Gentlemen with beards

All of my life, I’ve been clean-shaven. Neither a mustache nor a beard has been on my face. But I’ve always had (fairly) long hair.

Recently, I’ve taken to doing a little bit of work as a movie extra. And not so long ago, I got a call from an extras casting company, basically saying, “We love your long hair–you’re perfect for a extra background part in an upcoming production.[sup]*[/sup] But can you grow a beard? We need men with long hair and beards.”

Of course, I replied that I could grow one, and I did. And I got the part, and I was an extra in the production. I’m not sure how I feel about the beard though–it’s taking some getting used to, and the fact that the lower half of it is coming in gray doesn’t make me feel any younger. But my wife loves how it looks, and is urging me to keep it. And I grudgingly have to admit, when I wear my favourite hat, I don’t look too bad with a beard.

So I’ve decided to keep it for a while, but never having had one, I’m unsure how to care for it. Can any Doper gentlemen who have a beard help? Specifically, I’d like to know:

– How to keep it clean? So far, I wash it like I wash my face, and when I shower, I try to make sure it gets soap/shampoo. Is this the right thing to do?

– How should I trim it? My wife had a good laugh the other day when we were out, and a took a long pull of my Guinness. I got a beer mustache in my real one! How does one avoid this problem, other than drinking beer very, very carefully?

– Normally, I don’t often visit a barber. But I would if he or she can help manage the growth. Would this be a good idea, just to keep it neat?

Thanks in advance for any advice you gentlemen (or ladies who have anything to contribute) can provide.

*Please don’t ask which one. We’ve all been instructed not to talk about the production until it is released, which should be sometime in mid-2005.

My wife always wanted me to grow a beard, but I didn’t like the idea of appearing like a bum at work for two weeks. In a month-long trip to Rio in 1997, I started the beard and have never looked back.

I just shampoo it like my hair, though I find that I need anti-dandruff shampoo to keep it from itching too much.

I spent years using one of those cordless beard trimmers that was always uncharged when I needed it and it didn’t really do a nice job of it. One fine day I purchased a standard plug-in barber’s hair clipper and it has served me very well.
I would recommend buying a regular corded hair trimmer, with all of the necessary attachments (e.g. 1/2", 5/8", etc.)

Every time you go to the barber, have him/her trim your beard. They do a much nicer job of it and the beard looks well trimmed and comported for a week or so. This tends to be a nice checkpointing process where any grave errors in home trimming are corrected.
Don’t forget to consider the extra service when you tip.

I have had a beard since December 17, 1980 (I was up late studing for an exam and suddenly had a need to see what my chin looked like, so I shaved my beard off. I began regrowing it immediately).

As far as washing goes, I wash my face, which includes my beard, a couple times a day, depending on how active I’ve been. I keep mine relatively short, about a quarter inch in length, so there’s really not a lot to take care of.

I use a hair trimmer to keep it neat, cutting it about once a week, because otherwise it starts to get scruffy looking. A beard should always be kept trimmed, otherwise you just look sloppy.

As far as the beer foam goes, I keep my mustache fairly short also, so that doesn’t really cause me any problems.

I’ve worn a beard for almost 30 years, but I keep it pretty short, and I use a little beard trimmer that looks like a little barber-type clipper.

I’d recommend against a rechargable type, as all of those I’ve tried tend to get real wimpy after a while. Also look for a removable, and adjustable, cutter guard that’s fairly stout. I tend to break them.

I can’t really recommend any particular brand or model as all that I have had over the years have had short comings of one sort or another. I had a Panasonic that I liked once, it was quite powerful and effective, but the switch wore out pretty quickly, and when I took it apart to see if I could fix it I found out that it was pretty cheaply put together. I have a Jheri Reddig (sp?) rechargable one now that is positively anemic unless I plug it in, and not a lot better plugged in. Also I broke the little attachment arms off the cutter guard pretty quickly. I think it’s time to go shopping again.

I just shampoo my beard when I do my hair, no fuss. But I only shampoo my hair a couple of times a week unless I’ve gotten it dirty doing something.

Most barbers will trim up your beard nicely for an extra charge. My wife likes to do it so I let her. Saves me $10.00.

Oh and my advice is to trim your moustache even with the top of your upper lip. Big droopy moustaches may look impressive, but they aren’t worth the hassle, IMHO.

I suggest you brush it daily (with a boar-bristle brush, not wire) to slough off the dead skin under your beard. If you don’t, when you scratch your chin all the dead skin will start ‘snowing’ on you, and that’s gross.

I’ve had mine for about 25 years. I always keep it quite short so the issue of brushing it doesn’t arise. Like the others here I just wash it when I wash my hair - every day in my case - and with the same stuff.

I use a beard/moustache trimmer once a week, it’s a Braun and just uses two standard AA cells (useful when travelling, but I have considered buying a mains-powered one for normal use for the extra power).

With the comb-thing off I carefully trim the mo to keep it level with the top of my upper lip when smiling broadly (that way you never get it in your beer). With it on and set to the shortest setting I trim the whole beard, going against the grain and pressing fairly hard to get the closest cut (except for the mo which looks silly if it’s too short, there I go with the grain and don’t press too hard) so it ends up maybe 3-5mm long (not short enough to look like stubble, IOW). Even if I skip a week, it doesn’t get long enough to look scruffy.

I also shave my neck once a week afterwards. The whole process takes maybe 10-15 minutes.

Ditto on the beard trimmers, although I sprang for a cordless and have had no problems.

