Facial hair can be quite attractive when it is taken care of properly. What this translates to varies depending on the person. Some people favor a full beard that provides a distinctive look while others favor a less robust beard with good looks, but that requires less work to properly maintain. Some people decide none of it is worth the effort and simply remove it. Regardless of where you fall on this spectrum, it is important to know the grain of your beard before you do anything with it. Grooming it poorly is almost as bad for you as shaving it all off can be when done wrong. There are fairly simple ways to determine what your beard grain is before grooming. We’re going to discuss the ways in which you can tell this grain and why it is important to know the grain. This will hopefully give you a better appreciation for all the things barbers know about beard care and leave you better informed on how to take care of your own facial hair.
Determining Your Grain
This is actually surprisingly easy if you’re only just starting to grow a beard. Watch the hairs as they grow in. The hairs point in the direction that they grow. In turn, that’s the direction you want to shave to properly remove any of the hairs for the purpose of shaping. This is a bit more difficult to determine when you’re already well into growing a beard, though. Fortunately, most facial hair grows in relatively consistent patterns with slight variation between individuals. Most of the time the hairs grow downward with a minor tilt to follow the contour of your face as long as they are above the neck. Your sideburns are more or less straight down while where the hair meets the cheek tends to tilt slightly towards the chin. Mustaches and chain hairs tend to grow relatively straight down. The neck is a mess, though. The middle tends to grow horizontally pointing towards the center of the neck, while the area above it tends to grow downward and the area below the middle grows upwards.
The Importance of Knowing Your Grain
All those grains are important to know if you want to get a clean shave. As previously stated, you want to shave with the grain of the beard when you’re removing it. This helps keep the hairs growing in the proper direction without hurting your skin in excess. It is particularly useful knowledge when it comes to cleanly shaving your neck without any cuts. Shaving with the grain helps to reduce the number of problems that come from shaving. When you shave against it, you increase the likelihood that you’ll hurt the hair and cause it to grow improperly. This can lead to ingrown hairs and obvious skin irritation that makes it harder for you to take proper care of your beard and skin. Knowing the grain alone can dramatically increase the health of your skin and when you combine it with other shaving techniques you can come closer to the ever elusive perfect shave.
Looking Your Best
Removing hair isn’t the only time that knowing your grain comes in handy, though. It is also important when it comes to grooming more robust beards. You want to avoid hurting the hairs by brushing the beard in the improper direction. The goal is to keep the beard tidy, presentable, and stylish, after all. Failing to keep it looking properly groomed and directed tends to make it harder for the beard to be presentable. A brush and other products can help you to keep the beard itself clean and add proper hold to any shaping. Just remember that you keep your beard looking full and healthy by keeping it properly aligned to the grain. This means all the growth properly contributes to the appearance and you avoid issues such as a patchy area or otherwise unintentionally lighter area.
Everyone’s facial hair has a distinct grain. The catch is that you can’t always see the grain of growth on everyone due to half the population’s facial hair generally being far too light to actually see. Anyone cultivating visible facial hair needs to be mindful of the grain of the hairs to make the most of the look. It helps you know how to properly groom the hair in a number of ways. All of this will help you take the best care of your beard and skin so that you can make the most of your appearance.