Ask an Expert: How to Shape Up Your Out-of-Control Winter Beard

If you haven't trimmed your facial hair in months, it's time to do some maintenance work.

photo by Laura Petrilla


During endless weeks of sub-zero temperatures, high winds and snowfall, growing a beard this winter wasn’t a “hip” choice — it became a survival tactic.

Summer's around the corner, so the excuse to keep an unruly beard already has worn thin (unlike that patch of fur on your face). Unless your name is Brett Keisel, it’s time to clean up your facial fuzz. (Side note: Even he shears some off every now and again.)

Cleaning up your beard needn’t involve any sharp objects, says Adam Causgrove, head of the American Mustache Institute and a member of PM’s 2013 40 Under 40 class. He says that with the proper conditioning, even the burliest of beards can be reined in with the application of the right beard oils and waxes.

photo by John Altdorfer


“[Oils] are really good for keeping the hair in line . . . Then it doesn’t look all scraggly. It tends to add a sheen to it, too, so that it looks really clean,” says Causgrove, adding that when it comes to using product “the longer the beard gets, the more necessary it becomes.”

There’s more good news for those hoping to keep their hard-earned scruff intact: “Over the last few years, there’s been a boom in independent makers of the stuff,” Causgrove says of the beard-care industry.

He maintains his own rugged looks with mustache wax from CanYouHandleBar, made by a gentleman in Michigan. For those wanting a product made a little closer to home, Causgrove suggests Dr. Donegal, based out of Greencastle, Pa.

A long beard in the summer can be as much of a burden as a clean-shaven face in the dead of winter. Michael Shurina from Mister Grooming and Goods in Lawrenceville has your back. For Shurina, prepping a beard for the warm weather is all about cleaning up the jaw line and fading the beard high while “keeping the length around the mustache and into the chin.”

With a little bit of cleaning and refining, the beard can work professionally. “We have lawyers and doctors [who] wear their beards like that,” says Shurina. It’s not just a trim, either: “Guys want to be pampered and taken care of, too,” Shurina says.


Here are a few essentials to get you started:


  • Kent Wide Tooth Beard Comb: You might think that a standard comb can cut it, but you’d be wrong. A full beard demands stronger stuff, and Kent’s widetooth beard comb — rounded to prevent losing any of those precious hais — is just the comb for the job.


  • Dr. Donegal’s Beard Tonic: Not only is Dr. Donegal’s a great way to keep your beard care local, but it also takes care of the skin under the beard (not to mention the beard itself).


  • CanYouHandlebar Everyday Beard Soap: A handmade soap that’s loaded with essential oils, CanYouHandlebar’s everyday soap helps you prove that a bushy beard can be as fresh as a clean-shaven face.


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