The Absolutely Crucial Steps for Beard Maintenance
You might think that maintenance is a feminine activity. After all, you would never be caught in a hair or nail salon. Yet one of your most rough and manly attributes requires a good amount of upkeep in order to distinguish it from the beards of lazy, scruffy men.
To cut the amount of time in half, you have to do a bit of homework. The first order of business is to figure out which products will produce the results you are looking for.
The beauty of capitalism and competition is that you are presented with an endless variety of anything and everything. The ugliness is having to whittle your choices down until you find the ideal product for your needs. From beard oil to combs, it is imperative that you do your research in order to avoid wasting time and money on useless products.
To help you in your effort to identify the best options, I will evaluate the most popular products on the market today in order to weed out the false positives.
Is Beard Oil Indispensable For Any Smooth Operator?
That is a definitive “yes.”
Beard oil incorporates both carrier and essential oils. A carrier oil is also called base oil because it is the base to which other essentials oils are added and then carries the mixture to the final destination: your beard. Carrier oil does not evaporate, making sure that your beard is continually covered by it.
An essential oil is a concentrated oil with the aromatic “essence” from a plant. It is added to beard oil partially for its aroma, but also due to its “medicinal” value derived from the vitamins of the plant oil. Many included vitamins help with hair growth and strength. If you want a beard that has healthy, strong bristles that will grow long in smooth strands, then beard oil is a crucial product for your beard.
Is Beard Oil Just a Fleeting Trend?
Beards, as well as beard oil, have been trending for the last few years. From 2011, there has been a steady increase of interest in facial hair, with extra interest during the winter months. Likewise, beard oil has been getting more attention. Since 2014, its popularity has increased with spikes during the winter months. Currently, the beard oil trend is at an all-time high.
The reason that beards are extra popular during winter time is because facial hair provides warmth. Beard oil becomes increasingly popular during the same months not only because the interest in beards has spiked, but also because beard oil counteracts the drying effects of cold, dry winter air.
No matter what time of year, both beards and beard oil have been trending for several years, so they are not fleeting trends. Rather, interest has been piqued and is here to stay.
Is It Worth More to Invest Time or Money in Beard Oil?
When it comes to beard oil, you have two options. You can either spend time and make your own concoction, or spend money and buy the ready-made product.
If you decide to purchase, you easily can find beard oil starting at $5 per ounce (30 ml). This cheaper type of beard oil tends to earn 3 or 3.5 out of 5 stars. Even expensive brands that rate 4 stars or more sometimes slash their prices so you can buy them for a third or even a sixth of the usual cost.
One of the most popular brands is Beardbrand. It offers many different types of beard oil in varying price ranges. Its cheapest product costs about $15 per ounce and is rated around 4 out of 5 stars.
If you doubt the quality of ingredients used in the products on the market, then you are best off investing your time in creating your own mixture. The benefit is that you get to choose the grade and specific kind of oils you want to include in your product. You can easily find good carrier oils and essential oils between $1 and $4 per ounce. This means that you will save money for the time you are spending to create your customized beard oil.
For instructions on how to prepare your product, search the internet or, better yet, refer to my beginner’s guide and recipe for making your own beard oil.
Is A Beard Comb Only Good For Detangling Long Beards?
A beard comb is definitely useful for detangling long beards and ensuring that the hairs face the intended direction. However, this tool has several other benefits as well.
You might think that a beard comb is something to buy once your facial hair is over an inch long. Yet that could not be further from the truth. From the very first appearance of facial fuzz, this handy tool serves several purposes.
Combing your beginning facial whiskers helps avoid ingrown hairs. Your initial beard growth can lack sense of direction. Combing the hair away from your skin will set your beard growth in the correct direction.
Finally, combing any hair, even on your face, stimulates the hair follicles and increases blood flow to the area. There is a belief that this stimulation promotes faster hair growth. Not everyone agrees, but the possibility is promising.
This tool also comes in handy as a beard oil distributor. When you apply beard oil to your facial hair, it can be concentrated in patches. Combing through your whiskers after application helps to evenly spread the oil over your facial hair and skin. This way, the oil’s advantages benefit every millimeter of your facial hair and under-beard skin. The result is a tame, moisturized, and soft beard that gives everyone the impression that you are a disciplined, clean alpha male.
Why Not Just Make Do With Any Comb?
You might feel tempted to take just about any comb at home or at your corner store and use it for your beard. Please do not make that mistake.
Beard combs are specifically designed for the coarse bristles of facial hair. They tend to be made of natural material such as wood or horn. These materials are strong enough to take on the thick beard hair, yet gentle enough not to cause breakage. They are also ideal for distributing any naturally occurring or applied oils for even coverage.
Your beard comb also has the ideal width teeth spaced evenly at ideal distance to ensure that every stroke detangles your beard. It also allows you to style your whiskers into the shape you are aiming for.
