Makeup can drastically enhance a bride’s look on her big day. Something as simple as a lipstick color or glittery shade of eyeshadow can be tailored to match a mood, setting, or even a theme. But grooms also have a big decision to make about their appearance as they stand at an altar surrounded by close family and friends: to shave or not to shave.
“Ultimately, the groom will want to look like himself on his wedding day,” says men’s grooming specialist Brandon Hoover, owner and founder of Uncommon Hair Company. “If he usually has a clean-shaven face day-to-day, then yes, I recommend shaving for the big day!”
“But if the groom usually rocks some stubble or a full beard, then I’d at least recommend a little grooming to keep things tidy,” Hoover adds. “He’ll want to be confident while standing in front of everyone and, not to mention, in photos.”
To achieve the perfect facial hair (or clean-shaven) look, Hoover shares a few quick tips to ensure that our dashing gents feel their absolute best.
Book a Professional
There are a million things on a groom’s mind on the day of his wedding. Booking a professional to step in and take over shaving and trimming duties may be an ideal option, especially if grooming is an afterthought.
“First, grooms tend to be pretty nervous. This could lead to cutting or nicking the face with an unsteady hand,” says Hoover. “He also deserves to be pampered on this special occasion. Something as simple as getting shaved or trimmed is a small thing to do, but with a guarantee that he will feel good.”
Additionally, Hoover shares that shaving or trimming a beard yourself does not lend itself to the best precision. “We can only see ourselves head-on when self-grooming,” he says. “People will be looking at him from all angles, so it’s important to have a professional step in and ensure that every angle of his face looks perfect.”
Ignore Outdated Rules on Formality
There are many concrete expectations about dress codes, depending on the formality of an occasion. A black-tie event typically implies that gentlemen will arrive clean-shaven, but sometimes tradition can and should be modified to accommodate our modern grooms.
“It’s 2021! Some of the sexiest men alive have beautiful beards on red carpets and magazine covers,” exclaims Hoover. “A perfectly groomed beard is great for even the most formal of events. Even if a groom is going with a stubbled shadow, as long as the lines look clean, he will look great!”
Keep Every Facial Hair Factor in Mind
While Hoover is a proponent of rocking a full beard, he does advise grooms to keep their outfits in mind. “You don’t want the beard to cover a bowtie, for instance,” he says. “So, decide which is more important to you. That being said, a beard can and should be very versatile. Bearded grooms should easily be able to go from a suit to a sweatsuit and still look great!”
If a groom does decide to grab the razor, he should take the time of day into consideration. “It depends how quickly the groom’s facial hair grows in, but most men know the time window they need to shave in order for it to still be clean at a specific time,” says Hoover. “As long as he makes sure to shave at least an hour before so that any redness or irritation calms down, he should be good to meet his bride or groom at the end of the aisle.” Also, always be sure to use a fresh razor to avoid razor bumps and breaking out.
And when it comes to stubble, which Hoover actually prefers, there really are no hard and fast rules. “Just be sure to keep the neck and cheeks clean,” he advises. “A little stubble can create natural contouring, which will make the groom look very handsome.”
How to Care for a Beard
If the groom is all in on rocking a beard for the big day, Hoover has a four-step process to ensure it looks its best. First, wash the beard. “You’ll want to wash it with a beard wash or moisture-based shampoo to ensure dry skin is removed,” he advises. “A groom doesn’t want to have dry skin flakes on the chest of his suit jacket.” Second, massage the beard with oil. “If you don’t have a professional product, any oil, like coconut, grapeseed, or jojoba is better than none,” he notes.
Third, comb all of the beard hairs in a downward motion. “This will help calm fly-aways for a perfectly groomed look,” says Hoover. Lastly, use a little pomade for the most unruly of beards. “It will work like a gel, but without the crunchiness and build-up.”
If you’re clueless when it comes to grooming products, there are two shaving musts that Hoover recommends: Aveeno Therapeutic Shave Gel and an aftershave that contains witch hazel. “Aveeno’s product is great for sensitive skin and it’s packed with skin-healthy vitamin E to avoid irritation,” he says. “Witch hazel aftershaves have anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties. They’re also fragrance-free so they won’t clash with a groom’s fragrance of choice.”
You don’t want to ditch your signature look on your big day, but there are certain enhancements the groom can make to ensure it represents the best version of yourself. Investing in a groomer you can trust is an easy first step to take your mind off of one less thing and focus on what truly matters: marrying your true love and enjoying one of the best moments of your life.