Why Grooming Your Beard Is Not “Womanly”
Last month I got an email from a customer who was upset with our content.
Unsubscribing from the list wasn’t enough for this chap. He was so peeved that he sent us a terse email.
In it, he told us that he did not wish to receive our “womanly” correspondence on grooming, because he was a man.
For reference, when a customer makes an order, we send them a series of follow up emails with tips that are genuinely helpful, and will allow them to get the most out of our products.
Since we currently sell beard grooming products, our emails cover beard grooming.
Now the real question should be, “How did this guy not understand that he was engaging in grooming his beard by purchasing a product from us?”
Unfortunately, it seems as though the mention of the word “grooming” threw this guy for a loop and he had to defend his manhood against our suggestion that he ought groom his beard to achieve a respectable look.
So instead of laughing it off and simply wondering how this customer was so confused with what he was purchasing, we’re going to take a step back and talk about the broader issue.
Let’s talk about grooming for men.
Oh, quick note: I’m not going to touch on the idea of this being derogatory to women, or sexist, or whatever. This guy was worried about his manhood, not about how much he hated women, I’m sure.
The “Just Stop Shaving”, Wanna-Be Bear-Fighting, Beer-Guzzling A-holes
There’s a small subset of bearded men out there who think that all you need to do to grow an epic beard is throw away the razor.
Just stop shaving, bro!
Then you’ll be fist fighting grizzly bears, shotgunning beers, and picking up birds all day!
Men who subscribe to this rubbish are typically unsure of themselves as men, lacking direction and a positive role model, and unhappy.
They believe that the beard makes the man.
This group of men has been trying to usurp the meaning of manliness to serve themselves, and make themselves feel better, to give their lives a purpose.
I feel for these guys. I really do.
Part of our mission is to reach men in order to reverse the prolonged adolescence in today’s men and provide them the tools they need to become more self-sufficient and responsible for their own lives.
There’s a lot of guys out there who just haven’t had the experience or opportunity to become better men. We want to help them.
To this group of men, grooming is womanly, because they somehow feel that it threatens their definition of man.
We aren’t supposed to spend time in the bathroom worrying about our appearance. We’re men! As long as we drink beer, talk about sports, and drive loud vehicles, who cares that we’re overweight, wearing baggy t-shirts, flip-flops, and wrap around sunglasses on the brim of our backward-turned ballcap?
If people don’t get that, that’s their loss! And if I can’t find the woman I want to be with, or get the job I want to work, it’s because society is down on men.
In case you can’t tell, this sort of attitude drives me crazy.
I think it’s important to lay this groundwork, however, because it is this that we are trying to defeat.
Not these men, but their ideas.
Let’s now take a look at what we actually mean when we talk about grooming as it pertains to bearded men. After that, we’ll talk about why the “beard bros” need to lay off and give their heads a shake, because grooming is damn important.
How To Groom Your Beard Like A Man
Your beard should represent your person as the rest of your style and grooming habits do.
A beard can be a great feature for many men, but there’s a fine line between excellence and a beard that detracts from your overall image.
Follow these simple rules, make sure they’re part of your daily routine, and you’ll have a beard that helps you make excellent, rather than disappointing, first impressions.
Condition Daily With A Balm Or Oil
Other than living a healthy lifestyle to give your body the nutrients and strength it needs to produce quality facial hair, the most foundational part of your beard care should be applying a good conditioner.
For this, you’ve got two options:
- Beard oil
- Beard balm
You should be looking for all-natural products with high quality carrier and essential oils.
If made well, the oils in these products will nourish the beard hairs and the skin underneath.
They will condition and lock in moisture, which means a stronger, healthier, shinier beard. You’ll get fewer split ends, and more control over the look of your beard.
Balm takes these oils and adds butters and waxes. Some nice beeswax actually coats the beard to lock the conditioning oil into the beard hair all day, and provides great styling abilities to create the perfect look.
To take your beard seriously, you absolutely must be applying one, or both of these.
Style And Clean With A Beard Brush And Comb
Alright, you’re doing better than most by applying a conditioner daily, but how do you take the next step to greatness, and reach the next level?
The next purchase you should make is a boar bristle beard brush.
This does 2 things really well:
The first one is obvious — you get a brush to pull all of those errant hairs together into a clean, crisp look.
The bristles really get in there and penetrate the beard to ensure that the maximum number of hairs are pointing in the same direction with each stroke.
