John Mullan, owner of Stone Hair Salon and founder of Mr Mullan’s Apothecary - a gentleman’s grooming range for the modern bearded man - has been in the hairdressing industry for the past three decades.
When John isn’t in the salon cutting hair he can be found on session shoots perfecting the locks of his profile clients for editorial campaigns or in his studio based in Kingston-upon-Thames conjuring up new formulas for his apothecary range. So with Movember upon us, John is here to answer all your beard and grooming questions, sharing his inside knowledge and tricks of the trade.
How do I know which beard shape will suit me?
You have to work with what you have and what is achievable with the type of beard you can grow. In an ideal world I would recommend the following advice to each face shape, however this is just a rough guide - a professional can advise you working with all of your features to ensure you look your bearded best.
- Square Face: Those with a square face have a strong jaw line - this is a great face shape for a big full beard. Keep the length shorter on the sides and fuller on the chin to accentuate an angular face and cheek bones. A strong face shape such as the square works great for a stubble look also.
- Round Face: To give a round face more definition I advise you grow the beard long on the bottom and keep the sides quite short and defined. If you have a slight double chin a longer beard at the bottom can be forgiving and work in your favour.
- Elongated Face: For an elongated face work with proportion and keep the sides fuller and the bottom shorter - this will create a more chiselled facial structure. Side burns with some volume or a great moustache can also help balance and create the illusion of a shorter face.
- Oval Face: An oval face is a versatile face and ideal for most beard styles. An oval face is in good proportion, so a shorter beard or stubble can be great to highlight cheekbones slightly wider than your jaw, but a big bushy beard is also just as flattering.
How do I know what product is best for me to use, beard balm or beard oil?
Beard balm has more hold in it than the oil, so it is great for controlling frizzier hair and keeping a big ol’ beard’s shape in place and under control. My beard oil contains sweet almond as it is great on the skin, it protects the skin cells from UV rays and keeps the skin smooth and minimises lines. The beeswax in my balm has moisturising and softening properties on the hair and tames flyaways.
When Should I start using beard products if I want to grow a beard?
Straight off the bat! Think of my beard oil as face oil also. Using it will hydrate the skin and stop the itchy period that comes with the growth. The hair will be softer coming through and the skin will be healthy. The bergamot in my oil promotes an attractive skin tone which is great for when the hair starts to come through; and grape seed is one of the most effective ingredients for beard care.
What can I do to minimise itchy skin when I grow a beard?
As I mentioned before, priming the skin with the oil before you start growing a beard will eliminate the itch. I use sandalwood in my oil as it is fantastic as a natural dandruff treatment. If you neglect your skincare regime when growing a beard it will be uncomfortable, but it doesn’t have to be this way.
What should my daily routine be to look after my beard?
Wash and cleanse it every day and then apply a couple of drops of beard oil, depending on your beard size, when the hair is wet, as the cuticle is open after cleansing so the product will absorb better. Blow-dry your beard if it’s unruly to create your desired shape and stop curling later on in the day. Finally apply balm to bigger beards and comb through.
I have a patchy beard, what can I do?
Time is a great healer when it comes to a patchy beard and the black pepper used in my oil will really help you out. It is an exceptional hair growth stimulant. In the mean time, as well as using a beard oil to keep the skin and hair as healthy as possible, I would recommend brushing the hair daily if it is longer than stubble length. Brushing your beard encourages blood flow to the area which also increases hair growth.
My combs are made out of ox horn so they are a lot sturdier than a plastic one. You want a sturdy comb when it comes to the beard as the hair is coarser. It is paramount to have a comb that won’t snap or bend, and the teeth have to be spaced apart enough to work through the hair properly. The direction in which you comb your beard will determine the direction that the hair grows. Start by combing your beard from the bottom and work up towards the sides and the cheeks to create a fuller look and to disguise any patches.
How often should I get my beard trimmed?
I would recommend every three to four weeks to keep your beard and its shape looking its best. I recommend seeing a professional during the growing out stages so it can grow into a desirable shape.
What are your tips for caring for a moustache?
Trim your top lip regularly and use a good moustache wax and moustache comb. A moustache wax is essential if you are looking to grow a handlebar.