When it comes to washing a beard, there is definitely a case where you can overdo it. When you overwash it, what you’re doing is stripping away the natural oils within your beard (mainly sebum) that help to keep your beard moisturised and protected.
On the other hand, that’s not to say that you shouldn’t be washing your beard at all. Otherwise, all of the dirt, grime, and dead skin cells that accumulate on your face throughout the day will end up in your beard. Not only will this make it look unkempt, but it can also lead to irritation, itchiness and even infection.
When is the Perfect Amount of Time to Be Washing a Beard?
The “perfect” time depends on you as an individual. It depends on your skin type, activities during the day, and how often you’re willing to commit to the process
If you have oily skin or live in a hot, humid climate, then you may need to wash your beard every day. If you have dry skin or live in a cold, dry climate, then you can be more sparse with it.
That said, generally once every three to four days is probably the ideal aspect you want to be going for. Striking the fine balance between keep your beard clean (no one wants a dirty beard) as well as not stripping all that beardy goodness that your body naturally produces.
What Should You Be Washing Your Beard With?
Firstly, you should 100% not be using the same stuff on your head as you do your beard. Typical hair shampoo is full of ingredients that actively work against your beard in two major ways:
i) It strips all the sebum and other natural oils within your beard as we just mentioned.
ii) It actually has the effect of blocking any additional moisture from getting in.
This is because shampoo works by opening up the hair follicle so that it can get rid of any dirt or grime that’s inside. The problem is, that this also means that it washes away all the sebum that coats and protects your beard.
So instead you should be looking towards beard-friendly soaps, washes, and shampoos (and follow-up conditioners) which are designed to be much gentler on your beard. Alternatively, you could just use water on its own (if you’re on a budget, which is better than just leaving it). This is perfectly fine for most people and will get the job done without stripping away any of your beards’ natural oils.
So, stay away from products with harsh chemicals, sulfates, or other harsh detergents. These will damage your beard and leave it feeling dry, brittle, and unhealthy – then ultimately, you will end up resenting the beard and want to shave it off potentially.
How to Actually Wash Your Beard
Everyone’s process is a little different and you will end up evolving your own too. But there are a few key things that you want to make sure you’re doing each time
1. Soak your beard in warm water for a few minutes before you start washing it. This will help to open up the hair follicles and release any dirt or grime that’s been trapped inside.
2. Gently massage the soap or wash it into your beard in a circular motion. Be sure to go right down to the skin so that you’re getting a good clean.
3. Rinse thoroughly with warm water until all the soap or shampoo is out of your beard. You don’t want any residue left behind as this can lead to irritation.
4. Use a follow-up conditioner to reinject moisture back into the beard. This is an optional step, but we would highly recommend it as it will leave your beard feeling softer and looking healthier.
5. Use a soft towel to dry your beard before you style it and go for a patting motion. Avoid using a hair dryer as this can damage the hair follicles.
6. If you haven’t used beard oil when it is somewhat damp, now is the time to apply it
7. Comb or brush your beard into the style you desire (once dry). We would recommend using a wide-toothed comb as this will be much gentler on your beard – your beard will be particularly delicate at this point and this is how lost beard hairs come.
8. Once your beard is dry, you can apply a small amount of wax or balm to help control fly-aways and keep your beard in the style and shape how you want it.
And that’s it! You should now have a clean, soft, and healthy beard that’s ready to take on the world. Just remember to wash it regularly (but not too much), use a good quality shampoo or soap, and follow up with beard oil if it is lacking any moisture.
As we say, you will end up evolving this to how your lifestyle suits. If you are an active person and sweating a lot, you might want to wash your beard every day (as long as you’re washing it with the good stuff, you will be fine). If not, then perhaps 2-3 times per week will suffice. Just listen to your body and your beard!
If your beard is getting dry and brittle, chances are the reason it is drying out is mainly through washing or just a complete lack of beard oil – especially if your beard is longer. Just remember, a little goes a long way with oil – start with just a few drops and you can always add more if needed.