Eat Your Way to a More Beautiful Beard

There’s not too much you can do about a receding hairline, other than curse your gene pool. But facial hair is a different story. “The condition of your facial hair directly corresponds to the health of your body,” says Jim White, registered dietitian and American Dietetic Association spokesman. Specifically, he continues, “The same nutrients that have a positive effect on our heart and other major organs also benefit our skin and hair.”

In other words, you can literally eat yourself to a shinier, smoother, more healthy-looking beard. We asked White to tell us which vitamins are an essential part of a healthy facial hair diet, what they do, and how to get them into our diet. Results of our conversation below.

VITAMIN A AND BETA CAROTENE
How they better your beard
: “Vitamin A maintains and repairs skin tissue,” says White. “And keeping your skin healthy allows for better hair growth.” Beta carotene is a nutrient that your body converts to vitamin A. Since it’s found in foods that are lower in saturated fats than those that are rich in vitamin A, you’re better off eating foods that are high in beta carotene.

Where to find them: Vitamin A is present in milk, cheese, butter and egg yolks. Beta carotene is found in yellow and orange produce (e.g., carrots, pumpkin, sweet potatoes and papayas) and leafy green veggies (e.g., spinach and kale).

VITAMINS C AND E

How they better your beard: Vitamins C and E promote the production of sebum, a natural oil that is produced by our bodies and lubricates and moisturizes hair, making it look thicker and more lush. Additionally, vitamin C assists in the growth of bodily tissues, including those that comprise our skin and hair follicles.

Where to find them: Citrus fruits, green peppers and broccoli are good sources of vitamin C. Wheat germ oil, almonds, sunflower seeds, safflower oil, peanut butter, corn oil, spinach, broccoli, mangoes and spinach all contain high amounts of vitamin E.

PROTEIN

How it betters your beard: Our skin and hair are composed primarily of keratin, a structural protein made up of amino acids. We don’t produce amino acids on our own; instead, we need to eat protein, which the body then converts to amino acids.

Where to find it: Fill up on fish, lean meats, poultry, eggs, rice, beans and milk.

VITAMINS B6, B12 AND BIOTIN
How they better your beard:
B vitamins help your body synthesize the protein you eat so it can be used to build new skin cells and hair. Getting enough B vitamins, says White, also helps reduce stress and prevent hair loss.

Where to find them: Fish, poultry, leans meats, eggs, nuts, and whole grains such as brown rice and oatmeal are chock-full of B vitamins. Foods that are rich in B12 include beef, milk, cheese and wheat germ.

OMEGA-3 FATTY ACIDS
How they better your beard:
Essential fatty acids are just that: essential to normal growth, including that of facial hair. They also protect cell membranes, helping to prevent your whiskers from getting dry and brittle.

Where to find them: Make sure flax seed oil, walnuts and fatty fish (e.g., salmon) find their way into your diet.

Want to make your beard even more beautiful? Of course you do! Supplementing the above foods with a multivitamin, or with any of the individual nutrients listed above, might do the trick. Just don’t overdo it: Your body will excrete any extra water-soluble vitamins (e.g., vitamin C or B12), but it’ll hold on to extra fat-soluble vitamins (e.g., vitamin A). Excessive doses of vitamin A could actually lead to hair loss. Ask your doctor to recommend a proper dosage, and you’ll soon be on your way to winning whiskers.

Best Facial Hairstyles From NBA All-stars

Some of the biggest names in the history of professional basketball have sported downright crazy mug manes to complement their cute little shorts. We pick our faves -- from today’s all-stars to the NBA’s Hall of Fame hairballs.

Facial Hairstyle All-star No. 1: Baron Davis
The Knicks’ point guard has a beard so full it gets to the basket about two steps ahead of him. It’s not that it’s not well-groomed -- it is -- but if he caught a pass in there, you’d have to call a time-out while a search posse went in after it.

Facial Hair Style All-star No. 2: Kurt Rambis
With his black-framed glasses, long blond hair and junior-high-lookin’ lip brush, the former Laker forward looked like the kid your mom wouldn’t let you hang out with in high school … who now owns a Fortune 500 company. “That kid’s going nowhere!”

