You see them everywhere. I'm talking the urban lumberjack. Plaid jacket designed for places way colder than any in Australia? Check. Hiking boots so pristine that the only trail they've been on is through a Westfield car park? Check. And of course, the almighty beard. Hairy check!

Hipster or homeless? The essential beard maintenance guide

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For the most part, it's a pretty solid look. It's pared back, low maintenance and actually looks better the more weathered its components become. But that's the clothes. Your modern lumberdude needs to keep his grooming in check to stay on the right line of the hipster/homeless divide.

As tempting as the wild man fantasy may be, there are limits to be observed. First up, your beard and your body hair shouldn't really be meeting up at any point. This is not an attractive friendship. Use the collar of your shirt as a guide as to where the beard should end. Still not quite sure of the optimum length? You don't want to go beyond the span of your outstretched thumb and index finger of the same hand. Got it? Good.

If you're going to commit to the beard for a while, invest in a beard trimmer to keep the look consistent. Check out the laser-guided Phillips Beard Trimmer, $129.95, from the Shaver Shop. While you're stocking up on gizmos, pony up for a Remington Wet Tech Nose and Ear Trimmer, $29.95. Hairy ears and nostrils don't make you look rugged, they have more of a Big Issue vibe. Keep things clean, clear and neat around these zones and your beard will be all the more striking.

Hipster or homeless? The essential beard maintenance guide

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Hipster or homeless? The essential beard maintenance guide

Just as a stylish man takes care of his hair, the beard needs some TLC too. And don't think you can just be sharing around your shampoo and conditioner. No dice. Beard hair is coarser and more unruly than anything growing above the ear line and it demands specialised product. Check out the Beard 2-In-1 Shampoo & Conditioner, $24, and Premium Wooden Beard Comb, $11, from Milkman Australia.

Hipster or homeless? The essential beard maintenance guide

Next up, you want a beard oil or balm. Traditional aftershaves will evaporate quicker than you can say "how much did that squirt cost me?" Captain Fawcett's Booze and Baccy Balm, $19, or Beard Oil, $59.95, from Men's Biz, delivers healthy sheen with a rich scent reminiscent of pipe tobacco and cognac. 

Hipster or homeless? The essential beard maintenance guide

So far, so good, right? You're rockin' the forest fur. Just a couple of final tips. As tempting as it may be to do the Santa stroke, don't keep touching your beard. That's for others to do. It's a little vain and 'look at me'. Before embarking on your beard journey, you should also know that the hair on your face could well end up being a different colour to that on your head. In other words, should latent ranga genes be part of your make up, this is where they could appear. Our advice? Own that rustiness and make your beard stand out from the pack.

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Hipster or homeless? The essential beard maintenance guide

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