"I swear by my beard..."

CanYouHandlebar I swear by my beard

Maybe your beard makes other people uncomfortable or maybe it is as natural as breastfeeding and they need a life lesson about body acceptance.

Maybe you missed the trend or maybe you'd rather just settle for good looking and authentic, than trendy.

Maybe some guys think your face is more punchable with your moustache or maybe you need a good punch. You know what you did...

Maybe it is "just a beard" or maybe it means something more than that to us.


Need some awesome grooming supplies?

Get a Pair of Moustache Wax
Check out Wisdom and Initiative Beard Oil
Feast your eyes (and face) on these awesome Kent brand combs
Choose the best beard care kit for your needs!

May 25, 2014

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Examined Life ›


About the CanYouHandlebar Community

When I started this business I thought success was how many cans of wax and bottles of oil I've made. Success is how many friends I've made and how much of a difference in creating some sanity and goodwill in this world I have made. Thanks for helping me learn that through your fine examples. View full article →

Tip for entrepreneurs and idea people: how to get out of first gear

Long Version:

I have had a variation on this conversation with a few people recently and so I figured it might be helpful for some of you. Here is the scenario

  1. You have lots of good ideas
  2. You tell your friends about your good ideas
  3. They say "yep, sounds like a good idea"
  4. You feel a sense of satisfaction that you have a confirmed good idea
  5. You get stalled and never ship that idea
  6. You beat yourself because you have a habit of quitting as soon as you have solved it in your head

Does this sound familiar? Perhaps a year or two later you see "your" idea in the marketplace and you poke your wife, husband or friend in the ribs and say , "remember when I thought of that?!" When I thought about starting CanYouHandlebar I felt like there was a gap in the market for a brand that was:

  1. Upfront with ingredients. So many brands have proprietary mixes and I wanted to know what was in the wax that would invariably get in my mouth from time to time
  2. Awesome at customer service. This was never meant to be a get rich quick business. It was meant to be built one relationship at a time and I give my customers the benefit of the doubt more than maybe I should. I tell the truth about when I have screwed up even when I could get away with bending the truth a little
  3. Designed for people that appreciate a simpler time. If you don;t have any sense of nostalgia then my brand probably doesn't appeal to you. I miss the idea of living in a neighborhood where neighbors knew each other and smoking was healthy. I with we all could meet up every night at Cheers and grab a drink and catch up
  4. Really high quality. I don;t cut corners I could cut that you'd never know the difference. I make stuff I am proud to wear and I am not the cheapest guy in town because of that. I think making something the right way is worth it for everyone.

So. That was my idea. I mulled it over for a year and filled pads of paper with notes and took lots of screen shots that inspired me. I also stalled. I found ways to put off important next steps and I got discouraged. Then I had the idea that got me out of first gear and eventually launch on November of 2012: I leveraged my own pride. I don't know if I read this from somewhere or made it up myself. I just knew that if I could force myself into a situation where my pride was threatened enough I would follow through. First, I paid for a logo before I even had my recipe down for my first two waxes. That got me going for a couple weeks. When I felt myself stalling again, I bought 10 pounds of lanolin that I sat on my desk as a reminder that I was "all-in" as far as my ego was concerned. What was I going to do with that much lanolin if I didn't follow through? I know that lanolin would haunt me unless I sold enough wax to get rid of it. That did the trick for me.

Short Version:

If you have doubt, laziness or anxiety keeping you from following your dream, put your pride on the line and you'll be amazed how your mind goes from noisy to focused. I hope this Wisdom helps you take Initiative!

How often should I wash my beard or moustache?

Overview

If you ask four people how often you should wash your beard, you will get five answers. The following is my take, but I trust you'll experiment and find what works for you. But before I offer my $.02, I know guys with amazing beards that swear by weekly shampooing and others that go daily. So, it is not like one or other other is a guaranteed terrible idea. I shampoo every day or two and I always use conditioner. I shampoo more or less often depending how messy of an eater I have been more than anything, (or if I have been around smoking or other things that stick to hair). More important that HOW OFTEN is HOW you condition. 

