One of the biggest transformations in modern masculinity over the last five years is the huge increase in the popularity of facial hair, especially big, bushy facial hair. And that involves a care and grooming regimen that may be new and scary for some dudes.
Take their hand—or your own—and lead them through the lumberjack wilderness with these essentials, used to tend to actual real-life Overthinker beards.
The Art of Shaving Beard Wash and Conditioner
Depending on ethnicity and hair type, a man’s beard is often a bit thicker and bristlier than the hair on his head, calling for bit more intense of a cleaning and a bit more thorough of a conditioning. Your scruffy loved one can add these two bottles to the shower party for a simple, straightforward addition to the daily regimen that makes a real difference. He can do whatever he’s going to do to wash his hair, then rinse, then rub a little shampoo into the beard, lather it up, then rinse, then rub a little conditioner in, and rinse. Beard shampoo is a bit more intense than hair shampoo, and beard conditioner a bit thicker. But this is potent stuff in small concentrations: a 4 oz bottle should easily last a month or two. –Peter Fenzel
Zeus Vanilla Rum Beard Oil
There are a ton of products to enhance a beard, and the products tell you they do a lot of things, but other than shampoo and conditioner, the big one that’s totally new to aspiring mountain men is beard oil. A beard oil can claim to do so many things it is easy to wonder whether it does anything at all. Here are the basics: beard oil is like styling gel, but not as aggressive. It helps keep a beard’s shape under control. Yes, it replenishes a beard from washing, adds vitamins, conditions, all that stuff, but mostly a guy puts a little oil in his beard (just a few drops, maybe not even every day), to keep it from going crazy all over the place. It also can sometimes make it a little shinier and healthier looking, and, for the real game-changer, it can smell nice.
Zeus is a fairly high-end beard oil. I wouldn’t use it year-round just because of the cost. But most beard products break down into four basic scent profiles: vanilla, citrus, various kinds of wood, and nonsense (like bourbon leather or Dodge Charger), and while scent is a very personal thing, I’m on team vanilla. As a gift to someone who hasn’t tried it before, give this a shot. It can help take a beard to the next level. Three or four taps should do it for an application, a one ounce bottle should last a while. –Peter Fenzel
Can You Handlebar Beard Oil Brush
This single efficient tool caps a straightforward beard-care regimen, by applying oil and shaping the beard at the same time. Wash, condition, oil, then brush, and you’re done. You can apply the oil to the brush and brush in, or apply the oil with a few pats to your face, and brush it in afterward. The bristles are soft and comfortable, but firm enough to handle most face-foliage.
To get a tiny bit technical, this is a horsehair brush, and a lot of beard brushes are boar bristles. Horsehair is a bit softer and less aggressive, but also might not last quite as long or handle as thick or tangly a chin-mane. I like horsehair, but boar bristles are a fine option. Make sure your special someone airs this out or clean it out so it doesn’t get moldy — don’t just put it away wet in its tin.
Brushing a beard right is the difference between looking like a crazy person and looking like a modern man, and I love this brush. –Peter Fenzel
Braun Precision Beard Trimmer 5090
While of course most men with beards wish they could treat it like their hair and leave the work to the professionals, realistically, a beard often needs a bit more upkeep than the usual cadence of barber shop visits can manage. Plus, not everybody has a barber shop nearby. This Braun beard trimmer, with its strong motor and fine degree of measurement on the comb attachments, is a powerful tool that can work for basic care and maintenance or for more advanced styling. The grades are the same you’d get for a barber shop, meaning the boundary between stubble and beard is about a 3-4.
Braun makes three variants of this trimmer, the BT (“Beard Trimmer”) 5050, 5070 and 5090. The 5090 is a bit more expensive, but I went with it because it comes with a stand to charge it on and a travel case, which are pretty useful, and the battery is higher-quality and charges faster .–Peter Fenzel
Bonus Non-Beard Haver Pick: Tom Ford Beard Oil
In love with Tom Ford fragrances but too broke to actually buy one? A beard oil can work as perfume if you dab it on your pulse points or comb it through your hair, and you can get some of his signature scents for significantly less money! Neroli Portofino, Oud Wood, they’re all there.–Amanda Jordá