You probably think you're the type of guy who would never put product in his beard. Here's why you should reconsider.
Winter Beard Ground Rules
(1) Stop shaving in the fall, preferably during elk season or on a steelhead float. A week's growth should get you past the awkward stage.
(2) If your mustache doesn't meet your beard—sorry, you're not lumberjack material.
(3) Avoid overgrown neck hair. Trim from an inch above the Adam's apple.
(4) There's a reason the hulihee beard is popular among circus performers: it looks good if you're in a circus.
(5) Shave when the powder shots stop. Or not.
Once or twice a week, wash with a natural cleanser like Grandpa's Pine Tar (bottom) or Sandalwood soap (top, $6) to avoid greasy whiskers. Grandpa's forgoes the harsh foaming agents in most soaps for simple ingredients like shea butter, ginseng, and coconut oil.
A daily moisturizer softens coarse or brittle hair. Brooklyn Grooming's Fort Greene (top) or Red Hook beard oil (middle, $29) prevents flaking, too. Mod Cabin's Vagabond beard oil (bottom, $18) adds a woodsy scent and straightens wayward hairs.
If you've got a wiry beard, use a pomade like Mod Cabin's Backwoods Beard Balm (top, $23), with natural beeswax, to tame reluctant strays. For more advanced styling, use just a touch of Mr. Natty's Moustache Twizzle Wax (bottom, $11), which has enough hold for a handlebar.
Jao's Multi-purpose Beard Scent ($28), with grapefruit and fir oils, -softens and styles, lending a piny--citrusy fragrance to follicles while moisturizing the face beneath the beard. Work in from the roots after showering for a lustrous, curly-but-controlled finish.
Eventually, you'll need to shape the shrubbery developing on your face. Do it with an adjustable trimmer like Philips's Vacuum Stubble and Beard Trimmer Pro ($60). It sucks up clippings, keeps sink mess to a minimum, and easily adjusts up to 18 millimeters.