Our team of experts supply advice on beard issues raised frequently online – from hairstyling to the dreaded beard dandruff
Bearded London is a long-term lurker on the /r/Beards and /r/BeardTalk subreddits – and not just because they generate a constant stream of amazing beard selfies. Many redditors use the pages to ask the advice of fellow beard-wearers around the world. So when we saw the same questions cropping up again and again, we decided to put them to a panel of London-based beard experts.
We think you’ll find their advice helpful – but if there’s anything you want to check, or you have another topic you’d like us to investigate, leave us a comment or send us a tweet. Bearded London is at your service.
1. How can I fix my lopsided beard?
Knutervalve writes: I’m about three months in and I’m having some trouble. My beard grows in a single direction and something about my daily movements makes the right side stick out while the left is nice and neat. I’m considering trimming, but I want to avoid it. I just don’t like looking messy. Any ideas?
Steve says: It depends on the direction your beard is growing, but I’d recommend blow-drying: damping the beard down, getting a small brush and blasting it down in the opposite way to the way it wants to go. It shouldn’t take long – my beard is seven inches long and it takes me five minutes, so a three-month beard will take a lot less time.
Ryan says: If you want your beard to stay neat and tidy and balanced on both sides, it needs to be regularly trimmed. If you get a professional to trim it then they can advise you on how to maintain it from there.
Steve says: I’d also recommend you go to a barber who knows what they’re doing with beards and have them look at it. It’s probably going to be ready for a little bit of a trim anyway. Even if you’re growing it out, you still need to trim, or it’s going to look a bit shit. I have mine done every two weeks.
2. Help – I’ve got beard acne!
Snow_Cub writes: I’m curious to know if anyone else has tips on skin care treatment? I’m in my 30s but still get occasional pimples, especially around my mouth where oils from food get caught in the beard around my mouth. I do use napkins and wipe my beard well after eating and comb it out when I have a chance. But still can’t seem to avoid a pimple or two. Are there any skin/beard care products designed for this? I’d appreciate any tips or advice.
Steve says: It depends how big your beard is and how oily your skin is, but in general I’d say just wash your face, comb it down, and leave it be. There aren’t really any products specifically for this, but I’d recommend changing whatever you’re using to wash your face and beard to something natural with not too many chemicals.
Ryan says: Murdocks have a brand of beard moisturiser that contains aloe vera, to keep the beard soft, and menthol, which soothes the skin underneath and reduces irritation. I’d recommend applying a small amount to a warm beard daily.
3. Coarse facial hair is making my beard bristle
tntexplosivesltd writes: My facial hair is very very coarse, making my moustache/beard very uncomfortable. Is this normal for some people? Is there something I can do?
Ryan says: There are a lot of beard oils and moisturisers on the market. The one to choose depends on the size and coarseness of your beard, as some oils can be too heavy. Again, I work with the Murdock beard moisturiser every day, as it’s great for all types of beards.
Steve says: A beard oil would work well for you, to smooth it down – and try blow-drying. Your moustache will probably annoy you more, though. Mine grows like Ned Flanders’ – it’s really strong and grows straight out, so I have to keep it short. But if your beard is also really coarse, it’s a beard oil for you. I make my own, with an almond oil base.
4. OMFG BEARD DANDRUFF
A traumatised thelotusknyte writes: Flakes in beard when I touch it
Steve says: That’s nothing to do with the beard, but if you had itchy or flaky skin before you grew your beard, it may have made it worse. A beard is like a barrier to the skin, so you need to wash your face properly and moisturise it. It’s hard to say without seeing your beard, but I’d recommend a nice, natural beard oil.
Ryan says: Don’t panic! It’s not dandruff, it’s just dry skin. Normal face moisturisers won’t penetrate through the beard, which can leave the skin underneath dry and irritated. So get yourself some beard moisturiser. Also, depending on the length of the beard, a decent facewash or shampoo will help keep it clean – I like Beardsley’s.
5. What hairstyles will suit my beard?
sbury writes: Going to be getting a haircut fairly soon here, let the mane grow for a bit while I’m working on my yeard. Just wondering what hairstyles y’all feel compliment a beard well.
Ryan says: Current trends for hairstyles and beards tend to keep the hair clean and sharp, allowing the beard to take centre stage. Instagram is a great source of inspiration, as all great barbers like to show off their work. Murdock, where I work, have a page on their website dedicated to inspiration for this reason.
Steve says: If you have a big beard, I’d go quite tight on the back and sides. Long hair with a long beard can make you look like a bit of a hobo, whereas going tight around the sides looks sharp, neat and deliberate. With smaller beards, it doesn’t matter too much, as long as the sides of the beard are quite close – otherwise you get the ‘gerbil cheek effect’.
Have our experts answered your questions? Let us know by tweeting us or leaving a comment here.
In the meantime, check out other Bearded London pieces featuring Steve Murphy and Ryan MacGregor: Suzie Mccracken filmed Steve at work back in November, and Charlie Allenby interviewed Ryan about his work as a professional beard stylist in October.