No shave life.
I’ve always had an appreciation for men in their naturally hirsute state, and beards have defined a masculine style and image to me. I can’t recall the last time I didn’t have some type of facial hair — I’ve enjoyed sporting a goatee, a short-cropped beard, and even sideburns throughout the years. In 2013, I decided to take on a more serious beard-growing endeavour and stopped shaving all together. Since then, I’ve fully embraced the ‘no shave life’ and the attention that comes with it.
People often ask why I chose to grow a beard, and at the time I was particularly inspired by three men who certainly solidified the look as a bold and strong style statement of edgy masculinity. The English Ricki Hall, the Scottish Christopher John Millington, and the Australian Chris Perceval. In my view, they arguably kicked off the modern day beard trend and it’s been great to see so many men explore this timeless look. In addition to being genuinely handsome, these three men have all donned impeccable beards of various lengths over the years and have a rough-yet-classy tattooed look that I find oh-so-very attractive.
Inspired by these chaps, I decided to put down the razor. After a few months of almost giving up, I finally made it through the rough patch. I also decided to grow out the hair on my head at the same time (I had been accustomed to clipping it monthly), so it was clear I needed a quality barber in London. Upon a superb recommendation from a friend, I visited Murdock London and was introduced to the very talented Miles Wood-Smith. He’s been cutting my hair and shaping my beard since then and has done simply incredible work. If you’re visiting London and need a fantastic barber I would strongly encourage you to visit him.
As my beard continued to grow in 2014, I began exploring the myriad of different beard care products. I now use a number of them to keep my beard effectively groomed depending on the look and texture I want on a given day. For moisturising, I prefer Murdock’s Beard Moisturiser, which softens my beard and offers great fullness with a matte finish. For a good sheen, I prefer various oils — Apothecary 87’s Original Recipe Beard Oil and First Olympian’s Ares Oil do the job and smell great, and I've recently purchased Murdock's Beard Oil which admittedly has become my personal preference. For a brilliant shine and hold, you really can’t beat beard balms, and my latest investment is Bedfordshire Beard Company’s Dark Pepper Balm. Part of the excitement of sporting a beard is certainly the manly care that goes with it.
In 2015 the commitment to my beard continued, and it achieved its longest length. I was interviewed for the now-defunct website called Groom Your Beard, which was an informative site discussing various beard styles and care techniques. I was also selected to participate in Lee Vandergrift’s Beard Envy Project, an ongoing curated gallery that features some extraordinary bearded gentlemen. Also that year, I had a revealing provocative photoshoot in Meat Magazine, and was prominently featured as the only fully bearded guy in that month's edition.
Recently I've trimmed my beard much shorter, but I’m still very inspired by the look and lifestyle. It certainly feels like it’s a part of me that’s here to stay in some form or another. I’ve weathered criticisms from family and friends who opine that my beard needs to go or that the so-called "beard trend" is over, but such comments tend to reinforce my desire to have one. Ironically when I’m out in the city or moreover in a club or bar, I’m actually surprised by the positive accolades it receives — from both women and men alike. I didn’t think beards were such magnets for attention, but in my experience they clearly are. Additionally I have found the brotherhood with other bearded men inspiring. It’s great to know there’s a quality community out there of bearded blokes who continue to showcase their natural manliness.
You can review a collection of beards I find attractive by visiting my Tumblr blog, where I have a set of images tagged accordingly to showcase some prime examples of my taste in bearded masculinity (please note, however, that several of these photos contain artistic nudity).
Questions about my no shave life? Hit me up.