Irish men are ditching beards: a guide to barefaced cheeks
Laura Kennedy On Beauty: In the Great Bearding (2014-2017) beard oils did a booming trade
The shaved faces of Irish men are once again peeking out. File photograph: Getty Images
Irish men know their grooming. This wasn’t always so. I can well recall the days of my childhood when you would see many a moustache (tragically, they were in fashion for a time) festooned with a supplementary moustache of Guinness, or milk. Quite unsanitary. I have yet to see a man (the only exception of the last 50 years, of course, being the rugged, twinkly-eyed Tom Selleck), who can get away with a moustache without looking a bit suspect.
Beards have been enjoying a bristling comeback but the tide is turning and after years of sporting enormous fisherman-style beards, the shaved faces of Irish men are once again peeking out.
Though facial shaving for women has gained popularity as a means of stray hair removal, our skin is not equipped for it the way a man’s is. Neither is waxing ideal.
For fluffier facial areas, I keep a Philip’s Precision Perfect Trimmer HP6390/10 (€29.99). It will whip off upper-lip or around-the-brow fuzz in an instant, making make-up application easier.
During the Great Bearding (circa 2014-2017), Irish men realised that the bigger the beard, the greater the maintenance. Beard oils, creams and fragrances did a booming trade. It’s no surprise that a return to the simplicity of a clean-shaven face is increasing in popularity.
However, men report that shaving is a negative experience. I met with Jude Jarvis, who founded Marram Co with her husband James, a new grooming brand for men which is determined to make shaving a positive, stylish experience. It has recently launched into The Marvel Room at Brown Thomas in Dublin. Every detail of the brand is considered, pairing utility with a modern yet classic aesthetic which is decidedly masculine.
Jude says women will invest in the products they use every day, and that Marram Co encourages men to do the same. The tools are luxe and customisable. Razors start at €175 (blades start at €3), and the brush and bowl set (from €250) allows you to prepare skin before shaving, making it an easier, more comfortable and enjoyable experience. Soak the badger hair brush in warm water in the bowl while you shower. When you’re ready, empty the bowl, add a dollop of shaving cream (they offer a large variety) and rub the brush in circular motions around the bowl until you have a thick, creamy lather. The brush will raise the hairs and exfoliate the skin, reducing pulling during the shave, and the likelihood of rashes afterward.
If you’re slightly less inclined toward a meditative, indulgent shave, soak a flannel (I like the Angel Face Cloth, €4.50 from Brown Thomas) in warm water and give the skin a gentle scrub with it before applying foam or oil. Follow shaving with something soothing like Origins Fire Fighter (€24.50) to reduce any discomfort or inflammation. Avoid alcohol-heavy products or anything that stings. Shaving should not hurt. For drier skin, try Liz Earle After Shaving Moisturiser (€27), a richer but non-irritating cream. As for the moustache: Are you Tom Selleck? Well then.