Beards are hair, and hair requires some upkeep. Even short hair requires washing, and a little conditioning can make a big difference in its overall health. The same is true with your beard. As any seasoned beardsman can tell you, There are quite a few weapons that every bearded man should have in his arsenal. These are the most basic.
1. Beard Oil
Beard oil is the most important tool for maintaining your beard. Period. Without the benefits of a good oil, many guys end up shaving the faces before their budding beards can even get started.
Beard oil supplies your beard hair and the skin under it with much needed moisture. This eliminates itch and dandruff – the chief causes of shaving (next to jobs). The itch is a particular menace to growing beards, and it’s caused by dry skin. Beard hair is notoriously dry and coarse, and very difficult to keep moist with standard product. That’s why people have been using oil in their beards for thousands of years.
The best beard oils contain a blend of oils that each serve a unique function. Oils like almond and argan are great for the health of your hair, and thus beard hair. Jojoba, coconut, meadowfoam, and babasu are some of the best for skin. By blending several, these products impart their many benefits in tandem.
Most beard oils are scented with various essential oils as well, which not only make them smell awesome, but also grant the benefits of those oils. While the FDA hasn’t really evaluated the various statements you’ll hear about essential oils, there’s a lot of at least anecdotal evidence that oils like tea tree, peppermint, bergamot, and many others have benefits ranging from antiseptic to moisturizing.
2. Boar Bristle Brush
Boar bristles are unique in nature. They are both rigid and soft, making them the perfect material for hair brushes. They’re not the best for styling or tangles – that’s the work of a comb. But what boar bristle brushes do better than any other tool is distribute the oils in your hair and beard. This will help with the natural oils produced by your skin, but is especially helpful for making your beard oil do its thing.
3. Beard Balm
Beard balm is half conditioning and half style, and both are things you need for your beard. Beard hair has a tendency to be wild and hard to tame. Strays and fly-aways come with the territory. But the last thing you want to do, especially in formal or work settings, is stroll around with a bad case of “hobo beard.”
Beard balms vary in their ingredients, but a good one will contain beeswax, which provides hold and allows you to keep your beard tame. Shea and cocoa butters are also common, as both are benficial for skin and hair in many different ways. Shea butter can, in fact, lock in moisture to prevent your beard from drying out (this is why you commonly see it in moisturizing soaps or even lip balm). The presence of oils (commonly coconut) will help condition your beard similarly to beard oil.
4. Beard Wash
Beards can get nasty, guys. Seriously. Think of your beard hair as being similar to your head hair – with all the dirt and oils that get tangled up in there – except you also eat your food over it. No matter how careful you are, you’re going to drop some crumbs in that thing. That leads to microbial action, where tiny invisible bugs will eat your leftovers and produce nasty smells. And those little guys will eat your dead skin, too, which will flake into your beard. Add to that your sweat, and all the greasy itchiness that comes with it. Sounding pretty great, huh?
It’s things like this that have made beards unpopular in the past. They might look great, but they’re problematic. The good news is that you can cure all those problems (well, most of them – if you’re a sloppy eater, maybe a nice finishing school?) with beard shampoo. You can wash your beard with soap or ordinary shampoo, but while they’ll take care of the dirt issues, they’ll also strip the moisture out, leaving your beard dry. The dryness causes more itch and dandruff, which create more issues. It’s a vicious cycle. But using a beard wash that’s formulated to clean and hydrate, you can fix all your issues.
You need to comb your beard. Some may tell you differently, but the benefits of combing can’t be denied. Combing doesn’t just detangle and seperate the hairs of your beard. It also helps you train your beard’s shape, making it a vital style tool. You want to choose the right comb for the job. Most beardsmen swear by wood, metal, and bone as materials. Plastic is problematic. Plastic combs can cause static, and because they are mass produced, they generally have seams that can snag beard hairs and strip oil. It can be a good idea to make sure your beard comb is small enough for your pocket so that you can groom on the go if need be.
You may be a fierce beardsman, but everyone can benefit from grooming tools. It’s important to remain the master of your beard and not let it grow too wild or bring you down with itching or other discomforts. Use of the tools above can make a major difference in the health of your beard. Beard fierce, friends!