Facial Hairstyle All-star No. 3: Drew Gooden
The Milwaukee Buck power forward once rocked a beard that looked like a row of hairy (and scary) stalactites. This was the goatee from hell, serving up multiple downward pinnacles, each hanging at least 1/4 inch below Drew’s chin-do.

Facial Hairstyle All-star No. 4: James Harden
The Oklahoma City Thunder guard has been making big noise with his backboard-thick Afro-beard beneath his chin. He bundles it with a matching Mohawk to complete his captivating “Invite a Road Warrior for Dinner” look.

Facial Hairstyle All-star No. 5: James Edwards
The former center for the “Bad Boy” Detroit Pistons had mutton chops that wrapped around an accompanying sneer like a couple of tire irons Velcro’d to his face. His yearbook shots were suitable for framing … for an “America’s Most Wanted” poster.

Facial Hairstyle All-star No. 6: DeShawn Stevenson
New Jersey Nets fans haven’t had much to cheer about this season (or virtually any other) except the majesty of DeShawn’s chinscape. It’s every bit as thick as Davis’s or Harden’s, but finely chiseled to a triangular point. The effect is akin to a Muslim cleric with a mean jump shot.

Facial Hairstyle All-star No. 7: Phil Jackson

The coach who has won the most NBA championships (11) couldn’t have done it (and didn’t) without his signature facial forest. A member of the Knicks’ legendary 1969-1970 World Championship team, “The Zen Master” sported a hippie-style full beard which seemed to take root and flower with each championship win.

Facial Hairstyle All-star No. 8: Scot Pollard
While never an all-star, the recently retired, 11-season journeyman Samurai Scot rocked more unique beards than an Amish wedding. His gallery included a relatively regular Grizzly Adams look; an upper-lip, brushless Abe Lincoln; and a Hall of Fame–worthy pair of pigtails beneath his chinny-chin-chin.

Want a new look? Check out our sponsor’s Library of Styles to find the perfect look for you


Photo: Getty Images

Celebrity Winners of the Best Facial Hair Awards

While the celebrities strut their stuff on various red carpets this month, we thought we’d hand out a few awards of our own. Welcome to the very first Best Facial Hair Awards. The envelope, please!

The Mountain Man Beard Award: Jake Gyllenhaal

Jake Gyllenhaal’s mountain man beard might be long and bushy, but he keeps it combed, expertly trimmed and healthy-looking. When dealing with facial hair at this length, maintenance is key to avoiding an overgrown and unkempt nest full of woodland creatures.

Best Eyebrows on an Agent Award: Saif Ali Khan


There’s nothing worse than a man with barely-there eyebrows. But most Bollywood stars suffer from the opposite problem – overly large or bushy eyebrows. Saif Ali Khan's Agent Vinod looks right - an Indian James Bond, impeccably dressed and styled.

Best Funny Man Mustache Award: Eddie Murphy

While Tower Heist won’t win the Oscar for Best Picture, Murphy’s finely trimmed chevron mustache deserves an award for the way its angular shape balances out his oval face.

 

Best Hair Ball Award: Questlove

If you’re going to sport a voluminous afro) lead and grow a full beard to help balance out the look and avoid looking like you’re wearing a hair helmet. His beard emphasizes his strong jawline, anchoring his incredible hairstyle and bringing the entire look together.

 

Best Eyebrows on a Solo Artist Award: Drake

There’s nothing worse than a man with over-plucked, barely-there eyebrows. Drake’s thick but tidy brows properly frame his eyes, without looking overdone or overgrown. Gentlemen, don’t forget: There should be two.

 

Best Mustache on a Muppet Award: Swedish Chef

You might not understand what the Swedish Chef has to say, but his mustache is perfectly clear. The Chef’s ’stache strikes a delicate balance between his bulbous nose, gaping mouth and wild eyebrows. If you have large features, dainty facial hair will only serve to make things look larger.

 

Best Breakup Beard: Russell Brand

Breaking up is hard to do, but funnyman Russell Brand does it in style. His recent split from pop star Katy Perry has left him with a dastardly, pirate-worthy beard that gives him a brooding look -- an appropriate style for a recent divorcé, if you ask us.

