I’ll have a Full Order of Beard with a Small Side of Caveman
A good beard is thick and full, but that doesn’t mean yours has to look like you’re tired of living in the 21st century. A well-groomed full beard says you have a girlfriend and a job, and you don’t need my spare change.
The traditional full beard is a face full of connected whiskers. It’s the hair on your upper lip, across your cheeks, down your sideburns, all around your mouth, and over your chin, completing the circle under your neck. If you sculpt your beard in any way by shaving more than your cheekbones and trimming your neck, you’ve entered the territory of beard variations like the Van Dyke, the Balbo and the Old Dutch.
Who the Full Beard Says You Are
- A full beard that’s well groomed says you are the manliest of men. You are virile, self-confident and bold. It looks classy when your beard is groomed and rugged when it’s not.
- Generally, the longer your beard, the more wild and unconventional you’ll seem to most of the world, and your mother.
- If you seek a bad-boy image, cultivate a scruffy beard. Facial hair that’s a few days past heavy stubble says you’re sexy, daring and irreverent. Scruffy beards suggest a defiant style and exude self-confidence. Be warned – women love sexy stubble. But, if you notice your kissing partner looks like she washes her face with sandpaper, you’ll need to help her out with a longer beard or shorter scruff.
You Know a Full Beard is Right for You if…
- You heard the call of your male ancestors who lived to hunt.
- Your girlfriend left you, and you’re going to need something to keep you warm this winter.
- You’ve been old enough to drink for about 10 years now but still get carded.
- Your wife/girlfriend really wants one for you.
- It’s about damn time.
How to Grow a Full Beard
The one big uncontrollable factor that will affect your choice of full beard-style is genetics. Most likely, the hair on your face is going to grow in a patchwork of thickness, color and direction. Instead of comb-overs and fillers, work with what you have. What’s best might be a variation on a full beard, but you have lots of choices.
A full beard that thickly covers your face with tamed whiskers, defined cheeks and a well-sculpted neckline is the nirvana of Beardom. It also takes patience, young grasshopper.
Stop shaving for at least four weeks (preferably six.) That means no shaving, trimming or plucking from your collarbone up to your eyeballs.
Giving your beard that kind of time also provides a good idea of where your whiskers grow and in what direction. Trying to do any shaping during this period often results in too much whisker removal, either up the neck or down the cheeks.
Your beard is probably going to itch for the first few days. Your face is used to having a razor scraped across it once a day, not being pinched by a wiry invasion of stubble. Shaving also exfoliates your skin, sloughing off dead skin cells and keeping your pores clear. That was what was keeping the itch away, too.
Itch relief can come from keeping your beard clean with a beard shampoo and conditioner. A dandruff shampoo might be helpful as well. Soothe your skin with frequent applications of high-quality moisturizers (not ones that are mostly made of motor oil.) or beard oil for a shiny, smooth beard. If you have oily skin, try hazelnut oil. It acts like an astringent. A hydrocortisone cream might also help.
How to Groom a Full Beard
The first time you have your new beard trimmed, take yourself to a barber. Ask an expert lots of questions about the tools to use, what to do when problems pop up, and products they recommend and why. Consider seeing a professional to periodically shape your pride and joy, too. It will be the best $20 you ever spent.
Have a basic set of tools at hand every time you shave. A good trimmer (We recommend the Remington MB4040, a safety (or cartridge) razor, barber-quality scissors and a beard & moustache comb ought to cover most activities.
Yeah, you’re a guy, but even smart lumberjacks use grooming products. Proudly display next to your bathroom sink a beard shampoo, a good shaving cream (not the chemicals in a can), a moisturizer and an aftershave.
From here, the shaving and grooming instructions get complicated. For the big picture, here’s the full article on how to Trim Your Beard.
When you think you’re done with your beard maintenance, scrutinize its shape from every angle possible. That’s what others will be doing.
Similar Beard Styles
- Garabaldi – A wide, full beard with a rounded bottom that poofs out in a big ball. This beard style is worn best by men with round faces who are fortunate enough to have lots of bristly, wavy or curly whiskers.
- Short Boxed Beard – A full beard that’s close cropped. The whiskers are limited to the cheeks, upper lip, and chin and extend just an inch or two beneath the chin.
- Ducktail – A full beard with a point forming near the chin.