Times are changing, and facial hair is now very acceptable at the office. What once was reserved for the weekends, athletes and actors is now available for all guys… but not so fast. As the author of DETAILED: A Complete Man’s Guide to Personal Grooming, I have some guidance before you attempt this cool and confident look.
Facial hair is grown for a variety of reasons: to distract from thinning hair, to cover up bad skin, to look manlier, etc. But one key thing to remember is, just because one guy can pull off a certain look doesn’t mean every guy can—or should.
Use your jaw line as a guide, allowing the hair to wrap underneath it. This will enhance your facial structure and give your stubble a more natural look.
I like to go with the facial hair/stubble look. If you want to do it for the weekend, it’s easy; just don’t shave. But if you want to rock it all the time, there is some upkeep involved. I have a beard trimmer, and every few days I trim it down to get that three-day look. No matter what style or vibe you are going for, keep these five facial hair rules in mind.
1. Follow your jaw line
When shaving your neck, be careful not to cut above your jaw line. Instead, use your jaw line as a guide, allowing the hair to wrap underneath it. This will enhance your facial structure and give your stubble a more natural look. Cutting above your jaw line gives the appearance that your cheeks have no beginning or end. Not a good look.
2. Tame your cheeks
If you are going to be consistent with this look, do not allow it to grow wild up the sides of your face. Trim your cheeks down and keep it clean. Imagine a line extending from the sides of your nostrils to your ear lobes. Do not let your stubble grow above that. If you have random black cheek hairs, pluck ’em.
3. Don’t fight your (lack of) follicles
If you’re one of those guys whose facial hair never completely filled in, shave clean. You must have the growth pattern to pull off the scruff, and patches of stubble on your face look unclean and a little creepy. Be honest with yourself if this is a good look for you.
4. Clean up your neck
Unkempt necklines are no good to begin with, but look even more ridiculous if you have manicured facial hair. If you’re going to put all this work into your stubble, make sure you shave your neckline, too.
5. Trim regularly
This is a cool look if you keep it trimmed properly. Wild facial hair becomes a beard, and we are not growing beards here. Every 3 days, trim. The key to this look is to make it look as natural as possible. Ironically, this take a little work, but you’ll realize it’s worth it when you see how good it looks.
Richard Maloof is an author, grooming expert and image consultant. For more about his work, visit richardmaloof.com.