Though almost everyone knows that you need to wash your face at least once a day, for some, there’s a slightly different question to consider—how often should you wash your beard?
Generally, you’ll want to wash your beard between one and three times a week.
The frequency will depend mainly on the texture of your beard hair and your skin type, among other factors. You’ll need at least a quality beard shampoo, though there are a few products you can use to improve your beard’s appearance.
Here’s what you need to know to keep your beard healthy.
Why You Should Wash Your Beard
Your beard can cover a significant portion of your face. Because the hair may make it difficult for cleansers to reach your skin, your beard may contain dirt, dandruff, and bits of last lunch’s sandwich (sorry, not sorry). That kind of buildup needs to be removed on occasion.
Even having minor stubble can make regular face wash less likely to reach all the way to the surface.
So, you may end up with dry, oily, or irritated skin under your beard that can be uncomfortable. Washing your beard properly is similar to washing your hair regularly. It means that your skin and hair are healthier and easier to groom overall.
How to Know When to Wash Your Beard
Every beard is different, but the factors that affect how often you’ll need to wash it remain largely the same:
- Skin type. Your skin naturally produces oils that keep it from drying out. Some people produce less oil, leaving them with dry, flaky skin. Others produce too much, meaning they’re prone to oily skin and hair, as well as breakouts. Some people have a combination of the two conditions across their skin. Generally, the oilier your skin is, the more often you should clean it.
- Beard hair texture. As with the rest of the hair on your head, your beard hair has a particular texture that affects how well it holds debris and product. Thin beards will usually require a bit more cleaning than thick beards because they show more oil. Curlier beards will frizz out if washed too often, so they may only need washing once a week.
- Where you live. The climate of your home has an impact on your beard as well, oddly enough. Dry or particularly cold climates may not encourage much oil production, so you won’t need to wash as often, while wet, humid climates can mean a buildup of bacteria and pore-clogging.
You’ll also want to consider how active you are, as activity leads to sweat leads to clogged pores, and the products you’re using on your skin and hair. More on that later.
How to Wash Your Beard
Okay, so you’ve determined how often you need to clean your beard. How exactly do you go about doing it? Here’s a quick guide:
- Rinse it through. Rinse the entire beard with water (warm or cold is fine, depending on your skin type). Make sure you get all the way down to the skin.
- Cleanse the beard. Using a dedicated beard shampoo, work a small amount of the cleanser through the entire beard. Again, be sure to get all the way down to the skin. Rinse thoroughly when you’re done.
- Condition. Work a small amount of conditioner through your beard and let it absorb for a minute or two. Rinse thoroughly.
- Dry and done. Dry your beard completely and brush it through.
You can take a few optional steps, such as working with oil, moisturizer, or wax after washing. They’re styling tools and can help you make your beard look better but aren’t strictly necessary.
If you’re planning to trim your beard, you should do this after washing it before putting on any conditioner. This will help keep your trimming tool clean and unclogged.
How to Choose the Right Beard Care Product
The reason you’ll want to work with beard-specific products is that your beard hair and your head hair are completely different.
Your head hair is slightly more alkaline and resilient than your beard hair, meaning using general hair care products can severely damage your beard, drying it out, causing breakage or even patchy beard growth.
The beard care products you’re likely to need on a regular basis are:
- Washes. Found in a bar or a liquid, a good beard wash is as natural as possible, pH balanced, antibacterial, and, if possible, moisturizing. Look for ingredients like shea butter and rosemary.
- Oils. Beard oil is essentially a moisturizer for your beard that keeps it from frizzing or breaking. Avocado and vitamin E are excellent choices, and many brands will use a blend of the two.
- Balms and Waxes. These styling products use gentle, skin-safe wax and oil to hold flyaway beard hairs in place. Try not to use anything too heavy or heavily scented, as this can create unpleasant buildup and leave your beard looking and feeling waxy.
- Trimmers. Regular hair scissors work well for maintaining beard shape. For trimming close to the skin, a fine hand razor or electric trimmer can be more helpful.
Brushes and combs. Depending on the size and length of your beard, you may wish to get a beard brush or comb to keep it in line. These are usually smaller than hairbrushes and combs to maneuver around your jawline more easily.
Finding a set of products and routines that work for you may take some trial and error. Don’t be afraid to experiment and try new things to find your ideal care setup.
You may even consider asking your stylist for suggestions the next time you go in for a regular haircut or trim. They’ll have expert opinions that can set you on the right path.
Your beard is something to wear proudly on your face. That means washing it regularly, using the right products, and developing a routine that keeps it healthy. Take pride in your beard, and take care of it.