By Michael A Ferrara
“Do I really need a beard shampoo?” I get this question from my clients who are either growing a new beard or attempting to maintain their current beard. I’m not one to have ten different bottles of potions and lotions in my shower. However, like I tell all my clients with this question, not only does your beard need it’s own shampoo, your beard could also benefit from an oil, balm, conditioner, and a special soap! Feeling overwhelmed about all this? Don’t be! I’m going to outline each product you will need in order to step up your beard game and start playing with the big (and bearded) boys.
Beard Shampoo vs Hair Shampoo
Yes all shampoos are made to clean hair and remove unwanted oils, smells, flakes, and such from your hair. However, a beard shampoo is formulated to be gentler on the skin since the skin on your face is far more sensitive than the skin on your head. It should also be sulfate free and have added moisturizers to deal with the thicker texture of hair.
How To Use: Daily use is recommended. If your skin begins to feel dry or irritated, skip a day or two.
This is an absolute MUST for beards! It doesn’t matter how coarse your beard feels, it will never feel soft without using a beard oil. Oil has a higher viscosity than conditioner which allows your very textured facial hair to absorb the moisture more effectively than just applying moisturizer that really only coats the top of the hair. Beard oil will penetrate the hair shaft and actually condition your beard from the inside out. Think of using fabric softener when washing your clothes. Beard oil will do to your beard what fabric softener does to your clothing.
How To Use: I recommend applying a beard oil in the shower after shampooing or immediately after a shower. The warm temperature after a shower opens up your pores as well as the hair cuticle allowing for moisture to enter the hair shaft more effectively.
Beard Balm / Beard Wax
These two items are styling products for your beard. Similar to the shampoo differences, beard styling products are typically gentler on the skin, have added moisturizers, and make directing your beard to lay flatter and stay there much easier for you. Keep in mind however, when using balms and waxes, these can build up over time causing your beard to flake, dry out, and look dirty. Be sure you are shampooing these styling products completely out of your beard before applying more to it.
How To Use: Apply a small amount of balm or wax on your fingertips rubbing your fingers together to warm up the product. Next, gently finger through your beard from top to bottom, then base to ends to ensure full coverage. Your goal here is to have each hair strand covered, but not drowning in product.
One last tid-bit before I send you off on your quest for a better beard . . .
If your beard isn’t behaving the way you want it to, don’t sweat it! It’s going to take at least 4-5 times of washing, oiling, and balming your beard before you notice a significant difference in how it behaves, so keep it up! You’re well on your way to becoming the bearded beauty of your dreams!