If you're a Portlander of the bearded persuasion, you may have suffered some pestering of late from seemingly well-meaning "friends" who "helpfully" pointed you to recent "research" that suggests your facial hair may not be as fresh as you think (tl;dr? The bad news: There's probably poop in your beard. The good news: There's also poop everywhere, from cell phones to office microwaves, so your beard isn't special.)
You and I both know that there's bacteria on everything, and a lot of it is actually good for us, but it can also be rad to develop a soothing, soapy beard grooming routine to keep you looking, smelling, and feeling oh-so-Portland fly with your face fuzz. We tapped the expertise of beard oil pro Sherry Okamura and the bearded brothers of the Portland Beardsmen and Bridgetown Beard Club to help you out.
According to Okamura, you should wash your beard "with gentle wash twice a week, more if you have a really dirty or outdoor job." The holistic skincare expert has a full line of sulfate-free Okamura Farmacopia beard shampoos and conditioners that are gentle on both hair and skin without being too drying, but you can also use a gentle shampoo. Massage shampoo into your beard, and rinse with warm (not hot) water. Follow with beard conditioner, and rinse. Once dry, add some beard oil with essential oils that are naturally antiseptic—like rosemary and neem.
A post-wash tip from Portlander Madison Rowley, above, also known as Mr. World Beard 2014: "Apply beard oils from the bottom of the beard up toward your face, because the oils will wick up." Rowley also has his own line of beard and mustache wax—because of course—called Rides Mustache Wax. If you want to get fancy, apply a beard mask for deep conditioning once or twice a week. Drape a warm wet towel over your beard, relax for a couple minutes, then rinse. Follow with beard oil and wax as needed, you sexy beast.
In case you care to outsource your beard care to the pros, our recent Portland Monthly Grooming Guide put the spotlight on The Modern Man’s three locations that transport patrons to the Prohibition era with fancy cigars, complimentary shots of Burnside Bourbon, shoeshines, swivel chairs, and straight razors.
And the next time your coworker or family member gives you a hard time for your fine, fine face foliage, you can point them to this real study showing that clean-shaven hospital workers were more likely to harbor medically dangerous bacteria on their faces than their bearded colleagues. So there.