You’ve been social distancing for more than two weeks, and your usually groomed beard is bushing up — and out — like it has a mind of its own. Or that 5 o’clock shadow you’ve decided to try to grow into a full beard is looking a little on the straggly side. You’re not alone. How to groom yourself now that you can’t get to the barber is one of the top Google searches right now.

So here’s how to take care of that beard. Your fellow Zoom meeting attendees, and whoever you’re sharing social isolation with, will appreciate it.

Get the right tools.

Next time you’re at Target, grab a small men’s grooming kit, says Frank Rizzieri, owner of New Jersey-based Rizzieri Salons & Spas. The basics: You need a small comb — that has both fine and wide teeth — a trimmer, and a brush. “Choose your brush based on the density and thickness of the beard,” Rizzieri said. Kenny Duncan, a master stylist and owner of West Philly’s Main Attraction Unisex Salon, also suggests having an electric shaver. “You will need that to tend to the areas that you want to be baby’s-butt smooth," Duncan said.

Wash, condition, and oil it every day.

A dirty beard is a dull beard, says Sean Robinson a barber at Ethos GSFM. “Your beard collects debris especially when cooking or laying down on a pillow,” Robinson said. “The oil from your skin can make it greasy, so you really need to wash it every day." Robinson suggests a sulfate-free shampoo because it doesn’t strip your beard of moisture. Duncan’s favorite products include Luster SCurl Free Flow Charcoal Mint Shampoo and Luster SCurl Free Flow Leave-in Conditioner. In need of a good beard oil? Robinson suggests Canyon, a multipurpose beard oil by Caswell-Massey, “It’s light, has a great fragrance, and it’s paraben and petroleum free,” Robinson said.

Model Fred Campbell shows off his newly groomed beard courtesy of master barber Kenny Duncan.
Kenny Duncan
Model Fred Campbell shows off his newly groomed beard courtesy of master barber Kenny Duncan.

Don’t forget to exfoliate.

Just like your T-zone, the skin under the beard gets dry and flaky too, Robinson said. Dry, flaky skin and clogged pores are the main causes of irritated skin and ingrown hairs when growing out facial hair. Robinson suggests men use a product that removes the dead skin cells — or an exfoliator. Most exfoliators, or body scrubs, are applied like soap and you should massage into them to the skin under your beard in a steamy shower. “Create a nice lather, create a nice scrub, and get your exfoliation on. The skin underneath the beard needs love, too,” Robinson said. Proraso’s Shaving Soap in a Jar makes a really good exfoliator, Rizzieri said. And Duncan suggests once you are done exfoliating, try Xotics Blue Water Facial Spray, or an aftershave, that will close the pores, cool down the skin, and guard against infection.

Shape it up once a week.

The one thing you don’t want to do is over-groom, Rizzieri says. If you are growing out a new beard, trim it once about once a week. For newer beards, let your comb act as a guard and trim around the perimeter using small scissors to start defining the shape. When your beard is fuller, that’s when you want to bring in clippers, Duncan said. “Focus on removing the hair on the cheeks and under the jaw line,” Duncan said. “Follow the natural curve.” And a word of caution: “I don’t suggest you attempt to outline the shape of your beard if you are not an artist,” in other words: don’t try to sculpt a precise geometric shape. “Save that kind of detailed work for the barbers.”