Today’s article will be a special, long, detailed guide about how to take care of a beard and keep your facial hair healthy.
Let’s face it, a good looking beard rarely just “happens”, it takes some effort and a couple of beard care tips to get the hang of it and make your facial hair well-nourished, vibrant, and looking great.
Obviously, at the core of beard care is the beard health, which comes mostly from the inside and includes factors like water intake, your diet, vitamin and mineral intake, etc.
All of these topics will be addressed in this post, as we dig down deep on men’s beard care and will give you the absolute in’s and out’s of how to take care of your beard properly.
10 Beard Care & Maintenance Tips
1. Use Nutrition and Vitamins for a Healthy Beard
Every beard is unique but they all grow in response to the same thing; androgenic hormones, aka. testosterone and DHT.
What a healthy beard also needs is the building blocks, which are the macronutrients that you consume as energy (protein, carbohydrate, and fatty acids) and the micronutrients (beard vitamins and minerals) that work as enzymatic co-factors in collagen production, keratin production, etc.
Aside from working as the “building blocks” of beard hairs, macronutrients and micronutrients can also be used to increase the levels of your beard growing hormones. Some foods do this so effectively that they can be straight-up labeled as “beard growth-promoting foods“.
Then there’s water. You want to be drinking enough fluids to keep your beard and body well hydrated and moisturized from the inside. Aim for roughly eight glasses per day.
So how to piece this all together in an easy to understand nutrition plan for beard maintenance and care?
Easy, here are some key points:
- Focus on keeping carbs relatively high in your diet for beard hormones1.
- Protein is somewhat important, but you don’t have to over-eat it2.
- For T and DHT, it’s important to eat saturated and monounsaturated fats3.
- You may want to limit the intake of polyunsaturated fats, as they suppress hormones4.
- When it comes to vitamins and minerals the main thing is to get enough of them.
- Keep a special focus on biotin, zinc, magnesium, and vitamins A, D, E, and K2.
On top of all this, you want to make sure that you are actually eating enough calories (energy). Facial hair growth is an energy-expensive process and eating like a fitness-bunny on a low-calorie diet will limit your beard health potential and even growth rate.
2. Keep your Facial Hair Clean (But Not too Clean)
You may have read some of the misleading news articles about beards being as dirty as toilet seats.
Well, as to be expected, those were clickbait headlines that were proven inaccurate and just plain wrong right after most of the major news outlets published them.
In short, some reporters (not actual scientists) swabbed a couple of beards on the street and found that they had some of the same bacteria in them as do most toilet seats.
Immediately articles were published about beards being as dirty like toilets, but what they cleverly left out was that these bacteria can be found practically everywhere because they were some of the most common bacteria were exposed to.
After hearing news like this, it’s understandable why some men scrub their facial hair and clean their beards, washing them daily. Sadly, this is one of the worst things you can do to your facial hair, as frequently shampooing the beard will strip away the natural oils needed for moisturizing the beard.
And yes, you should definitely be using beard soaps and shampoos specifically to get the job done, as those will preserve the important natural sebum oils to some extent, compared to normal shampoos which are simply too powerful for the beard.
Bottom line: Think of washing the mane as a two-bladed sword. When done too often and with basic supermarket scalp hair shampoo, it can destroy your beard care routine, but when dones occasionally with nourishing beard wash and beard conditioner, it turns into a powerful hydrating beard treatment instead.
3. Hydrate and Nourish with Beard Oil
Beard oil is easily the most popular product used for beard care and maintenance.
In fact, if you ask pretty much anyone the question of “How to take care of a beard?” nine times out of ten you’d hear “use beard oil” as the answer.
And that would be correct, as beard oil is truly one of the most important beard care essentials a hirsute man needs to be using.
Quality beard oil replenishes the oils that you lose in the shower, it hydrates and nourishes the skin underneath the beard, and it gives some volume and shine to the beard hairs, making your beard look and feel healthier all around.
Of course, there are big differences to beard oils, and many of the most popular brands are actually pretty bad for the beard health.
What you want to avoid are beard oils that use polyunsaturated vegetable oils as their main ingredient, as these types of oils are prone to lipid-peroxidation5, so they quickly become rancid when exposed to oxygen, heat, and light (your face has all three).
Not only that, but polyunsaturated oils have also been studied for their DHT and testosterone lowering effects6, which isn’t good since those two are the androgenic hormones that make your beard grow and flourish in the first place.
From the perspective of optimal beard care & maintenance, you want to look for beard oils with mainly saturated and monounsaturated oils as ingredients, such as coconut oil, castor oil, argan oil, and jojoba oil.
