Beard Maintenance: Rock Your Daily Grooming Routine
So you’ve finally decided to grow a beard, but you’re slowly starting to realize it's more than meets the eye.
How do you grow a full beard? How do you wash your beard hair? Shampoo? Conditioner? Both? What about essential oils? Then there's the world of combing, brushing, and shaping your beard.
You start to second guess if you can actually do this.
Argh, it's so overwhelming! With so much information out there, navigating the world of beard grooming can quickly become a tangled mess.
Here at Aberlite, we’ve got you covered. Untangling the mess that is “the world of beard grooming” is the exact reason we put together the ultimate guide to rock your daily grooming routine.
We’ll show you how to grow a long, lush, full beard, but it doesn’t stop there. You’ll need to know how to wash and groom your beard hair as well.
Once that’s done, we take you into the world of trimming and shaping your beard to look its best.
Think of it as a one-stop shop for your beard grooming needs. Sit back with your beard hair and take some notes. Let’s rock.
How to Grow a Lush, Full Beard
This is going to sound a lot easier than it is, but — just let it grow. Seriously.
We get it, you’re not used to having a beard, and that’s where the hard part comes in. The initial four weeks of growing out your beard hair will drive you crazy.
This is why we recommend using products made with natural ingredients to tame that wild side. Irritation is a real problem for some dudes when trying to achieve the holy grail of a full beard.
Irritation is caused because your beard hair is growing out longer than it ever has. It stretches your hair follicle wider. Essential oil allows the wider hair to move out of the follicle with less irritation.
As your furry follicles start to overcome their shyness and peek out, you’ll also want to consider brushing them in the right direction.
Think of it as training your follicles to sit a certain way (just like the hair on your head).
Feed Your Beard From the Inside Out!
Before you can learn how to groom your beard, your beard hair needs to grow healthy. A balanced diet is critical to beard health.
A decrease in testosterone will hurt your beard growth. This is because a by-product of testosterone called DHT (dihydrotestosterone), decreases as a result of lower testosterone.
DHT dictates the fullness of your beard and the speed of beard hair growth.
Highly processed sugar-rich foods will decrease your testosterone (and DHT) in the short run. In the long run, you’ll end up eating a lot more calories, and gain extra fat.
This extra fat increases the production of estrogen in your system (which decreases testosterone).
Sugar also has an effect on your liver. In a nutshell, it causes your liver to secrete less SHBG (sex hormone-binding globulin).
This protein is extremely important since it transports testosterone around your body.
Our western diet includes a lot of salt. One of the ways our body gets rid of salt is through our pores. This causes damage (and even kills) a lot of hair follicles.
Cut Back That Caffeine
Everyone’s caffeine tolerance is different. If you need a lot of coffee to get you going, that’s not a good sign. It typically means you’re desensitized to the stimulus.
A regular coffee overdose negatively affects your beard growth by disrupting testosterone. The caffeine spikes up your adrenaline which in turn increases cortisol. A study published by The University of Texas states that cortisol blocks the effects of testosterone.
Omega 3 and Omega 6 Fats
A balance between omega-3 and omega-6 fats is necessary for healthy beard growth. These fatty acids are also great for your skin (this is where your beard lives so it's important to look after!)
Since these fatty acids cannot be made by the human body, you’ll have to include them in your diet.
Sources of omega-6 fats include foods such as chicken. Omega-3 fats can be found in seafood such as salmon.
Both of these fats increase the production of testosterone and promote beard growth.
Iron and zinc are essentials when it comes to healthy beard growth. These minerals can be found in lean protein and grains. Healthy fats from avocados also help.
There’s no “cure-all” solution that can fix up a bad diet. However, you can use supplements to make up for the deficiencies in your diet.
If you’re not getting enough Vitamin C & D from citrusy fruits and sunlight, you can always supplement it. Vitamin C reduces inflammation and cortisol, which in turn is great for testosterone.
Now that you’ve started growing a lush, full beard, it's important to know that you’ll need to take care of it each step of the way.
We’ll teach you everything from picking the right beard care regimen to washing, moisturizing, brushing, and even straightening and shaping up that bad boy!
Customize Your Beard Routine
Not all beards are created equal. Your beard has its own flair and its own style.
