I stumbled upon your products when I found the shopmasc.com website and just ordered some of the Classic Beard Oil. I've never used any type of product on my beard beyond standard shampoo and conditioner. I live in Alberta, where our winters are long and very dry, so I figured I would experiment with some creams and oils to help keep my beard healthy.
I'm wondering if you could share any advice with me, as I keep the length along my jawline and cheeks fairly short, but from the chin I'm up to roughly 12 inches long. I now tend to use elastics to maintain neatness due to winds and air pressure at my place of work, but I'd be interested in learning about what types of products you could recommend and how much/how frequently I should be using them.
I'm delighted that you've decided it's time to put some thought into how you care for your (really freakin' long) beard. And on the eve of 2014, what better time to discover a new beginning?
First let's talk about your "standard shampoo and conditioner." As I have mentioned at length on the blog, I have a problem with the culture of shampooing. Its overuse damages hair a lot more than being a little dirty ever could. And really, how grimy can a beard get? (Now that you're tying it up in elastics, I can't imagine it catches much debris.) Read more about beard maintenance (and my One-Man Anti-Shampoo Campaign) HERE.
You've picked a good place to start with our Beard Oil. I know you'll love it. Once I started using Brooklyn Grooming's Williamsburg Beard Oil, I noticed improvement almost immediately in my beard's texture, growth rate, shine and overall aesthetic. I'm not sure what fragrance you chose, but when it's time for another bottle, maybe consider trying out one of these so you can experience our entire fragrance line.
Also of interest to you would be our Classic Beard Balm. Since the hair of your chinny-chin-chin is so long, our balm's more putty-like texture clings longer and won't evaporate as quickly in your workplace rife with unusual "winds and air pressure." (So what are you, a hot-air balloon pilot?)
The reason we use the oils and the balms is that they help the hair to maintain a level of moisture that prevents damage from the elements, especially like those characteristic of a bitter Alberta winter. A healthy moisture balance in skin will also promote hair growth, so make sure you apply the oil to the entire length of the hair, from root to tip. Everyday. (And stop shampooing your beard. Just rinse.)
And as for the elastics in your beard, I am very pleased you aren't using rubber bands. They are bad for hair, especially the beard. But I wanted to suggest a few alternatives for you as well, just to vary the diet a bit.
I found these genius little Beard Lacers on etsy by OId Crow Shop based in Corona, CA. The beads and rawhide leather (or waxed rope) used in their construction are rustic, masculine and even gentler on hair than the elastics. Also, the act of putting it into your beard looks way more fun and much less tedious.
And here's a Beard Twister from Medieval Metal in Cardiff, CA. They're available in both cloth and metal, and they can be ordered at varying sizes. With a remarkably long statement beard like yours, Ben, I just can't see locking it up in boring little bands ALL the time. Maybe wear one of these on special occasions?
Finally, my favorite is this Beard Ring by The Jelling Dragon, an online shop catering primarily to (I'm not kidding) Viking and Early Medieval re-enactors and followers of the Nordic faith. Who knew that Vikings, those storied noble savages and 11th century pirates, were so keen in their ability to accessorize!. You gotta admit, it's pretty bad-ass.
And one more thing, since length is obviously a priority for you, it doesn't hurt to trim the hair occasionally. Remove split ends and try for a uniform thickness so that the hair can grow at a more consistent rate, and also so you don't have just a few long hairs all alone at the bottom of your beard fending for themselves. There's strength in numbers right? Well that goes for ponytails too.
Welcome to the Brooklyn Grooming Collective, Ben. We're so happy you could join us.
And keep me posted on your beard's progress.
Happy New Year!