Five years ago, Mike Haddad and Shaun Walford were just two dudes attempting to grow out their beards for No-Shave November. Like so many men before them, they figured it would be easy. All they had to do was put down the razor, and boom! Mission accomplished, right?
Not so much. After only a few days, the dryness was driving them both crazy, and Mike’s wife had already started complaining that his beard felt scratchy against her face. It was a disaster.
The ill-fated experiment led them to create Detroit Grooming Co. Now, when No-Shave November rolls around, they know exactly how to help beard newbies do it the right way—no overwhelming itchiness or marital strife required. Here’s what you need to know if you’re thinking of letting your facial hair fly free this month (or any other).
1. Talk to a Pro
“Find a good barber who you trust or a stylist at a salon who’s going to take care of your beard for you,” Mike advises. “Let them know that you’re growing this thing out and you intend to do it for the long term.” Even the best barbers aren’t mind readers, so showing them photos can help them help you. Whether you want a close, corporate crop or a long ZZ Top look, bring a few pictures of your ideal facial hair and ask your stylist to help you get there.
2. Stock Your Medicine Cabinet
The right grooming products are essential for beard maintenance at any time, but they’re particularly important during the initial grow-out. “The oil your body naturally produces is not enough to cover both your skin and your hair,” Shaun says. “It’s one or the other.” That means if you don’t use product, then the oil your body creates sits at the base of the hair, thus drying out your skin and the ends of the hair. Detroit Grooming Co. Grooming Oils will help you avoid the itchiness and the wild look.
3. Power Through the Awkward Phase
“The awkward stage is the worst,” Mike says. “It’s like being a teenager again. The hair on the sides of your face will seem to grow at a different rate than the hair on the front of your face.” Patience and daily grooming will get you through it. Keep your facial hair clean (Mike recommends his Beard Poo) and arm yourself with a good Grooming Oil or Beard Butter to comb or brush through it at least once a day.
4. Go Out in Style
If, at the end of No-Shave November, you decide you’re done with your beard, get rid of it the right way. Start by trimming the hair down to stubble length. Then, get a quality razor and prep your skin with a pre-shave oil, Shaun suggests. “It prevents razor slip, which is what cuts you when you shave and can give you ingrown hairs and razor burn. You put it on, let it sink into the skin for a few minutes, and then you can put your shave gel or shave soap on top of that.”
When you’re done shaving, Mike also recommends using Detroit Grooming Co. After-Shave Lotion made with eucalyptus, tea tree, and witch hazel. “It can accomplish the same task as an alcohol-based product but won’t ruin your skin by drying it out immediately or give you that biting feeling,” he says. “Because even though we’re supposed to be big, tough dudes, we still have sensitive skin.”