Whether the man in your life is rocking a five o’clock shadow or a wicked Bandholz (a facial hair style popularized by beard expert Eric Bandholz), beard care should most definitely be on his radar. Similar to a skincare routine (which he should also have), adding a beard regimen is key to healthy facial hair. So, we tapped Chris Brownless, a barber and owner of Northwest Barber Co., to share the best beard-care tips for washing, grooming and styling.
Meet the Expert
What Are the Benefits of Beard Care?
The main benefit is healthy facial hair. A full routine helps care for and maintain the appearance of a beard. Especially if there are unruly knots, irritated skin or even beardruff (aka dandruff), certain products can help encourage growth, reduce dryness and add shine.
So, What Should Be in a Beard Care Kit?
As mentioned, a number of key products are essential to a clean and healthy beard. To get your shopping list ready, you’re going to need:
- Beard Shampoo: When it comes to washing a beard, regular shampoo just won’t cut it. A beard shampoo is designed to wash and remove impurities without stripping away the hair’s natural oils.
- Beard Softener: If they’re looking to soften, hydrate and treat itchiness, this product acts as a conditioner.
- Beard Balm/Butter: This styling product can help moisturize, soften and shape the beard. Ingredients can include beeswax, cocoa butter and shea butter, to condition the area.
- Beard Oil: This hair oil is crucial in daily maintenance. Thanks to nourishing ingredients like jojoba, argan or coconut oil, a beard oil helps improve shine, add hydration and strengthen strands.
- Beard Brush/Comb: These tools are great for detangling, exfoliating and shaping the beard. They also help with distributing products evenly during the styling process.
- Beard Clippers: A pair of clippers can not only trim pesky flyaways, but also encourage growth and keep the beard in top shape.
What Steps Are in a Beard Care Routine?
A solid beard care routine is actually quite simple and won’t require too much time in the bathroom. It’s broken up into three categories: washing, grooming and styling.
“I always describe this step like growing a nice lawn,” Brownless tells us. “It starts with the soil (aka the skin). The first step to taking care of the skin is washing and supporting healthy beard growth.”
Use a quarter-size amount of beard shampoo and lather the area before rinsing with warm water. It’s recommended to wash two to three times a week, however, Brownless notes it all depends on the skin type, beard type or length. “Start washing the beard as frequently as you shampoo your hair, then tweak as necessary. If you start getting dry flakes in your beard, you might be washing too frequently,” he adds.
After rinsing, gently dry the area using a towel and avoid dragging or patting, as that can cause tangles and breakage. Note: If you’re working with coarser or longer hair, Brownless suggests blow drying on the coolest setting—and six inches away from your face—to reduce damage and irritation.
Grab a brush (or comb) to detangle and help distribute products evenly. As mentioned, beard balms or oils tend to have thicker formulas, so it’s best to do a quick brush to reduce tangles, build up or stiffness. A brush can also be used during the washing portion of the routine for exfoliating and removing dead skin cells while also preventing any ingrown hairs.
Another helpful addition to the routine is trimming. Use clippers to trim any stray hairs or unruly flyaways. This step helps maintain the beard shape and promote healthy growth. If unsure how to go about shaping up facial hair, Brownless recommends booking regular trims with a barber. The professional will guide and teach them what works best for their face shape. Plus, no one wants to go scissor happy and ruin a perfect fit fuzz.
“The key to a thicker beard is all about the condition of the skin, which can impact the blood flow to the hair roots,” says Brownless. “This step is going to help protect and nourish the hair to maintain a healthy strong beard.”
It all starts with applying a few drops of beard oil to the finger tips and massaging the product through the beard. As mentioned, the daily oil adds shine, improves softness and reduces itchiness. The number of drops depends on the hair length. If they’re a beginner, one to two drops works fine, but longer or fuller beards should consider four to seven drops of the oil.
After using beard oil, a balm (or butter) is an optional step to maintain the softness, moisture and shape of the beard. Since it’s a thicker consistency, it’s recommended to use a small amount to coat the hair to avoid build up or weighing down the area.
Before You Go
It’s important to remember that every beard is different. As such, your partner, son, brother, etc., should make time to experiment with different products and find a routine that works best for them. At the end of the day, it’s all about patience and commitment. Don’t worry, they’ll thank ya later.