One of the most painful photos I’ve ever laid eyes on was a selfie a buddy of mine with a fantastic foot long beard shot just after he’d caught his beard hair in a power drill extension. He admitted that he was lucky he didn’t lose a decent-sized patch of skin, but it was abundantly clear from the photo that he was going to have to cut himself clear. Thankfully he was back to growing his beard out in no time, and now had a new appreciation for beard safety in the workshop.
Whether you are working in the garage, the kitchen, outdoors or elsewhere it’s good to get in the habit of being mindful of your beard, especially those of us with longer growth. When your focus is on your work, it’s hard to pay attention to where your beard is drifting and depending upon what you are up to this can lead to some dicey situations. Here are a few options for getting your beard out of the way.
Braids and hair ties are a good way to compress the beard and narrow it, helping to keep it out of your way. I know a lot of guys who will take this approach when going to bed, just to reduce the chance of rolling over on their beard in the middle of the night. Just make sure if you are braiding that you go with a loose braid to keep yourself from tugging too much on the root of the hair. And NEVER use a rubber band as a hair tie. It’s a sure-fire way to lose a handful of hair when you go to remove it. I recommend grabbing an inexpensive pack of snag-free hair ties, or using a smooth-finish cord to tie it back.
Once you’ve braided or tied the end, you can even fold or roll your beard up closer to your chin to get it even further out of the way. That’s a step you’ll want to take if working around machinery or in any instance in which the length of your beard poses the danger of getting snagged.
Beard nets are a great option for kitchen work, and are surprisingly more comfortable than you would expect if you’ve ever seen someone wearing one. Nets will compress the beard up around your chin, though you may have to roll your beard back a bit before netting so that it doesn’t try to slip out the bottom. When properly netted, the beard is safe and snug and has the added advantage of preventing any strays from making their way into your prep (though I feel the frequency of this happening is greatly exaggerated by opponents of bearding in the food industry).
The classic bandana or shemagh scarf have long been a friend to bikers with longer beards. Wrapped around the beard and tied behind the head, a bandana or shemagh can prevent that most painful of accidents; getting wind-whipped in the eyeball by your own beard. They are a great makeshift solution when working in a garage or elsewhere that you may not have a hair tie handy, and have the added advantage of acting as a kind of bib against anything that might leak or spray onto your facial hair as you work.
Failing all other options, there’s one way to reign in your beard that will likely always be accessible: tucking it into your shirt. While it may look a bit goofy, it sure beats losing a chunk of your beard and the skin attached if you need a quick solution in a pinch.
Of course all of this advice means nothing if you’re not cultivating an awareness of when you need to get your beard out of the way. Get in a routine of wrapping it up when you know you’re going to be working in a potentially hazardous spot and just expand your awareness from there. You’ll get comfortable knowing when your beard is at risk, whether it be about to get dunked in a bowl of soup or wrapped around a fan rotor. Keep a tie or bandana handy and keep that beard, and yourself, safe.
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