Face it—the prominent rise of guys sporting a lush growth of hair along the jawline has become well, a sign of style prominence these days. And we’re okay with that, provided basic grooming and skin care routines remain in tact. Inna Levitan, CEO and managing partner of Quartz Crystal Spa at Trump International Hotel & Tower Toronto, tells us what’s up with the recent increase in the population of bearded males and how to properly maintain facial hair for those inclined to join them.

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Male beauty guide to the man beard: What’s a man beard?

A badass display of distinction, gentlemanly charm and attention to personal appearance, the well-kempt growth of facial hair on a dude—from five o’clock shadow to Bradley Cooper’s recent full-fledged face beard—is the ultimate marker of a rugged yet refined manhood. If well maintained: “Facial hair grows in various directions and at different speeds, so the key is to ensure that the frequency of your upkeep is timely and that the groomer understands the shape of the face,” says Levitan.

The look, gentleman? “There should be a balance between natural vs. sculpted— nobody looks good in an unruly, messy beard, nor when it is so precisely manicured that it looks drawn on. This requires that your beard be groomed in the appropriate time periods, depending on your hair growth.” It also requires a daily commitment to trim facial hair, as well as regular cleansing and exfoliating of the skin. “Facial moisturizer will make the beard look fresh and healthy, and not as scruffy.”

Male beauty guide to the man beard: Who can pull off this look

“It comes down to face shape and the length of the neck, and of course personal fashion sense,” says Levitan. Man beard formula? “Guys with a round face who have a well-groomed beard tend to look like their face is more structured with a defined jawline. Guys with short necks just end up looking hairy because there isn’t a lot of space from the face to the shirt collar.”

Also consider the bearded source: events that involve Ben, Brad, George (of late), plus the creative industries to which many plaid-wearing hipsters flock are generally more welcoming of facial hair than office environments.

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For more of our male beauty guide to growing a man beard, read on to the next page!

george-beard-canvas.jpgMale beauty guide to the man beard: Where to wear it

Unlike cuff links or patterned socks—accessories that lend personality to an outfit for a specific time or place—the man beard is a total-life commitment. “It’s important that facial hair for the office is kept groomed and in line with a standard-size sideburn in width,” advises Levitan, outlining that facial hair trimmed shorter than a number two razor and longer than a five o’clock shadow is considered safe for work.

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“The standard goatee or face beard is mostly appropriate. However, nobody likes a ‘throatee,’ hairy necks are not in this season nor next.” This goes for date nights as well. “Women love a rugged masculine look, but ensuring it is clean and well groomed won’t make it look like you are hiding something underneath.”

Male beauty guide to the man beard: When to grow one

“Beards tend to make you look older so if you’re looking to appear more mature or senior, facial hair could be a great way of doing this,” she suggests. But like most new ventures in personal style, it all comes down to maintenance and commitment. “Facials and exfoliating treatments are excellent for keeping a man’s face fresh, even with a beard,” says Levitan, citing the Quartz Crystal Spa’s dedicated men’s facial as key to preventing ingrown hairs.

She also recommends a facial massage, like Quartz’s men’s Swiss Relaxing Anti-Stress treatment, to promote blood circulation in the face for a rejuvenated look. “We also encourage collagen treatments, even for men with a face full of hair, so that the skin underneath the hair remains plump and nurtured.”

Male beauty guide to the man beard: Why—seriously

So why do men put up with the extra primping and fussing over facial hair when they don’t have to? “A groomed beard speaks of a man who is in tune with what looks great on him, takes pride in his appearance and takes chances with fashion,” says Levitan, who attributes bearded celebs and the ubiquity of the Movember moustache to the rise in male facial hair.

But there will always be a place for the fresh-faced Joseph Gordon-Levitts of the world. “This is a man who is groomed and enjoys exposing some skin,” says Levitan. “There is a classic innocence to it.” Besides not everyone can pull off full-time scruff, and a nonchalant approach to grooming has the reverse effect of a sophisticated shadow. “An overgrown and unkempt beard shows that the man either doesn’t care about his appearance or he is trying to make it seem like he doesn’t care.” Neither of which is very George Clooney, guys.

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