Just when we thought the beard craze was on its way out, it came back with a seriously dapper vengeance during last Sunday's Oscars. So many of Hollywood's leading men were sporting facial hair, we think it might have been an Academy record. If you're inspired to work on a beard of your own, here are tips on keeping it looking classy.
Know whether or not a beard suits your face.
Be honest with yourself—not every guy looks best with a beard. Typically, facial hair looks better when the hair is darker than your skin coloring. That way you avoid that awkward is-his-face-just-dirty thing. The exception: If you've gone gray like Clooney, you can probably pull off a dignified beard. Just keep it short so you don't look like Santa.
A good amount of evenly dispersed follicles is also a requirement so that it's not patchy. You can tell from just a few days of growth whether or not you've got what it takes. If you don't, trust us and keep the clean-shaven look.
Decide on your style.
We recommend sticking with either some light scruff or a trimmed beard to avoid the feral-lumberjack look. Yes, facial hair is manly, but you don't need to look like you've been living in the backwoods.
Shaping pointer: Keep it looking natural and modern at your neckline by tapering away as you go below the jaw; a sharp contrast at the jawline looks outdated.
Get the right tools.
An electric mustache and beard trimmer with multiple length settings (we recommend the Conair iStubble Facial Trimmer) is essential to easy beard maintenance. Use with an electric pre-shave treatment like Billy Jealousy's Lightning Bolt for a more comfortable trimming that won't painfully pull at hairs or leave skin irritated.
A pair of facial-hair scissors (Tweezerman Facial Hair Scissors) used with a beard and mustache brush (Speert Moustache/ Beard & Eyebrow Brush) can also help you more precisely style and trim strays, keeping things neat but natural-looking.
Make it through the growing-in phase.
During the transition, face scrub will be your new best friend. Try Raw Materials Skin Grit to get rid of dead skin and raise hair follicles to prevent ingrown hairs. It will drastically cut irritation and itchiness.
Follow cleansing with a soothing beard oil like Dude No. 1. It helps keep the hairs soft and smells fresh and woody, just like a man's beard should.
About the Author: The Motley is a skillfully curated online apothecary for men. Check here for new weekly posts on everything you need to know about grooming.