If you’ve tried growing out a beard before but couldn’t figure out how to keep it shaped in a way that you like, there are a few tricks and habits that can help. It’s actually not that difficult to maintain a well-shaped beard once you understand how facial hair works.
It is thicker and more coarse than the hair on your head, and the skin on your face is different from your scalp. Here are the five tips you need to know to train your beard into the shape you want.
Keep It Well-Groomed
The first step is to make sure you keep your beard properly washed and groomed without going overboard. If you wash your beard too often, you strip the beard’s natural oils that are good for its health and potentially damage your hair follicles, which can affect the facial hair’s growth. That’s why you should stick to washing your beard one or two times per week — however, if you sweat a lot during the week you may want to wash it three or four times.
When you wash your beard, use a good quality beard shampoo and conditioner to clean the hair and your skin, as well as make the hairs softer and more healthy. Hair that is softer and healthier is a lot easier to train into a shape than if the hair is too brittle or oily. After washing it, let it dry out before trying to shape it— he hair will change shape as it dries, and you won’t have a good idea of how it will look until it is in its normal state.
Comb or Brush Your Beard
Next, you can use a good beard comb or brush to tease out any tangles. Make sure the hair’s natural oils are evenly distributed, and to make it look like your beard has more volume. It will also help you find hairs or patches that are longer than the rest of your beard and need to be trimmed (more on that below). Combs tend to be better for shorter beards, while brushes better for longer ones.
A good beard brush will use some type of animal hair for the bristles, such as boar or horse hair. They are flexible enough to not damage your facial hair while being firm enough to tease out tangles and pass cleanly through the hairs. A good beard comb, meanwhile, will be more durable than a normal hair comb for your head because of how much thicker your facial hair is. It is usually made of a hard material such as natural hardwoods that are smoothed to prevent it from getting caught in the hair.
Heat Up The Hairs (a Bit)
You know how curling irons are used make hair look more curly than it is naturally? Or how flatirons are used to make curly hair look flatter than it is naturally? Women and hair salons have known for a long time that you can use heat in order to train their hair into a shape that you want.
This is because heat weakens the hydrogen that bonds the hair together, allowing you to train the hairs into holding a distinct shape and texture over time. When the hair cools down and the bonds reform, it will remember to hold some of the shapes you made.
However, there’s a fine balance between using the right amount of heat to train the hairs without causing heat damage. For your beard, the best way to do this is with a good quality hair dryer that has different heat settings — set it to a lower heat after showering and patting the hairs dry, then run the hair dryer over an area of your facial hair while combing or brushing it into the shape you want. It may take some practice to get it right, but you should only do this once in a while to avoid causing heat damage.
Keep It Trimmed
As we said above, when you comb or brush your beard you should be able to spot hairs or patches that have grown longer than you may want for the shape you want to maintain. For shorter beards, you can use a beard trimmer with different length attachments to maintain a more uniform hair length at different parts of your beard.
For longer beards or longer parts of your beard, you can either use a comb and pair of hair scissors yourself to trim your beard into shape or go to a barber shop you know and trust to do a professional job for you. It’s important to know that you can achieve different shapes by maintaining different hair lengths at different parts of your beard — your neck, sideburns and upper cheeks tend to be shorter, for example, while the other parts are grown out longer.
Use Beard Oil, Balm or Wax
For your everyday life, you can use beard products like beard oil, balm or wax to help train and hold the shape that you want for specific occasions. Each of those three beard products will help shape your beard to a different extent while offering their own distinct benefits and drawbacks.
Beard oil is better for nourishing your beard and making it look and feel softer, but has the least amount of hold to shape your beard. Beard balm is thicker, like a lotion or cream, and is better at getting your facial hair to hold a different shape while also helping nourish and moisturize the hairs and your skin. Beard wax has the best hold, but can also make your facial hair look more waxy and less natural while not helping nourish the hair as much.
Paul Agelidis has been the founder and owner of Revolucion, a Canadian cigar, tobacco and men’s gift shop in Vancouver, since 2005. For the last decade Paul has worked very hard to become an expert in tobacco products, men’s care, travel & accessories, body & bath, and gifts & home.
Prior to 2005, from 1997 – 2005 Paul worked in the wholesale cigar industry and travelled to the annual cigar trade show (Habanos Festival every February). He loves to share his tips with others who are looking to achieve a complete lifestyle with the finer things in life.