Get into the lockdown look of the moment, and sport a quarantine beard where you can unleash that inner Robinson Crusoe-castaway in you while in an indefinite isolation.
With time being nothing more than an ambiguous and arbitrary concept as of late, it has become increasingly difficult to mark the days. With each date coalescing to the next as if it were one long drawn out space of time, one of the telltale signs of how long the lockdown has taken effect can be seen manifested on physical changes. While a good chunk of the male populace has resorted to buzzing off their hair to reveal shiny, round heads, some have taken to the opposite, by skipping the razor and letting their quarantine beards grow.
Now, before you clean-shaven folk wince and assume that the no shave lockdown is nothing more than an effect of laziness and boredom, hear us out. Christopher Oldstone-Moore, history lecturer at Wright State University and author who penned Of Beards and Men: The Revealing History of Facial Hair enlightens us in a conversation with Forge about the quest beard. A signifier meant to mark a period of endurance and perseverance; quest beards are apparently a common phenomenon when it comes to facial hair. Historically, soldiers and explorers grew them out as a way to bond over a common purpose. So, if we are to follow this train of thought, the rampant proliferation moustaches, face fuzz, and scraggly patches of hair are an act of solidarity in the time of the lockdown brought about by the no-end-in-sight coronavirus.
A personal choice as it is a psychological one, growing out one’s beard is borne both out of necessity and defiance. In the enduring series of outwitting, outplaying, and outlasting in Survivor, the men who well, survive, often sport full-on beards, much like Tom Hanks stranded in the enlightening film, Cast Away. Here, vanity is of little to no importance, so facial hair is the first to be let go in the list of priorities, and understandably so. Now, as we forge on with our versions of isolation, a sizable lot have taken to the aforementioned quest for beards, undergoing what Jim Carrey calls a meaningless transformation as we count the days in quarantine.
Aimlessly going through a reel of Instagram Stories or sitting in on the one-too-many con-calls, you will quickly notice how the guys have now relented to the lockdown look in varying lengths of facial hair.
Now, whether you are going for the quarantine beard because you want to fully internalize the lockdown, simply curious on how far you can take it, or latching it on to a sense of challenge you can distract yourself amidst an unsettling time of uncertainty is all on you. But this doesn’t mean you have to let go of your grooming habits as well, because believe us, there is an entire world of rules and routine when it comes to taming and taking care of the beard.
So, before you go caveman, when all we really are aiming for is a Robinson Crusoe-type of castaway, here are a few standard beard care tips you should definitely keep in mind.
Cleanliness Is Still Of The Essence
No, washing it soap during a shower is going to cut it. As it is hair that is rooted in a bulb of soft, gelatinous keratin, it is important to slough away the dirt with shampoo and conditioner, just as you would do with your head. This way, your facial hair is left clean, shiny, and smelling fresh. It is also important to mind how you dry your beard, because furious toweling will only make it susceptible to frizz and split ends. Instead, gently dab and pat it to dry.
It Can Be Tamed
Washing it shampoo and conditioner can and will strip it off of natural oil to keep in robust and healthy. So, experts suggest massaging it with a beard oil, ideally with essential oils and extracts to moisturize the hair, as well as the skin underneath, preventing itchiness and flaking. More than that, it also maintains follicle health, so you are sure that your beard will grow shiny and soft.
Brush It, Too
Hair, as we have come to terms with, can get frustratingly stubborn. While it wants to go on its own direction, know that you can wrangle wiry fly-aways by training it to a certain direction with a conscious and consistent rubdown with a comb or brush. If there are unruly exceptions sticking out after, you can always keep things in place by sculpting it with pomade.
Trim The Excess
Yes, we know you might want to go full on bearded beast in this time of quarantine, but it is also imperative to trim the ends every now and then. While a trimmer is necessary for a full or close shave, you can easily tend to your beard by evenly snipping the wild and rebellious tips with a pair of scissors. Here, it is important that you pay close attention to the shape of your face when cutting away, because you don’t want a janky jaw, now do you?
Eat Up With The Essentials
A healthy diet is necessary when maintaining a quarantine beard, especially since it is made up protein and fat. While it doesn’t guarantee growth, it does help your beard looking its absolute best. Word of the wise, you better load up on Vitamins B5, B3, And B9, which are mostly found in lean meat, nuts, egg yolk, milk, and leafy greens.
Don’t Touch Your Face
Just like one of the cardinal rules of the flattening the curve handbook, you shouldn’t touch your face or even stroke your quarantine beard too much. This way, it is kept, clean and clear. While it has been disproven that facial hair does not in any way exacerbate or allow the coronavirus to thrive, every ounce of cleanliness will definitely go a long way.
With all things considered, go and wear that beard with pride, because who knows, this might be the only time you get the excuse and go-ahead to let it grow out sans the rigors of social identity for the time being. Besides, you’ve already committed way too much on this, you might as well relish the glory of this no shave era.