The Bearded Truth

This week sees our resident expert, Chris Foster, talk about the current trends in beards and what barbers need to do keep up with the pace. We hope you enjoy it 🙂

While I was in New York working on Fashion Week last September, I could see the beard trend developing. Fashion designers and stylists were choosing heavily bearded models to create a strong statement for their collections. A prediction I made in November’s edition of Professional Hairdresser Magazine 2012. Sure enough, beards have hit the mainstream in a massive way in 2013. Full facial hair, it seems, has come back in vogue.

Unlikely pioneer of ‘hobo chic’‚ Johnny Harrington, is currently the face of John Lewis & Co’s menswear line. The conservative department store John Lewis, has gone against established norms in their selection of Johnny Harrington and I am sure this has raised a few eyebrows from their regular customers. He is one of the hottest male models of the moment, and all due to his three year old chin hair. There has been a great deal of speculation from the press about why John Lewis signed up the heavily bearded model but regardless of their thinking; when it comes to beards, you either love it or hate it. It is just that simple – a bit like marmite.

Another modern twist on this massive new bearded trend is an aggressively short cut on the back and sides with a full long beard. Oh and tattoos lots of them…

Top Tips for Barbers

A foaming cleanser is an ideal cleansing agent for men with very thick beards. Water-based cleansers can absorb through the beard, getting to the skin far more easily than a cream based cleanser.

Beards should be cleansed and conditioned just like the hair on the head. This is more important the longer the beard is. Recommend a good quality hair conditioner for extra-long whiskers (ensure its rinsed out thoroughly!) For a short beard opt for a good hydrating moisturiser.

Recommend a nourishing, facial oil, essential beard oils used on the face will help to maintain good levels of hydration and moisture on both the skin and the beard. Since the skin under a beard can get especially dry it’s also a good idea to keep it well-hydrated with an additional moisturiser. (Take time to massage it in). This will work in the same way as a leave-in conditioner would work on hair

Don’t over-do things; the stylistic beard of 2013 is very natural. An overly-maintained beard looks a little too considered. (and shaving the neck under a beard is a big no no if you have a double chin). Instead, opt for a more tapered approach. Start at the base of the neckline with your clipper flat against the neck, and then gradually taper up to where the bulk of the beard starts giving a very natural effect. This should also be done for the hair on the cheek area… Now there’s absolutely no reason why you too can’t produce a truly award-winning beard designs for your clients.

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