Facial hair is all the rage this 'Movember'


Saturday, November 28, 2015 at 12:00 am


If 2010 gave us the rise of the Bieber hairdo, surely 2015 can be remembered as the year of the beard.

The well-maintained beard has joined ranks with bacon, craft beer and artisan pizza in transitioning from hipsterdom to mainstream culture. Spending time and money painstakingly manicuring facial hair has become a point of pride for many men.

The waves of people who treat themselves to boutique waxes, oils, brushes, hot shaves — you name it — spell big business for everyone from barbers to beauty stores. It’s hard to go shopping without seeing a mustache decal affixed to odds and ends or stumbling across a shelf stocked with artisan shaving cream.

“I didn’t know it was going to be so popular when I started carrying it,” Gidget’s Garage co-owner Kim Baer said of beard care products. “I knew beards were kind of in. I started with a few products, and customers were like, ‘Oh, you need to get this, that and the other.’ It’s been a great niche for me.”

In Columbia, many of these well-groomed men stop by Elite Barber Shop in south Columbia, where Ben Dixon, Brent Benn and Adam Prosser offer all manner of beard care, from hot shaves to advice about products to keep beards and the skin beneath them healthy. Just about everyone working at Elite Barber Shop has his own stylish beard, and many of the store’s male customers also sport facial hair.

The barber shop’s haircut capes include drawings and names of different beard styles. On co-owner Prosser’s stand, a small drawer that holds tools of the trade is adorned with mustache-shaped handles.

Dixon, a barber at Elite, said beards have skyrocketed in popularity during the past five years or so. This renaissance of the beard means working with different types of facial hair and helping people find the style that best projects the image they desire.

“It’s more about the kind of hair you have,” Dixon said. “If you have really fine, thin hair, it’s hard to make the beard look fuller. Thick, course hair is very tough on the blades.”


Although the styles of beards men seek vary greatly, Dixon said one common thread exists among most clients.

“It’s all about the lines,” he said as he used a straight razor to get a close shave on the back of one customer’s neck. “Crisp lines is what they’re after.”

This means hot shaves are not only for customers who want to leave looking clean-shaven. Many bearded men regularly come in to have barbers use a straight razor to manicure the outline of their beard and give it a sharper look.

“Of course, you have the trendsetters,” Dixon said. “A lot of guys will go back to the 1800s, the early 1900s and look at portraits.”

Sometimes, he said, people are too optimistic about their beard potential. Beards often are tangled up with egos, Dixon said, and he occasionally has to delicately balance helping a customer while gently informing them they might not have enough beard for a certain style.

Jon Williams said he pops by Elite every month or so for a beard trim and a razor treatment to finish it off. He has grown a winter beard every year since he moved to Columbia in 1982, though he has played around with different styles. This year, he’s sporting a smaller beard without sideburns.

“I don’t do the full beard the way I used to because it’s almost all white now,” Williams said. “If I did that, I’d look like Santa Claus by Christmas.”

Perhaps as important as the whiskers, though, is the enjoyment people get from maintaining their facial hair. At Elite, the sounds of buzzing trimmers and loud conversations bounce off the walls.

A shave involves more than a little pampering, with two lathers of hot shaving cream and a steaming towel. The barber shop routinely deals with wedding parties that want to freshen up for the big day. They have clients who drive long distances for the treatment, and many customers tell Dixon it’s the most relaxing part of their week.

“It’s real relaxing to come in and let them work on you,” Williams said, pointing to a customer with a blanket of warm towels wrapped around his face.

Blake Maxey earlier this year founded Big Tree Beard Co., a business that sells beard brushes, waxes and scented oils for facial hair. He said the therapeutic aspect of beard care lured him to the business. Beard oil usually is scented and helps keep hair and skin moisturized.

“I don’t wear any cologne, but on a daily basis I put beard oil in,” he said. “It’s something I take pride in. I have women buying this for their husbands.”


The first time Dixon practiced a razor shave, he popped a balloon and sent gobs of warm shaving cream flying around the room. It’s a common hazing ritual for training barbers.

“As a joke, they blow the balloon up way too much so it blows up, shaving cream goes everywhere,” he said. “You’re nervous, but they do it just to mess with you.”

After working with the balloon, students start to practice on each other. Dixon said it took about a month to become proficient and years to truly master the art of shaving. Customers who come in looking for a shave have nothing to worry about, Dixon said.

“There’s nothing to be intimidated by,” he said. “We all take our job pretty seriously, and the last thing we want to do is make someone feel uncomfortable.”


Since Maxey first started Big Tree Beard, he has added several new offerings. He has expanded from selling products on his website to offering his wares at Bluestem Missouri Crafts, 13 S. Ninth St., and Gidget’s Garage, 906 Alley A.

Maxey also created a new beard oil scent — spice cyprus — that is sold at Gidget’s Garage. It has a woodsy clove smell. If that wasn’t enough, he has started to sell beard brushes and a beeswax beard balm designed to help style and tame frizziness. And just last week, he created trucker hats that sport the company’s beard-and-mustache design.