 

Best Performance by a Goatee and Mustache Duo: Kanye West

Kanye West keeps his mustache short, expertly trimmed and narrow to avoid adding weight between his nose and lip. Instead, he turns the focus to his goatee, which emphasizes his strong chin and jawline.

 

Best Rock ’n’ Roll Beard Award: Lenny Kravitz

When you’re a rock ’n’ roll icon).

 

Best Smooth(ish) Stubble Award: John Legend

When you’re a smooth soul singer, you need facial hair that will complement your gentlemanly style while upping your game. John Legend’s perfect short stubble adds a dash of roughness to his boyish face -- but not enough to scare off the ladies.

 
And our awards for most dubious facial hair styles go to …
 

The Trying-too-hard Stubble Award: Adam Levine

Maroon 5 front man Adam Levine has perfected the art of the stubble -- and that’s the problem. It’s almost too perfect. Stubble is meant to look accidental, to sport an air of, “I woke up looking this good.” Levine’s stubble is so evenly trimmed and shaped that it appears overworked. He could use a lesson from Lenny Kravitz.

 

Most Awkward-looking Beard Award: Robert Pattinson

When teenage girls proclaim their undying (undead?) love for you at every turn, sometimes you need to don a disguise just to get a little peace. Nothing can change your look quicker than a beard. Unfortunately, Edward’s -- I mean, Robert’s -- beard looks awkward on his boyish face and drains away his usual good looks. A perfect disguise, indeed!

All Images: Getty Images

How to Get That Bedhead Look

“I’ve got too many more important things going on.”

“I’m a free-spirited nature man.”

“It’s 2 p.m., but I just rolled out of the sack with a super-sexy lady friend.”

There are many ways to interpret the bedhead look. Consequently, it’s one of the hottest styles out there, attracting everyone from business-casual dudes to artsy types. The versatility doesn’t stop there: Comb your hair back or to the side with a part, and suddenly you’re Don Draper. That, of course, may be the biggest reason guys love bedhead: It’s low-maintenance.

With that said, it’s not completely effortless. Below, we get master advice from San Francisco–based hairstylist Ashley Smith, a 10-year veteran currently working at Population Salon, on how to choose the right bedhead style for you, and how to get the look.

Adam Levine

The look:

Very textured on the top, cleaner on the sides.

What hair texture it works with

: Any.

Who it’s for:

The guy who needs to look a bit more conservative during work hours. Since it’s cut tight on the sides, it looks more polished.

How to ask for it:

Use words like “clean” and “well-kept” for the sides and back, and ask for more length and texture on the top.

What product to use:

Use a water-soluble paste that has a matte finish -- it should look invisible on your head. For shorter-length, piecey styles like this one, you don’t want shine since it can easily be mistaken for grease. Another plus: It should last all day long, and you’ll still be able to run your hands through your hair eight hours in.

Prep time:

Five to 10 minutes. Start with dry hair. Take a nickel-sized drop of the product and rub it all the way into your hands so there are no clumps or clusters. Rub your hands through your hair from your roots and then finish by pulling the product through the ends with the tips of your fingers. Then piece it out as you like.

Go back to the stylist:

Every four to six weeks. In most major cities, stylists offer complimentary cleanups in between haircuts, and that’s really important for shorter haircuts like this. If you come in every six weeks for your haircut (that’s your “cycle”), make a quick trip to the salon at the three-week mark for what’s called a “neck trim,” a five-minute dry haircut to polish up the little fuzzies on the neck and sideburns.

Robert Pattinson


The look:

A much longer, messier version.

What hair texture it works with:

Straight, slightly wavy.

Who it’s for:

Someone who’s younger, whose lifestyle is conducive to a messier look, who doesn’t mind spending time on his own hair in the morning but can’t be bothered with booking frequent hairdresser appointments.

How to ask for it:

Tell your stylist, “I want to let this grow. I’m not looking to get it maintained all the time. I want this really choppy and messy all over. Keep it long so I can wear it in lots of different ways.”

What product to use:

Use a styling cream or gel. It should be really light so you can’t see it, but it should also have hold in it. You might also want to invest in a good hair spray.

Prep time:

Leave yourself 15 to 20 minutes. Apply the product on dry or (preferably) damp hair. The technique is the same as above: Rub it into your hands and apply from roots to ends, working it through with your fingers. When your hair is dry, finish it with a hair spray to set it and prevent it from collapsing.

