One question a lot of new beard-wearers ask is: How often should I clean my beard? That’s a legitimate question. No one wants a smelly mess on their face.
But one question they don’t ask enough is:
Should I be using a beard shampoo?
The short answer is yes. Absolutely! If you’re using regular shampoo for your beard, you’re in trouble. Here's why: Regular shampoo dries out the skin on your face, which, more often than not, results in gnarly beard itch. A specially formulated beard wash, on the other hand, does just the opposite. It rehydrates the skin and hair with essential oils, while cleaning and freshening.
Why is that, you ask? Well, we’ve got all the info you need and more to help you understand the “beard shampoo vs hair shampoo” debate.
Why You Need to Use Beard Wash
You can always tell when someone hasn’t washed their hair for a few days. It’s a greasy mess and might even be a little matted. That's why the shampoo you use for the hair on your head is formulated to combat this naturally-occurring oil. It strips it away.
One reason this is necessary is that your scalp produces a lot more oil than your face. Therefore, removing some of this oil is OK and even necessary. Plus, the hair on your head doesn’t require as much oil to look great, because it's not as coarse as your beard.
Facial hair, though, is a different story. Here’s why beard wash is one of the most important beardcare products you can buy:
- Beards require more oil. Facial hair has a different texture; it’s coarser and thicker. And it tends to dry out more quickly. That’s especially true the longer your beard gets. Therefore, regular shampoo dries out and robs your beard of natural oils.
- Your face doesn’t produce as much oil. Regular shampoos are too harsh for the skin on your face. They strip away too much natural oil, and your face doesn’t produce enough to keep up. As a result, your face and beard get dehydrated, and along with it, you’ll start to get beard itch and dandruff.
How do beard shampoos help?
Beard wash contains natural oils minus the harmful chemicals in regular shampoo that strip away oil. These special beard shampoos, therefore, are designed to keep your beard better hydrated, while cleaning, removing excess oil and freshening. Ultimately, a beard wash helps make your beard softer, shinier and less brittle.
Is It Necessary to Wash a Beard?
Yes. Just as it’s important to wash the hair on your head, your beard is no different.
In fact, bacteria clings to your beard. A recent study even found that beards carry more harmful bacteria and germs than dog fur. Yikes!
What’s more, your beard also attracts allergens and pollen, which can be a real problem if you suffer from seasonal allergies. You’ll be sniffling and sneezing more if you don’t regularly clean your beard.
Finally, regular washing replenishes those all-important natural oils. If you’ve skipped a shower or two, your beard will start to suffer from dehydration. That means split ends and coarser hair.
How Often Should I Use Beard Wash?
OK, so now you know why you should be using beard shampoo. But how often should you actually be using it on your beard?
Here's a rule of thumb: You probably don’t need to wash your beard every day. A daily wash, in fact, might dry out your skin and cause beard itch and dandruff, especially if you have drier skin.
Instead, you’ll want to wash your beard every 2-3 days, but really it depends on a few factors. Here are a few questions to ask yourself:
- How Oily Is My Skin? If your skin is oily, more frequent washing is OK. In fact, a beard cleaning every 1 to 2 days might be necessary to prevent excess oil from building up. Conversely, for drier skin, too much washing has a drying effect. If you have drier skin, stick to washing your beard every 3 to 4 days.
- How Thick Is My Beard? A thicker beard tends to have coarser hair, which dries out quickly. For a thick beard, washing your beard twice a week works best. A thinner beard, on the other hand, benefits from more frequent cleaning, as this will help your beard look fuller.
- What’s the Weather Like? Weather can wreak havoc on your hair. Humidity, for instance, makes your hair frizzier, while dry weather leads to dry skin. The same is true for your beard. For drier climates – like Phoenix, or Michigan in winter – your skin will be drier. Washing every 2 to 3 days, therefore, provides some much-needed moisture.
- How Active Have I Been? A more active lifestyle requires more frequent cleaning. That’s because sweat and oil flow out of your skin when you exercise, and can build up in your pores. That’s a big cause of clogged pores, which can result in acne or ingrown hairs.
Bottom line: Washing your beard regularly is important. It’s not only important for helping your beard look softer and fuller. It also helps prevent issues like clogged pores, odor, beard itch and ingrown hairs.
Using Beard Wash: Quick Tips
Applying beard wash isn’t rocket science. Really, it’s very similar to washing your hair. Use a small dob of shampoo – about the size of a quarter – and work it into a lather. Then, rinse, and voila! You’re all done.
For the best results, though, follow these tips:
- Lather the Skin and Roots – Don’t forget to work the shampoo into your skin and down to the root. This helps replenish those oils, hydrate the hair follicles and rejuvenate the skin.
- Rinse It All Out – Rinse thoroughly. Leaving a bit behind can make your beard mat and will dehydrate the skin. Beard itch and dandruff are common issues if you’re not rinsing properly.
- Dab When You Dry – Avoid a rigorous drying. This can damage the hair follicles. Instead, dab dry your beard.
Does Beard Wash Prevent Itchiness?
An itchy beard is the worst. Not to mention, the dandruff that goes along with it can be pretty unsightly.
Fortunately, beard wash can help to alleviate this all-too-common problem.
Beard itch, dandruff and other facial hair nuisances are almost always caused by a lack of moisture. Beard itch, for instance, is just dry skin beneath your beard, while dandruff is caused when the skin is so dry it starts flaking off.
These problems can get even worse the longer your beard is. That’s because you only produce so much oil. With a shorter beard (about a quarter inch or so), you don’t need to supplement with additional oil. As the hair gets longer, though, you can’t keep up, and your face and beard dry out more quickly.
Buying Beard Shampoo: What to Look For
The best beard washes contain natural ingredients, including essential oils, natural oils and anti-bacterial agents. Some ingredients to look for:
- Natural Oils – These oils help to hydrate and soothe dry skin. Some of the best are jojoba and argan oils. These premium oils are renowned for their hydrating power.
- Rosemary Extract – Rosemary extract is known for stimulating hair growth and strengthening hair at the root.
- Algae Extract – Rich in minerals, algae and seaweed extracts help unclog pores and repair dead skin cells.
- Aloe – Aloe extracts are powerful conditioners, helping to soften hair and give it a more natural shine. They also combat dandruff and itch by hydrating and soothing the skin.
- Menthol – A cooler and powerful skin soother, menthol helps to rejuvenate the skin.
- Vitamins – Vitamins – especially Vitamin E – help to repair damaged hair.
Ultimately, you’ll want to avoid shampoos that contain too many artificial ingredients and chemicals.