It will do wonders if you’re having a hard time styling a puffy or curly beard with just your hands and some balm.
Regular brushing can also help to tame the hair and lead it to grow in an even direction.
The second great thing about brushes is that they are amazing for cleanliness and health of your beard, too.
The bristles will pull dead skin cells, shed hairs, and oil build up away from your face.
All of those things are detrimental to your beard and the skin underneath. They can cause itching, breakouts, and turn your face into a bad neighbourhood for beard growing.
Using a beard brush every morning will kick your beard up a notch, no question.
Some men prefer combs (though some use both).
Get either a nice Kent comb, or a wooden beard comb.
Kent uses solid chunks of high quality plastic that are then fed through a saw to create the teeth, and then sanded. By hand. No microscopic jagged edges like an injection molded plastic comb from the drugstore.
Keep It Tight And Crisp By Trimming Regularly (No Matter The Length)
For some beards it’s obvious. Take the trimmer out every few days to make sure your short beard is always uniform and consistent.
But if you’ve got a beard that’s long enough that you don’t shave or trim often, you can do yourself a huge favour by getting into the habit of mini trims every week or two.
Make it your goal to go in with a nice pair of shears and trim literally 10 to 20 hairs.
Don’t make a big deal of it, don’t shape it, don’t style it. Just trim those few hairs that are sticking out. The ones that grow longer than the rest, the ones that will not lie down, even after applying balm and brushing.
Just snip them down and suddenly your beard loses the mildly “fuzzy” look and becomes sharp, crisp, intentional.
It’s an amazing habit that not enough guys have.
The Ultimate Routine For A Medium To Long Beard
Alright, so your beard is long enough that you don’t really use a beard trimmer any more. You may not trim at all (except bi-weekly mini trims as I mentioned above).
Steal my daily routine by following these steps:
- Apply beard oil
- Comb beard oil through beard
- Apply top layer of beard balm
- Brush to disperse beard balm and style
By combining these 4 tools, you’ll be way ahead of the curve.
So Why Does This Matter? Should You Really Care About Grooming Your Beard?
And finally we get to the meat of the issue.
If grooming your beard is not womanly, and is, in fact, manly, why?
Grooming boils down to presenting yourself in the best possible way.
It is respecting the fact that appearance matters.
And attractiveness has nothing to do with it.
The way you present yourself in the world is significantly important. Not only do you approach the world differently when you are dressed and groomed impeccably, thanks to an increased level of confidence, but the reactions you illicit from others are drastically different than if you went out of your house looking like a slob.
In the first instance, confidence is key. If you look your best, you’re going to feel your best, and it’s going to translate to how you act. You’re more likely to succeed and achieve greatness if you feel at the top of your game and aren’t being held back by doubt.
In the second instance, if you convince yourself that impressions don’t matter, particularly first impressions, you’re having a laugh.
Studies continuously show that first impressions are formed within seconds — sometimes even fractions of a second — and that they are incredibly difficult to change.
And if you convince yourself that what other people think of you doesn’t matter, you’re not living in reality.
It’s great to be self-confident and not live your life on other people’s terms, but if you wish to interact with society and those people in it, you will rely on them to some degree.
If you want to enter a business deal. If you are looking for a mate. If you are applying for a job. If you want to meet friends. If you are looking for a loan from the bank.
In any of these situations, you must interact with others. And whether you believe it to be right or proper, their opinion of you will inform their decision.
If you don’t care about losing out on business, job opportunities, love, friendships, and more, then don’t groom.
If you want these things, you owe it to yourself to present your best face possible.
I love this quote from Tom Ford:
You should put on the best version of yourself when you go out in the world because that is a show of respect to the other people around you.
It’s not that others deserve to take from you. It’s that you are showing them the respect they deserve as other human beings. A basic level of respect. A respect that says you are putting in some effort, and you do not expect them to give you anything you do not deserve.
If you come out a slob, and then expect people to treat you with respect and to a high standard, you’re taking from them. You haven’t proven your worth. You haven’t proven that they are important to you, because you have shown up unkempt, ungroomed, and seemingly uncaring. Why should they provide you with the time of day?
If showing up your best, feeling your best, and making good first impression wasn’t manly enough, the habit of a morning ritual will allow you to take control over your day and your life.
Ground your responsibility in taking care of yourself, and you’ll allow everything else to grow from the foundation of your self.