In 2017 a UK business The Mears Group made headlines when it called for clean-shaven faces in the workplace, forcing employees into shaving their beards, moustaches and other facial hair. Being in the construction business, the beard ban was implemented to ensure the proper fitment & seal of dust masks.
It's an understandable move. Workplaces are required to be ever more safety conscious and there may be cases where a properly sealed dust mask is necessary. Similar prohibitions apply in the military where the use of gas masks during operations may be required.
Thankfully though, for the rest of us beards in the workplace are generally A-okay, provided you get the basics down. You see, we often say when it comes to beards there's a fine line between "looking hipster" and "looking homeless".
When it's executed well, a beard can make you look classy, wise & trustworthy. These are excellent traits to be projecting when you're thinking about that next big deal or promotion. But, if you get it wrong, you could be thought of as lazy, sloppy or unprofessional. The very opposite of what you want in a work environment.
From styling your facial hair to saving time in the morning, today we present you with the do's and don'ts of having a beard in the workplace, so you can always look professional.
Don't just let it grow (unless you're Brad Pitt)
If you don't want your beard growing in all sorts of crazy directions, make beard trimming & line-ups a frequent habit. It's amazing how a tidy up every 2-3 weeks will keep your beard looking fresh. For best results, get a well trained barber to give your beard it's basic shape. Then in between visits you can keep it neat with beard scissors for any crazy fast growing or scraggly hairs.
Trimming loose hairs and split ends is an especially important part of beard maintenance. This can mean the difference between a beard that looks ugly and one that looks lush and healthy. Also be mindful of the shape of your beard and be sure to style it daily with some beard balm & a quality beard brush.
Do choose an appropriate style
Barber shops offer a range of styles from you to choose for, including many corporate styles. These are designed to help you look clean, well-groomed and professional, always. Developing a relationship with a local barber is one of the best things you can do; let them know what you like, dislike and are hoping to achieve with your beard.
It's important to work your beard's strengths whilst managing it's weaknesses. If you need some ideas, we covered the key professional beard styles for the office in a previous blog post.
Don't neglect it
You wouldn't leave the house without brushing your hair, so why would you neglect your beard? Remember, having a beard can be less work than shaving but it's not like there's no work at all to do. Brushing & adding a few drops of moisturising beard oil are a minimum requirements for beard care on the daily.
Beard oil is one of the most versatile beard products available as it will nourish, moisturise, soften, protect & fragrance your beard all at the same time. It also gives the beard a nice lustre that makes it look maintained & cared for.
Do have a morning routine
Washing, trimming and brushing beards is key for cleanliness. Saving time in the morning can be as easy as having an established morning routine that works for you. If you're running late, at least make sure to put on some beard oil and tame your facial hair before going out.
Morning is also the best time to check those beard lines around the cheeks and neck line. If you've got random hairs & peach fuzz in these areas it's best to clean them up with a quality single blade shaver such as a cut throat or "Fatip" style double edge razor.
Don't get it dirty
There are few things worse than having food or crumbs stuck in your beard. Simply eat and drink with care, and do regular check-ups to ensure you're still looking good after every meal.
As I've recently let my moustache grow out a lot, I've found I tend to get my wife & kids wet when I kiss them after having a drink. Unfortunately, some of the drink would inevitably absorb into my mo, making it a sopping mess when it comes to smooch time. The fix is easy though. I started carrying a hanky or some tissues (depending on where I am) to give the moustache a quick wipe after a drink or meal. It's annoying at first, but it quickly becomes an automated hygiene thing that I do without even thinking about it.
Given your beard is so great at absorbing stuff from your environment a regular wash wouldn't go astray. There are beard specific cleansers on the market that have low levels of soap and high levels of conditioner to keep that thick wiry nest of awesomeness in great shape.
Do be confident
Confidence can help you pull off almost anything, and beards are no exception!
Beards can work wonders for your image, making you seem more confident, dependable and mature. Having a beard in the workplace doesn't have to be hard work, just make sure to keep your facial hair neat and tidy for a clean, professional look.
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