Monday, 5 May 2014

Beards: The Cheap Way to Stay Socially Acceptable

A post by Ed Arsenault


There are a great number of people in my life who have never seen me without a beard. I haven't had consistently naked cheeks since I was able to have a full, thick, luscious mane. But with that added fur comes a bit of maintenance. Having recently read some articles from men's health and lifestyle blogs and magazines I've come to the conclusion that:

A)      they over-do it - beard maintenance is simple
B)      they over price it - maintaining a face fro is cheap.

To all my bearded brothers and those looking to make the leap into a new lifestyle I present to you the regular manly man's guide to beard maintenance.


Style:
There are probably more styles of beards than species of ants (don't quote me on that) and picking the right one shouldn't be stressful enough to change your locks grey. Go with what you or the beard loving lady in your life like as long as it isn't a pencil thin chin strap (that will never look good).

Length:
If you are going to grow a beard (and why wouldn't you be?) then you will soon realize that food and miscellaneous animals can get trapped in it. While awesome for midnight snacking, this isn't practical for work, relationships etc. So let's talk trimming.

You have 2 options here, garden shears or hair clippers. Don't be suckered into buying a "beard grooming kit" for $50+, regular run of the mill hair clippers work the same. In fact it's all I've ever used. You can find these in your health and beauty section of Wal Mart for $30 – cheaper options do exist. (Wal Mart Canada) (Wal Mart USA)

Hair clipper sets come with attachments that allow you to trim to a desired length. Don't be shy to use multiple attachments for different areas and blend it all in. For example I keep the hair around my lips much shorter than everywhere else. My typical routine is to use a 12mm or 6mm (gotta love us metric guys) attachment and buzz around my entire face and neck. Then I will attach a 6mm or 3mm piece and trim from a fingers width below my lip up the chin and over my mustache. Lastly I will use no guard and clean up directly around my lips. All in all this takes me 5 minutes. Super easy right? TIP: Open and line your sink with a grocery bag to collect the hairs that will fly all over the place. Saves you from having to unclog your drains frequently.

Typical hair clipper set

Shaving:

Shaving is essentially cutting off your manliness one follicle at a time. No man should have to put himself through that daily. Not to crush dreams and hopes of never having to buy razors again, but you will still need them even if you beard out. If you're like me then your beard wants to reach up to the heavens, going well beyond the acceptable top of cheek line and infringe on your eyes. This extra special area needs to be tended to with our mortal enemy, the razor. As well you should clean up the last inch that separates your neck from torso.

Do you need all those fancy man creams and lotions to shave? Not at all. All you really need is a razor with a sharp blade and some generic shaving cream (grab what's on sale unless you have sensitive skin, in that case get what works for you).

Shave these 2 small areas after a warm or hot shower when your pores are open and ready to be emasculated. Apply minimal shaving cream and go with the grain. If you go against it you'll end up pulling hair which increases your chance to fill your sink with blood or spend the day with a neck full of razor burn.

When cleaning up your neck don't shave right up to your jaw line. This will make it look like you have a double chin whenever your chin is not pointed up. Instead measure up a finger or two from your Adams apple and use that as the cut off. I use one finger personally. 

Maintenance:
I don't want to spend hours taking care of my beard and the skin underneath it. I have more important manly things to do like chopping wood, building a cabin, restoring a hot rod and drinking beer. So my solution is quick and effective.

Beard hair is hair. Shampoo it up in the shower while you're taking care of your head. This will keep it fresh and clean. No special shampoo is really necessary, just use whatever you've got.

To keep your beard from snowing flakes of dry skin onto your clothes, simply apply some moisturizer after you dry off. Don't buy one of those tiny bottles dedicated to men for $25-30 a piece that you read about in GQ. Instead head to the moisture aisle of your local shop and grab the big bottle of Men's face and body moisturizer that Vasoline makes. It costs about $8 and lasts a solid 2-3 months.



Once you get to a desired length it is it time to invest in a comb. A whopping 0.99 cents will do the trick at any local dollar store.

Recap:

  • $30 hair clipper set from Wal-Mart or other local big box store
  • $2.99 shaving cream
  • $7.99 Vasoline face and body moisturizer
  • $0.99 comb
Total Cost: $42 initially + tax (which should last 2-3 months) from there top up as needed for $10 +tax every 2-3 months.


I do believe that my total cost is cheaper than most creams those other “manly men” sites and magazines try to pawn off. So now that you know how easy and cheap it is to be manly and socially acceptable get out there and be the man you were meant to be with your new beard!

Have any other tips? Want to just show off your beard? Feel free to do so over Twitter, Facebook or below in the comments.

About the Author

Ed Arsenault is a content creator for Real Man Travels. He is also the site's dedicated design, photography/videography and web maintenance guy. When he isn't writing or photographing for the website he is either camping, on a beach in a tropical destination or selling beer to bars in Toronto. Connect with Ed on Twitter or Instagram.

4 comments:

  1. Ha ha! Amazing. 'Shaving is essentially cutting off your manliness one follicle at a time.' Ha ha ha!

    ReplyDelete
  2. give Karmin a try.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Great post! What are your tips for beard care aftershave?

    ReplyDelete