A male beard demands lots of care and grooming. Exposure to the elements, debris, dirt, sweat from workouts, or hard work all takes their toll on the health and quality of your beard. Maintaining a well-groomed and nice-looking beard is critical if you are to attain the coveted beard goals you set for your beard journey. And the path to achieving a thick, healthy beard comes with its fair share of challenges.
Luckily, several reliable techniques can be employed to soften the beard. Top among these include using the best products on your facial hair and changing your beard grooming routine to maximize the beard products' benefits.
For example, avoid using regular body washes and bar soaps intended for the body as they offer a much harsher clean. While such products are great when you want to scrub off the grime from your body after a hard day at work, when used on the face, it dries out the skin and leaves your beard dry, flaky, itchy, with split ends and unhealthy growth. Your beard needs more care than the hair on your head.
Keeping your beard looking awesome has certainly been made easier by the availability of many personal grooming products. A question that plagues many men is the importance or necessity of using one or two beard products or even a variety. For example, why not simply use regular hair shampoo on the beard? What's the difference between a beard wash, hair shampoo, or hair conditioner?
About Beard Wash
During the day, the beard collects microscopic dust and debris that constantly floats in the air. Your beard also comes into direct contact with germs, smoke, food, drinks, and odors, as well as lots of stuff from your hands whenever you touch it. Washing the beard daily cleans it of such germ-carrying particles and saliva, and prevents their buildup in the pores that could lead to acne and beardruff.
A quality beard wash product is specifically designed for your beard. It offers a thorough cleanse, soft enough for the delicate facial tissue but strong enough to handle the more dense, thicker beard hairs. A beard wash is designed to work with your natural oils generated by your skin and hair rather than against them.
Benefits of Beard Washes
Beard washes will not only cleanse your facial hair and skin but also help soften the beard. Often, beard washes contain essential oils, Shea butter, and vitamins designed to help hydrate the beard, leaving it feeling soft and smooth.
It is worth mentioning once again that properly used, beard washes don't strip away the natural sebum oils in your hair, which are essential for keeping your beard and skin and moisturized. When combined with beard wash, the natural oils help keep the beard feeling soft and reduce the number of beard products needed for personal care.
Beardruff is the result of dead skin cell buildup. The dead skin cells leave specks of white flakes everywhere; on your beard, shirt, seat cushions, pillows, and other places where they would least be expected. Colder temperatures, wind, and indoor central heating contribute to dry hair and skin. When combined with the usage of wrong beard cleansing and moisturizing products, it contributes to accelerated flaking.
During the winter months, beardruff is particularly prominent. As the temperature drops, you may be tempted to skip regular hair and beard washing, shampooing, and conditioning. The cold months are very drying for your beard and skin, often requiring you to adopt a special beard care regimen.
Consistently using beard washes prevents and treats beard beardruff and dandruff. Beard washes gently cleanse the skin beneath the beard while functioning as an equally gentle exfoliant helping remove dead skin cells. Beard wash has natural ingredients designed to treat beard itch, which generally tends to emerge and bother men during the early stages of beard growth. Bacterial and fungal infections, acne, ingrown hairs, and poor hygiene habits may also contribute to beard itch.
Beard washes offer relief for itchy beards as they contain unique ingredients that reduce skin irritation. They also function as antibacterial agents preventing various acne forms.
Choosing Beard Wash
You could be wondering why you need to use a beard wash rather than a hair shampoo. Hair shampoos are specifically formulated for cleansing the hair on your head and the scalp. The shampoo is more concentrated to lift excess oils, dirt, and product buildup from your hair and scalp. Shampoos can be harsh and excessively drying. Applying such products can leave your beard feeling and looking dry. On the other hand, beard washes are gentle on your beard and face. They leverage your natural sebum oils to boost the anti-inflammatory and hydration process.
Another angle to check when looking to buy a beard wash is whether the ingredients list contains silicone. You will want to avoid beard products with silicone not because they are bad but because such products are not water-soluble. That means compared to water-soluble beard shampoos, hair shampoos are harder to wash out.
