What makes a good beard? Genetics – definitely. Patience – of course.
But even with both of these, your beard will still need to be maintained to keep it looking its best.
In order to achieve this, you will need to use some of the many beard care products available on the market. With one survey suggesting that 57% of men use between six and ten grooming items per day, this shouldn’t be too much of a chore!
If you’re not sure where to start don’t worry. I’m going to name the most essential beard care products and explain why you can’t afford to not have them as part of your beard grooming regime.
Now I know what you’re thinking. Why do you need shampoo for your beard, when you can use the perfectly good stuff that you put on your head?
To be honest, hair shampoo is simply not good for your beard. It strips away all the natural oils from the skin beneath your beard, leaving it dry, flaky and sometimes even painful.
The beard hair itself is also affected. Instead of a soft, bouncy texture, your beard will feel more like a Brillo pad. Good luck to anyone kissing you, that’s all I have to say!
Beard shampoo does the opposite. Rather than strip your beard of its essential oils needed for growth and moisturised skin, it instead keeps them in place and leaves your beard feeling clean and healthy. It will also feel nice and soft which is nice both for you and anyone else who happens to come into contact with it!
On a personal note, I only tend to wash my beard once a week. This may not seem like a lot, but unless you’re working outdoors a lot, (I work in an office,) you will not need to clean it any more than that.
As with your head hair, conditioner is designed to complement the shampoo that you use. It is particularly important to use when the weather gets colder, as this will dry out your beard hair even more.
By using it 2/3 times a week, you will soon see a noticeable change in your beard’s appearance. It should feel softer to touch and generally look more healthy.
The best bit of advice I can give is to choose conditioners with natural ingredients, (such as coconut or avocado oil for example,) as these will not irritate your skin.
This is something that I have discussed at length in a previous blog post.
It’s only in recent years that I have come to see the benefits of beard oil and the difference that it makes to my beard. Previously, in my early beard growing attempts, I would simply wash it with soap or shampoo and that’s it. Oh, what a fool I was!
But now, I can’t imagine not using beard oil. Some of the benefits I have found include:
Moisturised skin – It moisturizes the skin underneath the beard, which is hard to do if you just use shampoo or soap.
Improved appearance – If applied correctly, the beard oil should coat the hairs from root to tip, leaving your beard looking lovely and shiny.
Fuller beard – Products that include essential oils such as black pepper can help stimulate beard growth.
No more itchiness – A common issue for beard growers, the oil can help soothe the irritated skin beneath the beard. Luckily, most contain essential oils that are designed for this purpose.
Easy to maintain – You won’t be surprised to know that a soft, healthy beard is easier to maintain than one that isn’t. The oil softens the beard, making it easy to comb. Without it, not only will it be painful to comb, but you will also notice that a lot of your hair will fall out. Not great for a fuller looking beard obviously!
I apply it in the morning after a shower and in the evening just before bed. Be careful to not put too much on though, unless you want your bedsheets to be covered in oil! Not a good way to get your girlfriend onside as I have unfortunately found out!
Now I must admit, this is quite a new addition to my collection of beard care products. Before this, I personally thought that just using beard oil would be enough for me.
After only a couple days of using it, I can honestly say that I’ve been converted. Not only does it help moisturise, but you can also use it to help style your beard. This is particularly useful if your beard is on the longer side, as the more control you can have over it the better!
Of course, there are plenty of suppliers for you to choose from. My advice would be to look out for ones that contain shea butter which can help make your beard appear thicker and coconut oil which helps to keep your beard looking healthy.
Do you brush your head hair every day? Most of us do.
But what about your beard? Like your head hair, when it’s short it requires very little if not no brushing or combing.
However, as it grows longer, you will need to begin combing and brushing your beard to ensure that it continues to look its best.
Which one that you decide to use, (or both) is entirely a personal choice. Combs are generally better for getting rid of knots and tangles and for styling shorter beards and moustaches, while fuller beards will benefit from brushing, as it makes them easier to style and will help to distribute beard oil to all of the hairs.
In addition to combing/brushing in the morning and evening, I also carry a small brush around with me during the day to help tidy my beard up when necessary.
In addition to keeping your beard looking and feeling healthy, you may also want to neaten your beard up.
This process starts early on, even for those wanting to go a big bushy mane. After growing a beard for a few weeks, it is advisable that you use a beard trimmer to define your neckline. Unless you want your beard to connect to your chest hair of course!
Once you have done that, if you’re looking for the designer stubble look or just a shorter beard in general, you can then use the different beard trimmer guards to trim your beard to your desired length.
For more delicate and smaller trims, scissors are more advisable. Think about it – one wrong move with a trimmer and you could be faced with having to shave your whole beard off and starting again. A terrible thought for any beard enthusiast!
Scissors allow you to make smaller trims, so any mistakes that you do make aren’t as noticeable or are salvageable. I would personally use scissors to trim away any stray longer hairs that just won’t stay down after applying oil/balm and brushing/combing.
About The Author:
By day Niall Sullivan is a Digital Marketer but his real passion is blogging….and beards! He developed a passion for writing at school and during his time at university studying journalism in 2007. Check out his blog at www.niallsullivan.co.uk for lots of beard tips.