As Alberta begins to ease COVID-19 lockdown restrictions, men have started emerging from their homes sporting freshly-grown furry faces.

For those who plan to continue rocking their new quarantine facial hair styles, a little effort and a variety of local companies are here to help.

At Kent of Inglewood, a shop that specializes in men’s grooming and care products, knives, axes and even features an in-house barber shop, the advice about caring for that quarantine beard is simple.

“Wash it properly, moisturize it and use the right tool to keep it tidy,” says Nathan Gareau, Kent’s communications manager.

As far as washing your lovely new mane is concerned, Gareau says a beard wash is essential. Using regular shampoo on your face can lead to a dry and itchy beard because it’s designed for the scalp, which has a completely different pH than the face.

“Beard washes are typically formulated to be a lot more gentle on the skin and the hair, so they’re not going to leave the hair dry and frizzy, and they’re not going to leave the skin, you know, dandruffy or breaking out.”

Local Alberta companies such as Mammoth Beard Co., Tremendous Soap Co., and Like Grandpa all offer beard washes or soaps.

For moisture, perhaps the most common beard care product known to man is beard oil.

“Beard oils are great because they give you a nice shine. They make your beard smell great,” says Gareau.

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Calgary-based Bartigan and Stark makes beard oil, beard balm, moustache wax and hair product. Photo: Nicholas Montpetit-Skuba

Other options for moisturization include creams and balms, each serving their own slightly different purpose. Gareau says creams will often be quite effective for shorter beards because they absorb much easier, while oils and balms are great for longer hair because they absorb slower and offer more intense hydration.

“A balm, basically, is oil with beeswax added so that it will help to tame the beard a little bit, lock in that moisture so if you’re outdoors a lot, the wind isn’t going to be stripping all the moisture out of your beard.”

Calgary-based company Bartigan and Stark are known for their faster-absorbing and effective beard oils and balms.

Glenn Loveless, founder of the company, says that high-quality carrier oils are the most important part of making a good beard oil and balm. He particularly likes using coconut, jojoba, argan and shea oils in his products.

“Jojoba is the oil that’s most similar to the oils that you produce naturally, so I think that one’s essential. You’ve got to have that one in there,” says Loveless.

He believes products should be as natural as possible and works hard to make that a reality for his offerings.

Gareau shares the same mentality, ultimately suggesting that your moisturizing products should evolve with your beard.

“Generally, you’re going to want to start with lighter, faster-absorbing products with a short beard, and move into the heavier, oilier products as your beard gets longer.”

Finally, when it comes to tools, Gareau recommends using wood or bristle, otherwise known as boar hair.

“Animal hair is going to help to reduce static in the hair, as well as distribute the naturally occurring oils better,” he says.

He also recommends staying away from most plastics.

“Petroleum-based plastic actually charges the hair, it adds static, so it’s going to make it poof out more and get more unruly.”

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