Some beards will grow faster than others, while other guys have naturally wavy or curly beards. Every man’s beard also grows in differently. Some guys have strong growth along the jawline or underbeard area.
Due to this, every man will have his own routine.
Genetics has the lion's share in determining what your beard will look like. Don’t stress out trying to get that perfect beard you saw on Instagram (seriously, stress can mess up your beard health). Instagram looks are fresh off the barber’s seat and not actually attainable in the wild.
Instead, treat your beard like the unique animal it is. We encourage you to tweak the next few steps to create your personal daily grooming routine.
Washing Your Beard
Long days at work and fun weekends will do a number on your beard. All sorts of lovely material will get caught up in your beard hair. Washing your beard will help rid you of any dead skin, dust, or miscellaneous material.
Once your beard has grown in, we recommend washing on an “as needed” basis (e.g. after sweating) — not every day.
A simple rinse is usually enough to get rid of the accumulated dirt throughout the day (and you get to keep your natural sebum oils). Not to mention it keeps that itch at bay.
Think of this as the preparation stage of your daily grooming routine. We’ll introduce you to your new best friends: beard shampoo, beard wash, and beard conditioner.
Use Specialized Products
The products listed above are specialized for your beard.
Why is it so important to use specialized products?
Let's use beard shampoo vs regular shampoo as an example. For starters, regular shampoo designed for the scalp is a lot more aggressive when it comes to removing that greasy feeling from the oils in your skin.
Optimal hair health calls for a PH of around 4.5. Shampoo made for your head is more acidic than beard shampoo. This is what causes that dryness. Using a gentle beard wash closer to a balanced PH will leave you with a soft, full beard.
If you use overly alkaline products, your beard hair will frizz up, and it's more likely to break or tangle up.
You want to aim for slightly acidic products, this will give you that glossy, soft beard — a beard ready for the rest of your daily grooming routine.
How to Wash Your Beard
Washing your beard is simple. Start by running warm water through your beard and lather in a small amount of beard shampoo once your beard is completely wet. Rinse out the shampoo after a couple of minutes.
Next, you’ll want to massage some beard conditioner into your beard. Let it sit for at least 2-3 minutes. Rinsing out beard conditioner right away is a waste.
Assuming you’re in the shower, you could wash the rest of your body with the conditioner in your beard and rinse it out at the end.
After you rinse the conditioner out, pat dry your beard with a towel to make sure it's damp, and you’re ready for the next step.
Pro Tip: Opt for a cold rinse — it boosts the effectiveness of beard conditioner
Moisturizing Your Beard
Your daily grooming routine is incomplete without an adequately moisturized beard.
First, let's cover your skin type. Typically, you will fall into one of the 3 categories.
- Dry skin - Moisturize up to twice per day
- Regular skin - Moisturize once per day
- Oily skin - Moisturize once per day with a softer product
It is important to know what skin type you have — this will determine how much added moisture your beard needs. Here is a great guide on how to determine your skin type.
Before you get started, you’ll need the right products in reach. Here’s what we recommend:
- The most important product you’ll need is beard oil. It should be light, smell amazing, and not greasy. Additionally, a high-quality product will absorb quickly into your beard and add softness.
- If you want to level up your moisturizing game, consider using a beard moisturizing spray. Moisturizing spray gets into the skin underneath your beard which helps combat dry, itchy skin.
- If your beard is on the shorter side, we recommend a water-based beard lotion. This product also does an excellent job of moisturizing the skin underneath the beard. Be warned, it may be harder to use once your beard starts growing out.
For our fellas with dry skin, beard dandruff (beardruff) can be an annoyance. We recommend using a couple of extra drops of beard oil, moisturizing more frequently, or both.
You’ll have to play it by ear based on your specific needs, and how your skin reacts to the moisturization process.
If you have average levels of moisture in your skin, an application of beard oil once a day is perfect. We recommend harnessing the healing powers of sleep and moisturizing your skin before bed.
You’ll save yourself time in the morning, and wake up with hydrated, soft skin.
Men who have oily skin may not need to use beard oil. This is assuming that their skincare regimen is on point and they choose to keep a shorter beard.
