The most amazing beards in the NBA don’t just happen by accident. They take time, commitment and yes, maybe some good genes, but they’re far from impossible to achieve. At least that’s what Matthew Dank, co-founder of Badrick’s Skincare, says. He has been specializing in beard and facial grooming products since 2011 along with his business partner, Seth Lombardi. Dank says growing the perfect beard is different for every guy, but some things never change. For one, good beard care is essential at all stages of growth. “If you start in the beginning with a good regimen, the beard is better at the end,” he says. “If you start halfway through, you’ll have to do some damage control.” Herein, Dank gives us his tips for nailing your favourite NBA player’s style, plus how to keep it fresh and clean.
There’s a reason this guy’s nickname is, quite literally, The Beard. “I call it the beastmode beard,” says Dank. “It’s a little bit intimidating.” What makes James Harden’s beard work so well is that he keeps things balanced on his head—large beard, short haircut. To get a beard that large, of course, “it’d take a lot of time, a lot of patience,” adds Dank.
However, with great beard comes great responsibility. Dank recommends keeping your mug well-moisturized, soft and clean with beard oil or a product like Badrick’s own DaBalm, which also disinfects and heals dry itch. “We really don’t think that you should be using hair shampoo on your face,” notes Dank. “The hair on your face is very different from the hair on your head.” Additionally, you’ll want to use an exfoliator every few days to get rid of flaky skin that can amass under your mane over time.
He Who Was Traded For Wiggins has come a long way since he let his beard grow large and unruly. These days, Kevin Love keeps his facial hair tidier. “You could call it a Monte Cristo. It gives you a little bit of personality,” says Dank. “Regal, if you will.” You’ll notice Love’s gentlemanly barbe means keeping his beard at two different lengths. According to Dank, clippers are best used on longer hair in larger patches, while scissors provide the accuracy needed around the mouth. “It’s hard getting clippers in there, you make one mistake and all of the sudden you have a huge patch of your facial hair gone,” he laughs.
Knowing that comes in handy when you’re trying to grow a beard best suited to your face’s shape. If you have a gaunt, narrow face like Love’s, a big beard can give you the appearance of a fuller face. For guys with a larger, rounder face? “I find something that’s more closely cropped looks good,” he says.
One way Chris Paul supports his always sharp collegiate look is with the right amount of facial hair. That is, a small amount. “It’s very underrated, the very clean stubble look,” says Dank. How does Paul nail the perfect length between five o’clock shadow and whatever comes next? “There is a different sweet spot for every guy,” says Dank. “It’s definitely trial and error.” You can find yours by experimenting with growing it to different lengths. When you find the one that looks great, simply calibrate your clippers so you can easily keep it trimmed.
However, with less beard, more attention needs to be paid to the finer details. “I use a single-blade, old school razor—none of these new ones that use 17 blades,” Dank tells us when describing how to create clean, neat lines around the jaw and mouth. Also, he suggests using an exfoliator like Badrick’s Mug Scrub, which uses walnut shell particles to get rid of dead skin. Use it in combination with a moisturizer to make your stubble—yes, even stubble—feel extra soft, a vital aspect of maintaining a healthy love life as well as a healthy beard.
If anyone can call his the holy grail of beards, it’s Baron Davis. “You look at it, and in every picture he’s smiling and you think he’s got a very nice beard. It’s a classic, and in my opinion, something every guy can look up to,” says Dank of his favourite NBA mug. Davis’ cushiony beard is very fine and curly, something that takes a lot of expertise to tame. If you ever find yourself in over your head, Dank says you can always consult an expert for tips and advice. “Everybody’s different. Whether you’re going for that perfect stubble [or something larger], your barber can usually help out. They’re the ones that usually know your hair,” he says.