Compared to the work that Jeff Tucker puts into his handlebar mustache, wearing the bold style is the easy part. He has been growing it for two years, regularly treating it with special wash and conditioner. “I experiment on myself with what works best,” he says, explaining his recent trials with a pinesap-based product to help shape it out, up and twisted just so. He describes the process of curling up the tips, when his wife interjects. “He spends a lot of time on that mustache!” she proclaims with a laugh that tells she’s serious.
Jeff and Laurel Tucker are the owners of Tuckers Barbershop in Grants Pass. The shop gives more than 800 cuts a week, and its barber chairs provide front-row seats to the brimming beard and mustache revolution that is sweeping the nation.
Common reasons for growing out facial hair, Jeff Tucker says, are to feel manly or to perhaps cover something up, such as (let’s be honest) a double chin, and to feel, well, stylish. Once they try it, a lot of men like their new look. “The purpose of a beard or a goatee is to balance out the facial features,” Tucker says. “Stylistically, shaping a beard is similar to cutting hair,” he adds. “As barbers, we’re looking at the lip features, the nose, the chin, the roundness of their heads.”
The chinstrap and goatee beard styles are particularly in vogue today, says Dylan Daniel, a barber with Guapos Barber Shop inside Cielo Salon in Medford. For hairstyles, the pompadour, with its closely cropped sides, is wildly popular and fits many different beards. Daniel recommends that guys go a month without shaving to evaluate their growth potential when starting a beard. Patchy beards, fear not: Beards can often be worn thinner and still look good, he says. Most important to any style, he adds, “You have to be confident.”
And yet, some combos aren’t the most fetching. A guy with a round face should opt for a beard that slims down his look, as opposed to a big, round beard, Tucker advises. Daniel says that a man with a smaller head and thinner jawline might not be best suited to a longer beard. But if you’re analyzing your face shape in the mirror and noticing only a furrowed brow, don’t worry. “Beards are so popular right now, it’s kind of hard to go wrong,” Daniel says.
A well-maintained, kempt beard will better hold its shape and have less unruly, rogue hairs sticking out, Laurel Tucker says. “You can tell a man who takes care of his beard as opposed to one who doesn’t,” she says. Beards and mustaches should be regularly cleaned with beard shampoo and conditioner—not the same type you use on your head. Many beard-care products contain essential oils, Jeff Tucker says, and others have ingredients like rosemary, which better softens and cleans beards.
If you can easily run a comb through a beard, it’s an indication of proper care. For styling, there are a range of facial hair waxes, balms and even foam products, all of which can be found at a good barbershop. “It’s very becoming on a man to have that kempt look,” Laurel Tucker says. “For me personally, as a woman, that is extremely attractive.”