One of the greatest things about supplying men with the tools they need to turn their beard into a masterpiece is watching the progression from “meh” to “mesmerizing”.
So many men start a conversation with me by asking a question, sending a picture, or talking to me directly and I often see that they’re suffering from a serious beard issue.
Whether it is because of a simple lack of knowledge, or because they lack confidence in their own masculinity, these issues negate any benefit the beard can produce, and instead turn their facial hair into uninspired and embarrassing messes.
While there are plenty of bad beard habits, many of which are highly personalized and leave you wondering what the beardsman was thinking, there are 3 habits or practices I come across most often that lead to a bad beard.
Stop these, and you’ll see a major improvement in your beard game.
The Ungroomed Beard
As I’m sure you’ve noticed, beards have become popular over the last few years.
So popular, in fact, that there are various cliques and groups within what I’ll loosely call “beard culture”.
Most of those groups are responsible beard owners who care for their beards, but a sad bunch of them are of the opinion that the only thing you should do to grow a beard is stop shaving.
These are the guys who will call you a woman for talking to them about grooming habits.
The ones who proudly proclaim they’re “REAL MEN” because they have a beard.
I literally received a reply from a guy who bought our beard balm that told me to get lost because he wasn’t going to listen to my “womanly grooming advice”.
When I asked him what he thought using beard balm was, if not grooming, he stopped replying. But that’s beside the point.
Speaking of the point, it is this:
These guys don’t know the first thing about being real men, and straight up have bad beards.
A man takes pride in his appearance, and pays attention to detail. He knows that first impressions matter and that they open, or close, opportunities for him.
As such, he knows he must take care of his beard if it is to take care of him.
That is the type of man you must be, no matter what sort of “bro” tells you that all you need to do is stop shaving and start fighting bears.
So the first bad habit is actually the lack of a variety of important habits.
Ever so rarely the ungroomed beard defies nature and enhances a man’s appearance and gravitas.
However, for the vast majority of mankind, grooming habits must be maintained.
A quick overview of beard grooming tips includes:
- Wash regularly, but shampoo only once or twice weekly
- Use a beard brush or comb daily
- Condition, moisturize, and strengthen your beard with a good beard oil or beard balm
- Use trimmers and shears to regularly maintain length and style
By incorporating the few steps above into your daily routine, you will be significantly ahead of your bearded competition.
Trimming The Neckline Too High
This is perhaps the most painful of all bad habits to witness.
Even though I seem to talk about this every single day, somehow it’s still not getting across to every man who needs the advice.
Do not trim your neckline too high!
You look ridiculous.
It doesn’t make you look cool, slim, defined, or anything else. And if you’re doing it because you simply don’t know better, I’m sorry this advice hasn’t reached you in time.
A proper neckline should be as natural as possible, and you can accomplish this is one of two ways.
The first solution is to taper your beard using a beard trimmer.
The goal here is to make the hair gradually shorter as you work your way down your neck to the base of your beard line.
The first “row” or hairs on your neck should be trimmed to the shortest possible setting. The next “row” or “line” (think in roughly 1/4 inch sections of beard) should be slightly longer. Then slightly longer again, until you’re at your desired length.
This works particularly well for short beards. The same technique can be applied on the cheek line, too, moving up to your sideburns and hair.
A nice fade helps keep things looking clean and trim, and ensures you don’t look like you’ve got a single, monotonous mound of hair on the lower part of your head.
The second, and perhaps more popular path to a proper neckline is to cut one in properly.
Instead of following your jaw line, you want to make the line somewhere between your Adam’s apple and the place where your head and neck meet.
So if you use your finger to trace up along your neck, you’ll hit your Adam’s apple, then your finger will start moving horizontally under your jaw, rather than vertically up your neck.
Right after your Adam’s apple, and just before the point where your finger starts moving horizontally, rather than vertically, is the point of the perfect neckline, in most cases.
It might only be half an inch to an inch above your natural neckline, but it will ensure your beard looks crisp and clean.
Here’s an excellent video of Jeff Buoncristiano explaining the neckline:
Pulling At Your Beard
This is a bigger problem than I originally anticipated.
It’s a very common issue amongst beardsmen.
Whenever our hands are idle, there is a chance that our fingers creep up to a particular point in our beard and start pulling.
You’ll usually find you pull in the same place, too.
Imagine your surprise when you look at yourself in the mirror one morning and realize there’s a thin, nearly bald, patch on one part of your face!
Of course it shouldn’t come as a surprise since we’re doing it daily, but of course it’s something we don’t notice or think of when it’s happening.
Therein lies the trouble with fixing it.
How do you stop it if you don’t know it?
Well, that’s one of the purposes of making this point. Check for yourself, right now. Think hard on your habits, where your hands go when you’re doing nothing.
Try to replicate a situation where this might happen. Reading something on the computer, for example. Or waiting in line somewhere. Or watching a movie.
Do these things naturally, but keep your mind alert to the possibility of noticing an errant hand ruining your beard.
Chances are, you’re doing this more often than you can imagine.
There are days where I’ll notice my finger tips are a bit oily, which is a dead giveaway I’ve been pulling and plucking my beard hairs. The beard balm I apply every morning is rubbing off on my fingers and forcing me to notice my mistake.
Luckily this has been on my radar for some time so I’ve ensured it never got too bad for me. I still catch myself pulling, and if not pulling, at least stroking my beard, which is just one step away from the bad habit of pulling hairs.
It’ll be a work in progress for you to get under control, but the best defence is simply to be aware that you do it. Other than finding other things to do with your hands (squeezing a stress ball, sitting on your hand, twirling a pen), awareness is the key.
Your Better Beard Starts Now
If you’re not doing anything to groom your beard, start following the advice above right now, and you’ll see amazing progress very quickly.
If you cut your neckline too high, please, please stop it. Wait for a few weeks and let it grow in and then trim the whole beard down to the same length, or, heaven forbid, shave and start fresh. Just don’t leave it like it is.
If you’re pulling your beard hairs (you probably are), keep it in the forefront of your mind that this is something to avoid, and try to stop yourself before you create bald spots.
These tips should leave your beard at least 300% better than when you started, and will help improve the health and attractiveness of your beard.
Author bio: Curt Storring is the Founder of Liberty Premium Grooming Co., specializing in beard grooming and care. Liberty aims to reverse the prolonged adolescence of men in today’s society by providing them with the tools and education they need to become self-sufficient and responsible for their own lives and achieve greatness.