4 Simple Steps in the Perfect Beard Care Routine

So, your beard’s a bit of a mess.

You’ve got split ends.  Hairs growing in every direction.  A dry, lifeless beard (but acne and clogged pores underneath).  Dandruff.  And worst of all, the itching.

Thinking of shaving?

Well, there’s good news.  You don’t need to shave…

You just need the proper beard care routine.

With the proper care, you can get rid of these beard issues and make your beard look and feel amazing.  The problem is that most men were never taught the right way to take care of their beards.  As a result, their beards and faces suffer all kinds of problems.

Proper beard care must be a lot of work, though, right?

There’s more good news – a good beard care routine is simple and easy.  There are a few things you do every day, a few things you do less often, and before you know it your beard looks amazing.

What to Do Daily

Image: Dollar Beard Club (P.S. They use high quality ingredients in their oil.  So should you.)

Beard Oil

The first – and most important – step in your beard care routine is to use a good beard oil on your beard.  This will leave your beard feeling soft and looking amazing.  It will also take care of:

  • Itching
  • Flaking/Dandruff
  • Dry, Crunchy Facial Hair

You can choose a beard oil that will leave your beard smelling amazing, or you can choose an unscented beard oil.  If you’re just starting out, you may want to start with an unscented oil.  You can always upgrade to a scented oil later.

Growing your beard out? You should be applying beard oil on a daily basis.Click To Tweet

If you are just starting to grow your beard out, you should be applying beard oil on a daily basis.  (You can apply it more often as desired.)  This is because the oil doesn’t just help your beard – it helps your skin as well.  It will also help to prevent beard itch and flaking if used from the start.

When should you apply beard oil?

  • In the morning, after you get up.
  • After you get out of a shower.  The hot water and chlorine can dry out and damage your beard and the skin underneath it.  The oil will help moisturize your beard again.  You can apply it while your beard is wet.
  • Before bed, to keep your beard happy during the night.
  • Any time you feel like it.  There is no bad time to apply beard oil.

Here’s how you apply it:

  1. Put a dime sized amount of oil in your hand.
  2. Rub it between your palms and between the tips of your fingers.
  3. Rub it into your beard.  Apply it as evenly as possible to your beard and mustache, working it down to your skin and out to the end of your hairs.
  4. (Optional) Using a boar’s hair brush, brush out your beard.  This will ensure the oils are evenly distributed across your beard.

That’s it for beard oil.  It’s really that simple!

Beard Balm

The next step in your beard care routine is knowing when to use beard balm.

Beard balm is a leave in conditioner for your beard. It consists of

  • a wax (beeswax or carnauba)
  • a butter (usually shea butter)
  • carrier oils (coconut, sweet almond, or jojoba)
  • essential oils (such as peppermint oil).

It does the same job as beard oil – moisturizing and nourishing your beard. You might use both in the same day, but you’ll rarely apply both at the same time.  (For example, you might use balm in the morning and oil before bed.)

So, what’s the difference between beard oil and beard balm?

Beard balm also helps hold your beard in place and control flyaway beard hairs.  It’s also great for basic styling.  If you’re going somewhere and want your beard to look nice, beard balm is what you should use.

When should you use beard balm?

  • In the morning, when you are going somewhere and need to look professional. The balm will keep your beard under control and looking presentable.
  • In the winter, when artificial heat is likely to dry out your skin and beard.

How to apply it:

  1. Take a small amount of beard balm, and rub it between your hands to warm it up. This will make it easier to apply.
  2. Apply the balm starting at the neck and working your way up your beard.
  3. Then start at the top and work your way back down your beard.
  4. After applying the beard balm, brush or comb your beard to style it and distribute the balm more evenly.

Comb & Brush

The next thing you’ll want to start doing on a daily basis is combing or brushing your beard.  Brushing has several benefits, including distributing oils evenly across your skin and beard.

Combing and brushing will also help you maintain the natural beauty of your beard by training it to hang the way you want it to hang.

The question, then, is when should I comb my beard, and when should I brush my beard?

Brushing Your Beard

A beard brush is a great tool for beards of all lengths.  Every beard – from stubble to a full length beard, can benefit in some way from brushing their beard.

With shorter beards, the main benefit is that your brush will train your hair follicles to lay the way you want them to lay.  This will make your beard look better as it gets longer.

With longer beards, get a few extra benefits.  If you brush before a shower, you loosen up dead skin, hair, and trash from your beard.  This makes it easier to wash out.  You also get the benefit of oil distribution.

The key here is to use a high quality, natural brush.  It will usually have more bristles than the cheap synthetic.  It will also have bristles of varying height.  This allows it to do more work with each stroke.  (Which means you can brush less.)

