What do we do with our Beards during the summer months?
From long ago, beards have been an inseparable complement to male fashion. Specially during the cold wintry months, modern men have begun to grow facial hair in large dimensions, as did their grandfathers, to revive a sense of vintage and a new more masculine image, away from the metrosexual tendencies so prevalent as of late.
But when the hot days of summer arrive, with their high temperatures, we are faced with the dilemma of what to do about our beard: they are very uncomfortable; they are the main cause of nasty hot flashes; should we trim them or shave them off?; and, if we shave them off, will they grow back by Autumn?; should we ditch them altogether? For an answer to all our questions and doubts, we decided to seek, once again, the professional opinions of two talented master barbers and stylists at Well Groomed Gentleman, on the Miracle Mile in Coral Gables, Luis Mateo and Joan.
“A full beard reacts to water very much the same as the hair on your head: when you wet it, it retains the moisture for quite a while and helps to refresh your face”, explained Luis Mateo. “It is also true that a beard can amplify the heat of a very warm day and overwhelm you, but if you are at the beach or by a pool, if you it keep well saturated with water, the problem goes away. Nevertheless, if you are still uncomfortable during the warmer temperatures, but fear that when the Summer is gone, you will not be able to recover your full beard, there are steps to follow to accomplish this feat.” And this is why we sought their advice, in the first place. *Note: Before “butchering” your facial hair, it is recommended you seek the advice of experts.
For those who wish to recover their full beards, by the time their vacations are over and they head back to the workplace, the best option is to have them professionally trimmed and styled (instead of just reducing them by one inch in length, the experts will do it by two in volume), but they will maintain their shape. “Do not shave them off entirely, because after only a month or a couple of weeks of vacation, they will not grow back to their previous glory”, warned Luis Mateo. “If you shave your beard off completely, it will take a minimum of two months to generate enough hair to cover your face.” And we definitely do not want that!
For those most apprehensive about the status of their beards, this is the perfect solution. Visually, they will be able to keep the same silhouette and length, “because these characteristics are best appreciated from a frontal view, but the loss in volume will ceased the overwhelming retaining of heat and their magnificent full beards will easily recovered by their return to work.” And, remember, if you are still experiencing the undesirable “hot flashes”, simply get it wet!
Now, For Something Entirely New - Say Hello To The "LEONIDAS"
Perhaps you are among those who are considering an altogether new style, because your old common full beard has become a little too ordinary. If this is the case, for the most daring among you, Well Groomed Gentleman recommends a more radical look: “Elongate your face with the new stylized Leónidas, de ‘300’. This is an excellent alternative, if you still prefer to sport facial hair, but are looking forward to something much less distressing than a full beard”.
What exactly is the new Leonidas style, you ask? It basically is a new look featuring lesser sideburns, mustache and hair in the cheeks, giving more importance to the chin area, but Luis Mateo warns that “this is a rather complicated style and it is not easily achievable at home, since the overall lessening, which accentuates the chin area, is very different from just shaving the neck area. Therefore, you will definitely require a professional’s touch to make it look its best”.
Having reached a certain point, where you are ready to rid yourself of most of your facial hair and are seeking a whole new look without losing an iota of personality, Luis Mateo suggestion is: “Leave yourself a substantial mustache ( a “buen bigoton”!).
“Once you have decided to part with your beard as the base of your looks, it is not necessary to eliminate it totally - we can simply lighten it and recover it in the Fall, but we will make your mustache the standard-bearer of the new you. So, what is the required maintenance of this new lead character? Here are two professional tricks from the master stylists at Well Groomed Gentleman: “As soon as it has grown to the desired length at the very top of your lips, start combing it daily toward its sides, in an upward motion, and we recommend you use a touch of mustache wax to prevent it from moving out of place and becoming bothersome”.
For those who rather not bother much with the training of an unruly mustache, Luis thinks your best bet is a bigote cubano: “A fresh option with great appeal”. (Think “Clark Gable”).
“Beards, there are many, and I am a fine example that now and then, I, too, crave a change of style”, he explains while sporting his new set of sideburns after shaving off his woodsman’s beard. “Once again, we say goodbye to the luxuriant full beard and, although it very much depends on the structure of the individual’s face and his personal taste, sideburns can be shaped to suit anyone”.
Great sideburns will always require definition by a straight blade, and usually are a great option when the fifteen days recovery of a full beard is not desired”.
At this point, both Joan and Luis Mateo, make a pause. When the decision is made to choose to grow a beard, or any of its derivatives, it is extremely important to keep in mind the shape of your faces and the particularities of your facial hair, “because there are cuts that define and favor more or less because of definite structures. For example, if you opt for a substantial mustache, you must take great care that it does not overwhelm your lips and leaves you expressionless, or, if deciding on the new Leonidas style, you are doing it because you do have an elongated and thinner facial structure, where this new look shines”.
Sideburns with a Mustache
So, you are thinking about shaving your beard and, combining the two aforementioned styles in a continuous line that will run on your face from you ears to your mustache... Not a good idea. “You are better off keeping your beard. This look had its moment but it no longer makes a statement”.
Shave the Head and Not The Beard
“This is the most requested look lately”, comments Luis Mateo. It is absolutely the most natural cooling option in the hot months of Summer, as we do lose our body temperature faster through the top of our heads, although, these may require heavy doses of sun screening. Many do decide to sacrifice their hair rather than their beloved beards to keep cool and refreshed.
“It is very important that the shaving of the head is done in a careful and well-planned manner, so as to allow for the growth of the beard not to clash with the total lack of hair on the head. Special attention must be given to the areas where the sideburns naturally begin their growth and the low neck areas. “This way the missing hair does not look exaggeratingly marked nor radical”.
Arriving at this point, the talented duo from Well Groomed Gentleman leave us with these final words of wisdom: “No longer are lots of hair on the very top with the sides almost shaven off and accompanied by overly hairy beards the “in-thing”. The aesthetics are continuously changing, and at the moment of decision, remember that volume belongs on the head or the chin, but not on both”.