Things to consider as part of your beard hygiene regimen:

  1. 1. If you use a soap or shampoo that is not too harsh and you scrub the skin under your beard well, you will clear out the microorganisms that cause a lot of itchiness and flaking. (This is the same reason we scrub our underarms with soap). You know I sell some great beard soap. Try it, if you haven't yet. It does a good job of getting you clean without being too harsh, without pulling hairs our prematurely,  and it smells great in the morning. No matter what you will lose a few hairs per day. This is normal.
  2. 2. Use a good beard oil every day or every other. You don't need a ton. Just a nickel sized pool in your hand. Start at the ends and work your way toward your face. Contrary to what you may have heard, the goal isn't to coat your chin skin with oil like putting maple syrup on pancakes. Your skin already produces oils. You are getting the parts of the hair that your sweat doesn't reach. If you have flakes--skin conditions notwithstanding--it is your cleaning regimen NOT a lack of beard oil that is to blame. 
  3. Like I said above, there are LOTS of strong opinions. Mine come from experience and from conversations with barbers, Title Beard and trainers at the Aveda institute so I tend to take them at their word as experts. The good news is, it is relatively inexpensive to experiment and find out what works for you! Be sure to check out the TitleBeard Facebook page again for tons of reviews and tips! 

Here are some thoughts from Brian at TitleBeard that are along the same line:

"...I wash my beard everyday. Many beardsman advocate only washing once or twice a week, but I have always said that with proper cleansing and conditioning products, daily washing is fine.  But if you don’t like washing your everyday, don’t!  Also, on average, I condition my beard in the morning after I get out of the shower, and again before I go to bed, and if I decide to use a beard wax to achieve a particular look that day, I may end up using anywhere from 3-4 different beard products throughout the day.  Do you have to do this?  Absolutely not, it is simply what works for me."

Need some awesome grooming supplies?

Get a Pair of Moustache Wax
Check out Wisdom and Initiative Beard Oil
Feast your eyes (and face) on these awesome Kent brand combs
Choose the best beard care kit for your needs!

 

Getting back into growing a moustache

Building back a solid moustache

Sometimes life gets in the way of a perfectly good moustache. Be it military service, an ultimatum from a lady, or the curious hands of a toddler that uses your facial hair as a walking aid, from time time time, a moustache must be abandoned for a season. This post if specifically for those looking to get back into the game.

Switching from tube wax:

The tube stuff works a little different than a real beeswax based wax like mine. Tube "wax" is sort of a glue and it has some real vocabulary building ingredients. The reason it works is that it dries out allowing the product to set. The upside to this style is that it is easier to put in. The downsides are that once it is in it cannot be adjusted without adding more product. In this way, it is sort of like hair gel. Many guys end up with clumps where the "wax" isn;t combed through sufficiently. This isn't to say that this sort of product is "bad," it is just that real beeswax based moustache wax is generally a better and safer option.

What real moustache wax is like: 

My wax is the real deal and the firmness is achieved when the wax cools off to room temperature. Since it never totally hardens it can be reformed throughout the day. In this weather, you can form your curls in the bathroom and then stick your head out the back door for 15 seconds and it will set up just right.

Tips for application: 

As for tips, be sure to warm the can in your pocket or under the hot water tap for a bit until it can be scraped easily with the back of your thumbnail. them rub it between your thumb and forefinger and apply from the inside to the outside. A moustache comb is worth its weight in gold. The tines on the comb are close together to remove clumps and keep it looking sharp without any streaks of clumped together hairs. 

Getting started: 

If you can spare the cash, grab a pair of my waxes and a comb. You'll not be disappointed. Primary is a great everyday wax and Secondary is for tight curls at the end or for a night out when you want a strong hold. Now that secondary takes a little more effort to apply, but when you want maximum hold, you'll find the effort worth it. Here's a couple links that may help. First, get a pair of waxes [$18.99] and a comb [$9.99]. Then check out these videos. 

