– By Khahlil Louisy
Dudes everywhere are bearding. Not the verb form of the word which is to confront or challenge someone formidable – though that could very well fall in line with the masculinity most men think having a beard affords them – nor are we referring to homosexuals disguising their sexuality by having someone of the opposite sex pretend to be their significant, romantic partner. We’re talking about the stuff that grows on the lower extremities of your face that not only the guys walking around Williamsburg grow out.
In recent years, we have seen an increase in beard growth among men in metropolitan cities,even, boldly, going into their professional environments with faces full of hair. But there is a line between a well-kept, groomed beard and looking like you were shipwrecked on a remote island, where product wasn’t available, and frankly, looking groomed was the least of your concern. Do not cross that line.
Grooming and beauty companies have taken note of this increase in facial hair growth, and the market for beard grooming products is exploding. Naturally, some products are bullshit, while others do what they claim. Being the nosy bastards that we are, we dug deep into the products available in the market and found those that work for just about every step in the beard care process, including pre-shave, post-shave, and the in-between.
Pre-shave products help to soften the skin and hairs, prior to shaving. They also help the razor glide smoothly over the surface of the skin, reducing razor burns caused by friction and irritations.
The Dr. Carver’s brand is a low-cost option from The Dollar Shave Club, which works well for most people. Their pre-shave oil is light, and depending on the thickness or coarseness of your beard, you may need to increase the amount of oil used to ensure all your hair is covered. The brand also has a Prep Scrub with natural exfoliants like grounded walnut shells and amber crystals to help remove dead skin in the bearded areas. Dead skin causes flaking which is unsexy. Don’t be unsexy!
The guys at Tenzing formulated a pre-shave oil with Castor Oil that is thick and helps to not only soften the hair and skin, but it also has a lifting effect on the hair, making it easier for the razors to cut. That makes the shaving process easier, as you get more hair cut with each fluid movement across the face.
Cutting hair in the opposite direction from which it grows can cause irritation and ingrowns. Don’t do it.
Tenzing Pre-shave oil: $22
Dr. Carver’s Pre-Shave Oil: $8
A good shaving cream lathers nicely to help the razor glide over the skin. It also helps to soften the hair and soothe the skin. Apply shaving creams over your pre-shave oil for the best shaving experience.
The Shave Lather from Dr. Carver’s has a light Peppermint scent and contains Macademia and coconut oils to help soften the hair and skin. The peppermint helps to soothe while shaving.
The Shave Butter does not lather and goes on like a balm over the hair and skin. It’s best for shorter hair and light stubble. But guys, be wary, because if your wife or girlfriend uses this product, it will no longer be yours. The women who tried the product have vowed to use it and only it when shaving going forward.
Tenzing has two shaving creams: Sandalwood and Sage Mint. They’re rich, lathering creams made from natural ingredients to moisturize, soften, and soothe the skin. The clean, aromatic creams also contain Aloe and help to lift the hairs in preparation for shaving.
Evo überwurst: First of all, this product has the funniest product description on their packaging. It’s hilarious and calls to mind Borat or Bruno. The description starts off with “to be top sausage, you must give your whiskers ze top sausage treatment.” And ends with “no pre-having products will be needed to make your skin as smooth as a baby sausage – and much better smelling.” Ha! Once you get past the last sentence, the creme lathers lightly, but works really well for a smooth, easy shave. Like the description suggests, there isn’t any real need for pre-shave product application, because überwurst was formulated to also take care of the pre-shave process.
Tenzing Premium Shave Cream Sage Mint / Sandalwood: $24
Dr. Carver’s Easy Shave Butter: $8
Dr. Carver’s Pillow Shave Lather: $8
Evo überwurst Shaving Creme: $27.95
Washes and Conditioners
If you choose to grow out your facial hair, for the love of humanity, groom the damn thing. Don’t let it sit there looking unkempt and downright scary. No, dude, you don’t look more masculine, you just look scary AF and like you need a shower. Wash and Condition your facial hair, just like you wash and condition the hair sitting on top of your head (hopefully!)
Your beard hair is a little more coarse than the hair on your head and may require products that can help to soften and smooth it out. The bearded guys at The Roosevelts Beard Company have an incredible shampoo and conditioner duo which works well for softening the hair and keeping it it clean and healthy. The Spicy Ginger-scented shampoo is good for cleansing the hair without drying out the skin, and the conditioner softens and helps to build volume.
Scotch Porter’s beard wash is silky and scentless. The emollient solution also helps to soften and repair damaged hair – yeah, your beard hairs can get damaged, too. The brand’s conditioner is thick and buttery, with a luxurious feel to it and a light, clean scent.
Scotch Porter Moisturizing Beard Wash: $20
Scotch Porter Hydrate & Nourish Beard Conditioner: $20
The Roosevelts Beard Company Spicy Ginger Beard Wash: $17.87
The Roosevelts Beard Company Spicy Ginger Beard Conditioner: $17.87
Dr. Carver’s Mandatory Prep Scrub: $9
Serums and Post Shave
Beard serums help fight razor burns, ingrown hairs, and irritation while the beard grows, and should be applied after conditioning the beard but before applying any balms or oils. Serums also help keep the hair silky smooth and grow quicker, fuller, and stronger.
Dr. Carver’s Repair Serum is great for new beard growth, helping to alleviate irritation, razor burn, and ingrown hairs.
Scotch Porter’s Beard Serum seals in moisture and reduces frizz. The serum also fights lifting, keeping hair smooth and growing in one direction, which decreases the chances of razors snagging the skin.
Scotch Porter Beard Serum: $20
Dr. Carver’s Miracle Repair Serum: $12
Dr. Carver’s Post Shave Cream: $9
Dr. Carver’s Post Shave Dew: $9
Balms & Oils
Beard balms and oils moisturize and conditions the beard, helping you grow fuller and healthier hair. Balms are thicker than oils and may also be used to style your beard – because some people do that. You need to be careful when using balms, though, because too much can clog pores. Scrape up a small amount of the balm and massage it between fingers to warm it up. Using your fingers, massage it into your beard. Oils are lighter and easier to reach the skin, reducing dryness and flaking.
The beard oil from Winners Beard Co. is ultra luxurious and gives the beard a nice healthy sheen, while also softening the hair and moisturizing the skin beneath. The brand’s Elite Beard Oil also contains caffeine, which has been used in hair care to stimulate growth and thickening. The company is committed to creating excellent products, and this oil is no disappointment. Even the packaging – with it’s black box and metallic silver labeling – suggests a winning product awaits inside.
The Roosevelt’s Beard Co has beard balms and oils that do a fantastic job keeping the beard healthy, shiny, and strong. Their Redwood balm has a nice spicy scent, while their Acadia balm is more woodsy.
The Roosevelts Beard Company was founded by two members of the band, The Roosevelts, who spend a great deal of time outdoors – hiking, canoeing, and sailing. According to the them, they design their products in reflection of their favorite national parks, and they donate a portion of their proceeds to The National Parks Foundation for continued conservation and protection of the country’s parks.
The Roosevelts Beard Company: $34.87
The Roosevelts Beard Company Beard Balm: $21.87
Scotch Porter Kent Pocket Comb: $9.99
Scotch Porter Boar’s Hair Brush: $20