You’ll feel the difference as soon as you touch the bristles, and your beard will thank you.

Warning: Brush your beard sparingly, as even a high quality brush can damage your hair.  Brushing has definite benefits, but do it in moderation. 1-2x per day is enough.

Combing Your Beard

A beard comb is generally better for people with medium length beards and longer.

Your comb is a great option to use if you want to detangle your beard.  This makes it useful to use before brushing as well as by itself.  It’s biggest strength, though, is its ability to help you style your beard when you are using balm or wax.

Your comb is also your best option if you are taking care of your hair while it is wet.  Wet hair is more fragile than dry hair.  Brushing your hair while it is wet can lead to split ends or other types of hair damage.  Combing is easier on your beard.

A quality handmade comb is highly recommended over a cheap plastic one.  Here, though, the synthetic combs can actually damage your beard.  Here’s how it works.

Plastic combs are made by pouring plastic into a mold.  This is the cheapest and fastest way to produce combs in bulk.  Because of this, the edges of the comb’s teeth will have micro abrasive qualities to them.  This means that whenever you run one of these combs through your beard, you are damaging the hair.

Try picking up a high quality wooden or metal comb that advertises having polished teeth.  (It will also advertise being ‘saw cut’.)  This will make sure your comb does as little damage to your beard as possible.

What to Do Weekly

Wash Your Beard

Some tasks don’t need to be done on a daily basis.  Once or twice a week is more than enough.

Washing your beard is one of these tasks.  The shampoo strips the natural oils from your skin and beard, drying your beard out.  This is the opposite of what you want to do.  Condition your beard daily, but save the shampoo for 1-2 times per week.

If a shampoo completely cleans the hair, it means it has stripped the natural oils from your hair and can cause permanent hair damage.

-Josh Meyer, Brickell Men’s Products (via The Distilled Man)

If you have a medium length beard or longer, you may want to wash your beard using a special beard wash.  This type of wash will generally be made out of ingredients that are gentle on your beard.  This way, you won’t be stripping the natural oils out of your beard.

(Note: This is not a substitute for using a good beard oil.)

Shampoo Ingredients to Avoid

Whether you use a special beard wash or not, here is a list of ingredients to avoid.  These damage your beard, and in some cases can be dangerous to your health.

  • Formaldehyde – Can irritate your skin and possibly cause cancer.  Here are some ingredients that contain or produce Formaldehyde.  Learn more here.
    • quaternium-15
    • DMDM Hydantoin
    • Urea (imidazolidinyl/diazolidinyl/polyoxymethylene)
    • hydroxymethylglycinate
    • glyoxal
    • 3-diol (bromopol)
    • 2-bromo-2-nitropropane-1
  • Parabens – These can irritate your skin and cause hair loss.
  • Alcohol – Alcohol will strip the oil from your hair, which can dry it out and make your hair more easily damaged.
  • Sodium Chloride (Salt) – This can dry out your skin and cause beard itch.
  • Polyethylene Glycol – Will remove moisture out of your beard.
  • Propylene Glycol – This can irritate your skin.
  • Anything ending with Lauryl Sulfate or Laureth Sulfate – These will remove natural oils from your beard and can damage your hair.
  • Diethanolamine or Triethanolamine (DEA/TEA) – These can seriously damage your hair, leaving it brittle and dry.
  • Fragrance/Parfum – This represents a mystery mixture of scented chemicals, some of which can irritate your skin.  If you want a scented beard wash, go for something scented with an essential oil.
  • Dimethicone – This can clog your pores and might also cause skin irritation or itchiness.
  • Lanolin or Petroleum – These ingredients are supposed to lock moisture into your hair.  This also means that they may prevent your hair from absorbing moisture from products you put on afterwards.

A rule of thumb is this – if it doesn’t look natural, you should avoid putting it into your beard.  We highly recommend using a high quality, natural shampoo or beard wash, and your beard will thank you.

How to apply it:

  1. Rub the shampoo into your beard, being sure to massage the skin below.
  2. Wash it out of your beard.
  3. Repeat with conditioner.  (Use conditioner every time you shower, not just once per week.)
  4. Pat dry your beard.  (Roughly drying your beard can damage it and lead to split ends.)

It’s that simple!

The Simple Beard Care Routine

Taking care of your beard doesn’t have to be difficult.  It can be boiled down to 5 simple steps.

  1. Use beard balm before you go out.
  2. Use beard oil 1-3x per day.
  3. Brush your beard after applying balm/oil.
  4. Condition your beard every time you shower.
  5. Shampoo your beard every week.

Do this regularly, and you’ll notice the majority of the problems you once had are gone.

Now it’s your turn: What’s your best beard care tip?  Help a beard out – leave your reply below.