Facial hair detailing 101.
June 7, 2010 8:31 PM   Subscribe

I would like to try some of these facial hair styles. So far I have not had much luck doing detailing with my cartridge razor.

I am probably going to have to kick it up a notch and get a safety razor, straight razor, or electric beard and mustache trimmer. Which of these should I go with though in terms of versatility of styles they can handle?
There is probably a good beard and mustache community with forums where I could have asked this but I couldn't find it.
posted by dino terror to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (9 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
I pretty much sport a Van Dyke (that's working it's way towards ZZ Top Goatee length) and I swear by my double-edge safety razor. It's German and weighs about 8 pounds (or so it seems).

But srsly, i love mine. When they say some other razor is "As close as a blade"...
-This is what they mean
-They lie.
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 8:54 PM on June 7, 2010 [1 favorite]

I use this Philips Norelco trimmer for my facial detailing. It has adjustable guards to get varying lengths of hair and it also has a precision trimmer to do edges. It won't replace a razor/straight edge for completely removing hair but it does the parts that are keeping hair very well. Plus it has a little vacuum inside it so your trimmings get collected in a little basket you can dump instead of having them get everywhere.
posted by msbutah at 9:04 PM on June 7, 2010

I don't have any good suggestions for razors/trimmers, but once you get them you need to try out some starburns.
posted by runcibleshaw at 9:10 PM on June 7, 2010

You definitely need an electric trimmer with adjustable guards if you're going to have any kind of interesting beard, especially some of the ones in the excellent dyers.org list of beards. I do any required shaping with the electric trimmer, and then get a closer shave with a razor if called for.

I'm working on the same project...
posted by pkingdesign at 9:19 PM on June 7, 2010 [2 favorites]

it's almost always easier (in my experience) to grow and then carve out whatever style you want, rather than starting from scratch. this is coming from a guy who's had a huge beard in the past, and is currently sporting what your chart calls a 'Napoleon III Imperial'. The tips of my mustache, when waxed, reach out to be inline with my ear lobes when viewed from the front.

I generally use a beard or sideburn trimmer with no guard to trim around my mustache. Any adjustments I need to do to my mustache, I do with a pair of sharp curved scissors (like one might use for nail trimming). I've found that the curved scissors work great as a mustache isn't linear because it falls away from the nose and down on either side of the mouth.

grow out your beard entirely for a bit, then trim away for your desired look, without using a guard. then let your beard grow out some more. repeat until your desired look is at the length you're aiming for. I've found this method to be great as you can learn exactly where you want to trim, and you can cultivate the exact length you want, where you want it. I think it looks much better for most people, especially if your beard doesn't grow in fast and full on every part of your face. when you trim out your final look, your mustache may have been growing for two months, whereas you latest beard may only have been going for a week or two. in the meantime, it wont look patchy, as most people will just read it as 'bearded dude', without registering the differences in length

If you're planning on your mustache being a central part of your look, plan on training it as you go along. Get a fine-toothed comb, and use the comb to train your mustache in the direction you want it to grow. It's a lot like combing the hair on your head. After you've (parted) combed it the same way for a long time, it tends to do that more easily. I comb my mustache from the middle of my lip outward, each direction with a small twist at the end. Most days, even if I've slept on my face, a simple pass with the comb in each direction will restore my mustache to it's proper place. In addition, for fine tuning once you've achieved your final look, I highly recommend Pinaud-Clubman Mustache Wax. The site lists it as sold out, but i can almost always find it at my local drugstore/CVS/RiteAide. best of luck with your face!
posted by Bohemia Mountain at 10:57 PM on June 7, 2010

This may be an obvious answer, but: don't overlook your good old-fashioned neighborhood barber. Mine charges $5 for a beard trim, which is pretty unbeatable. Your barber went to school for this and is a board-certified professional. He's trimmed a hell of a lot more beards than you ever will. And, he can walk 360° around you, wielding his clippers and shears and professional eye much better than you, standing at your sink looking directly into a flat mirror.

Granted, you'll pay more if what you want involves a lot of straight-razor shaving, but if you're working through the beards in a logical order, instead of jumping from the Corsican Muttonwrangler to the John Waters, Jr. and then back to a Lumberjack Extended, it's mostly about the gentle art of topiary. And honestly, you should pay for a good shave every once in a while just for the hell of it.

Of course, you've got to find the right guy, but once you do, cherish his services. He can dial-in whatever look you want, and then your task is just to maintain it for as long as you care to before moving on to the next beard. Using, as suggested by others, a good beard trimmer, a small pair of scissors and a cartridge razor. Consider getting a shaving mug, cake o' soap and a brush, too. It's economical and environmentally friendly compared to using cans of shaving cream. It's also just damned nice.

Personally, I didn't care for Pinaud-Clubman when I tried it. Instead, I wholeheartedly endorse Oregon Wild Hair mustache wax. Buy yourself the kit with the brush and you won't be sorry.
posted by mumkin at 12:45 AM on June 8, 2010

try some generic one or twin blade disposible razors, rather than the standard 9 bladed cartridges.

Also, if you are talking edging, I think you are trying to be too precise. Or your facial hair isn't suited to the look you are trying for.
posted by gjc at 4:56 AM on June 8, 2010

Do we get to vote on which look you'll try first? If so, my vote is on "Mario"!

Anyway, I think you should find a barber, pay for a first session and ask him how to build and maintain a beard like that.
posted by Omnomnom at 5:24 AM on June 8, 2010

Response by poster: Thanks for the tips, I think I will go out and procure a beard and mustache trimmer!
posted by dino terror at 7:24 AM on June 9, 2010

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