Straightening your moustache [short video]: 

Preparing your moustache [short video]

Selecting a wax [short video]: 

Applying your wax [short video]:


In conclusion: 

Having a moustache or beard is a pretty cheap hobby (about $30 to buy the whole kit and caboodle) that brings a lot of guys a lot of joy. It may not bring in buckets of money or solve world hunger, but there is an appeal to growing out facial hair. Maybe it is the chance to be both an individual and still be part of a tradition that goes back to the first caveman. In any event, with a little practice and patience you'll have a pretty admirable moustache gracing your upper lip and if you are like a lot of my customers a real sense of satisfaction. I wish you luck and invite any further questions as doug@canyouhandlebar.com.

Need some awesome grooming supplies?

 

 

 

CanYouHandlebar Kent Moustache and Beard Combs

About our Kent combs

At CanYouHandlebar we pride ourselves on the quality of our product. On the occasions we choose to feature products that are not manufactured solely in the CanYouHandlebar headquarters, you can rest assured that they are quality products personally used and endorsed by us. To that end, it is our pleasure to introduce you to Kent, makers of the fine beard and moustache combs featured on CanYouHandlebar. 

Founded in 1777, Kent stands as one of the most well-established companies in Great Britain. Their stable roots and impeccable products have allowed them to work with many retailers for over 200 years, and Kent products can now be found in over fifty countries worldwide.  

Despite such a lofty reputation, many of Kent's original brushes are still made by hand, and both of the combs for sale on CanYouHandlebar are handmade. By preserving this aspect of production, Kent has ensured that your facial hair can be groomed in a pleasing, healthy fashion with less snags and split ends. The materials used to make the comb have been found to create less static in hair, and the teeth on these handmade combs are rounded, not sharp like with mass-produced combs.   

Whether used on your beard, moustache, or both, the Kent combs with their hand polished and buffed teeth will work to stimulate the natural oils inside of the hair. This will give your hair a strong and healthy look while offering you a presentation equally suited for the boardroom or the clubhouse.  

Need some awesome grooming supplies?

Get a Pair of Moustache Wax
Check out Wisdom and Initiative Beard Oil
Feast your eyes (and face) on these awesome Kent brand combs
Choose the best beard care kit for your needs!

Introducing Beard Oils: Wisdom and Initiative

 

CanYou Handlebar Initiative, Wisdom, and a brush

About Beard Oil: 

Throughout the ages, across all peoples and religions, oil has been used in ceremonies to provide a physical symbol of what was happening at a deeper spiritual or relational level. The ritual of oiling one's beard is a great time to think about the deeper topics of life. The day is young and we are looking at ourselves in the eyes as we stand in front of the mirror. The CanYouHandlebar oils are meant to provide you some good thoughts to consider during these few moments while the day is still in front of you. 

About Wisdom Beard Oil: 

This oil is built around the warm scent of fresh cut spruce. It is warm and fresh but definitely masculine. The mental image I had in mind when I was mixing this oil was that of spending time with a patriarch on a porch, watching the sun come up and the dew evaporate off the ground as the day warms up.

About Initiative Oil: 

This is a beard oil that inspires me to put in the hard work and the hours to build something worth having. This is a more brisk scent and is made from a stack of brisk citrus tones. It is a mature take on citrus. It was important to get the freshness of lime and bergamot without creating something cloying. I think I nailed it.

How do I apply this stuff? 

Depending on the size of your beard, pour between a dime and quarter sized puddle into your hand and massage it into your beard. Wash hands or rub them on the dog. You can also use the beard brush, just try to keep the oil on the surface by holding the brush in an angle in your hand so all of the oil doesn't run down into the brush as much. If you go this route, go right side, left side, underside and then top so that you don't get oil on only part of your beard. Repeat if necessary. 

