Guide to undoing your winter beard

    For some, No Shave November has extended itself well beyond its 30-day timeframe, a natural defense mechanism against Chicago’s worst winter in over 30 years. Understandably, not shaving in over four months can leave even the weakest beard-grower looking grizzled and wooly, and while this can come in handy against the bitter wind, it becomes less necessary as we gradually leave the Ice Age. Of course, months of not shaving means that your first attempt at it will be a little more involved than a typical morning cleanup. Whether you decide to transition back to your non-werewolf state completely, or simply maintain a subtle 5 o’clock shadow, here’s NBN’s guide to undoing your winter beard.

    Photo by Kelly Gonsalves/ North By Northwestern

    1. Get a haircut

    Assuming you haven’t shaved since the days before every human being in the world was singing “Let It Go,” you probably haven’t been within ten miles of a barber for just about as long. While your long, untamed locks were surely a helpful defense against the cold, the first step in any facial hair maintenance is a good, clean haircut. You don’t necessarily need to transition directly to a short summer cut, getting rid of the Brad Pitt-esque style you currently maintain is a vital move.

    Video and GIF by Isabel Sturla / North By Northwestern

    2. Knock back the bush

    Even if you plan on keeping some facial hair, there’s no doubt that you’ve accumulated a patch of matted, knotted hair covering every possible piece of skin on your face. While understandable in subzero weather, anyone you're pursuing will be less forgiving as temperatures start to climb above freezing. To combat this, use a buzzer tool to tame the worst of the mess. Pay particular attention to the harder-to-reach areas, especially under your chin and on the sides of your face. While you may want to keep some of your hard-earned whiskers, clearing out this fluff will stop people from walking in wide circles around you.

    Video and GIF by Isabel Sturla / North By Northwestern

    3. Decide how you want to style it

    Keeping some of your facial hair in some sort of effort at style? Before proceeding any further, be sure to think carefully about what message your desired trim will convey. For example, your best efforts at a Ron Swanson moustache will probably land you somewhere closer to Joaquin Phoenix in “Her” territory, minus the high-waisted pants and digital love. Consider leaving a little bit of stubble around the chin, or perhaps a simple goatee. It doesn’t need to be much, but some well-maintained scruff can be very effective.

    4. Treat Yo’ Self

    Deciding to clean your act up completely? Now is the perfect opportunity to really enjoy yourself at the barbershop. For a small premium, your visit could include an old-fashioned, straight razor shave. It will give your ill-prepared facial pores a better chance of easing back to the sunlight, and a professional barber will clean you up much better than your safety razor ever could. Just avoid any Victorian-era British singing barbers and you should come out ready for spring… which should arrive sometime in June.

    Photo by Isabel Sturla / North By Northwestern


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