by Greg Forbes
Back in 2013, the hipster trend hit South Africa hard, with Cape Town becoming the focal point for the SA beard trend. Men everywhere embraced their ability to grow long and luscious beards, but soon the streets were strewn with guys resembling a collection of ZZ Top die-hard fans. This naturally started the women’s revolt demanding that their men take better care of their beards.
In my case, well, I have maintained a beard of between two and ve centimetres since I left school. I have never been without a beard – except for once when I made that abovementioned fatal mistake of shaving clean (never again). Looking for some guidance from a beard professional, I turned to JP Hildebrand from Beardworx, the homegrown beard product brand from Knysna, for some tips and guides on how to keep beards looking good and growing healthily.
Luckily, JP lives in lives Cape Town, so is very well accustomed to the beard donning population of men, and therefore has some sound advice on exactly how you should maintain your beard. He says that it all depends on the type of life you lead and where you work. Ideally, the average Joe should not wash his beard more than three times a week, especially if you spend most of the time in a conventional once. Basically, if you work
in a clean environment, then the hair is not going to get grubby, and doesn’t need to be cleaned that often. However, if you work in a dirtier environment, or if you are particularly active every day, then it is advisable to pay a little more attention to your daily beard maintenance routine.
JP lives in a mixed dirty-clean environment. He has an o ce bound day job, but on occasion nds himself on a construction site or in his workshop working on his motorcycle. Asking him how we would maintain his whopper of a 16,5cm beard, he gives this guide:
• In the shower, rinse it with clean warm water (not hot water as this may burn and damage the hair);
• Make sure to thoroughly rinse the beard from skin to hair tips;
• Towel dry;
• Apply 1-1,5 pipettes of beard oil depending on the length;
• Work the oil through your beard completely (palms to finger tips – skin to tips of beard);
• Use a finishing brush or a wide tooth comb to brush out knots (the oil helps the comb slide through the hair and not break the beard);
• Blow-dry your beard at a medium heat;
• Then apply approximately an almond nut size dollop of beard balm (again, from root to tips);
• Comb and style.
• Wash or rise your beard thoroughly (your should wash it every second day – depending on how much dirt you would be exposed to);
• Apply the same amount of beard oil in the evening as in the morning.
Okay, that’s all good, but what products should we be using? JP advises using natural products, and we should rather steer clear of using standard shelf shampoo products. The reason is that these standard shampoos contain surfactants (surface-active agents), which latch onto to the oils in your hair, and then when you rinse, the oils are pulled o by the surfactants. While this may be good for the hair on your head, it is not so good for the hair on your face, as these surfactants will strip the facial hair of the natural oils that keep the hair soft. Without these oils, your facial hair becomes course, hard, and very di cult to manage and style. JP advocates that we should be using specially made facial hair products that contain higher concentrates of natural oils, particularly vegetable glycerines.