In order to grow a beard you need androgens, this is the hormone that redefines the body during puberty, which includes the transformation of fine vellus hair follicles into the thicker terminal variety. As men have more androgens, they can grow beards. Easy when you know how.
Congratulations! You have a beard! And with that comes choices, are you going to leave it alone, let it do its thing? Or trim it, chop bits off it.
If you’re going to work your whiskers you need to look at your beard as a butcher might a pig. A beard can be separated into finer cuts, in this instance, chops, jowls, chin and ‘tache.
Each component can be removed from the equation or left to develop, depending on the requirements of the individual in question; though I’d never recommend leaving the jowls isolated unless you live in a cabin, deep in the hills with Brian, your sister.
Assuming we’re incorporating all four component cuts for the purposes of creating a full beard, and you’re more inclined to keep it in some sort of order as opposed to going for the freestyle-look, you’ll need some tools to help shape your hairy accessory.
First and foremost is the razor. You may have thought the best place for this tool is the bin but beardy-beware, facial hair doesn’t always grow according to expectation; you may find hair appearing in places that compromise the look you’re after.
It may only be a few rogue hairs that make you look like a primate but clearly they need removing.
The razor is also good for whittling, take off the chops and jowls and you’re a dead ringer for David Brent, why not remove the ‘tache altogether for that smooth Amish look? Or just slice off the jowls and leave the rest to the wind, you’re at Woodstock, man!
The second essential tool is a sharp pair of small scissors. These are particularly useful when it comes to all things ‘tache, and controlling the many undulating hairy variables as they shift over the face.
They are also an important companion to, arguably, the most important device at man’s disposal when it comes to gardening ones bristles, electronic clippers.
Battery or plug, you’re going to need these mechanical bad boys with a range of guards; to even contemplate harvesting your face without them is an absurdity but in return for your diligence a whole new world of possibilities opens up.
Feel free to keep the chops and jowls trimmed while allowing the chin and ‘tache to roam, alternatively, you might want a magnificent handlebar ‘tache but wish to reign-in the surrounding hair with an even hand.
Clippers make short work of tidying up your countenance and ensure you have the power over your beard, never the other way round.
But are we not sidestepping the great issue that splits the beard community down the middle? To wit, what’s to be done with the hair that sprouts from the neck?
Some feel its fine to leave it, whilst other find the idea of neck-hair abhorrent. A third party may try to compromise by blending the two together so there is not definite line, just a gradual shift from flesh to follicle -only a mad-man would try and undertake this black-belt manoeuvre without the full complement of razor, clipper and scissor.
This debate will continue to rage on for centuries but one thing every man with a beard will attest to is thus, never, ever attempt to engage with your whiskers after a few drinks. This isn’t the time to attempt a Depp, or a more recent Clooney; you’ll never get it right and sooner or later you’ll pass the point of no return before removing the whole thing in a fit of rage. I’d imagine.