4. Maintaining a Beard with Brush and Comb
At the core of men’s beard care is brushing and combing. These are without a doubt the most useful tools for beard exfoliation, beard training, and beard taming.
From a beard maintenance perspective, a boar bristle beard brush is handy since it stimulates the natural secretion of sebum oils which nourish the mane, it exfoliates the skin underneath the beard and removes dirt & dandruff, it also helps redistribute beard oil and balm if you brush after applying those.
Not just any brush should do though. In most cases, you’re best off with getting a quality 100% boar bristle brush and making sure that you get one with thick and hard bristles if your beard is long, or to choose a brush with softer bristles if your beard is short.
Using a beard brush is also really easy. When your beard is dry (never brush a wet beard) go through it with broad strokes, cleaning away the dirt and exfoliating the beard, finish off by brushing downwards to give your facial hair some nice shape.
There are hundreds of brushes to choose from, so I recommend you head over to our full review of the best beard brushes if you’re looking to get the best of the best.
Moving on to another essential beard care item; the beard comb.
As with brushes, there are hundreds of different beard combs available, and if the goal is optimal beard care and maintenance, then you shouldn’t be settling for a cheap $2 plastic comb that only causes static friction, has jagged tines that pull your beard and probably breaks within few months.
Instead, look into hand-crafted wooden beard combs or cellulose acetate combs. These tend to have straight and even tines, and they glide in your beard perfectly without any snagging.
They aren’t overly expensive either, considering that a good comb should last you tens of years in proper use.
NOTE: We also have a list of the 7 best beard combs here if you’d like to compare some great options.
5. Using Beard Balm as Heavy-Duty Moisturizer
Taking care of your beard when it’s dry and sensitive, and beard oil alone just doesn’t seem to cut it, may seem difficult.
And that’s where beard balm steps into play as one of the “heavy-duty” beard upkeep and care products.
With beeswax and saturated fats as the main ingredient, beard balms are considerably thicker than beard oils (though not as thick as beard wax), which gives the balm some advantages that oils simply can’t offer.
When taking care of a beard, you may find it extremely useful to first take a shower and then apply beard balm quickly after to form a moisture-locking seal in your beard that keeps it soft and well nourished for days.
If you’re using beard oil already, you can put that on your face and then add balm a couple of hours later to seal in some of that oil as well and enhance its hydrating and moisturizing effect.
From a beard maintenance perspective, the balm is super useful. Since it’s so thick, you can easily tame, maintain, and shape your facial hair just the way you like with some thick balm and a beard brush (no chemical-laden gels or waxes needed).
As with beard oils, there are also quite many bad-quality beard balm brands out on the market, with questionable polyunsaturated fatty-acids in their formula. As a rule of thumb; always choose your beard balm so that the main ingredients are beeswax, lanolin, and saturated fats like coconut oil or shea butter (and jojoba oil).
6. Trimming Beard Split Ends
Why is this important you ask?
Well, just like with the hair on your scalp, your facial hair is prone to developing split ends, which means simply that the tips of the beard hairs “break” and divide into two or even three separate directions.
This makes the beard hairs coarse and hard to manage, and it’s best to take care of this issue simply by trimming the beard properly.
Trimming with scissors is obviously the best way to do this, as sharp stainless-steel blades will leave the cleanest edge to the hairs.
If you’re short on time, you can also take care of your beard trimming necessities with a beard trimmer, but it should definitely be a quality one with sharp and oiled-up blades so that you’re actually nicely cutting the facial hair and not tearing and pulling it apart.
Here’s an image example of beard hairs on a microscopic level:
Left: high-quality sharp razor. Right: poor-quality electric shaver.
Many guys who read about beard maintenance are quick to purchase the cheapest Chinese beard clippers, without realizing how much damage you can end up making with poor-quality beard care tools.
7. Sleep, Exercise, and Stress Reduction for Beard Care
Sleep amount & quality, exercise habits, and stress all impact your levels of testosterone and DHT, the principal beard maintenance and growth hormones.
Therefore it only makes sense to focus on optimizing all of these to ensure that your body is naturally producing T & DHT in good quantities.
Once your body is flooded with the androgenic hormones, they make their way to the face where they bind with the androgen receptors, promoting beard health and stimulating the growth.
But how exactly do you combine beard maintenance and health with optimizing lifestyle factors?
Here are a few examples:
- Try to sleep for roughly eight hours per night, studies have clearly shown that each extra hour of sleep results in ~15% more testosterone the following day7.
- Lift heavy weights with big multi-joint movements like squat, deadlift, chin & pull-ups, to activate large amounts of muscle mass for hormone and androgen receptor boost8.
