Perfecting your professional appearance goes well beyond wearing the proper attire for the proper function. Everything from your hairstyle, to how well manicured your nails and your choice of attire matters. But a large aspect of it sits right on our faces.
Facial hair has been deemed in the past to have an aggressive overtone for men in the business world. Facial hair is considered to be the epitome of manliness, and we men have been wearing facial hair since immortal times. Perhaps it is because we cannot see the entire face that some see it as an intimidating and aggressive feature of men.
In the business world, a clean shaven face usually depicts a nicer, kinder, and more approachable man. But due in part to the Silicon Valley boom and more entrepreneurs walking into board rooms, facial hair is starting to get with the times.
Besides, if a man is always smiling while sporting a beard he can’t really be aggressive can he?
Think Before Growing Your Beard
Businesses tend to have a very strict dress code. They have an image that they want to show the world, and unfortunately; we must conform to it. There may be some leniency in regards to personal religious beliefs should they mandate facial hair; but it is not a common practice. The main point each dress code typically states is a man’s hair should be well groomed.
There are a lot of different ways to wear a beard, but some just won’t cut the mustard in the business world. Whichever one you want to try out, be sure that it is allowable according to the specific dress code of your company. Please take into consideration your own religious beliefs as it pertains to facial hair before settling in on a specific beard.
Pick Your Style
In the world of clean shaven men, a man with a beard can be unsettling. But have heart, it’s becoming more common; and the problem isn’t always the beard but the man wearing it.
For starters, you may be able to get away with the various shades of a stubble beard. With a good shaver and a trimmer to keep the length uniform, it is possible to get just about any look you want. These styles typically lend themselves to a more relaxed work environment without becoming overly distracting.
You could go for longer lengths if the company allows, but it becomes an issue if you just let it grow wild. It doesn’t look attractive on anyone, and sends the message of being unprofessional. A little extra time spent caring for your beard must be taken.
Growing the Business Beard
You have determined that your company doesn’t have much against a man growing a beard, so it’s off to go start growing it; right? Wrong. There are 2 times that are generally acceptable times to start growing a beard for the office.
The first acceptable time is when you have a long vacation or leave from work. This is a great time to start growing a beard in because it does take a while to manifest itself properly. If you don’t wait you run the risk of looking like you came to work after a long bender, which could have other implications.
Sit back and grow your beard on your time and then when it’s time to go back to work; go fully prepared. Look yourself in the mirror and place your finger under your chin where it connects to your neck, then shave everything below your finger off. Trim the remaining hairs so that they don’t stick out of the overall lines to your beard.
Then make sure you are well dressed for returning to work, and wear your beard proudly. Be prepared for awkward looks and comments. There might even be that one person at the office who retreats from you, so smile and be friendly to avoid giving off the wrong impression.
The second best time to grow your office beard comes at the worst time for you, after a layoff. So, take some time to regroup and grow your beard before heading back out into the employment world.
Proper Grooming Techniques
To fit in line with the well groomed aspect for facial hair, a man must not allow his meals to be present in his beard. We are men, not animals and we are expected to act like men; not animals. Caring for our beard should be a staple part of our hygiene routine.
A beard needs to be washed thoroughly, and trimmed as needed to avoid having a wild appearance. While using a beard oil and conditioner aren’t specifically required, both will help maintain the itch of a new growth, and help to make the beard more manageable when combing or brushing it.
Using the right tool for the job is an adage most men grow up with, and beard maintenance is no different. You shouldn’t use a shaver to trim your beard. Trimmers are to be used when cultivating a stubbled look because they do not remove the hair completely. Use beard trimmers when you want a longer depth to the beard. Use scissors sparingly, as they are to help keep the beard in line and give it a shaped look.
Perfecting the professional appearance of a business man isn’t too difficult. It does take some time to work out the finer details though. Not every company will be a clean shaven only company or a moustache only company. The restriction of facial hair is used primarily for the image of the company, with either safety or health reasons as factors.
Aside from adhering to the proper dress code for the business or function, a beard should be a compliment to the overall look. Beards do have a tendency to make a man appear aggressive or dominant as well as show their age, so do take special care to smile often. A smiling bearded man can’t be too aggressive can he?
Your beard should also compliment the shape of your face, not every beard style looks good on every face. You must also take care of your beard through regular grooming. A beard is never to be allowed to look worse for wear.
With grooming, it is important to remove all the hair on the neck, trim the lines and pay attention to the cheeks. The object is to keep it in line with the rest of your basic hygiene habits and not detract from your overall presence. A well taken care of beard will make the man look better, no matter what clothes he is wearing.