Whether you are growing your facial hair or are already the proud owner of an adult beard, beard grooming is an important part of personal grooming. Check out the following tips to help you maintain a healthy, well-groomed beard.
1. Engage in the process
Growing a beard takes time, and taking care of your beard isn’t just about shampooing and combing. Keeping your beard healthy starts with maintaining your overall health. To grow a healthy beard, you need to:
- Have had plenty of sleep
- Avoid smoking, alcohol, caffeine, and other unhealthy habits
- Eat a balanced diet containing all the vitamins and nutrients your body needs
- Consider taking a vitamin supplement
When you first grow your beard, the stubble can lead to ingrown hairs. Exfoliate your skin several times a week to prevent ingrown hairs and keep your pores clear. This forms a good basis for the growth of the beard.
2. Choose the right beard grooming tools
Just as you choose special products for your skin and hair, you should have the right tools for beard care. You will need to invest in the following:
- Cleanser or shampoo suitable for your skin type
- Clean and dry towel
- Exfoliating lotion
- Moisturizer that contains SPF (while your beard is growing)
- Moisturizer without SPF (after your beard has grown)
- Conditioner, beard oil or moisturizer, depending on your skin type
- Beard comb and beard brush
3. Wash your beard
A gentle cleanser works just as well on your beard as it does on your skin. If you need to treat dandruff, you can use a special shampoo. It is important to wash your face and beard daily to eliminate:
- Dead skin
To shampoo or clean your beard, use lukewarm water for best results. Apply your cleanser and massage it into your beard and skin. If you’re using a medicated product, let it sit on your skin for a few minutes before rinsing it off. Make sure to rinse your beard well to remove all shampoo residue.
4. Choose the right beard cleanser
Choose your beard cleanser based on your skin type. Beard care starts with the right products. If you have oily or acne-prone skin, look for a facial cleanser that has salicylic acid or glycolic acid as the active ingredient. Also, make sure the label says non-comedogenic, which means the product won’t clog your pores.
If you have normal skin, you should also choose a non-comedogenic cleanser. You can look for active ingredients that treat or prevent acne if you are having specific issues with your skin.
For dry skin, look for a fragrance-free moisturizing cleanser that might 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 main cause of beard dandruff. You might think beard dandruff is caused by poor hygiene, but it isn’t.
When your beard covers your skin, it traps bacteria and fungi. For example, the overgrowth of a yeast called malassezia can sometimes occur. Your body reacts to this yeast by attacking your skin, resulting in redness, flaking, and dander.
If you do develop this condition, treat the symptoms with the right shampoo. Products containing at least 1% of the active ingredient ketoconazole may help relieve the symptoms of beard dandruff.
Ketoconazole is an antifungal drug that kills and prevents fungi and yeasts. Some forms are available over the counter at your local pharmacy. For other forms, a prescription from your doctor or dermatologist may be necessary.
Other active ingredients to look for include selenium sulfide or zinc pyrithione. Your skin may respond better to one active ingredient than another. If one product doesn’t work, try another or talk to your doctor.
6. Moisturize your beard
Choose a moisturizer for your beard just like 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, non-comedogenic moisturizer.
For best results, apply your moisturizer immediately after washing your beard and gently towel dry your face. Your skin and beard should still be moist when you apply moisturizer. Use the product sparingly to avoid the build-up or appearance of fat.
7. Take care of your beard
Brush or comb your beard daily to avoid knots and tangles. Trim the hairs as needed to achieve the style you want. Use an electric trimmer instead of a manual razor if you have skin irritation issues.