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Thoughtfully designed

The base oil was designed to help your beard look great and maintain its health. The aroma is made of high quality essential with no cheap fillers. The attention to detail extends to the labeling. Knowing that your beard oil will likely be stored in your bathroom where water and small amounts of oil will get onto the label, we spent a little extra and used water- and oil-proof labels! Your oil will look as good from the day it arrives until you've used the last drop!

How to apply beard oil

In this blog post, we will describe some tried and true ways to apply beard oils.As with most things, there is more than one way to apply Beard Dry Oil and Traditional Beard Oil. Master beardsman, Andy Pokorski shows us his method for applying beard oils to his award winning beard. Included below are written instructions and videos to help you on your bearded journey! First things first, in order to apply beard oil and use your Beard Care Kit, you will need to own one! Here is where you can pick the best Beard Care Kit for your needs. Here is where you can pick up a world class Kent beard comb.

Instructions:

  1. First, check out the videos below! to see master beardsman Andy explaining how to apply beard oil and take care of a beard!

  2. Get out your CanYouHandlebar oil: Open your new CanYouHandlebar beard oil and set it aside

  3. Oil your brush: Gently twist your beard oil brush on top of your Dry Oil and twist a quarter turn or so. If you are using a traditional beard oil, add a nickel sized dollop to the center of the brush

  4. Condition the front: Start on one side and brush the Dry Oil down into the beard from the sideburns. Move on to the middle and other side.

  5. Condition the back: Now, make sure you brush oil onto the underside of your beard.

  6. Optional comb through: If you’d like you can comb your beard out to ensure total coverage. If you do this comb your beard horizontally and then finish by combing down and out into the final shape

  7. Optional hand sculpting: If you’d like, grab the outside of your beard and stroke your manly beard into its final stately form.

  8. Not optional: Admire your birthright in the mirror and each time you see the branded question mark, ask yourself what you need to do to be the sort of man you want to be.

Some helpful videos

 
 
 

Need some awesome grooming supplies?

Get a Pair of Moustache Wax
Check out Wisdom and Initiative Beard Oil
Feast your eyes (and face) on these awesome Kent brand combs
Choose the best beard care kit for your needs!

Should I get Beard Dry Oil or Traditional Beard oils?

CanYou Handlebar Initiative, Wisdom, and a brush

Taking care of a beard is like taking the tire off a bicycle.

When I was about eight years old I decided my bike wheel needed to come off so I flipped my bike upside down and attacked the nuts that held the wheel to the frame with a Crescent wrench and a hammer because the threads were too tight for my little sausage fingers. My dad noticed what I was about to do but couldn't stop me in time. I managed to practically weld the nut to the shaft by cross threading it something fierce. What I learned was any time it occurred to me to grab a hammer to finish a job, I should probably also ask for some advice. (By the way, I was without a bike for a whole summer as a result of my "creative" approach to bike repair!).

Use the right tool for the job.

Suffice to say, I am now a big fan of using the right tool for the job. It helps if you have a good toolkit. For beards, this means having a traditional beard oil and a beard balm of some sort. My beard balm is called "Beard Dry Oil." It is also a good idea to have a high quality beard comb, a brush for shaping your beard and a Beard Oil Brush for application. With these tools, you are ready for anything. That said, you may not need everything at once. Since I have a year old beard and use both a traditional oil as well as Dry Oil. If you are buying a gift or want to know what to start with, here are some tips for picking the right product.

For shorter beards (or for more control)

In general, a Beard Dry Oil is best for beards younger than a couple months or for when you want a little more control. A beard balm style oil adds a little volume and really helps control "fly aways." In particular I use Beard Dry Oil for my sideburns or whenever I have slept on my beard and I have a bad case of "bed beard," or whenever I just want to have a sculpted look like Santa had in A Miracle of 34th Street. The way Beard Dry Oil works is that it contains a little beeswax and lanolin and provides a little structure. While it is mainly designed for shorter beards and touch-ups, it can be used as a daily oil, even on longer beards. Case in point, Brian Furby the beard expert from the beard and moustache product review site TitleBeard has a year old beard (aka "Yeard") and uses Dry Oil daily. He likes it because it provides the control he desires.