But before you run off skipping your moisturizing, it's worth noting that it's still a good idea to moisturize. You’ll want to use beard oil, just ease up on the amount.
If you want to lock in that soft, luscious feeling that your beard conditioner gave you — moisturize, moisturize, moisturize!
How to Apply Beard Oil
If you’re a rookie to the beard game, we recommend using around 3-5 drops.
Simply add the product to the palm of your hand and rub your hands together to evenly spread the oil. You should also get your fingertips oiled up, it will help you get down to the roots and skin.
Now you’ll want to apply the beard oil to the skin at the roots of your beard including the skin around it.
Once your skin is lubricated, go over the sides of your beard and move towards the neck from bottom to top.
Brushing Your Beard
Brushing your beard is an essential step in your daily grooming routine. Here’s why:
- Using a beard brush such as a Boar’s Hair Brush will improve your overall skin health. It does this by helping to exfoliate the skin and getting rid of those pesky dead skin cells.
- The beard oil you applied while moisturizing also gets some love from your beard brush. The beard brush will distribute natural oils to the tips of your beard hair and also let your skin make the most of it.
- As mentioned earlier, a Boar’s Hair Brush is recommended here. The robust texture makes for a strong brush stroke. This will train your beard’s stray hairs to grow in the direction you want while also clearing off any dust or debris.
What about combs?
Damn glad you asked. A beard comb comes into play when you’ve been growing your beard for about 3 months. Beard combs are excellent at removing tangles and styling longer beards.
A beard comb also comes in handy for just about anything “long beard” related. When using scissors to trim your beard, a beard comb is great for measuring length to give you a uniform trim.
How to Brush Your Beard
Once your beard is washed and moisturized, you get to enjoy brushing your man mane.
Start by brushing all your beard hair upwards. This establishes a starting point for styling your beard.
Next, you’ll want to brush your beard down on your cheeks in the direction that it's growing. A great rule of thumb to follow is to brush starting from your cheeks down to your neckline.
Finally, you’ll want to brush your mustache straight down and angle it out towards your cheek. A mustache comb can come in handy here.
We encourage guys to use a bit of beard balm at this stage to tame fly-away hair. If you see any pesky straggling hairs peeking over your upper lip, be sure to snip them off to maintain a crisp and polished look.
Straightening Your Beard
If you’re a man with curly or frizzy mane, it's now time to straighten up your beard.
If you’re not taming the wild side of your beard — you’ll run into many risks such as ingrown hairs.
It's critical that you use high-quality products throughout your daily grooming routine. However, it's even more imperative in this step because a cheap product will damage your beard.
Our recommendation for straightening your beard is to use a premium heat-based beard straightener. You’ll get the best results without damaging your beard hair or skin.
Parts of your beard may grow differently than others and you want to keep them in check. Maybe you’ve been slacking on some grooming habits. Either way, think of a straightening session as the reset button for your beard.
If you don’t have a very short beard, you may be able to pass on this step.
How to Straighten Your Beard
These are the two most popular methods of straightening your beard. Let’s have a look at both.
Cheaply made heat straightening tools can sap your beard of that precious moisture you worked so hard to lock-in. Don’t use generic products. Get a heated brush designed for beards!
- Fire up your heated brush and let it heat up to your desired temperature, this will be different for each guy. We recommend starting around 320 degrees Fahrenheit and slowly working up to 360-380 degrees.
- Run the straightener straight down your beard hair starting from the sideburns and move them from side to side. Recomb straight down for the finish.
- Repeat this process on the front of your beard. Moving the hairs side to side in addition to straight down is especially helpful if you have a long beard.
Here’s an awesome example of how to use your heated beard straightener.
Heated brushes are quick and convenient. With a cordless option, you can use it anytime and anywhere. You also don’t need to wash your beard to use a heated brush.
Blowdryer & Comb
Using an old-fashioned blow dryer and comb is also a great way to straighten your beard.
- Before using this method, you will need to shower (or wash your beard).
- Pat dry your beard with a towel to the point where your beard is damp.
- Using a heat-shield spray is recommended here if you want to heat dry your beard. Some guys will opt to dry their beards without heat which leaves them with more volume.
- Use low heat first and switch to cold air at a slow speed from about 10 inches away. Keep moving the dryer constantly.
