As most bearded guys know, having a beard can dramatically change the shape of your face. It can give you a superhero jawline or make your face look slimmer, depending on how you trim it. Those same bearded guys know that maintaining a beard can feel like a Sysephian task. Facial hair has a mind of its own and no matter how many beard oils or balms or waxes you put in it, it can still go off the rails quick. As hairstylist Jeff Chastian puts it: “If it doesn’t grow the way you want it to, what’s the point?”
Chastain noticed how much trouble he was going through to maintain his beard, not to mention the complaints he heard from his clients. “Guys have a few issues with their facial hair,” he says, “and the big one is that by growing a beard, they feel like they look like they’ve let themselves go.” At least, it feels that way when it gets scraggly, dull, and crispy. To help his bearded brethren, he invented the Kuschelbar, a heated brush that’s somewhere between a traditional beard brush and a flat iron.
Why would you put a hot piece of metal onto your face? Because it’s not that hot, for starters. Chastain specifically designed the Kuschelbär to heat enough to smooth hair but not enough to burn your delicate skin. The secret is the prongs: longer inner combs keep the heated element away from your face, but shorter heated ones wrap around facial hair to smooth and straighten hair quickly and effectively. It’s way easier than going at your chin with a comb and blow dryer and can be used on almost all beards as long as they’re at least a half-inch long.
Smoothing and straightening your beard, according to Chastain, can take it from Grizzly Adams to George Clooney in about 90 seconds. “It allows you to control the texture of your hair so that it’s softer, shinier, and points in the direction you want,” he says. That means flyaway hairs smooth into your beard, it’s easier to trim it and maintain clean lines, and it doesn’t puff out and add volume to your face while still maintaining fullness (making your face look more chiseled is the point of having a beard anyway, right?). And it works on your head hair, too, so getting a sick side part is just as simple even if you have very short hair.
Getting your own Kuschelbär has never been easier— it’s now stocked at Art of Shaving stores and online, which means you can have a well-groomed beard to kick off the new decade. Once you’ve plugged yours in, follow the tips below from Chastain himself.
5 Beard Straightening Tips From Hairstylist Jeffrey Chastain
1. The slower you brush, the straighter your hair gets. If you don’t want a super straight beard, do one or two passes to just smooth it out and make it soft. It will make the “texture and quality of your beard a lot better,” he says.
2. To trim your beard, use the Kuschelbär to brush your hair in the direction you want to see volume (usually downward). Then trim it to create the face shape you want.
3. Always use it on dry hair. “It will take about three times as long to do and you won’t like the results,” if you use it on a wet beard, says Chastain.
4. Don’t be afraid to be firm. “You won’t get burned, so get in there and put some strength into it,” says Chastain. If you press and go through slow, it will take about 90 seconds to do the whole beard, he says, but if you’re timid, it will take longer.
5. Put some product in before you use it. “The thicker the product, the straighter your hair is going to get,” he says. Oils will make your beard shiny and smooth and a balm will make it straighter and hold it in place. Add more product afterward for extra hold.