The Grooming Journal

#AskSloan: Face on Fire

Dear Sloan,
Was wondering if you could help me out.  The guy I am with has a fantastic beard, but for the love it is razor sharp! The length has been changed up to accommodate, but no luck. He is a picky guy when it comes to smells and products. I am curious if there is a local place where I reside that sells your products. If not I am very interested in what you might recommend for a mild smelling beard softening product. I really like the ingredients in red hook, are they overpowering or linger for long time? Thanks so much for your help.
---Face on Fire
Dear Face on Fire,
I love that you recognize the beard as "fantastic" even though it has rendered you a burn victim. You're obviously a good girl. And as all good girls know, Beauty Before Comfort, Honey.
But there is hope. 
I wonder how the length was affecting the texture of the hair? When you had him change the length was there a difference in the burn factor? By what means was the length changed?
Clipping, shaving or otherwise cutting the hair leaves each fiber with a blunt edge that, when spread across the face in numbers great enough to comprise a "fantastic" (read: thick, dense) beard, probably creates a grizzly garden of needles rather than the tufts of luxuriant fur today's beards should and can be.
I can't tell you the number of men I talk to who say to me how much they'd love to have a beard, "But, you know, my woman..."
FoF, you give me renewed hope. But, as the accommodating and understanding lover of a bearded fellow, you deserve to have him meet you halfway. All he needs to do is moisturize that thing regularly with the right products and change a few of his habits...
As we all know, the most effective time to moisturize is just after a shower since pores are open and cuticles of the hair are relaxed and receptive. What we forget though is this is also a time when hair and skin are most vulnerable.
I'll bet his thick, heavy beard holds lots of water; probably it's the last thing to dry post-shower. This tendency may have led him to take his (possibly overused-between-washings and therefore less-than-clean) towel and scrub the beard dry as though it were a wet pot at the scullery.
Well, it isn't a cast iron Dutch oven we're talking about here: it's a delicate and vulnerable symbol of his masculinity to be handled with the TLC not unlike that which I'm sure he applies to his scrotum.
He must pat the beard dry, preferably with a clean tee-shirt or cloth napkin as terry cloth is so ultra-absorbent it may suck away what natural oils manage to remain after showers that are probably both too hot and too frequent.
By the same token, he should replace his current pillow cases with silk ones. Silk lacks the absorbent qualities of cotton and linen that silently strip his beard of its precious moisture all through the night. (I always say we as a society have a lot to learn from black women, most of whom wrap their hair in silk nightly without fail.)
There's also face-washing. Many of us shower once daily but wash our faces twice or more. Cleansers designed for the skin should not be applied to the hair. Would you ever shampoo with a bar of Dial? I don't think so. So when washing the face, have him avoid the beard. When we wash our faces, we are rinsing away both the particulate of the day and the face's oily reaction to it. Remember the beard is a filter and a mask, so the skin underneath it is protected from the elements and therefore won't require as much cleansing.
And finally: reintroducing moisture to the burly Brillo boyfriend's barba will be my final prescription. Brooklyn Grooming's Whiskers Beard Oils and Classic Beard Balms incorporate the antioxidant sesame oil and miracle cure-all hempseed along with moisture-enhancing jojoba and argon oils. If he's picky about fragrances, he could try our COMMANDO line which is unscented. Or try the just-released Beard Oil Sampler Kit with all 4 of our fragrances for just $29.00. That way he can decide for himself which scent is his before committing to an entire bottle of any of them.
For a list of stores featuring our products, check the RETAILERS link at
If he follows these simple suggestions, in a couple weeks you'll see improvement, in a month you'll be wallowing in the lush forest that is his face, and finally you'll be free from the masochistic joys and practical terrors of Beard Burn.
***UPDATE: Face on Fire informed us that her fellow was trimming about every other day to maintain his "relatively short...full beard." To this I say: LET IT GROW. What I enjoy most about my beard is that it is in constant flux. FoF: if he's trimming that often, he never allows the hair fibers' edges to dull from the electric clipper. If he MUST trim that often (incidentally I recommend twice a month) may I recommend he use scissors instead, AT LEAST for the sections that come in contact with your face et cetera, presumably the mustache and areas surrounding the mouth.
But his best bet is to trim LESS OFTEN: if the hair is long enough to LIE DOWN, they may still be sharp from trimming, but at least they won't be pointing right at you!
FoF has promised to update us again in a few weeks about the progress of her Bearded Beau and his hazardous kisses.
FoF: PLEASE DO. And send pics. Why not?
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