Although Baer at Gidget’s Garage has offered men’s grooming products since she first opened the store eight months ago, she said the products have been so popular that she continually has expanded her selection.

She placed orders this week to restock the store’s Big Tree Beard oils because she was almost sold out. She also sells beard balms and oils as well as a lard-based shaving cream that is designed to help prevent skin from becoming irritated.

“A lot of things come full circle,” she said. “I’ve got a sign up here that says ‘Shave like your grandfather.’ People appreciate the old ways of doing things, and shaving seems to be one of those.”

© 2015 Columbia Daily Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Splitting Wood the Right Way

Sitting beside a warm crackling fire with hot chocolate is the best way to spend a cold winter evening. Firewood is the most economical source of fuel for warmth in the colder climatic conditions. Splitting the wood is an important task to make the larger pieces of wood usable and gets seasoned quickly. Splitting wood is all about the right technique and it becomes easy on practice. Below are some tips for following the proper method to split the hardwood efficiently and safely.

Safety is the priority-It is crucial for the person to cover himself with full sleeve shirts, sturdy trousers and closed toed strong shoes or boots to avoid any cuts on the hands or legs. Gloves protect hands from blisters and glasses would protect the eyes from splinters.

The tools required- Splitting wood becomes easy depending on the type of wood, the right set of tools and some technique. Slightly dry wood with straight grain is easier to split than fresh green wood with knots and crotches. Choosing a safe place with a stump or chopping block about 6-8 inches above the ground is essential so that it does not put a strain on the person’s back. Making use of a splitting maul or wedges would make the job simpler. The splitting maul is blunter, heavier and wedged axe with a sturdy handle to help in splitting wood. Splitting Wedges can be useful when the Wood has to be split across the grain.

The technique- The shorter the log, the easier it is to split. Usually, the logs are 16-20 inches long, and the ends of each piece should be flat to make the splitting easier. While using the splitting maul, the log should be placed on the chopping block in a stable and steady manner. The person needs to hold the maul tightly above the head, aim and swing it with a strong action till it makes a crack in the log. Repeated swings with the force of gravity on the same place would split the logs. The person can pull out the axe a bit out of the log if it is not hit on the right place and repeat the action again to get it right.

Wedges are particularly useful for knotty pieces of logs. Depending on the size of the log, the wedge is placed on the log like a big nail and tapped on the log till it stands independently. With straight and strong blows with a sledgehammer, the wedge is pushed inside the log along the grain until it splits. If there are connected pieces of wood, it can be split into smaller parts with the use of an axe or maul.

Once the wood is split they need to be stacked in a way that air circulates it to promote seasoning before they can be used in the stove or fireplace.  

A Gentleman’s Guide to a Perfectly Groomed Beard

The importance of looking good cannot be overlooked since now that the book is essentially judged by its cover. Facial features can speak a lot about a person’s character and what better way to make a lasting good impression than the beard.

Gone are the laid back looks, where it was okay to look like a slob. As tuxedo and shirts started replacing the t-shirts and polo it also paved way to well-kept mane and groomed beard. It is not a big deal to grow a beard any guy can grow a beard, but how well you groom it, how you play your beard to your strength is the trick in grooming.

Include these in your beard grooming kit

·         Stylist: the first step to groom a beard is to get it styled professional. It is a difficult task and the word of mouth helps in finding the right stylist. Once the beard is styled according to your preference, it is in your hands to groom it and look your best all day every day.

·         Beard trimmer: it is the basic gizmo if you grow a beard and want to look good. It is inexcusable to look like a slob stating you did not have time go to the stylist. A grooming kit will help you groom yourself when you cannot run to the stylist for your big interview or for your fun date. Remember to moisturize your beard after this.

·         Healthy diet: remember how bad hair on girls disgusts you? Well the same applies to you to. It is not granted for you to have dandruff or flaky skin on your beard. Maintain a healthy diet and see the difference in your beard hair.

·         Beard oil: why beard oil you ask? Well, oil is the energy juice for hair. This includes facial hair also. Beard oil hydrates your beard hair and keeps the dandruff at bay. The most effective way to apply beard oil is to damp hair. In addition if you have patchy hair growth, it helps in giving volume to the hair.

·         Beard wax: beard wax unlike the beard oil has wax in it and also helps in moisturizing the beard. Continuous application has also proved effective in getting rid of split ends and flaky skin. It gives a healthy shine to your beard.

Remember it depends on you whether the girl stays or call help and run like crazy looking at you. Spend a little time on yourself every day and you can notice how the world around you changes for the better.

How to Trim a Beard the Right Way

Trimming is an essential part of the beard grooming regimen for the 21st century man. And here is how to do it the right way.

