Edit 7/10/19: Now with pics!

I recently heard someone say “I have a real appreciation for a blog that talks DevOps AND beardcare!” As much as I liked to hear that comment, it made me realize that I’ve been neglecting the beardcare side of my responsibilities.

When planning for this post, I had in my head that not much had changed on the beard front. I went back to reread the original beard post, and that made me realize that so much has changed! I’ve now got a rotation of additives and a new favorite styling tool: the straightening brush. I’ve also gotten better at sleeping with a beard (wut?), so my mornings aren’t as scary as they used to be.

I mentioned before that oils were too oily and wax was too hard, and I landed in the middle with a nice balm. Since then I’ve added a butter to the drawer, and I find myself liking it more than the balm. I’ve also readded an oil to my arsenal, and I’ve been picking through them each morning depending on what the situation calls for and what the day’s plans look like.

Now the exciting part; the brush. I had someone offer to get me a straightening brush for me for Christmas last year (maybe it was a suggestion?), but I declined; it felt like too much work. As time went by, I was constantly being berated with ads for them from Facebook and Youtube (yet another sign?). Eventually I saw one get used to achieve the effect I was going for. I always expected that it would give me a perfectly manicured and pin straight look, which I wasn’t interested in, but I should have known that it doesn’t really work like that. My natural beard is an interesting mix of curly, wavy, and straight. I can get it all combed out and buttered up to keep a nice appearance, but the amount of balm or butter it took seemed excessive. Eventually I took the step of watching reviews on brushes and made a purchase.

Morning Beard

Morning beard is angry.

The fancy designer one I had seen the most was the Kuschelbar. I was really not interested in spending $100 on a tiny brush that got warm, but figured it was expensive for a reason. Spoiler: It’s not. According to my research, anyway. I found a video by BeardTube where he spent the money and did a direct bake off between the expensive name brand and the cheap Amazon special. What did he find? Not only was it not better than the cheapo, it’s worse! He even includes at the end of the video where the designer reached out to him with advice, none of which really addressed the issues in my opinion. I ended up going through his list of brushes, and found that the price had jumped like he warned they might. I ended up with this one, which even now is more expensive than when I bought it.

Combed Beard

Things are better after a shower and a good combing.

A nice side effect I found is that my beard has never felt softer than after using the brush. Around the time I bought a brush I also started using oil again. As advised by my barber, I always use a heat protectant before I use the brush, and I noticed that the protectant is just a mix of oils. This left me with an interesting consistency issue when having those oils in there and trying to top them with a balm or butter. A nice light beard oil fits right in however. Another thing I’ve learned since the first post is that I was going way too heavy with the oil. I was trying to use it like glue to contain a wirey beard, and that was just never going to work. Now that I’m using heat to do the taming, a little bit of oil goes a long way in giving the beard a nice finish and feeding.

Brushed Beard

Brushed, oiled, and lookin’ good!

So there you go, the latest scoop on what’s going on with the beard. It’s still a lot of fun to have, gets me a lot of (mostly positive) attention in public, and the wife still likes it; so it’ll be sticking around for the near future at least. If you see my beard and I walking around San Fran in late August, be sure to say hi!

-Willie