Shaving for men is under going a revolution. The Beard is the new fashion accessory of choice for the man about town. So I’m going to talk about beards, despite my blogs being all about shaving. Now, if you are on the subway or train, or next time you take a walk around take a look at the number of guys supporting beards, or that unshaven look, Have we all suddenly just become lazy and can’t be bothered? No, beards are back, big time – and more importantly the designer stubble look. This is not laziness, in fact far from it, as some designer beards require a lot of care and attention, even to give the impression of that rugged unkempt look. Shaving for men is an artisan skill.
There are plenty of male models, actors, sport stars sporting that designer stubble come beard look. Brad Pitt, or Hugh Laurie from House, David Beckham the list goes on. Take a quick dip into the world of RnB and Hip Hop, and there are some major “designage” going on. Pieces of art requiring precision shaving work. There is a poster for Flo Rider, and he has a beard that probably requires a professional to keep so exact.
So how do you get that designer stubble look? It can be tricky to get right. It is not just a case of stopping shaving, no that would be too easy. It requires attention, and depending on the exactness may need daily attention or attention every few days. I am mainly going to concentrate on the stubble look, and leave the precision work to the fine barbers up and down the country.
Designer Stubble Look
Now the stubble work does give that virile, rugged look which seems to be coming back in to fashion. Maybe it is a back lash against the whole metro sexual, yet ironically enough it is a very metro sexual thing to do. Even in my office I can’t but help notice in the last 2 months the designer stubble/beard look has been displayed by at least 2 work colleagues.
It seems it is becoming acceptable in the workplace, even those places wear the suit is still the uniform of the work place. The designer stubble look can work with a suit, but get it wrong and you just look like a scruff. If you do dress in a formal or smart way, then your beard should reflect that and be kept more maintained than perhaps if you are just a jeans and sneakers guy.
So where to start? My first tip is to go away, take a holiday. Eh? I hear you say. The thing is you need to grow the beard out a bit, stop shaving for a few days. This is the transitional in-between part. If you work in a smart environment you may just look like you have suddenly just become lazy, or have not being going home at nights! That is why using a holiday or a few days off work as a good excuse to start growing the foundations.
Clearly the length of time required will depend on the growth rate. Shaving for men is as individual as our faces.
Get some clippers, ideally some beard trimmers. There are trimmers and shavers for men on the market targeted specifically at maintaining the stubble look. I picked up a pair for around £10 ($15), that are just small size clippers labelled at Stubble Controllers. They are just small clippers.
Assuming you now have a few days growth you may begin to feel a bit itchy. It probably means it is at about the right length to shave down. You will also notice that you have a bit of a neck beard. The neck beard is the villain of the piece, and ultimately what gives the impression of scruffiness. We must eradicate the neck beard. You need to look under the jaw line. The main beard ideally should finish just under this. The Adams apple should not be covered by the main beard. Now it is ok to have some very short stubble here, just not the thicker main stubble of the beard section. It helps to have a little shadow or initial appearance of day old stubble here, so that the line of where the beard finishes does not look too perfect. (Unless of course you are going for a definite beard over just a designer stubble look.) If you look at the billboard posters, tv, or advertisements in magazines the men with designer stubble, it is always slightly more fuller on the face and chin section, and the neck beard is minimal to non-existent. It is personal choice and overall look you are going for, but if you have a hairy chest you DO NOT WANT the beard just to be a continuation of your hairy chest. That is a major turn off.
Once you have established where you want the beard to finish just below the chin line, and the jaw bone at the sides, trim this down with the trimmer on zero setting. Now you should have a definite beard shape remaining, and not just a face full of unshaved hair.
Now take a look at above the beard, does the current growth begin to infringe on the cheeks. You don’t want to look like wolfman. Depending on how precise you want to be you want a nice line down from the bit where the side burns finish to where it meets the moustache part of the beard. This maybe very minimal so trim down on a zero setting, or with a razor the stubble you don’t want.
Now we have a nicely defined beard shape, but we want to give the impression of stubble. So now take the trimmer and set it for grade 1 or 1.5 – again this is very much personal choice. Just take the trimmer over the rest of the remaining beard, and you will have a nice uniform length, that at once looks rugged and stubbly, but at the same time not unkempt.
This is a great look, and if maintained, and kept smart works well for the smart set who like wearing suits etc. Depending on beard growth you can maintain this daily or every couple of days. Sometimes I just trim down the main beard daily, and the neck part every 2 days. The key is it should be longer than any shadow or stubble on the neck section.
I find it ideal to do this the day or night before if you want the more natural look, as it gives it 12 or 24 hours to grow in, and therefore blends the line of where the beard starts and finishes under the jaw line. But if you want a more precise look here then that is fine.
The overall impression you are trying to give is a bit of an oxymoron. When it comes to shaving for men, a well maintained designer stubble gives both the impression of rugged and at the same time, if done well, a man who takes a care in how it looks. It should look both casual, yet a conscious decision on your part to make a statement about your look. Hopefully those people we are trying to attract in life agree. Purely on anecdotal evidence, (i.e. a quick survey in my office), the women love the unshaven, stubbly look, while probably being totally unaware of the effort and attention we men have given this.
A good analogy is women who wear the natural look when it comes to make up. They wear make-up that gives the impression of a “natural look”, yet it still required application and attention to detail. So to, the designer stubble look.