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Madness is spending several minutes taming Arthur Morgan’s in-game mane when you’ve got an untended neckbeard making you look like more of a hillbilly than the cast of Red Dead Redemption 2 combined. I’ve never been one to invest significant time into character customisation, but Rockstar’s latest has me deliberating over every last strand of facial hair. Morgan may be a murderer, but he deserves the best a man can get – even if Gillette razors weren’t quite invented yet.

The thing I appreciate about grooming in the Western is that you have to make hard decisions. Many of you who’ve been following the game will know that Arthur’s hair grows as in-game time passes, and it can take a little while to turn truly feral. There are elixirs you can buy from local retailers which speed up the rate of hair growth, but I like to keep things natural and wait for the gunslinger’s fuzz to form.

When it takes several in-game weeks to cultivate some brilliant bristles, though, you have to make them count. Unlike other games, Red Dead Redemption 2 doesn’t let you take a trip to the barbers and pick whatever style you like – instead it forces you to grow your stubble out, and then provides you with designs based on how much bush you have to work with. Want some big mutton chops? You’re going to need impressive sideburns to begin.

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The same is true of Arthur’s hairstyle. You not only have to select a style, but you also have to get it trimmed to the right length. Leave it for a period of in-game time and it will become unkempt, so it’s important to get regular cuts in order to maintain the style. Heck, you can even purchase a greasy wax-like product named Pomade to help you slick it back and keep it in place – but it obviously has a shelf-life, and too much time in the saloon will see it rub out.

The thing is, I’m obsessed with ensuring that Morgan always looks well turned out. I’ve been going out of my way to take regular trips to the barbers, maintaining the character’s short back and sides. As I’ve progressed through the story, I’ve also been preening the character’s facial hair; I started out with a nice, curated five-o-clock shadow, but now I’ve settled upon a regal moustache. It took me ages to grow his beard enough to get the right look.

It’s gotten to the point where my Arthur is now so well maintained that he frankly looks out of place. In cut-scenes where John Marston’s greasy locks are glued to his battle-hardened face, here’s Morgan with a bowler hat and a pinstripe shirt – it doesn’t even make sense. But I can’t stop preening the protagonist; I simply won’t allow him to look dishevelled, even if the unkempt look clearly suits the character.

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Have you been investing additional effort into ensuring Arthur Morgan looks the part? Are you a fan of Red Dead Redemption 2’s grooming system? Have a shave in the comments section below.