Beards are arguably one of the most interesting things about a man's face. From stubble to full-grown, there's more to facial hair than we think. With that in mind, HuffPost Style spoke to pogonologist -- aka beard scholar -- Dr. Allan Peterkin to get his take on the art of grooming.
Dr. Peterkin is a Dove Men+Care Face expert and the author of books such as The Bearded Gentleman and One Thousand Beards, which focus on beard styling techniques then and now. With his cultural narratives, Dr. Peterkin educates his readers on the evolution of facial hair and its effect on social and psychological disposition.
So, when we talked to the all-things-beards expert, we knew that he would have some amazing, if not life-changing, tips. By highlighting some of the biggest mistakes guys can make, Dr. Peterkin doesn't disappoint in giving us everything we've ever needed to know about caring for a beard.
Herewith are Dr. Peterkin's tips and tricks below; gentlemen, try to take his advice, OK?
What are the current beard trends?
The most popular look is stubble -- that’s if you look in the magazines GQ, Esquire -- the guy has stubble and sometimes stubble with layering, with thicker sideburns, or with a mustache.
You’re seeing the mountain man beard but that’s kind of like fringe college kid, or has a hipster element. There's seasonal mustache growing for charity -- I don’t think the mustache has really hit as permanent expression.
Are there certain styles that complement different faces?
Men use facial hair to play up strengths or hide weaknesses. If you have a weak chin, you can square it off by having a beard; if you have a really big nose, a full mustache will counter that. You see guys who are bald and grow a nice beard, it really looks good to have bald head and stubble, for example. I think men are getting really strategic about their use of facial hair from the aesthetic and cosmetic sides.
What are the biggest mistakes a guy can make with his beard?
You’ll see guys cut their beard right under their chin, and it looks really severe and artificial. So they should really aim somewhere between the Adam's apple and under the chin, that’s kind of a natural place.
I always tell people before they grow a big beard or if you’ve had a beard, before you shave it off, you should consult your partner and possibly your barber. I think guys do foolish things that don’t look great -- some other people should get a vote, I think particularly your spouse or your partner.
Give us some grooming tips!
Bearded or not, you still have skin. Some guys think "I don’t need to use products with SPF if I have a beard," but you can still get sun damage.
You need to wash your face; you can use the same product for washing your face and washing your beard. You still need to shave your margins if you have a beard, so you can use gel to keep it tidy.
How many products do men really need?
Guys want to keep it simple, so I don’t want 15 products. There are all these lines for beards now, beard oil and beard conditioner. One line of products will often cover you whether you’re clean shaven or bearded.
What do you think about beard art?
That’s the whole thing about facial hair nowadays: guys are having fun. It’s sort of a little bit of playful rebellion. Our fathers and grandfathers probably couldn’t have gotten away with it. It’s confident -- “I can do this” -- and it’s fun. So I welcome that -- I think that’s a great trend.
This interview has been condensed and edited for clarity.
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