There's something about this time of year that makes you want to slow down and take it easy. Blame the bigger meals, longer nights or playoff football, but it feels like the appropriate time to forsake formality in favor of comfort. Case in point: the winter beard. After all, guys growing their facial hair longer in the winter is a centuries-old tradition. It keeps you warmer and makes for an easier and quicker morning routine. But it's not as simple as tossing out your razor.
33% of American males have facial hair, compared to 55% of males worldwide.
As the hair gets longer and coarser, things can get itchy. Wash your whiskers with a beard soap like Bluebeards or the British brand Mr. Natty, which conditions the hair and moisturizes the skin. After a shower, use a beard oil which tames wiry hairs and keeps the skin from flaking and breaking out. We like Brooklyn Grooming's unscented hempseed-based oil.
Heavier facial hair makes for a sharp look that plays up the angles of your face. But you need to set some beard boundaries. "Properly trimming a beard is an art," says Grooming Lounge founder Mike Gilman. "Too tight and you can look scary, too long and you can look scarier." For the neck area, keep it cleanly shaved from the top of the Adam's apple on down. Then clean up your cheeks by tracing the natural beard line up to your sideburns. Regulate the density with an adjustable electric trimmer and go over the facial hair every three days or so.
Beard trimmer, $18 by Philips Norelco
Mustache and beard comb, $9 by Kent
Tool of the Trade
This handy three-inch mustache and beard comb is made by Kent, which has been crafting their handsome combs since 1777. The finely polished teeth glide easily over cheek shrubbery.