Loving your beard means keeping it clean. One of the biggest struggles for the newly bearded concerns eating foods we normally wouldn’t worry about when clean-shaven. Here are five ways to help your beard stay clean and fresh even when eating the messiest of foods!
1. Groom and Trim
Keep your mustache well-trimmed around your mouth, but if you prefer to let your mustache grow, use a nice firm ‘stache wax to stick your hairs together and shape your facial hairs so that they don’t hang in the way of your delicious food. You could either trim yourself with a nice pair of barber’s shears every day or so, or you can visit your beard-friendly barber once a week for a touch up. The bigger the beard, the more care it will need.
2. Keep it Covered
Try a bib! Get a nice handkerchief or bandana (preferably of a waterproof fabric or treatment) and tie it around your chin when you really need to keep your beard clean. It might look funny, but if you’re eating before an important meeting or job interview, it’s worth keeping that beard free of gross chunks of food. There are beard shields out there, or you could make your own using some vinyl or plastic, and decorate it as you please. Or you could just use some cellophane in a pinch. Any way you slice it, there will be some days that you will need to go to great lengths to keep your beard at its cleanest — weddings, interviews, big meetings, dates, functions, etc. And always remember to head to the bathroom after meals just to check and make sure you’re good to go.
3. Tie and Tuck
You reach across the table for the salt, and the tip of your beard dips in your friend’s food or drink. Major party foul, guys! When your beard gets longer, make sure to tie it out of the way when you are about to sit down for a meal. You can clip it to your shirt or jacket once it is tied away, or just tuck it into your collar if you can. There is probably no worse beard foul than dipping your beard in somebody’s dinner! You could braid your beard, so it’s easy to just throw it over your shoulder when necessary. Clips and Clamps work wonders when you’re on the go, and like your beard free and fluffy. An elastic headband might work well in a pinch to keep that beard close to your neck and away from your food.
4. Invent and Adapt
Change your eating techniques. In general, reduce the size of your bites, invest in some tools to make your life easier, and take your time! Here are some techniques by food type.
Hamburgers, Pizza, Crumbly Sandwiches, Wings, and other Finger-Foods: Just commit to using a knife and fork, and eat in very small bites. You might be able to get away with folding dry slices of cheese pizza, but for any slice with a lot of toppings or oil, fork and knife is the way to go. It might be sad to destroy a perfectly good burger, but if you’re looking to keep from looking like a mess, there’s really no other choice. Wings are going to be really tough to keep from getting all over your beard if you eat them with your hands, so develop some surgical skills to get those tiny morsels cleanly into your gullet.
Coffee, Tea, Hot Chocolate: Carry a nice and sturdy pyrex, ceramic, or steel reusable straw to sip your hot beverage, or invest in a mustache cup or whisker dam to protect your precious hairs from being dunked in your coffee like a donut. Portable coffee cups often have spouts, which would be perfect to have handy for your morning commute.
Ice Cream, Pudding, Applesauce: Carry or use a long spoon with a smaller scoop size, and dig in to that ice cream sundae without getting your beard all sticky. Patience is key! Savor each small bite and make sure that no caramel or really gummy sauce gets in your beard, because those are beasts to try and clean up after the fact.
Noodles: These floppy, sauce-flinging puppies are tough to manage with a big old beard, but not impossible! Use the Italian method of fork-and-spoon. Curl your forkful of noodles by putting the tines on a spoon, and make sure the bottom of the spoon isn’t coated with sauce. Bring both to your mouth and slide the bite in. Voila! With sufficiently small bites, there should be no flopping or dripping going on to gunk up your beard. A second option would be to cut your noodles to a bite-size length, and just eat them with a spoon. Better yet, substitute noodle shapes which are already cut small and don’t flop around too much. That way, sauce or broth is guaranteed not to spray all over your prized chin-mane.
5. Oil and Wash Your Beard Regularly
Beard oil isn’t just for making your beard smell great and feel soft! Keeping your beard oiled means that wayward food particles won’t stick as much, and any food particles that may get stuck will be covered up by the aroma of, say, the finest cuban cigars, or a pristine alpine wilderness. In addition, the habit of oiling (or using balm and wax) will keep you aware of the condition of your beard throughout the day so that you will find little invaders like crumbs or sticky spots more frequently. A clean beard is a happy beard!