Shave Before Golfing
"Your skin beneath the beard and the rest of your face will be roughly the same hue, unless you get sun exposure before shaving, in which case there will be Casper-like skin where the beard once covered," Mike Gilman, founder of Groominglounge.com, says. If your beardless face is already sporting the two-toned look, you could bravely borrow your wife's tinted moisturizer for a day to help blend the color zones. If that's not happening in this lifetime, then suck it up for the next 24 hours: The lighter skin will pick up pigment after some time spent in the sun.
Trim Your Face First
If your beard is longer than half an inch, use clippers to remove the tougher hairs. (A good pick: Philips Norelco Hairclipper 7100, $40, Philips-store.com.) Then, use a trimmer to whittle it down some more. "We recommend taking the guards off and gently scooping away beard hair to leave only the stubble beneath," Gilman says. "It's usually a mistake to razor off any significant beard growth, as the razor will fill up with long hair, start pulling and you could end up with nicks and cuts. Clip off all serious shrubbery, then let a razor and shaving products do their job."
Shave After You Shower
The warm water softens hair and opens up pores, which makes shaving easier. Steam your face in the shower, then lather up. Always shave in the direction of the grain, and avoid the temptation to bear down on the razor — just because the hair has been there since last fall doesn't mean it requires any more force to remove. Also, "choose a quality shaving oil to ensure a smoother razor glide and less razor friction," Gilman says. (We like Williamsburg Classic Shaving Oil, $29, brooklyngrooming.com.)
Soothe New Skin
"The first few post-beard shaves can be tricky, because the newly-exposed skin is often drier than the rest of your face," Gilman warns. "You can counter this by using a hefty amount of a soothing and healing post-shave solution." Grooming Lounge's The Shavior post-shave balm uses botanicals and anti-inflammatory ingredients to rid the skin of rashes and redness. (The Shavior, $24, Groominglounge.com.) "Put more on than needed, and let it absorb into thirsty skin," Gilman advises.
Keep the Beard, Change the Style
As the beard trend grows (Gilman estimates one in five customers have some sort of facial hair, with an increasing number sporting year-round beards), consider paring yours down for spring without going completely bare. "For some guys, shaving their beard is purely practical based on keeping themselves cooler during the summer months," he says. You can D.I.Y. a summer beard, but getting the shape just right is harder than you think (beards look patchy if you trim unevenly), so your safest bet is visiting the barber for a little warm-weather update.
Prepare for Next Year
When beard season returns next fall, remember this: You can proactively prevent post-beard sensitive skin by treating your face right even when it's buried beneath a mound of hair. "Men must use beard oils and moisturizers, which ensure that both the beard hair and the skin underneath stay soft and in good shape over the course of the winter," Gilman says. Check out Spring No. 1 Beard Oil, $25, beardsupply.com.