Whether you’re in the process of growing your facial hair or are already the proud owner of a fully grown beard, beard care is an important part of personal grooming. Check out the following tips to help you maintain a healthy, well-groomed beard.
1. Commit to the Process
Growing a beard takes time, and caring for your beard doesn’t end at shampooing and combing. Keeping your beard healthy starts with maintaining your overall health. To grow a healthy beard, you should:
- Get plenty of sleep
- Avoid smoking, alcohol, caffeine, and other unhealthy habits
- Eat a well-balanced diet containing all the vitamins and nutrients your body needs
- Consider taking a vitamin supplement
When you first grow your beard, stubble may lead to ingrown hairs. Exfoliate your skin several times a week to prevent ingrown hairs, and keep your pores clear. This lays a good foundation for beard growth.
2. Choose the Right Beard Care Tools
Just as you choose special products for your skin and hair, you should have the right tools for beard care. You’ll need to invest in the following:
- Skin cleanser or shampoo tailored to your skin type
- Clean, dry towel
- Exfoliating scrub
- Moisturizer that contains an SPF (while your beard grows in)
- Moisturizer without an SPF (after your beard has grown in)
- Beard conditioner, oil, or moisturizer, depending on your skin type
- Beard comb and beard brush
3. Wash Your Beard
A gentle cleanser works well for your beard as well as your skin. If you need to treat dandruff, you might want to use a special shampoo. It’s important to wash your face and beard daily to remove:
- Dead skin
To shampoo or cleanse your beard, use lukewarm water for the best results. Apply your cleansing product, and massage it into your beard and skin. If you are using a medicated product, allow it to sit on your skin for a few minutes before rinsing. Be sure to rinse your beard thoroughly to remove all shampoo residue.
4. Pick the Right Beard Cleanser
Pick your beard cleanser according to your skin type. Beard care starts with the right products. If you have oily or acne-prone skin, look for a facial cleanser with salicylic acid or glycolic acid as an active ingredient. Also, make sure the label says noncomedogenic, meaning that the product won’t clog your pores.
If you have normal skin, you should also choose a noncomedogenic cleanser. You can look for active ingredients that treat or prevent acne if you’re experiencing any specific issues with your skin.
For dry skin, look for a hydrating cleanser free from fragrances that may irritate your skin. This is also important if you have sensitive skin. Look for labels that say "soap-free" and "fragrance-free" to avoid skin irritation.
5. Treat Beard Dandruff
If you suffer from beard dandruff, it may be treatable. Seborrheic dermatitis is the leading cause of beard dandruff. You may think that beard dandruff is caused by poor hygiene, but it isn’t.
As your beard covers your skin, it traps bacteria and fungus. For example, the overgrowth of a yeast called malassezia can sometimes occur. Your body responds to this yeast by attacking your skin, leading to skin redness, flakiness, and scaliness.
If you develop this condition, treat the symptoms with the correct shampoo. Products containing at least 1% of the active ingredient ketoconazole may help alleviate symptoms of beard dandruff.
Ketoconazole is an antifungal that kills and prevents fungus and yeast. Some forms are available over the counter at your local drugstore. For other forms, a prescription from your doctor or dermatologist may be necessary.
Other active ingredients to look for include selenium sulfide or pyrithione zinc. Your skin may respond better to one active ingredient than another. If one product doesn’t work, try another one, or talk to your doctor.
6. Moisturize Your Beard
Choose a moisturizer for your beard as you would a shampoo or cleanser: If you have acne-prone skin, a beard conditioner may work best. For normal or dry skin, try a beard oil. If you have sensitive skin, use a fragrance free, noncomedogenic moisturizer.
For best results, apply your moisturizer immediately after washing your beard and gently drying your face with a towel. Your skin and beard should still be damp when you apply moisturizer. Use the product sparingly to prevent build-up or the appearance of greasiness.
7. Groom Your Beard
Brush or comb your beard every day to prevent knots and tangles. Trim hairs as needed to achieve your desired style. Use an electric trimmer instead of a manual razor if you have problems with skin irritation.