Experimenting With Coconut Oil

I like having a goatee. It gives my face a different look — a look that I think is actually a little bit slimming for my face; unfortunately carrying around too many pounds produces cheeks that are rounded and puffy like a baby’s. So over Labor Day weekend I let my beard grow out and only trimmed back around my cheeks, leaving the goatee and mustache in place.

The Wife says it looks cute but feels rough and wiry, and she would know. So she hasn’t been kissing me as much, and when she has it’s been kind of a precision exercise. So I want some way to soften the beard — but I never found a beard-softener product. Other beard wearers tell me that I just need to stick it out for several months and eventually it will soften naturally. I don’t want to wait that long, and I’ve been considering breaking down and shaving it off again.

Then today, I was sent to the grocery store with a shopping list. On the list were shampoo and conditioner for The Wife. I was alone and realized very quickly that I had no idea what kind of shampoo she wanted.

But as I scanned the shelves hoping for some sort of inspiration, my eyes fell upon the hair care products aimed at African-American consumers. Many of them promised to “soften” hair — and it occurred to me that indeed, people of African ethnic descent often have very wiry, tightly-kinked hair and sometimes for cosmetic reasons they straighten it — and that process can leave the hair brittle and tough. And, I’ve on many occasions heard of African-American men complaining that they get ingrown hairs on their cheeks and necks.

So, okay. That isn’t quite the same thing as a whisker growing out of the face of a not-quite-40-year-old man of European descent. But maybe I could find something that would have a crossover use, something might help soften my wiry beard. Then I could keep the goatee that I’ve found I kind of enjoy having, and still have my wife want to kiss me.

As I was reading the labels of the various products, a family of African-American people walked by. They all looked at me very funny. I smiled and they moved on. I’m not exactly sure what they were thinking but it was awkward.

In the end, I found a small jar of coconut and jojoba oil. The manufacturer said it would soften and straighten hair (my whiskers do sometimes curl a little bit), keep the skin supple and well-nourished, and help the hair grow in straight. It smells strongly of coconut, which is not entirely unpleasant, but something I need to get used to because I’m rubbing the stuff in to my mustache which is of course right below my nose. It also is slick and leaves my beard and the area around my mouth very shiny. So I’m currently in no danger whatsoever of having chapped lips, but that’s not the objective. The question is, will it soften the whiskers of my beard? A few days’ experimenting will see.

Burt Likko

Pseudonymous Portlander. Homebrewer. Atheist. Recovering litigator. Recovering Republican. Recovering Catholic. Recovering divorcé. Recovering Former Editor-in-Chief of Ordinary Times. House Likko's Words: Scite Verum. Colite Iusticia. Vivere Con Gaudium.