The Holy Grail of Beard Preservation
Written by Nicole Fallshaw
Owner and Head Stylist/Barber at St Martins Barber Shop and Shave Parlour
I have been in the Hair industry for over 15 years and the Barbering industry for 10. I gained most of my experience working in high-end salons, where training was completed weekly and up-skilling was a fundamental practice. After working in salons, I worked as an educator in the Barbering sector but missed having the opportunity to work with my own clients so, I decided to open up my own business. St Martins barbershop and shave parlour was established in 2016 and has now been running for 5 years and I love it. My favourite service is and always will be the beards. Beards, especially long beards are a specialised service in the shop. Everyone is different with how they like to appear. Here are a few tips and tricks I use to give my customers a satisfying shave. I always treat the Beard tidy and Line ups like I would a hot towel shave. It’s all about the experience. Coming in, sitting down and relaxing is all part and parcel. I want all my clients to feel like a million dollars when they leave the shop.
When starting off with the service I always like to ask new clients if they have any skin allergies or irritations, especially when it comes to using a razor, as well as skin conditions such as eczema. Some people are prone to razor irritation and this will determine how and if I will use the razor. If they are prone to skin irritations I choose to shave with the direction of the hair. If no issues are prevalent using your normal razor methods are fine.
When using the clippers to remove any hair, I will start with the sides to blend the beard into the haircut, fading and blurring any lines between the two. This is the only time I will use the clippers in an upwards direction.
When removing any length of bulk from the beard I will always use the clippers in a downward direction with a high guard number as I don’t want to lose length. This will usually remove the extra growth and thickness that doesn’t need to be there and creates a shape.
The sides of the beard always seem to grow towards the nape of the neck, I remove this with the trimmers using it like a pen to create a natural line that is easy for clients to see and follow.
With long beards cleaning up underneath where the beard meets the neck is a personal preference with each client. If the beard is thick I will tidy it up but if the beard is fine I usually leave it to create depth and added thickness.
Moustache style is a personal preference for everyone. Some clients like a sharp line above the lip while others prefer the length to be even throughout.
If a sharp line is preferred I will trim the moustache with a specific guard number to suit their style and still in a downwards direction which creates a shape and length that works for them.
Once all the clipper work is complete, I will tidy up any loose hairs with scissors. A hot towel is then applied after a pre-shave cream which is left to sit for a few minutes to soften the skin and to open up the pores. I then use my razor to clean up the stubble and create a line on the cheeks and neck.
The skin underneath your beard can be your worst enemy when it comes to growing your beard. If you don’t look after your skin then your hair isn’t going to grow properly. This is the first thing I like to inform my clients when they want to grow out their facial hair. By just simply using a beard oil as soon as you get out of the shower when your pores are open, the advantages of rubbing it into the skin rather than just brushing it through the beard are going to help stimulate blood flow and help the hair grow better and possibly open up extra hair follicles that are lying dormant due to dry skin.
To maintain the shape and integrity of the beard I recommend 3-4 week visits. Anything earlier I find is too much for the hair and the shape changes. If you wait too long you can potentially lose shape.
Beard shampoo, oils and balms are always recommended.