Growing a beard is a rewarding experience with a high payout: put time and care into your facial hair, and you’ll get a great-looking fluffy thing that keeps your face warm in the winters! You want to take care of your beard by making sure you learn proper beard hygiene.
Beard hygiene is a delicate topic that many men don’t give much consideration to, but we want to make sure you’re equipped with the info you need to keep your beard clean and healthy.
Treating your beard the way you treat the hair on your head can cause many problems from causing you to develop sores under your beard to dry skin under your beard.
In this breakdown, The Gentleman’s Playbook will be sharing different beard hygiene tactics that will help you learn how to clean a beard effectively and safely. You may even find your beard grows faster or thicker than it used to.
This is Section 3 of Part 1 from The Beard Playbook, the ultimate Playbook on beard growth.
What a Basic Beard Hygiene Routine Looks Like
We wanted to start by sharing the outline of what a basic and effective beard hygiene routine looks like from start to finish.
- Rinse Beard in Warm Shower
- Wash Beard with Dedicated Beard Wash
- Condition with a Dedicated Beard Conditioner
- Pat-Dry Beard with Microfiber Towel
- Apply All-Natural Beard Oil
- Apply Beard Balm (if needed)
That’s all there is to it! There’s not much nuance in the actual routine aspect of keeping your beard clean and healthy; a lot of ambiguity pops up when it comes to what you wash or condition your beard with.
Beard Wash Guidelines
To make things simple, we are going to talk about each part of your beard hygiene routine in order of how you’d use it – we will start by looking at everything you need to know about beard washes and shampoos.
Then, we will look at what type of conditioners you can or can’t use on your beard as well as how frequently to use them. After that, we’ll talk about how to dry your beard and wrap up discussing beard oil and beard balms!
First, let’s look at some basic Beard Wash Guidelines:
Not All Soap is Good Soap
Your beard is an ecosystem. There’re lots of delicate oils and bacteria that coexist to make your beard look and feel fantastic. They also keep the skin hydrated and healthy.
Some soaps disrupt this delicate balance and send your beard toward a spiral of dryness, itchiness, and brittleness.
Luckily, there are shampoos and soaps crafted specifically with beards in mind. They’re more gentle and usually include replenishing oils that help keep your beard and the skin underneath happy and hydrated while eliminating the gross bacteria that can accumulate from things like food, drool, or airborne germs.
The last thing you ever want to do when washing your beard is use shampoo meant for your hair! That will be far too harsh and damage your beard – here’s what you can expect if you wash your beard with shampoo or cheap hand soap bars:
- Slower Beard Growth
- Beard Itch
- Dry Skin Under Beard
- Developing Sores Under Beard
Instead, you want to find a beard wash or shampoo created specifically for your beard, such as this one from Viking Revolution.
Beard-specific washes take into consideration the delicate nature of your facial hair. Often, they’re made from natural ingredients. Here are some ingredients you want to avoid when it comes to the beard wash you select:
On top of picking a natural, beard-friendly wash, you also want to be careful with how often you wash your beard.
Typically, most beards only need a wash 2-3 times per week. Outside of that, a rinse in the shower with no soap will suffice day-to-day.
Keeping the pace at which you wash your beard with beard soap restricted helps your skin stay hydrated and maintain a healthy level of beneficial oils and bacteria. It will also help keep your beard soft and lush.
After washing your beard, you’ll want to quickly replenish the softness it has as gently as possible.
Even though a beard wash is formulated to be beard-friendly, you’ll want to use an appropriate beard conditioner after washing to keep everything soft and hydrated.
Avoid These When Conditioning Your Beard:
Just like washing your beard, when it comes to conditioning, avoid anything made for the hair on your head.
A conditioner meant for your head hair will be much stronger and harsher than a conditioner made specifically for your beard. There’s not much to say here, but just like with shampoos, avoid beard conditioners that contain:
- Artificial fragrance
- Unnatural ingredients
A good rule of thumb for any product you use as part of your beard hygiene routine is to make sure it’s derived from natural oils and ingredients.
How Often to Condition Your Beard
When it comes to determining how often you should use beard conditioner, follow the same guidelines we used for washing – 2 to 3 times a week maximum.
Make sure your beard conditioning sessions are paired with the days you wash your beard with a beard wash. You’ll want to get that beard rehydrated immediately after washing.
After washing your beard, put a nickel-sized amount of beard conditioner in your palm and rub it into your beard. Let it sit for about 3 minutes, then rinse! For longer or thicker beards, you may want to use around a quarter-sized amount of conditioner.
How to Properly Dry Your Beard
Most gentlemen take their body towel after a shower and vigorously dry their faces off by rubbing the water off the skin. This same practice is commonly performed on the beard as well.
We want to convince you to stop that! For the sake of both your beard and the skin on your face, you want to take a gentler approach to drying.
