How to manage facial hair
It's time to stop neglecting your beard. Here's EYNTK about maintaining an effective facial hair care routine
image Instagram via @jonahfits
words Ella Glover
Facial hair is a magical thing. The right combination of beard and moustache has the ability to completely transform someone’s vibe (whether it’s giving Love Island contestant, sexy lumberjack or internet creep is entirely dependent). But no matter the style, it’s important to never skimp out on beard care. YES! For the final time! Beards need to be washed, too.
It's not that beards are inherently dirty – a 2022 study examining bacteria on bearded and clean-shaven healthcare workers found that those with beards actually had a lower bacterial load in their facial flora than the bald-faced bros – but ignoring your beard can wreak havoc on your skin (bad news if you ever decide to shave) and, just like the hair on your head, can cause it to become damaged over time.
Want a soft and healthy beard? Follow these tips.
What is beard care?
First things first, what exactly is beard care? Well, it’s just like skincare or haircare, but for your beard. If you want glowing skin, you find the right products for you and use them regularly. If you don’t want your hair to dry out and snap off, you shampoo and condition it. “Just as the hair on our head needs to be looked after to keep it looking and feeling healthy, the same goes for our beards,” Jim Shaw, a hairdresser and salon director tells woo. It’s that simple. “We need to ensure we look after our beard and use the correct products to keep it looking well-groomed and healthy,” Shaw adds.
If you don’t care for your beard properly, it can become dry, flaky and itchy, irritating the skin underneath it, which LBH is not what you need. “With that in mind,” says Shaw, “It's important that we have a beard care routine in place with steps and products that can be used daily to keep our beard in top condition.”
Beard care products
If you want to become a beard care boss, there are four main products you’ll need in your arsenal: beard wash or shampoo, beard oil, a beard comb and, of course, a beard trimmer.
“A beard wash, cleanser or shampoo will ensure that your beard and the skin underneath stays clean and free from dirt and bacteria that can build up on the beard,” says Shaw. He suggests opting for natural ingredients like Aloe Vera which is “very soothing and can help to get rid of any beard dandruff and itchiness,” or peppermint, eucalyptus and tea tree. “These smell incredible and give your skin and face a refreshing feel afterwards and are very kind to your skin,” he says.
Next, Shaw says beard oil is “an essential product to keep your beard feeling soft and avoid it from feeling rough and brittle.” The oil will also help stop your beard from becoming itchy, dry and flaky as it helps to retain moisture. Not to mention it can aid your aesthetic: “it will also give your beard a healthy appearance and soft shine, whilst calming any unruly beard hairs,” says Shaw. In terms of ingredients, Shaw suggests any natural ingredients with moisturising properties, like argan, coconut, jojoba and almond oil.
If you have a longer beard, don’t forget about one of the most useful tools you can have – a beard comb. According to Shaw, beard comes work to ensure your hairs grow in the right direction and eliminate the chances of getting ingrown hairs. “It will also help your beard to have a more groomed appearance,” he adds. “I always suggest using your beard comb after applying your beard oil, as this will help to distribute the product throughout your beard for the best results.”
Last but not least, get yourself a beard trimmer. Don’t worry, we’re not suggesting you shave it all off. But, just like the hair on our heads, beards can get split ends too and regular trimming can get rid of them, keeping your beard healthy. Plus, Shaw says, regular trimming will remove any stray, coarse, tangled and damaged hairs. “It will also, again, ensure your beard has a cleaner, groomed and even appearance, avoiding it from looking messy and unkempt,” he says.
Facial hair essentials
The ideal beard care routine
The ideal beard care routine will depend on your skin type. Shaw suggests those with oily skin should wash their beard every one to two days. For normal skin types, two to three times a week should do.
Beard oil should be used more frequently – we’re talking twice a day, everyday. “That’s once in the morning and then again at night before going to sleep, using your comb to distribute the product through your beard hair,” says Shaw.
He adds that trimming can be done as and when you please, depending on the length you like your beard. “If you’re looking to grow your beard, you may want to wait around six to eight weeks. However, if you want to keep your beard trimmed down and maintained, I would generally say to trim it every three to four weeks,” says Shaw. “If your hair grows fast you may want to do it sooner – there's no hard and fast rule per say. You will be able to tell when your beard needs trimming by how it looks and feels.”
Black beard care
There are many different hair types, but it's no secret that there are way less products that cater specifically to Black hair. Celebrity barber and founder of SliderCut Mark Maciver says that, for afro hair, a hair oil is vital to give it a healthy-looking shine. He also advises regular trims from your barber to help with fullness.
“When it comes to afro hair, a lot of products strip the hydration out of the hair, but you want something that adds moisture,” he tells woo. “A lot of people with afro hair struggle with dry hair and scalp, and some of these shampoos are making it worse because they are taking out all the natural moisture from the scalp.”
One must-have ingredient for Maciver is jojoba oil. “It’s a lightweight oil that wouldn’t weigh your beard down when applied,” he explains. “It promotes growth and prevents thinning by clearing blocked hair follicles and helps to prevent dry scalp and dandruff, too”.
In terms of routine, he says it depends on the length and state of your beard as well as your hair type. “Some people struggle with hair breakage, so they would have to trim their hair more often than someone that doesn't struggle with that,” he says. “There are people that have oily skin, so they might have to wash it more regularly, and, for longer hair you'll have to comb it out more often because it tangles up a lot more.”
Essentially, it completely varies. To give yourself the best chance, you can always get a second opinion from your barber. “There’s no one size fits all when it comes to beard care,” says Maciver. “It's best to speak to your barber or stylist and ask that individual what they think you should be doing, how often you should be trimming, washing, combing.”