L.A. Kings Stars Show Off Their Before-and-After Beards (Exclusive Photos)
This story first appeared in the July 25 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.
The playoff beard, grown for good luck until a champion has been declared, is a hockey tradition that dates to the 1980s, and during the 2014 Stanley Cup Final, it was the Los Angeles Kings who proved that they not only could go all the way but also could grow the NHL's shaggiest beards. After capturing the Cup for the second time in three years on June 13, players Jake Muzzin and Trevor Lewis headed to Floyd's 99 Barbershop in Hermosa Beach, Calif., five days later to clean up some impressive growth after not shaving since mid-April, with THR along to document their grooming session.
"I can't wait to get this beard off. It's been itchy and like an extra pillow on my face," said 27-year-old center Lewis before he got lathered up for a trim, adding that he can never go clean-shaven because he "looks like a baby." Defenseman Muzzin, 25, had been planning to get rid of his beard but found it hard to say goodbye -- even after irrigating it "with spilled champagne and beer" during the team's wild victory party (Floyd's groomer Jason Sandoval recommends cleaning with shampoo and conditioner for such situations). "I am attached to it now; we're going to trim it up and make it look pretty," added Muzzin, who also got his head of curls shaved down for summer.
Jake Muzzin, before and after
The two received VIP pampering and ended up impressed with their new looks. "That's the first time anyone has shaved my beard like that, and it was relaxing with all the hot towels," said Lewis. "I am not like a homeless person anymore; I feel like a human being again."
To get rid of excess growth, Sandoval advises first running a clipper across the beard to trim it to the right length, then using pre-shave oils and shea butter to smooth the skin so the razor glides across the face to shape the contours of the beard. His penultimate step: Apply hot lather to open up pores before using a straight razor for a well-defined edge. He says never jump straight in with a blade -- and always go to a pro "if it's really thick; you want someone to make [clean] lines for you." Sandoval also notes a difference in beards by coast: thicker, with cheeks and neck cleaned up, in the east; more of a stubble look via some two weeks' growth in the west.
The pair's vote for the Kings' best beard goes to center Jeff Carter, 29. "He loved the caveman look so much, he refused to shave it off afterward," explained Lewis. "It is part of him now." Another player, 22-year-old fresh-faced winger Tyler Toffoli, became the butt of locker-room jokes. "His beard was pathetic," joked Muzzin; Lewis compared it to "a little peach fuzz mustache."
Kings center Jarret Stoll, 32, couldn't wait to grab his razor after the final game against the New York Rangers. "It was five or six hours after we won -- we celebrated and when I got home, I shaved," he said, adding that "the history behind the beards and the ritual are a great thing." His girlfriend, Fox Sports broadcaster and Dancing With the Stars co-host Erin Andrews,"was happy to see my face again, but she was laughing when I came out of the bathroom because of how white I looked," said Stoll, whose face hadn't seen the California sun in months. (Sandoval recommends using extra sunscreen and moisturizer for skin that has been freshly de-bearded.) Stoll predicted he'll let his beard "come and go" as the Kings hit the ice again in October for next season, but "by the end of the regular season, you let it start growing again, then when the playoffs begin, you're on your way" -- to quite possibly another Stanley Cup.
Trevor Lewis, before and after