One beard enkemptening, please.
February 21, 2013 8:26 AM   Subscribe

I have a rather unkempt winter beard and I'd like to shape it into an actual (but still thick, long and luxurious) beard. Every time I try to do it myself, I fuck it up. I love my barber, but there's a bit of a language barrier and ever since this little mishap , I'm not yet willing to put my beard back in his hands. So I need some YouTube videos or sites or books or salon manuals or something that will allow me to work on my beard without reinventing the wheel.

I don't want one of those moustache-zeitgeisty "How To Be A Man's Man The Manly-Man Way" books that are just a bunch of public domain photos of bare-knuckle boxers and some trimming guides you can get on the back of a box of razors. I want to learn the technique, the moves, all this stuff. I want to go from Tom Hanks ca. Cast Away to Brian Wilson.

I own a good precision trimmer and a shitty but workable beard trimmer. I shampoo and condition it when I shower. I occasionally put a bit of pomade in it, but the longer it gets, the less necessary that is.
posted by griphus to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (10 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Not exactly an answer to your question, but one way to perhaps overcome the language barrier with your barber is to show him the photo of Brian Wilson and tell him that's what you want.

I've found that showing my hair dresser a photo of the haircut I want is generally much more effective than trying to describe what I want, even if we have the same native language.
posted by amro at 8:36 AM on February 21, 2013

Response by poster: Oh, and if anyone knows a barber in NYC that specializes in both beards and the English language, that'd be great too.
posted by griphus at 8:36 AM on February 21, 2013 [1 favorite]

I will be watching this thread with interest, because I too have found beard maintenance books to be useless in all of the ways you described.

I wonder if you can book a trim at some place like The Art of Shaving for a trim, and ask them to talk you through it as they go?
posted by usonian at 8:37 AM on February 21, 2013

(Art of Shaving has multiple NYC locations. I've never been to one, but from what I've heard they generally know their business.)
posted by usonian at 8:38 AM on February 21, 2013

Response by poster: to show him the photo of Brian Wilson and tell him that's what you want.

This may be what I'll do, but I'll still need to upkeep it on my own.
posted by griphus at 8:38 AM on February 21, 2013

Ben. (Ben's Yelp.) Be specific. Ask for what you want. Bring visual aids as needed.
posted by RJ Reynolds at 8:44 AM on February 21, 2013

I don't know how comfortable you are with Wiliamsburg, or how ridonk overpriced this particular place is, but what about The Corner Barber? This is the barber shop that used to be called Brooklyn General Barber.

Certainly you could at least go, pay through the nose to get groomed properly, and then observe and maintain the results at home?
posted by Sara C. at 9:05 AM on February 21, 2013

You want to go to an FSC barber. A beard trim is $15, and they can talk you through the process of shaping and treating your beard.
posted by geryon at 9:30 AM on February 21, 2013

Speak to Jack Passion. Try his Facebook Page.
posted by Callicvol at 12:47 PM on February 21, 2013

Looks like you've wisely extended No-Shave November into Decembeard, across New Hair's Eve into Manuary and are rolling right along through Februhairy. Good show. Now the surprise grooming tip from a fellow fully follicled face: keep growing.

My observation, based on decades of wearing my own beard and checking out others: everyone has different beard hair - long, short, thick, thin, curly, straight, patchy, lush. Your beard won't look like Brian Wilson's unless, well, your beard looks like Brian Wilson's.

My advice, based on decades of wearing my beard different lengths and styles, and trying different care regimens: let it grow, don't shampoo it, comb it out in the shower once every week or two. Because everyone's beard is different (see above) this may or may not work well for you. But I get complimented on my beard pretty much every day, from strangers and friends alike, and by women nearly as much as by men. It poofs out when I 'wash' it, it flattens down when I sleep on my side(s), it puffs a bit again when I idly finger-comb it at stoplights and during meetings - and I constantly hear it referred to as epic, awesome, burly, etc etc.
Honestly, your beard looks like it's at one of the transition lengths - long enough to not be totally bristly and sticking straight out (or every which way), but not quite long enough to really lay down and all flow well in one direction. Once your beard is long enough, it should settle into a good look pretty much on its own. And if you like, you'll be able to do some trimming and shaping then - and having more to work with you'll be able to experiment and make some mistakes and they won't be so drastic.

So, try my lowest-maintenance-ever beard care plan. What have you got to lose?
posted by attercoppe at 10:33 PM on February 21, 2013 [4 favorites]

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