For longer beards (or for for shine without hold)

As my beard has gotten longer, I have come to really appreciate traditional liquid beard oils. These oils provide great hair health properties, add a really nice shine to my beard and smell awesome. Most folks I talk to with more than a few months growth prefer liquid oils because the Beard Dry Oil can weigh down longer beards if that is all that is used. Some guys like to use Beard Dry Oil and traditional oils together for maximum control over the way their beard behaves since they can use as much of each type of oil as they like. There really isn't a right or wrong when it comes to beard oils, just what works best for your beard and how your beard is behaving on a given day.

 

Getting the right tool for your beard!

Like I mentioned earlier, it is good to have the right tools for the job! My guess is that curiosity will get the best of you and you'll want both eventually. If you buy both at the same time you save on shipping! :} The good news is that the Beard Oil Brush works great with either type of oil. You can buy just about any combination of beard care kit that you want, including getting a Beard Oil Brush, a Beard Dry Oil and Traditional Oil by using the pull-down option on that product page. Now, you'll be ready for anything!

 
 

 

Screenshot of selecting your preferred Beard Care Kit

 

Need some awesome grooming supplies?

Get a Pair of Moustache Wax
Check out Wisdom and Initiative Beard Oil
Feast your eyes (and face) on these awesome Kent brand combs
Choose the best beard care kit for your needs!

Repairing a handlebar that won't stay together

Repairing a handlebar that won't stay together

A customer wrote in and asked about ways to prevent a handlebar from splitting apart at the curls. I have meant to write an article about this for a while now. These are the techniques that have helped me out a lot in my handlebar moustache journey. Ahhh, repairing the split in the moustache. The snakes-tongue, as I call it. The best way I have dealt with this is some combination of the following:

  1. Mini flatiron. About $25 on Amazon. I let it heat up for 5 minutes while I am oiling my beard, checking for errant nose hairs or trying to find the dime that rolled off the counter under the cabinet. Anyway, this flatiron (used VERY carefully, so as no to burn you or char your moustache) is a wonder product. It brings all of the hairs to the same angle from whatever their natural growth patterns was. A pro-level variant on ironing is to compress the hairs (again, carefully) between the paddles and then turn my wrist to around 90 degrees so that the ends of the handlebar turn up and then gently pull the iron towards the tips, away from my nose. This puts a gentle curl to the hairs like scissors to ribbons, if you will. It is better to take many quick passes at your moustache than to try to pressure cook those hairs. I have done this scores of times without incident but it is possible to burn those hair right off if you forget you are flat-ironing your moustache and start watching a Breaking Bad marathon.

  2. Too much / too little wax: Wax is sorta like fuel in an aircraft. Too much and it is too heavy and crashes. Too little and you run out and it crashes. The good news is, no one dies when you are figuring this out. I mean, that is really good news. If people died manicuring their handlebar, the liability policy I could have to take out would bankrupt me. Try altering quantities and journal the results. I am kidding about the journal. Actually, that would be interesting to read. So, journal. Then please share it. Include flowery language like they did back in the Civil War era too, please.

  3. Moustache comb. Not "a comb I use on my moustache," but a bona fide (please note use of fancy Latin--that means I am serious) moustache comb. Preferably from Kent. Preferably purchased on CanYouHandlebar.com (link). Here is why: the teeth are super fine, so they separate the warring factions of the snake tongue into discrete hairs and coerce them into playing nicely with one another. Regular ol' black grandpa combs (of which I have owned dozens) were "ok" but no great shakes for wax distribution. Ideally, each hair should have a super thin coat of wax and should gently touch the hair next to it like a pack of youth group kids in inner-tubes going around the bend of a slow river.

  4. Occasional trimming. When my handlebar gets super long, then my gravity defying feats begin to falter. This is not a recommendation, just something I have done on occasion

Some Helpful Videos

 
 
 
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