Andrew Young, fashion account manager at Full Picture
What kind of facial hair do you have right now, and how long have you had it?
"Right now I have a mustache that’s a little bit Mark Spitz meets the Marlboro Man. I’ve had this mustache and stubble combo for around a month, which is about as long as I can stand anything before I need to switch it out. I think I’m going to revert to a scruffy beard for a couple of months and then double back to a Robert Redford in Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid
mustache just in time for summer."
What do you love about facial hair?
"As a man, you’re a little limited on what’s possible on the accessories front — when comparing ourselves to our female counterparts — and besides a wardrobe with a few nice watches and shoes, guys have a tendency to get a little repetitive in the way they dress. Facial hair is an easy way to mix it up. A beard, mustache, or even a little scruff can change the way your face looks and how people perceive you. Best of all, it’s something you can keep changing whenever you feel like it."
What made you decide to grow yours?
"I’m a pretty nostalgic person — two of my favorite periods are the late '50s and '70s, and it seems like at both of these times, the mustache was on top of the world."
What are some of the challenges of having facial hair? What are some of the perks?
"The biggest challenge is keeping the bathroom hair-free after you trim or shave — those little splinters of hair turn up everywhere
. Another tricky thing is keeping the hair in its sweet spot — meaning not too short or long. The biggest perk is definitely how much time you save yourself in the morning. Also, for anyone with sensitive skin, you’re doing yourself a huge favor by not shaving it every day."
What's your least favorite thing about facial hair? What's your favorite?
"Facial hair, especially mustaches, can be polarizing. Unfortunately, you need to have a pretty solid sense of self to sport a mustache these days, and every now and again, you’ll come up against a hater or a stupid remark. You can’t please everyone, so do what pleases you. My favorite thing is how easy it is to chop, change, and rotate between different facial hair styles. One month you might want to look like a scruffy James Dean, and when that gets boring, you’re only a couple of weeks away from growing out a Castro-clone mustache, or even a full beard."
Anything to avoid when it comes to facial hair?
"The Ned Flanders look — a heavy mustache teamed with freshly shaven skin. I always think a mustache looks exponentially better over the top of a five'o’clock shadow or a couple days worth of stubble. The only time I’d ever rock a mustache with a cleanly shaved face is for a wedding or black-tie event. For such an occasion, I’d dial it down a notch and give it a good trim so it doesn’t become too aging."
What are the grooming essentials you need to keep your facial hair looking fly?
"Every guy should own a set of electric clippers with interchangeable guards for getting the correct length. Facial hair is very coarse, so the more heavy duty the clippers, the better. Look for ones that plug into the wall, so you don’t lose power mid-way though a trim. Before I got the Wahl 8290 Clipper
that I use now, I felt like I was always wearing out cheaper electric razors every nine or so months. Like anything, it’s worth putting in some extra pennies to get something amazing. As far as products go, I'm a conservative — I wouldn’t want to kiss a boy who had wax or cream all through his beard, so I avoid it all together."
Any special tricks or tips you do?
"Although I like it looking fairly natural and hate anything too 'manscaped,' I sometimes find the edges need a little bit of a tidying-up. The key to this is blending as much as you can, or you’ll get stuck with that '8th Avenue' look where the beard just disappears into nothing, like someone has drawn a 'shave here' line on the skin."
Any advice for someone looking to grow out their facial hair?
"Experiment as much as you can. Little things like sideburn length and even the width of a mustache really affect the way your facial features come together —or don’t, if you get it wrong! A good place to start is by growing out a beard and then slowly trimming and cutting back from there. I’d say boys look best with sideburns that end around the mid tragus — that sticky-out part of your inner ear — and a mustache that extends an extra half-inch from the corners of your mouth. If you’re feeling like you need a support network when growing out your facial hair for the first time, why not start in November to support Movember
and their fight against prostate and testicular cancer."
Photo: Courtesy of Andrew Young