As a man, your head of hair and your beard can be two of the most powerful tools at your disposal. While a lot of men simply ‘develop’ a beard organically and tend to let it grow as it may, effective grooming can completely transform your personality and the impression you make on people.
Think about it: your hair and your beard are the first things people see –and really take in– when they’re looking at you. These two things make for the most dominant visible features; so, let’s not wait for a happy accident, shall we? The well-matched hair and beard combo will keep you looking perfectly turned-out at all times.
Here are some great tips on how to match your beard to your hairstyle.
Tip 1: It All Starts With Your Face Shape
The first step to styling and grooming, for both men and women, is figuring out what works with your facial structure. You need to begin by identifying your face shape and then doing a spot of research (read my previous article on choosing beards for 2016) on what particular styles work well with your facial structure. Let your natural features be your starting point because despite what trend reports might say or your favorite celebrity might look like, at the end of the day, you’ve to work with what you got- and play up your best features. Look for hairstyles and beards according to your face shape and you’ll find that most individual choices will work well together as a unit too.
Tip 2: Choose The Primary Focus
While there are tons of hair and beard combos that walk the middle path in terms of length, bushiness and wow factor, most experts will agree that you’ve got to let either the hairstyle or the beard be the dominant feature, while the other is a complimentary accent. If you have two extremely bold styles competing in a small space (hey, it’s your face, not a warzone) they’re both going to end up pulling focus and nothing will work.
As a general rule, I recommend working around your hairstyle. Haircuts/ hairstyles are faster to put together, are usually worn for longer and will generally be ‘in place’ while your growing out a beard- and so, it makes more sense to start with the hairstyle and work from there.
Even if you’re going for a look that combines two strong elements, don’t go overboard with both; for example, an extremely shaggy, long hairstyle and a huge Bandholz beard will never work. You need to choose what your pièce de résistance is going to be.
Tip 3: Keep Coloring Natural
If you dye your hair and/or beard, you want to keep the two in the same color family. Imagine sporting a black beard with a head full of light brown hair! The best, and easiest, thing to do is to keep your natural color- your hair will sport its own tonalities and dimensions without needing particular attention on your part. But if you do want to experiment with color, ask your stylist to keep your head hair and your beard within 3 shades of each other. And if you’re having a hard time choosing which should be which, I recommend keeping your head hair darker and the beard somewhat lighter.
Tip 4: Thick Beards Must Connect
While soul patches, French beards, Van Dykes, goatees and their ilk have their place in modern male grooming, the emphasis is currently on thick, bushy beards. And for a major beard to look good, it simply must connect with your head hair. Whether you run up customary sideburns or go totally Wolverine is totally up to you.
Tip 5: Don’t Forget The Brows
A really good way to tie in a beard with your head hair is to see if it works with your brows. Think of your eyebrows as the halfway stop between your beard and your head hair. If you’ve got particularly angular brows or very fine brows, you’ll want to find a beard that works with the shapes as well as with your hair. The smallest details make the look, so nothing is too inconsequential to take into consideration. Start by gauging the thickness of your brows: bushy, thick brows generally work well with all hairstyles and beard types, so you don't have to put too much thought into it. The thinner and more angular your brows are, the greater care you’re going to have take when choosing haircuts and beards.
Tip 6: Judge By Your Head Hair
If you’re in the early stages of growing a beard, or thinking about doing so, the first thing you need to do is decide if it’s a good idea. The kind of beard you sport, the length, the thickness etc. will all have to be matched to your haircut/ hairstyle. And the only way you can tell if a particular look is even possible for you is by taking a look at your head hair. If you’ve got a thinning crown or a receding hairline, you might want to look into genetic and other hair issues. A head full of thick hair means you’ll probably have no trouble growing any kind of beard. Beard hair is typically wiry and coarser than head hair but even so, you should be able to get a sense of the kind of growth you can expect. And this will give you tons of insight into what to expect in terms of styling, grooming and maintenance.
Tip 7: Play Up The Salt-And-Pepper
If you’ve got salt-and-pepper hair, consider yourself blessed. Mixed beards can look super distinguished and we all know the silver fox thing works like a charm. What’s more is, white hair in beards tends to diffuse the harshness that can sometimes come with facial hair, which means you can sport a stubble as well as a full, lush beard with equal ease. The overall effect is gentler on the eye, and equal parts sexy and sophisticated. Don’t rush to cover up the grey: embrace it! Beard goals: Clooney.
I hope that these tips prove useful to you. Remember, growing the right beard is a labor of love and you might have a few hits-and-misses before you zero in on a style that really defines your individual sensibilities. I’m also going to be doing a more detailed piece on beard styles and hairstyles that work well together, so you can pick, choose and match different elements together to create a winning hairstyle and beard combination.