Battle the frizz

Just as the hair on your head is so much easier to control when its well conditioned, so too for your beard. Wash your beard with a gentle diluted shampoo or a special beard wash. Be sure to ready your beard for a trim by keeping it soft using a good beard oil as a leave-in conditioning option. Once it is softer, you will find it easier to run a comb through it. Get yourself a special made-for-the-beard comb which won’t catch on the fine hair on your face.

Arm yourself with the tools

Beard trimming is serious business and your beard deserves its set of dedicated tools. That includes a good quality trimmer. Keep your beard groomed after the trim by snipping away strays with a good pair of trimming scissors. Get a large mirror, ideally a three way one so you can get a good view of all sides.

Pick a style

You will need to let your hair grow out depending on the style you are gunning for. A short goatee may need a different waiting time than a fuller look. Pick between a structured look and a more natural one.

Set the boundaries

Make a mental note of where the perimeter of your beard will be. A handy pointer from the pros is to aim at one inch below your jaw line in the neck area and to keep close to the smile lines all the way to your sideburns on your cheek. Don’t make the mistake of trimming too high up, the results can be disastrous. Err on the side of going lower.

It's showtime

Start off with some shave oil to ready your beard for the trimming. Comb your hair to smoothen it for easy trimming. Use the longer plastic guard on your electric shaver/trimmer so that you don’t trim off too much in the first go. Fine tune with a smaller guard later.

Then hold your beard trimmer near the neck and start shaving following the jaw line. Repeat for the other side ensuring they are equally balanced. Follow the direction of hair growth as you shave away the hair. Now follow the smile lines to trim the hair on the cheeks. End the trimming with some after shave balm and that all essential beard oil and you’re good to go!



GRAND OPENING: Big Tree Beard Co.



Saturday, February 7, 2015 at 12:00 am

Blake Maxey is catering to a customer base that might need a little pampering, but typically fails to get attention from mainstream retailers.

In January, Maxey officially opened online business Big Tree Beard Co. The company specializes in scented oil that Maxey says moisturizes beards and skin. He uses jojoba oil — which some people use to treat acne and dry skin — and mixes it with scented essential oils.

Maxey initially created the product for himself, but decided to turn it into a business when friends kept requesting the beard oil.

“It helps with itching, it can help with dry skin,” he said. “It nourishes the skin and beard and makes it soft and smell great.”

He sells beard oil in three scents: sweet mint, citrus lavender and backwoods, which he describes as a “cedar, woodsy type of smell.”


Website: bigtreebeardco.com

Prices: One fluid ounce of beard oil costs $18, which Maxey said would last between two and three months. You can also buy all three scents for $45.

© 2015 Columbia Daily Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Essential Beard Grooming Products for the Stylish Man

A well groomed beard is the hallmark of a dignified gentleman. If you want to get it spot-on, be sure you have the right collection of beard grooming products in your cabinet.

Beard wash

Don’t strain the delicate hair of your beard by lathering it up with the strong shampoos meant for your head. Stock up on some beard wash that’s made for the gentleman who likes to keep a clean beard. And remember, you must always condition after you have washed your beard. If you don’t have a special wash, you can substitute with a very mild soap or shampoo, used in small quantities and greatly diluted. The key is to keep it light, and avoid an overdose of chemicals. Something that has natural cleansers like lime can clean out dirt from pores and prevent pimples.

Beard oil

A beard oil is a conditioner for your beard - one that can be left in to give you glossy looking, dandruff-free and soft beard. The best time to use a beard oil is just after you have showered. This is when the pores are still open and the skin is moist, allowing the oil to do its best work. The oil really does work like an elixir for the hair and keeps the skin beneath the beard soft as well. It also helps ease any itchiness that you might experience while growing out a beard.

A good comb

No, the one you have for combing your hair doesn't count. You will need a comb meant for the beard. Pick a handmade comb. A saw cut style usually works well. If you must use a brush, choose one that has natural animal hair and not a nylon one.

Beard balms

Hair styling wax meant for use on the beard is lighter than the kind for mustaches. These can help you style your beard any way you like, offering a gentle hold that keeps the look in place. Most of these waxes also have some natural conditioners in them.

Beard Trimmer

Thankfully for bearded men, manufacturers of men’s grooming products have recognized that we need dedicated tools. Pick up a beard trimmer and you will be able to use its relatively tiny head to shape your beard as you choose. They are also far gentler on the skin and take the risk out of trimming your beard. And there are less chances of trimming off more than you want too!

Shaving tools

When you need to shape your beard into the style you desire, you will need to arm yourself with a good shaving cream and a good razor blade. A good light fluffy cream that doesn't clog up the blade is a good idea. Also invest in a nice smelling aftershave lotion that has natural oils to moisturize when you are done.

*All of Big Tree Beard Co. oils and balms are lightweight and won't weigh down your beard or feel greasy. They will help moisturize the skin underneath your beard, soften your facial hair, reduce itching, and create the conditions for healthy beard growth(not to mention make it smell great)!