Regarding that little bit of grey. I have a single grey spot on the left side. I dye it.
Yep. I admit it.

You get the mens beard/moustache stuff at any supermarket. Ignore instructions.
First of all, get it two shades lighter than your actual hair color. Then, on the little tray, you put a tiny drop - about the size of a dime, of each - the color agent and the color. Mix with the brush, apply and then go about your business for 10 minutes (even though it says five minutes). Then shampoo it off. Looks great and as long as you don’t do that gawdawful black, and keep it light, it will make the grey disappear. Lasts about two weeks before another touch up. And at that rate, using just a dab, the box will last you a year!

If my beard ever goes completely grey, I will stop - but as long as it is just that one annoying spot, I will keep doing it.

But keep trimming it. Very important. Looks better and unless you are doing stunt doubles for ZZ Top, long beards only work at Christmas if you want some part time work at the mall.

From the ladies’ point of view may I suggest: use some conditioner when you shampoo it to keep it soft. Your wife will appreciate it!

I use a standard razor on workdays to keep my cheeks and neck clean of stubble. I let it go stubbly over the weekend. So it’s not really a full beard, really more of a strip down from each ear towards the mouth and chin area (plus a short mustache).

I trim the beard itself once a week, Sunday morning (start of week for me; think Monday morning if you’re in a civilized part of the world ;)) - since I only have to shorten it, not clip straight to the skin for shape, I’m perfectly happy with a rechargeable, relatively el-cheapo trimmer…

And I might just have to consider the idea about covering that grey spot… great idea! (but do the stores carry any Carrot-Orange dyes for men?)

Dani

Short goatee {NOT a soul patch!} and sideburns here. Going grey, but I figure it looks distinguished. Or homeless. I don’t use a trimmer; in my experience they’re either too short or ineffective. Try a blunt razor {sharp ones tend to take too much off} and no cream - just wet the beard well, and a few times over lightly with the razor gives you control over the length while keeping it nice and even. And yeah, wash it daily.

I am shaved bald. I used to wear a goatee, but now I have gone with the full beard. It’s a *little * unusual with a shaved head, but that’s kinda the point. (I may have been influenced by the “goatee being the new mullet” thread)

I like it. It’s not really any extra work to keep clean, though it’s a little extra work to dry. I keep it short and trimmed.

And, AND, I have given up on trying to hide my gray hairs.

Where is this thread of which you speak? I wish to heap coals of fire upon it.

If you eat BBQ chicken make sure you are at a place where you can wash your face. :smiley:

http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?t=276731&highlight=mullet

Enjoy!

Full beard (not one of those wimpy two-days’s growth ones, but not long, either). My wife wanted me to grow it – it’s much less scratchy than if I shave (my face is like sandpaper an hour after I shave).

Just washing my face seems good enough. Sometimes I’ll use a little shampoo and conditioner, but it doesn’t make all that much difference.

I use an electric trimmer to keep it neat. Does a nice job. A barber could also do it – it’s up to you.

My beard is gray with a few black highlights, but then, so is my hair. I actually like the way I look with gray hair.

I have no input, but my Chinese boyfriend tried to keep a beard once, just out of curiosity.

He ended up looking just like Fu Manchu. Hee hee!Of course I didn’t tell him right away.

I had a beard for years, but trimmed down to a goatee about a year ago on the advice of my girlfriend (now wife). Here’s what I can tell you:

Get an electric trimmer, cordless is fine, doesn’t have to be too fancy. With a full beard, you can get away with trimming only once or twice a week. The goatee needs to be kept short and neat, so I’m up to three times a week.

When I had the beard, I would trim and “clean up” (use a blade to shave and shape on my cheeks and neck) twice a week. More than that would just irritate my skin. But I did treat the beard like it was hair, which meant shampooing when I showered to keep it clean.

The mustache is tricky; you just have to find a style that works for you. Mine looks best if I trim it level to the top of my upper lip. Yours may curl out better than mine, or you may need wax or some other product to make it look right. Toy with it.

There are products out there that are designed to treat your facial skin under your beard without clumping up or looking nasty in your hair. I’ve never found them necessary, but you may like them.

Having a barber give you a shave and a beard trim is a real treat, but I can’t afford to do it too often. Indulge yourself once in a while, but it can be an expensive habit.

I have had a beard all of my adult life - since it first started growing in, when I was in high school.

I keep it trimmed with a sharp pair of barber’s scissors and a comb. I tried electric beard trimmers, but I found them to be a hassle, what with replacing batteries or just replacing the trimmers because they got dull and started pulling the hair.

I wash my beard every time I wash my face - no shampoo or anything, just a mild castille soap or Ivory or whatever is by the sink.

As for the gray hairs…yeah, I got 'em and I look like an old geezer, between the gray in my beard and all the gray at the temples and sideburns. But I long ago stopped giving a damn whether I have gray hair or not.

slightly breathless

Beards are hot. That’s my final say on the matter.

I also have a battery operated Braun. Works fine, because I only use it a couple times a week for slight trimming.
I keep the moustache even with the top of my lip.
I shampoo it about as often as I do my hair, and I use conditioner.
I let the grey hair come in, but notice that they seem to grow faster than the darker ones. So sometimes I’ll trim them individually.

About the only people who didn’t like the beard were my parents. Everyone else thinks I look better with it.

And after awhile, you’ll get over being meticulous about trimming it and such. You’ll notice that it really doesn’t take as much work as you’re putting into it right now, when it’s new, to maintain it. It’s just something you think you have to do.