Despite Covid-19 briefly threatening to cancel beards for good last year, what with mixed messaging about the safety of facial hair, they seem to have survived the worst of the pandemic. In fact, they’ve thrived. You need only look up #CoronaBeards on social media to see what we mean.
And as any grizzly veteran will tell you, beards are everything if you want to add that extra layer of personality and character to that beautiful face. So this World Beard Day on September 4, we asked experts what the best beard styles are and what’s the best way to pick them.
Carlos Gamal, owner and founder of CG Barbershop in Dubai, says the most common mistake he sees is the right beard on the wrong face shape. “Before you decide to grow one or style it, it’s very important to know what your face shape is. They can vary from round, oval, square, heart-shaped or long,” he explains.
Seif Hamata, a barber at Chivalry: Gentlemen’s Salon in Downtown Dubai says round, square and triangular face shapes are the most common.
He explains that you can determine your face shape by taking into account three main factors: the length of your face; width of the forehead, cheeks and chin; and the shape of the top angles of the head, which can be either narrow or wide.
Once you’ve determined your shape, it’s easy to pick the best styles for you.
Styling your beard
For round faces, it’s better to let the beard grow a little long to the point where you will be able to sculpt it, says Hamata.
“In my opinion, both rectangular and triangular-shaped beards would suit the face shape perfectly,” he says. "If your face is square or rectangular and you have a sharp jawline, keep your beard short or shave it entirely. This way the natural shape of the face can also be appreciated.
“If your jawline isn't sharp enough, you can grow just a little bit under the chin to balance it out, and sharpen at the bottom."
For triangular faces, Hamata advises, one option is to grow it long and sculpt it so that it fills the narrow area from the cheeks to the chin. This way, the face will look more of a square than a triangle.
"If the face is long, it's good to avoid long beards, but try to fill the narrow shape of the cheeks to the jaw area," he says.
For oval faces, it’s better to not grow the beard lower than the chin because that would make your face look even longer.
"If your face isn’t that long and you don’t have a sharp enough jawline, it's preferable to grow the beard a little and create some sharp edges and angles on the cheeks and below the jawline,” says Hamata.
One of the most popular beard trends right now is the "reverse fade", which tends to suit most face shapes, says CG Barbershop’s Gamal.
“But if you have a heart-shaped face, be careful not to go too pointy at the end of your beard,” he cautions.
For those who have thin beard hair or are struggling to grow thick facial hair, keeping it nice and short is the way to go.
“You can also ask your barber about beard colouring. This can create a much thicker look to your beard and still looks natural,” Gamal points out.
Shaving at home
If you're shaving at home, never shave against the natural direction of your hair to avoid stubble rash, Gamal says.
“Use a smaller beard clipper. If you have sensitive skin that is prone to a flare-up, it's best to invest the money and see a professional who can give you the razor cut without the painful bumps," he says.
"Those who have a crown within their beards should seek a good barber who knows how to trim based on the direction the hair grows. Have the barber give you good at-home styling advice and recommend suitable products."
According to shaving brand Gillette, the best time to trim your beard is after a shower and when your beard is dry. "Your hair will be hydrated and easier to cut, and will give you a better idea of how it will look once it’s tamed," the company says on its website.
Growing a beard also means daily care and that involves washing it regularly , says Adel Djazaerly, owner of Be Groomed Barber Shop at the Park Regis Business Bay, Dubai.
“Beards are not like hair… you eat regularly, you touch it so it gets dirty faster than the hair on your head. So daily washes are essential. Make sure you invest in a good beard shampoo and conditioner,” he advises.
The next step after a wash is beard oil. “A lot of people with beards still don’t do this. Your beard hair is tougher than other hair so make sure you apply beard oil right after you wash it. Otherwise, it will get dry and itchy,” Djazaerly says.
Use your fingers to massage the oil thoroughly, he says. Then you can style it with a hairdryer or use beard styling cream, which is optional, for that sharp finish.