In that case, why would silicone be included in beard products? They help to make the beard look shiny, a desire of many men. Silicone tends to fills in the porosity found in your hair, thus artificially plumping it to give a look that is shinier and healthier. On the other hand, when you use premium products made without silicone, your beard will still look shinier and become healthier. They just don't plump them.
How Often to Wash Your Beard?
Avoid washing your beard too frequently. This is because it strips off the hair’s natural oils which are vital for its health and nice-look. Similarly, while washing regularly might appeal because it does reduce the natural sebum oils, you may want to skip the beard wash if yours is shorter. The general rule of thumb to observe is a beard shorter than 0.5″.
The production of sebum oil throughout the day generally compensates for any stripped out when you wash your hair. Nevertheless, make sure that you only wash your beard and hair every couple of days.
If you fall under the active guy category, spending lots of time working in sports or out in the sun, the social outdoors type, you may want to have your beard washed daily. If you mainly work behind a desk or from home most of the days, you might only need a beard wash two times a week.
About Beard Conditioner
Once the beard is clean, you need to soften it up with a specialized conditioner. Such a product infuses your beard with both nutrients and moisture, improving its texture and makes your beard less likely to irritate the skin. Beard conditioner has a dual role: hydrates the skin beneath the beard to prevent dryness and soothe.
Beard conditioners nourish your beard and the skin underneath. They prevent your beard from feeling and getting too wiry and the skin from getting flaky. Beard dandruff is never a good sight on any man. If you notice your beard is feeling rather dry and the skin beneath a little itchy, these are signs that you need a beard conditioner. To achieve comprehensive moisture levels, use it at least twice daily.
Hair Conditioner vs. Beard Conditioner
Beard forms part of your androgenic-hair and is controlled by hormones. It depends on the production of natural sebum oils by your body. On the other hand, scalp hair is non-androgenic. To grow, it doesn't need hormones and doesn't depend on natural sebum oils. This makes it important to understand the main differences between beard wash and regular shampoo, and why it makes more sense to use beard wash on your facial hair.
The key difference between beard (androgenic hair) and scalp hair, is that your facial hair grows curlier and thicker, is much more dry and coarse than head hair. Additionally, the skin on your head (scalp) is typically oilier than your facial skin, the reason why regular shampoos turn out to be harsher than a good quality beard wash. This makes regular shampoo okay for your head but not on your whiskers or face.
These differences between your face and scalp, and between head hairs and beards make it imperative to get a quality beard wash and conditioner to accompany it. The two products are specifically designed for your face skin and beard hairs. Usually, a beard conditioner has a beard shampoo that goes along with it from the same manufacturer. Like a hair conditioner, you apply the conditioner after shampooing your beard and rinsing it out.
In most cases, beard washes are made from natural ingredients and only have minimal chemical cleaning agents. Most generic shampoos and conditioners are often made from a mixture of strong cleaning agents, human-made chemicals, and some natural oils.
This explains why your average supermarket shampoo or beard conditioner often comes with parabens, SLS, benzoates, and several other powerful detergents. Most might only contain small amounts of natural oils such as almond oil. On the other hand, quality beard washes and conditioners are typically made from natural oils such as coconut oil, jojoba oil, olive oil, and Castile soaps with possibly small amounts of lye or potassium hydroxide.
Beard Conditioner Benefits
Beard conditioners are moisturizing washout treatments that are specially-formulated for use on facial hair. These beauty care products typically feature ingredients that nourish both hair and skin. They lock in moisture for a more comfortable, healthier beard or mustache. Beard conditioner is recommended because the product is specifically made for the sensitive area around the face.
You are likely to experience less irritation from the beard conditioner ingredients than from the ones used in a hair conditioner. Your facial hair constantly gets a beating from the environments around you. From food crumbs and drips from your drinks to car exhaust and pollution, plenty of unwanted stuff, dirt, and debris lands on your whiskers. Beard conditioners help in cleansing your facial hair of the icky stuff picked up during your day.