Go back to the stylist:

Every eight to 10 weeks. You might even be able to stretch it longer. Basically, go back to the hairdresser when it’s too long for you to put product in.

Ryan Reynolds


The look:

More conservative than Pattinson but a bit crazier than Levine.

What hair texture it works with

: Wavy, curly hair.

Who it’s for:

Guys who naturally have texture in their hair and are looking for moderate bedhead.

How to ask for it:

Communicate that you want a lot of texture. Make sure the stylist is experienced in cutting wavy hair on men because it’s more difficult than straight hair. You can ask for a twist-cutting technique, which is specifically for curlier hair and something most stylists are familiar with. Twist-cutting creates great texture in this kind of hair.

What product to use:

The hair has a coarser texture, so stick with something a little more oil-based. Grooming cream that feels like a lotion works best.

Prep time:

Five to 10 minutes. Apply to damp or dry hair, working a nickel-sized amount in your hands and rubbing it from roots to ends. With the tips of your fingers, arrange small or large sections, depending on how piecey you want it to look. If the hair is very dry or coarse, carry a small amount of your product with you when you leave in the morning and apply a little bit for touch-ups during the day or before going out at night.

Go back to the stylist:

Every four to six weeks. Since wavy, curly hair grows out rather than down, it needs regular attention from the hairdresser to keep it in line.

Photos: Getty Images

Stop Shaping and Start Styling

When was the last time you browsed through old pictures of yourself? Or sat down and clicked through your old “tagged” images on Facebook? Notice anything? Yep, that’s right: You’ve been sporting the same haircut since before you could drive.

It’s understandable -- many African-American hairstyles stay current through the years, so it’s not like you’re out of style. But that’s no excuse for not changing things up every once in a while. Believe me; even the smallest adjustment can make a difference. And it can give you a new sense of confidence in an area in which you never even thought you were lacking.

So give one of these older-yet-new-again styles a try. Trust me, everyone will love your new look, and your barber will be thrilled to finally try something different on you!

The Hi-top Fade



Yep, the “hi-top fade” is back! Only now, it’s not as mainstream as it was in the late ’80s. And that’s a good thing, since it gives you the freedom to wear it any way you like: clean, textured, tall, short, etc. The best part is that, if you make it work with your overall presentation, you will be the center of attention -- in a good way.

Keep in mind, however, that a hi-top fade can lengthen and also square the face off. There are exceptions to the rule, but if your face shape is square or oblong/rectangular, you may want to avoid this style.


Afro




There are many names for this style: afro, low-fro, afro temp, etc. And depending on which city you’re in, there’s tremendous variety in how it’s worn too. These pictures show what’s most popular at the moment, but if you want to wear it fuller, go for it. The sky is truly the limit here.

Yet another name for this style is the “Neo-Soul” look, simply because -- while it can be worn neat or messy -- it always has an artistic, nonconformist flare. In other words, this style isn’t for everyone. But if your personality fits the bill, it’s a killer look.

The Caesar

The Caesar haircut typically comes in two shades: low/light and dark. Depending on where you live (and your hair type), you may also hear people referring to a third shade: medium.

One thing I like about this style is that the person wearing it can look totally different with each of the different lengths. The lighter the haircut, the more the attention is drawn to the eyes. The darker the cut, the more it creates a frame for the face, allowing facial hair to be prominent.

The Fade



Of course, this style has been around for ages, and for good reason. It fits every face shape and every hair type, and the variations are endless! However, I have noticed a trend toward a darker shade with more length on the top (think Blair Underwood and Maxwell). This new trend adds immediate sophistication to what is already a timeless look.

Dreadlocks



It takes a confident man to pull this hairstyle off -- not to mention a patient one. With the amount of time it will take to grow your hair to these lengths, you will definitely realize soon enough if it’s for you. But with patience comes great reward, as you can see from these images. Good look, right?

Now we’ve all seen different looks within the dreadlock style, but the most versatile and popular now is shoulder-length and neat. That’s because the style is slowly gaining acceptance in the corporate world. In addition to being office-ready, shoulder-length dreads have another benefit: They complement your overall appearance rather than dominating it.

Lenny Kravitz: Getty Images