Beards here to stay, but retro alternatives also making a comeback
It seems that claims ‘Peak Beard’ had been reached back in 2014 may have been a little hasty, with stylish facial fuzz continuing to dominate in the men’s style stakes throughout 2015 – but with the new year now in full swing, it may be time to reconsider your current look. Whether you rock the full beard with pride or have – incredibly -yet to experiment with the unshaven look at all, we’ve teamed up with Mike Taylor, MD of the British Barbers’ Association to bring you the lowdown on the biggest beard and facial hair trends for 2016.
Trim regularly with a beard trimmer set to around 3mm-4mm to maintain length, and be sure to care well for your skin in order to avoid redness and irritation.
Movember may be long gone, but the mighty moustache is here to stay. Anyone who has actively shunned the beard in recent years will be pleased to learn that there is a new alternative, while those already sporting a proud facial mop can add an upper lip accent for a fresh new look to coincide with the new year.
To get one, patience is key – allow it to grow for a good few months, and avoid trimming above the lip until you are satisfied with the length. While you are waiting, be sure to comb through regularly, training the hairs outwards either side of your philtrum. Style with a little bit of moustache wax, twisting upwards and outwards, and you’re good to go.
Mutton chops, side slugs – whatever you call them, sideburns are due a moment in 2016, and while you may have assumed that this was a look left firmly in the past, like most trends, it has come full circle. Very much a part of the full-bearded trend, this time, the lambchop is going solo, so if you’re all about making a statement then it may be time to take a razor to the rest of it and say goodbye to the hair on your chin. Championed by the likes of Elvis Presley, Tom Jones and – more recently – Bradley Wiggins, sideburns are set to be huge – although never quite as huge as those infamously sported by George Best.
Not all men are blessed in the facial hair department, and those who have spent the past three years trying desperately to reach full-bearded status will be relieved to hear that designer stubble is tipped for big things in 2016. Not only is it the perfect choice for the follicly challenged, but it’s also a great option for those who frankly can’t be bothered with the daily shave.
That said, some maintenance will be required. Allow hairs to grow until itchy, then follow the natural lines created by your features to create your perfect shape, wet shaving any areas that do not fit the template with a good quality razor and creating clean lines along the edges. If you already have a particularly chiselled face then you might prefer to fade or taper your stubble rather than creating a defined outline, as this will make for a slightly softer look.
The tight beard
Keen to keep up with the beard trend but need to stay neat and tidy for work? Then the tight beard is set to be your best friend for 2016. This style keeps the keeps the facial hair trimmed short for a well-groomed look. That is well within the bounds of facial symmetry. Set your trimmer to a setting of 2-3 millimetre, and trim evenly all over, then wet shave the surrounding areas, creating sharp, well-defined edges as you go.
The shorter long beard
Long beards aren’t for everyone, and if not well cared for they can look downright scraggy. To bring the trend up to date, try a shorter take on the style.
This version of the beard follows the shape of the face, with sharp, groomed lines which contrast with the slightly more unpredictable growth below. The bottom of the beard should line up a couple of inches below the chin, while the hair beneath the chin and towards the neck should be left in place to add to the overall fullness.
It’s all change for 2016, so let this be the year you try out a daring new look.
Images: Braid Barbers. Photography: R Braid