A conditioner designed specifically for use on your beard that won't strip the essential oils. That enables you to clean the beard without compromising it in any way. Regular use of a quality beard conditioner ensures you enjoy shiny, lush facial hair that is visibly healthy. Beard conditioners are also an excellent beard care product for men who prefer not using a leave-in beard conditioner such as beard balm, beard oil, or beard butter/cream. While it certainly cannot be a 100% substitute for a good leave-in conditioner, a beard conditioner is certainly useful for men with certain preferences.
Using Hair Conditioners
Generally, most beard conditioners are presented with a lotion or cream-like consistency, similar to the average hair conditioners. The conditioner must be applied or spread evenly over the entire beard, from the roots to the hair end, including the mustache. Although a beard conditioner is basically a washout product that you should use after washing the beard, it can also be used on its own on those days when you aren't getting dirty or sweaty. This is why some conditioners are referred to as co-wash or conditioner wash.
If you are using a daily beard conditioner such as a beard balm or beard oil in your care and grooming regimen but are looking for a smoother texture that can be applied right out of the shower, consider using a butter beard conditioner. It makes a good compromise as you can wash the beard, apply the conditioner, and you are good to go.
For a beard that is shorter than 1/2", unless you consistently apply the conditioner for a couple of days, you are not likely to fully appreciate its benefits. The consistent use gives the conditioner time to get fully absorbed and work its magic. For a short beard, you will need only a few drops applied throughout the day. If the beard conditioner is not adding enough moisture, applying a bit of beard oil might help.
The weather and climate in your location can impact how dry the beard and skin get, and the dryer the local climate, the more your beard needs conditioning. Remember your skin, hair and beard are different from your buddies, so use some discretion in terms of what and how you apply a beard conditioner.
The most important factor, however, is how dirty you usually get. If most of your time is spent indoors on the couch, you can probably go for days without having to wash or condition your beard. If you get dirty and sweat a lot, it's always recommended you wash your beard regularly, if not daily, followed by a conditioner to get back the moisture. After all, a beard can never be said to be too soft!
Choosing Beard Conditioners
A beard conditioner is a washout grooming product that is best used after washing your beard. It seals the hair follicles, packing them with all the essential nutrients needed to grow healthy, strong, and soft. What's most important is that the conditioner allows you to jam the nutrients into your hair shafts before they close (when you dry the beard).
When looking to buy high-quality beard products, we recommend you stick with 100% all-natural beard and hair conditioners, and washes. You must avoid using any product that's too harsh on the skin beneath or one that can cause itchiness, irritation, beard dandruff, or an overall unhealthy-looking beard.
So before picking up any beard conditioner, ensure it's all-natural and suited for your particular beard and skin. It would be a grooming disaster if you picked the wrong product. You will want to make sure it has the key ingredients that strengthen, nourish, moisturize, condition and help your beard grow!
Beards are certainly in fashion. If you are blessed with a chin packed with thick, luscious hair, you will also need to go the extra mile to keep it nice-looking and clean. Remember, your beard hair is thicker and stronger than regular hair, and therefore your regular shampoo may simply not do. It would help if you had a good beard wash and conditioner.
Any good barber or hairstylist will tell you to avoid shampooing your hair after every shower because hair shampoos can be extremely drying. The hair shampoos chemicals strip the beard of its natural oils, leaving both the skin beneath and hair brittle and dry. However, beard washes, are designed specifically to work with your natural oils rather than against them. Hair washes also provide plenty of anti-inflammatory ingredients.
After using a beard wash, finish the job with a beard conditioner. The right beard conditioner penetrates and softens the beard with vital nutrients and vitamins. Your beard becomes instantly more style-able, and gentle against the skin and that of your partner, instead of being scratchy and scrappy. Used together, a beard wash and beard conditioner work for you. Your beard will be the envy of many men and adored by the women!