- With the blow dryer, use a beard comb at this point to straighten your beard hairs. Start with the wider teeth, and switch to the fine teeth of the comb when you use cold air.
- Do not use a beard brush on wet hair. You’ll run the risk of damaging your beard. Use a boar’s hair brush to tidy your beard up after it's dry.
Using this method is much faster for bigger beards, but it can be loud. The blowdryer method also doesn’t quite hit the sideburns and mustache — and you won’t get as straight a finish as the heated brush.
Trimming and Shaping Your Beard
Phew. We’ve covered all the bases of having a soft, lush, and healthy beard — but there’s one more step to make sure you’re styled for success.
Shaping your beard to complement your face shape is key to achieving that manly finish on your beard. We’ll teach you how to find out your face shape, and line up your beard accordingly.
We’ll also show you how to manage any pain points, such as split ends. Curious about when to use electric clippers vs beard scissors? We’ve got you covered.
Choose a Shape That Complements Your Face
Before you decide where to draw the lines on your beard shape, you’ll need to determine your face shape. This will dictate how you shape your beard.
If your jawline is round and your face is pretty even in terms of length and width, you have a round face.
Another round face shape is the heart face. Heart-faced men have a wide forehead with smaller chins and rounded cheekbones.
An excellent way to style your beard if you’re a round-faced man is to go for a long beard. This will create the visual effect of a longer face. Keep in mind you’ll want your sides short and straight to maximize the appearance of beard length.
A rectangular face is characterized by its length and features a straight jawline. A square face is similar to a rectangular face, but length and width are proportional with straight cheeks as an added feature.
Triangle and diamond faces also fall into this category but they’re a bit rarer. A triangle face has wide cheekbones and a wide forehead, but a smaller chin.
The same is true for the diamond-faced guys, except their forehead is narrower than their cheeks.
Men with a rectangular face will want to keep their sides short and round out sharp edges. This allows their face to have a fuller appearance. The full beard is great for men in this category.
Shaping Your Beard Line
There are two methods you can use when shaping your beard. A professional barber line up or a DIY shaping method using shaping tools.
We’ll go over the pros and cons of both.
Professional Barber Lineup
If you’ve never experienced getting your beard lined up professionally, you’re in for a game-changer. The right barber will have an excellent eye for balance and knows exactly where your beard should begin and end.
This takes all the guesswork off your plate. You don’t have to worry about learning how to shape your beard or messing with beard trimmers.
However, frequent visits to the barber can really add up. There are typically costs added to your haircut when choosing to get a beard trim with it.
For a successful trim, consider using a combination of a professional barber and yourself. Your barber can set your style up, and you can maintain it. Return to your barber every now and then when your beard starts to get wild.
DIY Shaping Method
With the best DIY tools on the market, you can be sure to get exactly the results you want.
A massive benefit of shaping up yourself is all the money you’ll save! It's an investment that’ll benefit you in the long run.
Keep in mind though, that trimming your beard is a challenging process that takes time, learning, and patience. You’ll most likely make a few mistakes along the way.
If you make a mistake, walk away. It's better to get a professional fix-up or just let it grow back instead of exacerbating the mistake.
Here’s the process for shaping up your beard:
- Comb through your beard and snip off any split ends. A pair of barber scissors come in handy here.
- Start with a high guard on your electric clippers and take some weight off your beard. If you want to take off more, simply work through the smaller guards
- If you’re more advanced, you can use a comb in combination with the trimmer.
- Trim the hair around where your sideburns end and your beard begins. Try to create a taper that transitions smoothly into your beard.
- To get the best results for your beard neckline, start at about 1 inch above your Adam’s apple and shave all the hair below that. We recommend using a beard shaping tool designed just for your neckline. It’ll make your life much easier.
- A beard shaping tool also works great for your cheek line. Use a professional barber pencil to prepare the area you’ll trim.
- Use barber scissors to trim your mustache so it doesn’t hang over your upper lip.
- The area around your soul patch needs some love too! Shape it up carefully using your electric clippers with a narrow head attachment.
Got questions about your beard grooming routine or want to show us a before & after your beard grooming? Add a comment below or drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’d love to hear from you.