Grooming Dad: Q&A with Facial Hair Expert, Dr. Allan Peterkin

Father’s Day is just around the corner, and we had the chance to interview Dr. Allan Peterkin, a facial hair expert and author of three books on the subject: One Thousand Beards: A Cultural History of Facial Hair, The Bearded Gentleman: The Style Guide To Shaving Face (co-written with Nick Burns), and One Thousand Mustaches: A Cultural History of The Mo. Here’s what he had to say…

What are your thoughts on the ever growing trend for men and facial hair? Are we in a cycle like fashion?
We’ve definitely seen facial care come in and out of fashion. We’ve been on this particular wave since the 90’s and within five years I think the pendulum is set to swing the other way—right back to the preppy, clean shaven, Mad Men look. It’s an up and down: moustaches, beards, etc. were once a look relegated to rebels and eccentrics, but now they’re really accepted as mainstream. I think the moustache was probably the final hurdle to surpass, and I’ve think we’ve largely gotten there.

If a guy has a beard, how should his regimen differ from that of a guy with a shaved face? Aside from the need to shave every day…
Men really need a baseline level of care that transcends facial hair. Beard or no beard, guys need to wash their faces and moisturize every day, at least twice a day. Because men’s skincare needs are different from women’s, companies are making new products designed specifically for men’s skincare needs, like the new Dove Men+Care Face Range. Guys can follow three easy steps: cleanse with face wash, shave, and finish with either moisturizer or a gentle post shave balm—a really simple way for the everyday guy to step into grooming.

What are the difficulties of maintaining facial hair?
The biggest difficulty of maintaining facial hair is the upkeep. Guys think that once they grow a beard, the work is done—but it’s really just the opposite. Guys need to clip and trim their facial hair, and keep the margins clean (the lines that define the particular style). It is also important for guys to wash and condition their facial hair to maintain moisture and keep it soft.

What styles of facial hair have you tried? What was your favorite?
I’d say since college, I’ve done it all! I’ve had mustaches, a goatee, beards… you name it, but, I think my favorite look has to be stubble. Like a lot of guys, I’ve experimented and been influenced by pop culture—and I think this post-modern era is great because men can experiment in a way they never have, and try a lot of different looks.

One caution, though, is to consider your face shape! Mutton chops just don’t work for everyone—and while I’d love to have a ‘stache, it just doesn’t work for me.

What is your #1 advice for men and their face?
Guys need to care for their skin on a daily basis and utilize the right products: wash your face on a daily basis to keep it clean and fresh, use the appropriate technique when shaving, and choose a moisture rich product (I prefer a gel) to avoid irritation. Lastly, protect and moisturize, whether you choose to shave or not, with a product like Dove Men+Care Hydrate Face Lotion that contains SPF to protect your face from harmful UV rays. So many of us grew up with the mentality that we need to tough it out—if it hurts, it’s working—but grooming isn’t meant to be torture.

If you still need to find dad something for Father’s Day, try the Dove Men Care Father’s Day Gift Pack. It has everything dad needs to keep his face clean and moisturized, and for only $10 can you think of a better deal? Pick it up at your local drugstore for a done-in-a-flash Father’s Day gift that won’t collect dust on the shelf.

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