Though traveling may be exciting, it can be one of the most difficult times to maintain a beard.
Summer is here, which means there will be a spur in travel opportunities, including everyone traveling to Portland for the Rose City Beard and Mustache Competition. More than 500,000 men travel through US airports for work or pleasure every day and with roughly 50% of men sporting facial hair, there is a serious need to discuss tips and strategies for keeping beards looking their best. Unless you have access to a shower in one of the VIP lounges, airports don’t provide a lot of feasible options to support a glorious beard.
Look fly while you fly
I recently had two back-to-back 10-hour flights as I made my way from Washington to Africa, I made note of the best and worst habits of keeping a clean and styled beard. I’ve listed below a few suggestions for beard maintenance, please comment and message in your best beard tips while traveling.
Carry-on bag essentials
I had my large beard brush in my backpack, but I primarily relied on a small beard comb kept in an easily accessible outer pocket. Beard oils and balms are usually under the TSA maximum volume limit (3.4 oz) so they won’t cause any hassle during security, I recommend putting them in a small Ziploc bag just in case of spills.
When to groom
Clean and shape your beard before boarding. This isn’t always a fun suggestion, especially if you have an early flight, but it is crucial! It’s easier to maintain a styled beard then working against a beard that has been slept on.
Avoid dirt and germs
Don't touch or play with your beard. Seriously don’t do it! Airports are gross and generally unsanitary, just look around and count how many people you see sneezing or coughing. To make the problem worse, our bodies, including our hands, produce sweat and oils that ramp up during times of stress. Bottom line: limit touching your face to avoid putting dirt and germs in your beard.
Keep your beard clean
Bring disposable wet towelettes. I cannot stress this enough – these are lifesavers. It’s not always possible to thoroughly clean up after eating or having a drink, but towelettes can work wonders. Try adding a few drops of Okamura Farm’s Comfort beard oil on the towelettes, tea tree and lavender essential oils provide extra antiseptic, antibacterial, and antiviral protection.
Remember every beard is different and responds differently to changes in climate, water chemistry, and stress. Take the time to figure out what works best for you and your beard!
Cory A. Gall, PhD
About our beard blogger:
Dr. Cory Gall is a research scientist at Washington State University and at the University of Pretoria in South Africa. He has degrees from Oakland University, Old Dominion University, and Washington State University. Additionally, Cory was a research fellow at the CDC in the Malaria Entomology branch. His specialization is using ecology and molecular biology to study vector-borne diseases and infectious disease ecology. Specifically, Cory is interested in finding eco-friendly biological control methods to fight tick-borne diseases that cause human and animal diseases. Outside of the laboratory, he enjoys traveling, wildlife photography, roasting coffee, and being an advocate for beards in the professional workplace.