- Do everything in your power to lower chronic stress. This reduces the stress hormone cortisol, which directly lowers testosterone and harms your beard health9.
8. Beard Supplementation that Might Work
Above is a picture I just took from some of the overall health and beard supplements I take on a daily basis (missing carnitine since I ran out and threw away the bottle).
You might be thinking; “supplements? Ain’t those beard pills mostly a scam and what would supplements have to do with how to take care of a beard?”
And that’s a valid point. Most “beard supplements” are indeed scams and are formulated only to give monetary benefits to the manufacturers with no beard growth or health benefits for the user, BUT, that doesn’t mean there wouldn’t be any supplements out there that could help with beard health and growth rate.
Don’t believe me? Well, you don’t have to, sure, but just take it from these scientists themselves who found the following…
- Carnitine: a well-known amino acid, has been found in two human studies to activate the human androgen receptors10 and to supply more energy directly to the beard follicles11.
- Mucuna Pruriens: contains L-Dopa, which is a co-activator protein to the androgen receptors12 and increases testosterone levels13, which should result in a healthier beard.
- Vitamin D: has been extensively studied for its testosterone boosting capabilities. In one study, 1 year of supplementation led to a 25% increase in testosterone levels14.
- Ashwagandha: this herb has some interesting research behind it. One study on young men found that supplementation increased T-levels from ~630 ng/dL to ~726 ng/dL15.
These are just four examples of the possible beard growth and health supplements. There are others such as a multivitamin, glycine, Butea Superba, etc. Click that link above and it takes you to our full article about the topic.
9. Stimulate Circulation to Encourage Beard Growth
Next up is my favorite topic and the topic this beard care website is best known for; stimulating growth and facial hair circulation.
So, how exactly does this effect beard maintenance and health?
Easy, when the circulation to your facial hair follicles is increased, your beard hairs will receive more androgenic hormones, more vitamins & minerals, and more nutrients & energy.
In other words, a beard with good blood flow is a strong beard with healthy growing conditions.
There are a few easy ways to promote the circulation of the facial hair, a topic which I discuss much more in detail in our dedicated beard growth article.
Here are the best methods (low-hanging fruits):
- Once or twice a week, roll through your facial hair area with a 0.25-0.50mm needle length Derma Roller to promote beard growth.
- Occasionally apply castor oil to your face (you can dilute it with alcohol to make a stronger beard growth serum). This boosts circulation by stimulating prostaglandin E2.
- Eat foods like garlic, onion, and hot chilis to naturally promote circulation in the body. The capsaicin in chili peppers also naturally activates the androgen receptors of the face.
- Exercise and keep yourself active. This is one of the easiest methods to improve overall circulation. Occasionally hanging upside down is also great for beard circulation.
Bonus: a controversial – but also easily most effective – method of enhancing facial hair circulation and growth is a hair-loss drug called minoxidil (it works for beards and there’s a clinical study + hundreds of testimonials to back this up). Though I must say that it isn’t optimal for beard care, as the carrier liquids (alcohol and propylene glycol) can dry the face quite a lot. In any case, minoxidil can be applied to the face and it does grow beard.
10. Stop Playing with your Facial Hair
Perhaps the most counter-intuitive of the beard care tips is to just leave it alone.
As in; stop playing with your beard and mustache, and don’t try to “train” and force it into a shape it clearly doesn’t want to grow in naturally.
I see way too many men twisting and twirling their mustaches when they’re nervous, and some even pluck their beard hairs as a habit. Others forcefully straighten their curly beards and use damaging beard straighteners multiple times per week.
This all will inevitably result in beard loss and damage.
Just stop that. Stop fiddling around with your facial hair. That’s simple and easy beard advice and doesn’t cost you a penny.
This doesn’t mean that you can’t twizzle your mustache or style your beard at all. Sure you can, just be reasonable with it and don’t over do it. Proper beard care isn’t hard, and this is one of the easiest tips to start from.
Establishing a healthy beard care routine isn’t too difficult when you know what you’re doing.
We hope that these ten beard maintenance tips helped you understand everything you need to know about beard upkeep and properly taking care of your facial hair with the right tools.
If you have any other recommendations related to growing the perfect beard and maintaining its health, make sure to drop them down below in the comments.
You Might Also Like
- 5 Ways to Prevent Ingrown Beard Hair (Causes & Treatment)
- 8 Grooming and Styling Tips for Epic Facial Hair
- Beard Split-Ends & 5 Ways to Get Rid of Them for Healthier Growth
- 4 Best Beard Bibs & Trimming Catchers on the Market