5 Questions: Is a Beard Right for YOU?

Elite Barbers’ Slava Ovaidov is an expert in grooming choices for men of all ages and walks of life. Here are some of this popular Upper East Side stylist’s dos and don’ts for growing  –and keeping – a beard.

In New York City, I see all kinds of hairstyles, including beards. Whether I’m walking down Lexington Avenue, full of businesspeople, hanging out downtown in the East Village or SoHo where the artist and students are, or just looking out my window at the barber shop, I see a lot.

Now with that Brooklyn “hipster look” being really popular, many guys who would have never considered growing a beard before are now experimenting. Many guys get it right. Others, like these men, haven’t made the right choices.

Thinking about a beard? Don’t freak out – an experienced barber can help. Whenever a new or regular customer comes in and says, “I want to try a beard, moustache or goatee,” we always ask a few questions:

Why a beard and why now?

Are you bored with your look? That’s cool. Are you tired of shaving every day? Fine. But if you come in and tell me you’re only doing it because your best friend, girlfriend, or boyfriend wants it, that’s not cool. It’s your face, your choice.

Is there someone whose beard you like?

It’s always easier when someone comes in and says, “I want a beard like THIS.” Take a look at this handy guide to face shapes and the beards that match them.

Styles vary widely, from neat close-cropped and shaped styles, (think Bradley Cooper, Drake, or John Legend, for example), to something more stylishly “backwoods,” like the Jeff Bridges look. You can also try that “I just forgot to shave for a few days” thing, like James Franco often does.

Have you grown a beard before?

In many cases, even guys in their late 20s or early 30s can have a full head of black, brown, blonde or red hair—and a gray beard. That doesn’t mean you can’t grow a beard – it may even look cool – but get ready for people thinking you dye your hair.

Also, not everyone can grow a full and even beard quickly, if at all. You might have a lot of patches, as this article discusses in-depth. I can help. Our team can find you a style that works for your hair pattern. Say, for example, your beard has a bad jaw line. You could instead consider a goatee. Also remember that everyone’s beard grows at a different rate.

Are you ready to groom it?

Some guys mistakenly think that growing a beard means they don’t have to worry about grooming it. Wrong! It will need regular combing, washing, clipping, and, if your hair tends to be dry, moisturizing with beard oil. This is not negotiable: Do you really want your friends, coworkers, and dates to see (and smell) your last meal in your scruff. Gross, right?

I know the products to use that are simple and most effective. Also many of our customers get regular beard trims here – and feel great after!

Should you care what people think about your beard?

YOU have to like your choices in facial hair first—what everyone else says only matters so much. A fashion opinion you didn’t ask for is like getting a cold in the winter time—you never want it, but you still get it, often when you don’t even expect it. However, if your partner says his or her face is getting all scratched up, you might want to shave after all!

Always remember: The best thing about growing a beard is that if you don’t like it, just shave it off—or come in and have us do it with some hot lather and an old-fashioned straight razor, the best shave of all.

Next month: What’s so great about a hot lather shave with a straight razor?