With seemingly every man on the planet from Adam Goodes to Zac Efron rockin’ a beard, and styles from ‘committed hipster’ to ‘a 3 day growth’ it seems that facial hair is in fashion to stay. This doesn’t mean that facial hair should run rampant.

In the midst and wake of Movember we’ve been seeing a lot more facial hair in dire need of manscaping – from the moustache to the hair on his chinny, chin, chin!

If the fashions weren’t enough to sway them, a study published in the Journal of Evolutionary Biology of 8,500 women in the last year reveals that men with facial hair are more attractive.

The survey found that women find men with no facial hair whatsoever 15 to 20 per cent less attractive than those with hair. It didn’t matter if it was beards or stubble, but the clear result was that some was better than none at all.

Australian stylist and grooming expert Jeff Lack says the popularity is not just among the sports players, actors and rock stars in our midst. When the corporate world became more comfortable with facial hair it gave men the freedom to create their own look,’he says. In Australia, the NSW police force opened the floodgates for men in this space when they gave the all-clear to the rough and ready look.’

But this doesn’t give men an excuse to neglect their skin. Good prep is the best way to prevent cuts so men should exfoliate, pat skin dry and follow with pre-shave oil to their beard to improve the flow of the razor and protect skin.

Shaving after a shower is best, otherwise applying a hot towel to the skin beforehand will get skin ready for shaving.

Wet shave

Advice for the boys: Run a shaving brush under hot water and flick off the excess water. The brush helps to aerate the cream and lift hair away from the skin. Lightly touch the brush into the shaving cream and apply directly to half of the face in an even, fine layer.
Start at the sideburn and shave downwards with the grain. For best results, reapply cream and shave again, this time across the grain of the face. Shaving against the grain, which can give a baby-smooth finish, cuts the hair close so the skin may grow over the follicle and cause ingrown hairs.

Leave the chin and moustache area for last, letting the pre-shave oil work its magic longer, as the hair is toughest here. Keep a styptic pencil on hand to taper the bleeding from any nasty cuts. Finish up with a cold-water splash.

Trim and shape

Whether it’s a sleek goatee a’la Jamie Foxx, a rocking take on facial hair like Dave Grohl or an all-out Che Guevara– style beard such as that recently seen on Brad Pitt, men are manning up across the globe. There are usually two basic parts to beard grooming – trimming and shaping.

Shaping a beard is usually done with a wet razor. After the first shaping, only a little facial hair is removed for fine-tuning. Boundary stubble growing at the edges can be shaved away daily. Trimming a beard is normally done with scissors or an electric trimmer, depending on preference.

Only trim when the beard’s dry, as a wet beard may end up shorter than planned once it’s dried. A comb and scissors technique allows for cutting in a measured method outside of the comb; this makes it easier to control how much hair is being cut off for a more uniform trim.

Apply aftershave balm afterwards to help close pores and rehydrate the skin, then chase it with a good moisturiser with SPF protection to protect skin against UV damage.

Tools of the trade

Investing in some basic equipment can help to make a good wet shave a quick and easy part of a man’s daily grooming routine, with barbershop results!

  • Exfoliant
  • Electric trimmer
  • Shaving cream
  • Aftershave balm
  • Razor
  • Pre-shave oil
  • Shaving brush
  • Moisturiser