“The history of men is written on their faces.” – Christopher Oldstone-Moore
They say clothes make the man. It’s a centuries-old adage, but is it that all there really is to it? Sure, clothing does enhance your look, but it’s not the be-all and end-all of what defines your appearance. I’d argue that your choice of facial hair can make a bold, clear statement about who you are and what you’re about than skinny jeans or a fancy suit ever could.
Not all facial hair is created equal though. Every style has its own distinct personality indicators, and anyone who has ever rocked more than a clean-shaven face knows the power of a mustache or beard in speaking volumes without saying a word. Your beard can make or break your portrait though and knowing how to look after it will make all the difference.
Here are some tips from professional barber, Damian Roche – The Paramedic Barber – on how to prepare your beard for your photo shoot.
1. Book in to a Professional for Beard Grooming.
Grooming a beard properly is an artform, so it’s always best to leave it to the professionals. Honestly, you cannot do it properly yourself. You can’t see the actual side of your beard from all angles when you attempt to groom it. This can cause a lopsided beard which is the last thing you’d want for a photoshoot.
Find a Barber who does good work with beards. Ask your friends for referrals and do your research. Look up the Barber’s social media to see their work with bearded men. Barbers will not only use clipper guards but you’ll find the best will style your beard free of guards. A Barber can “Line Up” your beard using a straight razor which gives the outline of your beard crisp sharp lines. Using a cartridge razor or a Safety Razor will not get you those crisp lines on the cheek and neck.
Make your booking 5 days before the shoot to give everything a chance to relax.
In the weeks leading up to your shoot, make sure you’re following these tips. It will ensure the best results in your photos.
2. Wash your beard with a beard specific products.
Facial hair has a different structure to head hair and therefore needs a specific type of product to strip away the dirt which doesn’t strip away essential oils that the beard hair produces. For a photo shoot you want your beard looking healthy, not dried out.
DO NOT USE HAIR SHAMPOO or CONDITIONER
3. Use Beard Balms and Beard Oils.
Beard Oil is used to moisturise the facial hair as well as the skin under the beard. It replenishes any oils lost by hydrating the skin and also helps with the dreaded beard itch. Use Beard Oil twice a day, once in the morning before you start your day then at night after a hot shower use the beard oil again. This way the oil is working its magic while you sleep.
Beard Balm conditions, softens and moisturises your beard. It also helps style your beard into shape. For a longer beard it styles the fly away hairs making your beard look structured and well kept. Most balms use a Shea Butter for softening as well as carrier oils for conditioning and fragrance. They will also have an amount of beeswax which will help with style and seals in the moisture. Balm also helps to prevent split ends of the hair.
4. Use Beard Specific Combs and Brushes.
Some might ask why can’t I use a normal comb? Most combs are mass produced and have microscopic burrs on them which in turn damages the hair when combing through the beard. The best type of combs for a beard is a wooden comb, this way there is no static electricity build up when using one. Less static will mean a healthier fuller looking beard. A wooden comb helps distribute the oil and balm more evenly from shaft to tip whereas a metal or plastic comb won’t be as effective.
You may also consider a Beard Brush which is great for shorter length beards and a brush also when used distributes the natural oils from your facial skin and beard evenly over your beard. This will also remove grit and dirt that may become trapped in your beard throughout the day.
You do not have to break your bank to ensure that your beard looks good all the time. There are beard care products that are affordable and can last for a long time without needing to replace them. Every beard grows at its own pace. Adopting a simple grooming routine will not only to make you photo worthy, but also help to maintain a clean and attractive appearance. If you stick to a regimen that works for you and stay consistent, your beard will ultimately thank you by attaining length and volume.
A little food for thought
The habit of looking after yourself is formed from a young age and it’s solidified by modelling the behaviour. How wonderful it is to see that the tradition of fathers taking their sons to the barber making a comeback. Now more than ever, that type of family connection is so important and we sure need more of it. A simple trip to the barber for some, an investment in self-worth for others.
It starts with you!
About the Barber
You might recognise Damian from the photo below. I wanted to take a moment and share a little about his new smooth look. You see, Damian actually is a Paramedic and when the recent health crisis began, all paramedics were told their facial hair had to fit under a face mask. Damian takes his role very seriously and to him, the removal of his beard was no biggy because that was what was required to continue in his role and he figured it was safer for everyone if he just let it go. It takes a special kind of person to let go of something that’s taken a lot of time and care to nurture. Hats off to him.
Hi there! I'm Amanda Waschevski
I AM A HEADSHOT AND PORTRAIT PHOTOGRAPHER BASED IN IPSWICH, QLD. I help people be themselves in front a camera. Are you ready to put your best face forward? Let's Chat.