You're reading this, so you'll probably either have a beard or are thinking about growing some sort of facial hair.
Regardless of whether you noticed the increase in men's grooming articles in magazines like M2, Men's Health and GQ, you will have noticed the increase in men sporting some form of facial hair over the last few years. This is a good thing.
While beards have come off the boil in other countries, here in New Zealand we are still leading the way with beards being a popular choice. We put this down to kiwis being staunchly individual in their style, and not following trends like the sheep we're famous for.
So, maybe you grew your beard so you don't have to worry about any 'grooming' routines any more? Whilst some people can just naturally rock an awesome beard, other mere mortals (myself included here) need some help.
For a start, many of you will work in offices that may or may not be so welcoming of your burgeoning man mane. Whilst beards traditionally were seen as the preserve of the working class, they are now very much acceptable everywhere, but, you need to keep it tamed - not just for outward appearances - but for your own comfort!
With the popularity of beards in our culture, sporting a solid beard has been shown to indicate confidence, masculinity and generally being a GC. Making the most of your bearded asset only serves to reinforce those assumptions.
Beard hair is wild. It actually is - it's different in structure to the hair on your head or anywhere else on your body. It has the tendency to grow curly and thick (which is related to the shape of the follicles) and is often a different colour than the rest of your hair - how many men have grown a beard for the first time and had the ginger surprise?!
So, this is why you need to take special care of your beard hair with special products. Beard oil is just one part of your arsenal for awesomeness.
The natural plant oils contained in beard oil have a twofold effect - they act on the beard hair and the underlying skin.
In the early stages of beard growth especially, the oils act to soften the beard hair itself - this reduces that itching sensation. They also replenish the natural oils in your skin - oils that are stripped away by daily washing (you do wash daily, don't you?!) - this is important to prevent the dreaded shower of beard-druff on your jumper and has the double whammy of calming irritated skin, further reducing itch.
On more established beards, oils help maintain a smart appearance (although you might want to start using beard balms once your mane is fully grown) as well as helping keep the hair strands and follicles healthy by mimicking the effect of the bodies sebum. I carefully spellchecked that last bit.
So you're sold on why you need beard oil? How do you use it so your face doesn't become an oil slick? Application is key to becoming a beard pro.
Start with a small amount of oil (you can always add more) - the amount depends on personal preference as well as length of beard. I start with about 4 or 5 drops. You want to start by applying it to the skin under your beard. Once you have that oil on your skin, you can work it down through the rest of your beard - if your beard is longer, a beard comb or brush can really help here. That's it, you're done.
So regardless of whether you grew a beard for an easy life or not, beard oil is the first investment you need to make to overcome the hurdles of dry and itchy skin, and you'll be well on the way to being a pro beardsman.
Go forth men and grow 👊