More men than ever are debating a change in facial hair right now. That’s because, with more people working from home and access to professional grooming services limited, the stakes have changed. You could go clean-shaven, grow a mustache, or go for a wilder, lumberjack look. It’s up to you – but whatever you choose, you need to know how to take care of your facial hair, and that’s especially true when summer starts and the mercury rises.
In the summer, having a beard can trap sweat close to your skin, which can actually make you feel cooler, but may also make your skin feel itchy and irritated. Luckily, with proper care and keeping, you can get all the benefits of a summer beard with none of the discomfort. All you need are the right tools and a little patience.
Built-In Sun Protection
A beard can keep your face cool, but is that really enough reason to grow one during the summer? That’s debatable, but one excellent reason to grow a summer beard is that it can provide excellent sun protection. In fact, according to a study in Radiation Protection Dosimetry as described in GQ, a beard can protect against 50 to 95% of UV rays depending on thickness and the angle of the hairs. They’re particularly effective against UVB rays.
Of course, you shouldn’t count on your beard to provide complete sun protection; skin cancer is a very real risk. Certainly, you can avoid the added benefits, but you’ll want to supplement your beard’s natural protection with a quality sunscreen, both for the skin under your beard and the rest of your face.
Keep It Neat
One reason that many men avoid growing beards in the summer is that they think it looks particularly unkempt. It’s one thing, the logic goes, to have a beard in the winter when we’re all bundled up in layers of clothing, but in the summer it’s just messy. That’s an unfounded position, though, since any beard can be kept looking tidy. You just have to take proper care of it.
To tidy up your summer beard, there are a few things you need to do, the most obvious of which is to wash it regularly. Though you should be washing your beard regularly regardless of what time of year it is, increased sweating during the summer months means that there’s bound to be more dead skin, dirt, and other particulates stuck in your hair and against your face. Left unaddressed, this can lead to severe breakouts, as well as itching and an unpleasant smell.
Another part of keeping your beard neat during the summer is styling it. This is another one of those seasonal double-standards because maintaining a neat beard should be a priority all year round. That being said, you can keep your beard looking its best by regularly combing and trimming it. Proper nutrition and hydration will also improve your beard’s appearance.
Prepare For Your Activities
Physical activity has a significant impact on how much you sweat, how dirty you get, and other factors that impact beard health, so it’s important to consider how you’ll maintain your beard during these activities. For example, if you spend a lot of time at the beach during the summer months, you’re likely to get sand and other particulates caught in your beard and will need ways to deal with that. Or if you swim in a chlorinated pool, you’ll need to address the impact of pool chemicals on your beard’s health.
One popular summer activity that demands special beard care is going camping. While many men opt not to shave while camping – and that’s perfectly reasonable – others prefer to maintain a closer shave during this time. A shorter beard may be less irritating when you can’t shower regularly, and it can keep ticks from finding cover and biting you. If you do plan to shave your beard while camping, though, you’ll need to plan around the available resources. You likely won’t have running water, but you can replace that with a large container. You likely won’t have running water, but you can replace that with a large container. Read these useful tips on shave.net. They could be of great help if you found yourself in such situation.
As for the right tools, men who are serious about their beards generally rely on safety razors and occasionally on an electric razor. Obviously you can’t use an electric razor while camping – there are no outlets – but a safety razor will serve you anywhere. That being said, if you’re typically an electric razor user, don’t switch to a safety razor while on a camping trip because it does have a learning curve. In the short-term, a cartridge razor will do.
Whatever helps you stay active and break a sweat during the summer, it’s important to wipe away all of that residue, even if all you have access to is body wipes. Though body wipes aren’t a substitute for a shower or washing your face, they’ll help minimize the chances of a sweat-fueled breakout, which can be a big problem for men with facial hair.
Other Summer Beard Concerns
What else does it take to successfully grow and maintain a beard through the summer months? It depends, at least in part, whether you’re starting out with a beard and changing the style, or if you’re currently clean-shaven. If you don’t have a beard yet, be forewarned, your face will probably be itchy as it fills out. That’s normal and you just have to tough it out for the first few weeks, though moisturizing the skin can help. Once you get through that initial period of growth, the itching will go away.
Another factor to consider is that, depending on your hair’s general condition, you may need to moisturize your beard with oil or another product each day. You want your hair to be soft, not scratchy and brittle. Styling products like beard wax can also help, but make sure you wash them out thoroughly at the end of the day.
There’s no right answer to whether or not you should grow a beard this summer, and you’re always free to try it and to give up if it isn’t working. Some men don’t grow full beards well, and no amount of patience will make this happen. Others find them uncomfortable. If you like how you look with a beard, though, warm weather shouldn’t discourage you from sporting some smart facial hair.