brush doesn’t make contact with his skin. Check it out (video starts at 4:37):
He uses the hairdryer aiming *downward* onto hair he’s styling, which controls the exposure. He also employs a similar method to the front corners of his beard, in which he turns the rounding brush and hooks the corners of the beard underneath his growth. Take a look here (video starts at 5:55):
When Jeff’s mustache is nice and fluffy, he brushes the corners of his lips and mustache away from his mouth. That’s the last step with the round brush.
Jeff busts out his Boar’s Hair Brush to finish getting his beard into place, using the “cold” air setting on his hairdryer to lock the beard’s shape.
The Balms and the Wax
Jeff prefers utility balm over beard oil, because the beeswax and other elements of the balm give him a slight bit of hold in his beard while still nourishing the hair and skin (click here to read more on the differences between beard oil and utility balm).
Next he uses a bit of styling balm in his hair and the edges of his beard. Styling balm is a product that’s specially formulated to help you shape and groom your beard - it’s got a lot of hold while still giving your hair a natural sheen (read this article to learn more about the difference between styling balm and utility balm).
He scrapes a tiny bit of mustache wax into his thumbs, rubs it firmly between his thumb and forefingers, and applies it to his mustache. The leftover wax that he doesn’t use is applied through his beard.
Now that all the product is correctly placed in the beard, Jeff brushes it through with the boar’s hair brush one more time to make sure it’s distributed evenly. If you see a touch of dandruff on your clothes after brushing, that’s a totally normal result of the exfoliating action of the brush.
While this is a pretty intense routine to do every day, it’s great to see Jeff’s ultimate styling session from beginning to end to get some techniques from a pro. Here’s a list of the awesome individual techniques and tips you can get from referencing this video:
- Using a round brush to build volume
- Using a round brush to reduce volume
- Applying heat while you brush to style
- Using cold air to lock your hair into place
- How to get rid of puffy corners of your beard
- How to use multiple products at once
- How often you should wash your beard
- The difference between oil and balm
- Using a boar’s hair brush vs. using a rounded brush
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If you have any questions that weren’t answered in this series, give us a holler at firstname.lastname@example.org. Keep on growing!