A beard can be a fine accessory. (Well, for a man. Women would probably be better without.) Dudes can do well with some facial follicles, but you can’t just let your beard run wild on you. You have to tame it and care for it. How do you do that? Well, look at these five beard care tips that will save your face if you want to master your manly mane.

  1. Keep it neat. Unless you’re going after the small group of women who dig the old-school “Wolfman” movies, you’re going to want to reign in your beard a bit. Not only do you have to find the right length, but you’ve also got to restrict the beard’s growth. You can’t give up on shaving entirely; you just shave less of your face. Don’t let the beard grow too far down your neck or too high on your cheeks. Keep the boundaries of your beard neatly trimmed and neatly defined. You wear the beard, not the other way around!
  2. Let your face breathe. All of that beard hair may look good on you, but after a while the skin under there is going to suffocate. You won’t see it, so maybe you won’t worry about it. That is, until you wake up one night with itchiest face in the world. That’s because the skin under the beard is all dried out. Shorten your beard and let that skin breathe a little bit. Get some lotion on that skin and let your beard fill back in.
  3. Be aware of odors. If you have a beard, you have to know that your face fuzz is a magnet for all types of scents. If you’ve been camping or smoking, that beard is going to reek of smoke if you don’t wash it. Be mindful of the fact that your beard is going to smell of wherever you’ve been, so you may need to choose your destinations wisely.
  4. Wash it! Wash it like it was the hair on your head. Get in there with shampoo and conditioner and get a lather going. Work your fingers in there, feel the tingly shampoo bubbles, and rinse. Beard hair is coarse enough without you ignoring it, so do your part to make it softer. You want it to be inviting, not repulsive. Plus, washing helps remove unwanted odors.
  5. Train it. Remember, you are the master of the beard. You tell it what you want it to do. In order to groom the right beard to match your face, you’ve got to train it. That means combing (or brushing) it into the right position. Get it to grow the way you want it to so that it compliments that shape of your face. If you don’t, it won’t be long before the “Grizzly Adams Look-A-Like” committee comes knocking on your door!