Book Review: The Bearded Gentleman: The Style Guide to Shaving Face

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Our introduction to Dr. Allan Peterkin happened a few months ago when we were lucky enough to interview the physician, author and professor and ask him several semi-serious questions about being a man with facial hair; the pitfalls, the perks, the women… ahhhh, the women.

“The Bearded Gentleman: The Style Guide to Shaving Face” piqued my interest in being a man again. Since the divorce, the flame had certainly flickered. I got my hands on a copy and the book is fantastic. It is the de facto quick reference guide on personal style in relation to facial hair ever created, and I am including “The Bible” in that generalization as well.

Dr. Allan Peterkin and Nick (side) Burns toe the line between tongue and cheek humor and historical analysis beautifully. You didn’t know a beard could be “historically analyzed,” did you? Read on, young brother.

The book is an easy read, weighing in at 142 pages comprised of five chapters. But so much ground is covered effortlessly that it could easily be 500 pages. In terms of usefulness, it could be 700 hundred pages. In terms of making you a better “beardsman,” it could be 1,000,000 pages; imagine the size of that book.

“The Bearded Gentleman” opens by addressing the age old question about beard growth in chapter one, “Should I Shave or Should I Grow?” It also attacks myths associated with beards and shaving head-on, leaving the reader with an authoritative answer on things we want to know, but forgot we wanted to know them.

Then, if we were to remember that we wanted to know them, we’d most certainly forget when being in the physical presence of a man with that breadth of knowledge, a man like Dr. Peterkin.

For instance, the number one myth about facial hair and styling is that shaving more actually makes hair grow faster or thicker. In fact, it does not have either effect owing to the fact that, “Facial hair is dead. It just seems thicker when it’s short. When you shave a hair, a once fine point becomes a blunt end, which feels thicker to the touch.”

Aren’t much for the book learnin’ Cletus? Well, calm down, fella. There are 50-plus pages detailing every style of facial hair you can think of, with pictures.

The weird shit that hipster was rocking on his facial canvas when you were in line at the post office the other day? Yeah, there’s a name for that. It’s called the “Garibaldi Beard.” From the “Freddie Mercury” to the “The French Fork,” there are images of each, alongside descriptions of how to achieve the look.

The book also addresses the social stigma associated with facial hair and what is socially acceptable in a classic Q&A format. For example, “Both my dad and my dentist now have goatees. Should I shave mine off?”

“The Bearded Gentleman: The Style Guide to Shaving Face” is the perfect gift for the man in your life, or your mother-in-law who rocks a grey-haired goatee and is seemingly oblivious to it, though it makes everyone else around her so uncomfortable, they can’t even stand to look at her.

To order the book, click here. To write Dr. Peterkin a “Lust Letter,” check out his site here.

  

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Dove Skincare Interview: Dr. Allan Peterkin (Beardsman and Author of “The Bearded Gentleman: A Style Guide to Shaving Face”)

Dr. Allan Peterkin is a physician, author and professor. He has published 14 books, most recently The Bearded Gentlemen: A Style Guide To Shaving Face, and is currently working with Dove and their new Men+Care Face Range, a full line to help dudes care for their faces.

Recently, I sat very close to Dr. Peterkin as we stroked our beards in a sexually suggestive manner in unison, and asked him the following questions.

BE: “Beardsmith” that you are, what’s the best way to kiss my old lady with passion, yet not drag my stubble or goatee across her skin, to the point where she says it feels “exfoliated” after we’re done?

DR. PETERKIN: Some call that a “snog burn,” snog being the English word for kiss. The best advice I can give you is work on your angle and your approach, and moisturize your face often to keep it as soft as possible!

Your book is called The Bearded Gentleman: A Style Guide to Shaving Face and One Thousand Beards. What is the number one mistake most aspiring “beardsmen” make?

DR. PETERKIN: The number one mistake men make is that they think their grooming work is finished once they’ve grown a beard. Facial hair requires a lot of maintenance; men have to make a commitment to their beards! They need to be trimmed properly and their margins kept clean. Washing and moisturizing also helps to keep the facial hair clean, and to condition it, which is crucial. I like the new Dove Men+Care Face Range, which provides products specifically designed for men and offers a three step solution: cleanse shave, and finish. You can use the Dove Men+Care Face Wash to clean your beard and the Face Lotion to condition or soften it.

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BE: What is the professional opinion regarding the soul patch? I’ve been known to sport one, a blonde one. Should blonde dudes just not wear facial hair? Why do blonde mustaches look so weird, a la Larry Bird in the ’80s?

DR. PETERKIN: I often think of the term “flavor saver” in relation to the soul patch. I think the soul patch is a fun form of expression, probably most appropriate for younger guys. Facial hair has become more mainstream and acceptable, but I’m not so sure we’re there yet with the soul patch.

An issue some guys have with their blonde hair is that it doesn’t tend to grow in fully. Blonde facial hair can have uneven or patchy growth. Being a blonde myself, I suggest choosing a style after seeing what grows in most, and where, but don’t be too concerned about the color of your hair. Just play to your strengths!

BE: How can I pick up chicks using just my “beardsmanship”?

DR. PETERKIN: That is a tough one and it’s a matter of taste. Women seem to be split – some really like facial hair, others do not like it at all. Toss a coin, and if you’re going to have facial hair, wear it proudly.

BE: What is your stance on guys who have so much chest hair that it naturally flows into the beard area? Should there be a distinct line of demarcation?

DR. PETERKIN: I think it would look better to have a distinct line of demarcation, somewhere between the chin and the Adam’s apple. Men should shave the neck and lower edge of the beard, and leave their chest natural.

BE: In your opinion, either living or dead, who had the most badass facial hair in history?

DR. PETERKIN: I think I would have to say either Santa or Satan. Kidding. By category, I’d choose Salvador Dali’s mustache and Elvis’ sideburns. My favorite religious beard is Moses. I’d say one of my all-time favorites is romantic Composer Giuseppi Verdi’s beard.

For more information on the new Dove Men+Care Face Range, click here. For more information on Dr. Peterkin’s book, click here.

  

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