Whether your beard is big or small, beard envy always creeps in when you see someone with a bigger and fuller beard than yours. Most men have a certain beard dysmorphia (an anxiety disorder where people have a distorted perception of how they view their beard) even if their beard is quite grand.
Some of the most common problems men have with their beard are based on, patchiness, the uneven speed of growth, patchy coloration and the surprisingly common desire to have a straighter beard.
We have gotten a lot of questions regarding the handling and correction of some of these problems. We have addressed most of these in several blogs, however, one that has not been touched is the lengthening and straightening of the beard. This blog, I will go through the techniques I adopt to achieve a Longer, Straighter, Fuller beard, as well as some tools you can also use to achieve the look.
Towel Drying, hair training and the use of wet products
While some men use heating elements to achieve a straighter beard I prefer the look that comes from towel drying, (at least on me). Here is a step by step of how to achieve the look.
Shower & 2n1: I wash my beard with a Milkman 2 in 1 Shampoo and conditioner. This is important for two reasons.
- It is gentler on the hair due to a higher ph level and lower surfactant (soap) rate than conventional shampoos.
- It contains an ingredient called polyquat 7 which disrupts the bonds which cause curly hair.
During the lathering process, I will use a comb to;
- ensure all the knots and tangles are removed
- ensure the 2n1 is evenly distributed and also help to lengthen the wet hairs as much as possible. I rinse my face and beard with cool water (to prevent hair dryness caused by warm water).
Towel Drying/hair training: Once you have stepped out of the shower begins the drying process. When it comes to towel drying you want to ensure that you are drying your hair in a downward direction. Starting from the top of my beard I will dry downwards working the towel from side to side as I move down my face. This technique is good for several reasons:
- you are ensuring the hair is dried in a uniform direction.
- the repetition of this process will assist in training the hair to sit like that naturally (making each time you style it easier)
- you are lengthening and straightening your hair.
Beard Balm application: I use a Milkman Beard Candy beard balm when I want to achieve this look as it has all the softening and conditioning properties of the oil, but contains microcrystalline and beeswax, which will give a stronger hold and therefore keep your beard looking straighter throughout the day. I rub a fingernails' worth of balm into my hands until the wax turns to oil and work it into my beard. Using a comb, I brush my beard hair to make sure every hair is coated in the balm, all the way down to the skin.
Brushing and Shaping: Once the balm is applied I use a boar hair bristle brush, always brushing downward, making sure all the hairs are in line. The bristles lock into your hair with every stroke, allowing you to gently pull a large group of hairs in the same directing at the one time. This step is crucial in giving your beard a fuller look, compared to just using a comb.
Hand Shaping: Hand shaping allows you to pat down your beard into your intended style. You will find this step quite easy due to the softening properties of the 2 in 1 and the holding style of the beard balm.
Then all you have to is sit back and admire your work.
As I said before this technique is something that works for me. The style gives you a longer, straighter, fuller beard whilst still looking natural. The 2n1 not only cleans but also helps to soften the hair making styling easier and giving your beard style longevity of the course of the day.
If you prefer an even straighter beard, Saruman-style, then below are two techniques that involve the use of heat.
When you step out of the shower your hair is going to be wet and heavy. If you leave it to dry naturally your hair will curl up and your beard will look a lot shorter when it’s dry. Using a blow dryer will obviously allow you to dry your hair out faster than air or towel drying and it is a great technique for straightening your hair.
Using the blow dryer is a valuable tool in ensuring that the direction of your beard growth and positioning is downward, and ensuring that all your beard hairs are going in the same direction. To ensure this, hold your blow dryer above your beard with the nozzle facing downward.
Using a comb or beard brush follow the direction of the hot air always stroking downward. This will facilitate faster drying as well as ensure your hairs are all going the same way. A good rule of thumb when blow drying your hair is not to straighten it too much, as you want to lengthen your hair but you still want it to look natural. Using a beard oil or balm is imperative after using a blow dryer on your beard for two reasons:
- Hot air dries out your hair and skin. Using a beard oil or balm will help inject moisture back into your beard and skin.
- If you wish to keep the style of beard achieved when using the blow dryer, using a wax-based beard balm will provide hold, allowing it to stay in shape.
Now this is a dangerous one for some. I recommend only for those with super long beards. The straightening iron is one of the most effective ways for hair straightening that doesn't involve chemicals. To ensure uniform straightening we recommend doing your beard in sections starting from one side and working uniformly to the other. This will ensure you are straightening evenly and will give you a good indication of the evenness of your beard also.
When using a straightening iron you want to make sure you get as close to the root as you can and then slowly draw the iron across your hair. The risk of burning your hair or skin is greater when using a tool like this so be careful, take your time and be conscious of the proximity of the iron to your skin, the last thing you want is to burn your pretty face. For the same reasons as when using a hair dryer, finishing the process with a beard oil or balm will do wonders for conditioning the beard and maintaining its style.
If you are going to use heating elements to dry and straighten your beard then please be careful. Using products that apply moisture to the beard are integral in making your beard look and feel healthy especially if you are going to dry them out with heating products.
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Author: Kareem Ghaly
Editor: Ben De Campo