If you made the decision to grow a beard during lockdown, we salute you. But we know that it’s not as simple as growing a beard and reaping the rewards; beards can be rife with grooming dilemmas, etiquette quandaries and styling predicaments.
So we spoke with some top barbers to find out just how, exactly, you should be caring for your beard — and how you can use beard shampoo, in particular, to achieve the sleekest, shiniest effects.
Starting with the basics: why is it so important to care for the beard?
“Just like the hair on our head, facial hair needs special care,” says the team at Murdock. “Beard hair is thicker and drier than other hair, and using regular hair shampoo can strip a beard of its natural oils. Plus, sulphates commonly used in cleansing products can irritate the skin underneath facial hair, often causing beard ‘dandruff’.”
Denis Robinson, Creative Director at Ruffians, explains another reason lying behind the dreaded beard ‘dandruff’. “Dead skin cells can get trapped in and around the skin, creating a dandruff like flakiness which can fall and distribute on whatever you’re wearing,” he tells Gentleman’s Journal, “so [you’ll want to] ensure you massage the shampoo right down to the skin.”
Essentially, gents, the hair on your beard is just as important as the hair on your head.
When using beard shampoo, remember that each beard is unique
“It needs to be pointed out that all beards are different,” says the team at Ted’s Grooming Room. “Some are fuller; some might be more patchy. Before using any product on the beard, consulting with a health professional can be recommended to learn about your skin type, or to rule out any skin conditions. That way, you can take steps to ensure the product applied to your beard doesn’t cause a reaction.
“For instance, some skin types don’t welcome a cut-throat razor shave; or they might result in ingrown hairs when shaving against the grain. It’s the same for products. Every beard shampoo, or conditioner, serves a specific purpose; so this needs to be noted before buying or using your product.”
So what’s the best way to actually use the beard shampoo?
Where the shampooing process is concerned, it’s a fairly holistic process if you want to do it right (which, we assume, you do). But don’t worry: we’ve got some invaluable pointers.
“All you need is a small amount [of shampoo] to massage into the beard and rinse through with water,” says Murdock. “We’d recommend applying a beard moisturiser afterwards to sooth and soften facial hair and the skin underneath. Your beard will look healthier and feel more comfortable.”
And Robinson has a note on rinsing. “Rinsing is almost as important as the shampooing itself; particularly with big beards,” he explains. “Face into the shower, and separate the hair so that the water can get nice and deep, and remove all shampoo and the dislodged particles.”
And these barbers can recommend some top products, too...
Murdock Beard Shampoo
Ted's Hair N Beard Shampoo
Ruffians Argan Beard Oil
“The Murdock London Beard Shampoo is pH 6 and sulphate-free,” Murdock explains. “This means it’s less likely to damage facial hair, and [it prevents the beard] from drying out like most other shampoos would. It’s also loaded with actives to help recover from city living.”
Ted’s, too, has a product to offer. “Ted’s Grooming Room Hair N Beard Shampoo contains both shampoo and conditioning agents that can be used on all hair types, and can be applied to both hair and beard,” says Ted’s. “Aloe vera extracts — as well as cumin seeds — provide soothing properties, and provide protection to sensitive skin. It’s an all-year round product that will leave your facial hair feeling fresh and moisturised.”
And as well as recommending shampooing the beard every other day — “so the hair and skin underneath remain healthy” — Robinson also recommends using beard oil on all hair lengths. And, luckily, Ruffians have the perfect product where beard oil is concerned; their argan offering is rich in antioxidants, with teatree for the ultimate cleanse, and omega-rich essential oils ready to enrich and nourish the beard. Shampoo the beard, apply some beard oil: and you’re good to go.
Seeking more grooming advice from those in the know? Well, we’ve got A Gentleman’s Guide to Grooming — with David Gandy and Larry King…
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