The Gentleman’s Playbook recommends using a dedicated microfiber towel that is used only for drying your face and beard after your showers.
There are a few reasons you should use a towel that is only ever used to dry your face and beard:
- Keeps face & beard clean and free of body hair
- Keeps from spreading bacteria to your face from places such as your armpits, groin, or butt
- Microfiber towels are gentler on your face and beard than conventional bath towels
- It’s just darn-good beard hygiene practice
We specifically suggest a microfiber towel because they are much softer and more absorbent than a standard bath towel. They also won’t yank on or damage your beard hair or cause it to become frizzy.
On top of using the right kind of towel and using it exclusively for your face, you also want to make sure you’re drying your beard the right way!
Instead of rubbing the water out of your beard and off your face, drape the microfiber towel over both of your hands, palm up, and place your hands on your cheeks, covering your beard completely with the towel.
Firmly squeeze and hold (don’t rub) and let the microfiber absorb the water from your face and beard, moving your hands and applying slight pressure where you need more absorption.
Drying this way while using a microfiber will make your beard hair softer than rubbing it dry with a regular towel. Fun little fact – you can also get a microfiber towel for your hair that can be used to keep your hair soft. Just dry the hair on your head in the same way we suggest you dry your beard, with a microfiber cloth.
Post-Shower Beard Hygiene & Daily Beard Care
Just because you wash and condition your beard with the right products 2-3 times a week doesn’t mean your beard hygiene routine is finished! There’s also some post-wash and after-shower care that goes into your beard.
Apply a Natural Beard Oil
Once you get out of the shower and finish pat-drying your facial hair with a microfiber towel, you want to apply some natural beard oil. We talk about beard oil a lot at The Gentleman’s Playbook – it’s the staple of all beard care and beard hygiene routines.
A quality beard oil will:
- Provide your beard with moisture
- Promote a faster growing and thicker beard
- Prevent sores, acne, or dry skin under the beard
- Keep beard clean
- Smell incredible!
All you have to do to take advantage of the incredible benefits of a great beard oil is add 2-3 drops to your palm, rub your hands together, and run your hands thoroughly throughout your beard.
Once you’ve gotten the oil completely distributed through your facial hair, stroke down on your beard to straighten it out and help it lay flat. You can also use a wooden beard comb to comb your beard.
Some of the things you want in your beard oil are:
- Natural Carrier Oils (e.g. Almond Oil, Jojoba Oil, Castor Oil, Avocado Oil)
- Essential Oils (e.g. Sandalwood, Rosemary, Patchouli, Cedarwood, etc.)
Things you don’t want are any ingredients that are harsh or unnatural. You also don’t want any beard oil with artificial fragrance in it.
Beard oil is a vital aspect of your beard hygiene routine and should be used at least once daily, preferably after a shower!
Optional: Apply a Beard Balm
Taking things a step further, some men opt to include an all-natural beard balm in their beard hygiene routine.
Just like with beard oil, beard balm should be naturally derived and made with essential oils, rather than artificial fragrances.
The primary difference between beard oil and beard balm is consistency and texture – beard oil is a liquid that is typically dispensed with an eyedropper, whereas beard balm is solid.
Apply beard balm by rubbing your fingertips into the balm’s firm surface. Work the beard balm into your hands until it warms up and liquefies; your hands should be shiny and covered in balm.
Take your beard balm covered palms and rub them in a downward motion on your beard – this will give it a nice sheen and keep your beard controlled throughout the day.
Beard balms are a great way to lock in the moisture that beard oil provides and keep your beard from getting wild throughout the day. It also aids with moisture and makes your beard immediately look thicker and healthier.
Using a beard balm isn’t required for an effective beginner’s beard hygiene routine, but it’s a nice addition, especially if you have a longer and thicker beard.
Take Beard Hygiene Seriously
While on your glorious beard growth journey, you want to maintain a consistent beard hygiene regimen. This will keep your beard growing quickly and prevent issues such as beard acne, dry skin under your beard, or beard sores.
The foundational aspects of growing a beard are some of the most important and they all boil down to:
As long as you wash your beard properly, use a beard-friendly conditioner, and keep it moisturized with natural products such as beard oil or beard balm, you’ll be growing a fantastic beard, filling in those patches, and smelling great on top of it!
Now that you know the basics of beard hygiene, we recommend you check out the rest of The Beard Playbook, the ultimate guide to beard growth from The Gentleman’s Playbook:
- The Beard Playbook Part 1: How to Grow a Beard
- The Beard Playbook Part 1, Section 3: How Long Does it Take to Grow a Beard?
- The Beard Playbook Part 1, Section 5: How to Grow a Thicker or Fuller Beard
Everything you just read on this page was Section 4 of The Beard Playbook Part 1! We hope you found all of this info on how to clean and condition your beard useful. Now, get out there and start implementing what you learned!