If, like many men out there, you’re one of those guys who enjoy the idea of having a beard but don’t want to look like a walking hedgerow, you have to keep it in check. What is the best way to do that you ask? Keep reading!
Some time back, it dawned upon me that I was now about the suitable age to re-grow my beard. I have this theory that guys either grow beards when they’re in their youth as an indication of their newfound “manliness” or to fall in with the current trend, or when they get older to appear as a nobleman if you may.
Associating myself with the latter persuasion, I decided to put away my straight razor for a moment and let the beard come right on out. Since I had been clean shaven for all those years previously since the young beardy-trendy days it did come as a bit of an astonishment to see that, where dark coloured, shiny beard growth once used to flourish, the whiskers now coming out were distinctly lighter in colour – like white!
Why I believed it would be any different I have no idea – I’m grey enough on top of my head. In any case, a few weeks went by and I went through the designer stubble stage, the itchy stage and the thoroughly louche-appearing stage to wake up one morning with a full-grown beard. Hurray!
Well, not really. As the facial hair grew longer, thus they looked more and more untidy until I began to look not like a nobleman but a – well, a vagrant, not to put it too nicely. What was I to do? Trim my beard of course! I made a decision to don a modern style, very short overall with thin sideburns and transverse bits between the bow of the jaw and the chin. Simple!
Out appeared the straight razor. Huh? Trimming with a straight razor? Yea, buddy. I had used electric trimmers and multi-blade contraptions previously and discovered that the first option tends to grab the hair when trying to trim too closely (a painful experience!) and the second option wasn’t any better. Also, neither of the two gives that really sharp, crisp line between beard and shaved skin that I desired.
Not the case with the straight razor. I’ve utilized one for many years for the whole-face shave and trust me you won’t get better once you’ve mastered the skill (takes about a whole couple of weeks usually). For precise beard trimming the straight is king. Why is that so?
Well, the electric trimmer and multi-blade or double-edge razor each have a certain limitation to them. For the electric it’s the size of the cutting head, which is problematic due to its inability to shave very closely. For the multi-blade it’s the fact that, because the blade ends being inboard of the cartridge ends, a very crisp line is nearly impossible to achieve and they clog with ease.
Think of it as grass growing along a path and trying to keep it nice and neat with only a plain old mower. Of course, it cuts the grass short but, little by little, the grass impinges on the path. What to do in that case? Easy – take the long shears out. A special equipment for a special job – and it’s similar with a straight razor.
Due to the fact that it has no blade guard, a straight razor could shave a really precise edge along a line of stubble, especially where the hairline diminishes out – that line down from the moustache towards the chin is a great example as there are normally a few whiskers outside the primary beard growth area. Leave these intact – and they are quite tough to trim with the electric or multi blade – and you are always going to look that bit untidy. Take them off with a straight razor and notice the difference!
The majority of men think of straight razors as tools that are utilized strictly by Luddites or guys who just want to look macho. Well, straight razor users might well have both categories within their ranks however, in general, they are simply everyday guys who are either fed-up with paying through the nose for throwaway cartridge systems or just enjoy a traditional, relaxing shave.
Did I mention relaxing? Using a straight razor? Yes, alright. As soon as the skill is learned – and it really isn’t that hard actually – it’s a great way of getting some ‘me-time’ since the one thing you cannot really do is rush a shave with a straight razor. So relax – get yourself up about half an hour earlier, and ease into the day. Trust me, once you’re done trimming that beard you could be rest assured that you are going to look crisper and neater – and maybe even feel a whole lot better about yourself – than those other cats frantically scraping away while drinking their second coffee and putting their tie on all at the same time!