So you want to wash your beard, now what?

So you want to wash your beard, now what?

let’s discuss why you should use a beard specific soap when washing your facial hair, and how often to wash it. Is it necessary to use a beard specific soap? Not always. It is a good idea? Absolutely.

I found that beard specific products became necessary for me around the six month mark.    As I have mentioned before, no combination of shampoo, conditioner, and regular off the shelf soap was giving my beard any sort of manageability.  The first soap I bought specifically for my beard was a popular pine tar soap. I enjoyed that soap for a while, but since that time, I have sampled and reviewed a number of different soaps. My personal regimen consists of soap from one of three companies (more on that later).

The problem with using most off-the-shelf soaps, shampoos, and conditioners is that the chemicals in them can quickly dry out the oils in your facial hair, in addition to drying out your skin.  As your beard dries out, the hairs appear and feel brittle and become more and more unhealthy and more prone to breaking, falling or getting pulled out, and more likely to develop split ends as well.

The more unhealthy the beard, the less full and impressive it appears.  Not to mention, if the skin underneath the beard is unhealthy; if it is dried out or your pores are clogged, one’s full beard growing potential cannot be reached.   This is especially important to consider in the winter and summer months when excessive cold and heat can dry out one’s skin.

Many people would ask at this point – “But I use a beard oil/beard balm/other leave-in conditioner – isn’t this enough to keep my beard healthy?”  A beard oil or beard balm or other leave-in conditioner is definitely a step in the right direction, but only a part of a complete facial hair care regimen.  Think about it this way – I want to improve my physical health, so I change my eating habits and exercise.  Can only one of the two help me get healthier?  Sure, but the two when used together make me even healthier and make the overall journey easier.

beard washing
Photo by cottonbro from Pexels

Many beard specific soaps are all natural; just take a look at any ingredient list and you will see a list of natural oils and ingredients, not chemicals with twenty-seven letter names that you cannot pronounce.  The natural ingredients in beard specific soaps will not only keep your beard healthy and happy, but the underlying skin healthy and happy as well.  It is also worth noting that some beardsmen who have underlying skin conditions have commented to me that the ingredients in beard specific soaps have not irritated their skin.  I am fortunate enough not to have to deal with any skin conditions myself, and I have not conducted any type of scientific studies on the benefits that beard specific soaps provide to one’s skin, but it makes sense.  More natural ingredients equals less irritation.

Any washing (or even rinsing and drying) of your facial hair will remove some of the natural oils that protect your facial hair.  Beard specific soaps will remove far less oils than off-the-shelf soaps and shampoos, but the question then becomes – if any washing removes these oils, how often should you wash your facial hair?

I always have been (and likely always will be) a proponent of daily washing.  Some beardsmen will say to only wash your beard every 2-3 days, but not me.  Daily washing with a beard specific soap keeps my beard clean, makes it more manageable, and preps it nicely for application of a traditional beard oil or beard balm.  I firmly believe that with the proper cleaning and conditioning products, daily washing (even multiple times a day if necessary) will not decrease the health of your beard. 

The most important thing to keep in mind when considering my advice and your own product usage is to do what works for you. Daily washing and conditioning works for me, it may not for you. Beard specific soaps work for me, they may not for you. Regardless, when you are serious about your facial hair, educating yourself on the various products out there and the reasons why you may want to use them is of utmost importance.

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