Should you opt for a beard comb or beard brush?
When faced with the option of a beard comb or beard brush, your main goal is the deciding factor.
While both products help you detangle and control the direction of your facial hair, the brush should be your preferred choice if you have a long, unruly beard. Especially if you choose a product made with boars bristles, your end result will be evenly distributed oil and detangled, orderly hair growth.
On the other hand, if your main concern is giving a style to your facial hair, then your best bet is a beard comb. The teeth are of even length and easily enable you to direct your hairs into the position of your choice. The small-sized combs also let you inconspicuously carry one on your person at all times so that you can give your facial hairdo a touch up whenever necessary.
Should you add a beard trimmer to your arsenal?
When debating whether or not to add a beard trimmer to your cabinet, you should consider the results of numerous recent studies and surveys regarding beards and facial hair.
The overwhelming majority of results show that women prefer a light stubble or short beard rather than a Santa Claus look. There will come a time when a beard trimmer will become essential in your quest to keep your facial hair at an optimally attractive length.
Yet even before your beard has grown exceedingly long, the product comes in handy to trim your facial hair from time to time. Just as with any other hair, trimming your beard will minimize split ends and improve thickness.
If you look on Amazon, you will find several $10 beard trimmers, each with hundreds of customer reviews averaging 4 out of 5 stars. Other trimmers with a 4.5 star rating will cost about the same if you wait until they go on sale.
The main point is that it takes only about $10 dollars for you to be able to keep your facial hair split-end free, thick, and at the most attractive length.
Does Every Shower Mean That It’s Time to Lather And Rinse The Beard?
Most guys shower at least once per day, whether they prefer a morning shower to wash away their sleepiness or they opt for a nighttime shower to go to bed spic-and-span clean. Then there are the extra showers after workouts or on particularly hot days. So are you supposed to lather your beard with shampoo each time you hit the shower?
The answer is that you and your beard are better off if you only use cleansing products on it every three days or so. The reason is that over-using cleansing products on any hair, including your beard, will strip it of oil.
Oil, whether naturally occurring or applied, coats the hair shaft as well as skin, keeping moisture from evaporating. Oil also gives each strand of hair a smooth surface, contributing to a healthy, shiny beard.
One way to ensure that your beard has enough oil is by applying beard oil. Another means is to make sure that you use shampoos specifically designed not to strip away oils. The most important way is to avoid using cleansing products too often.
Does this mean that you need to put a plastic bag over your beard during your daily showers in an effort to avoid getting it wet? No, water in and of itself will not strip the oil from your beard and face. Water is hydrophobic and will just run over the oil, leaving it in place. As long as you don’t use any cleansing agents like shampoo, shower gel, or soap on your face, it is fine for you to continue taking daily showers.
Should You Keep Or Ax Your Beard Wax?
Most beards are perfectly controlled just by using a comb and beard oil. Those two products allow you to tame any frizz, guide the direction of hair growth, and style your mustache into different shapes. Thanks to these two things in your arsenal, beard wax is basically pointless.
The intended purpose of beard wax is to help you keep scraggly, stray bristles under control. If your facial hair makes you resemble a porcupine, and no amount of beard oil and combing can subdue the frizz, you might need wax.
For most facial hair, beard wax is obsolete and can be given the ax.
What about Beard Balm?
While beard wax is a bit of overkill, beard balm is actually a worthwhile investment. With similar ingredients as beard oil but a thicker texture similar to wax, beard balm is somewhere in the middle of the two other products.
Beard balm provides similar benefits as beard oil does, thanks to the common ingredients they share. Yet the additional styling agents in the balm give it a thicker texture, allowing it to give a stronger hold for your facial hair.
Its thicker texture also coats your beard bristles, making them appear fuller. If you have thin facial hair, beard balm is a definite keeper for your bathroom cabinet.
So Should You Substitute Beard Balm For Your Beard Oil?
If beard oil and beard balm both contain the beneficial oils that help keep your facial hair and skin moisturized and healthy, then should you choose the former over the latter? The answer lies in your beard goals.
If you want to give your facial hair more sheen, then beard oil is the better choice. If, on the other hand, you want to give your mustache more substance and style, then the beard balm makes more sense for you.
Of course, you can always use both products to get the best of both worlds. Just be sure to apply them in the optimal order. First use the oil, then top it with the balm.
So What Is The Bottom Line?
To make the story short, here is the bottom line to get the best beard results:
After your morning shower, dry your face. Remember that you only need to use shampoo on your beard every other day or so. Once towel-dried, apply beard oil (or balm). Then run your comb (or brush) through to get tangles out and order in. Once your facial hair is perfectly in place, you are all set. Go out and showcase that perfect beard of yours!