It's a tricky business, growing a beard. From combating the early-adopter itch to knowing when and how best to prune it, facial hair demands more attention than the average barnet - and not every barber is equipped to tackle your chin.
Thankfully, help is at hand. Creative director of London's Man Made and Wilkinson Sword's grooming expert, Dan Gregory knows a thing or two about facial follicles. We took the opportunity to ask him those questions you may be pondering when it comes to growing, maintaining and trimming your beard.
How do I beat ‘beard itch’?
To help control the itch that comes with growing a bit of facial can be challenging - it can become a "shave or don't shave" situation. The itch can come from the different angles the hair grows at as it pokes into your skin, so regular combing or brushing of your beard in the direction of the growth helps massively.
How often should I trim my beard?
Trimming your beard is a personal preference but to maintain shape and hair quality try and trim it once a week. If you have a more detailed beard then every other day may have to be the case.
How often should I wash my beard, and with what?
Washing your beard should be the same mind set as washing your hair. There are plenty of beard shampoos but if you use a scrub to wash it you will also be helping the skin underneath which can build up oil. You should also make sure you moisturise or add a beard oil to give it back what it will lose by exfoliation to help keep skin hydrated.
What tips do you have for shaping a beard?
Shaping a beard takes time and effort, so I always recommend you do this at night. You're not in a rush and are more relaxed. When picking the shape, always try to define a natural line that your beard has already.
On your cheeks, look for a line from where your moustache meets your cheeks then up to your side burns. If you're shaping your beard on your neck try and stay just above (literally) the Adam's Apple: tilt your head back and place the line in a sort of "sad face" semi-circle. When you look straight on it will straighten up.
Does regular cutting improve growth?
Your beard hair can grow in stages. Some people (like myself) will find their beard will get thicker the longer you leave it. This is because some hair can take a bit longer to grow through. It will start off lighter then eventually get darker. Regular cutting will help even this out to give a more groomed and thicker look.
Which beard type is best for my face type?
Beards can help define your cheek bones and jaw line, so knowing which one works for you is key. If you have a thin face, a thick beard at roughly a centimetre in length and shaped on the cheeks, following the cheekbones, will help fill out your face. If you have a fuller face and you want to grow a beard, cutting it into a slight point at the chin will give definition and enhance your jaw line.
And if you're running out of ideas, you could always take inspiration from the new 'Manscape' ad for the Wilkinson Sword Hydro 5 Groomer...