I’ve not wet shaved for over five years;
my face has spent a fifth of its time on this earth under a layer of coarse black hair,
and it’s never been happier…
I took the decision to stop shaving in my second year of university, around the time I also started substituting proper meals for bowls of Crunchy Nut Cornflakes. It was a decision rooted less in vanity, more in a desire to spend extra time in bed, but in-between the 12-hour naps I came to realise that my face naturally looks better under a layer of fuzz.
I’m not talking thick swathes of facial hair, a la Ben Affleck in Argo, rather a sheer smattering of 4mm long (or so my electric razor tells me) stubble, which adds depth and definition to my slightly week chin, and balances out the dark mop of hair on my head.
I’m not the only one to realise the benefits of a beard. Whether compelled by vanity, a desire to look more masculine or mere laziness, more men than ever
are growing beards, and it’s a trend currently being spearheaded by that usually clean cut bunch, Hollywood’s leading men.
A recent poll to find the male celebrity with the best facial hair crowned Hugh Jackman the victor for his chin of thick dark stubble, with persistent beard sporter Brad Pitt coming in last, for his thirteenth disciple of Christ look.
Those with particularly strong jaws, for instance, tend to look better clean shaven or with a full grizzly Adams beard. Men with long thin face shapes should keep stubble short as a proper beard will only lengthen the face. Oh and those with larger foreheads often suit moustaches – though that said, apparently only 15 per cent of women like their men with a ‘tache.
So whether you want an Affleck bush or you’d prefer your chin to look more like Cooper’s, here are four of the season’s best beards and how to make them work for you…
Full without being scraggly, stylish without being designer stubble, Hugh Jackman’s beard looks rugged without seeming unkempt. You need a strong set of follicles to produce a beard like this, but if you’ve got what it takes, just let it do it’s thing and keep it from getting straggly by running an electric razor over it once a week. Aim for about a centimetre all over. Keep it looking shiny with a little leave-in beard conditioner.
Full, manly and wild. Ben Affleck’s beard in Oscar winning film Argo is a thing of beauty. His seventies porn star hairdo, however, is not. Keep your hair short and cropped to give this look a contemporary feel. The key here is maintenance. Wash and condition it regularly, run a comb through it and keep it neat using a pair of small scissors. Twizzle the frizzy hairs at the sides together and cut en masse to create a neat, but not too groomed look.
Effectively designer stubble done well. Bradley Cooper’s beard in Silver Linings Play Book is neat and modern. Maintain yours once a week, depending on how fast your facial hair grows, using an adjustable beard trimmer. Shave the hair beneath your jawline to around 3mm, then shave the hair on your face to around 4mm. Finish your moustache using a pair of small scissors and a comb.
George Clooney sported a full, expertly trimmed beard at this year’s Oscars. It’s a great look for older men as it will hide weakening chins and add masculine magnetism. Beards of this length get itchy so conditioning is essential. Visit your barber every few weeks to have your beard trimmed (a good shape is hugely important as this style sits so close to the line if your jaw) and use a pair of small scissors to maintain wayward hairs in the interim.