how to comb a mustache

You could think that something as simple as a beard comb wouldn’t require any instructions on how to use it.


Over the years as this beard blog has been getting millions of page views, we have also been asked – hundreds if not thousands of times – some quite ordinary, but still puzzling, questions about how to properly use a beard comb.

The most common questions are without a doubt related to the beard combing directions and if you could possibly do it too much, but there are some others, all of which you can find below.

So let’s get answering.

What Direction Should I Comb My Beard, Up or Down?

beard combing directions

You should start combing your beard from underneath the chin with the tines facing upwards, this helps to separate your beard hairs and adds some nice fullness to the bottom part of your beard.

The cheek hairs should be combed downwards and slightly back, so that you imitate the natural growth direction of the hairs.

For a good looking mustache, try combing it to the sides with the help of a good mustache wax so that it keeps in place. If you have a short mustache style, you don’t need to comb it at all.

As for should you be combing your beard upwards or downwards, remember this rule of thumb: always upwards below the chin, and downwards above the chin.

Can You Comb Your Beard Too Much?

man using a big wooden beard comb

Yes, it’s possible to comb a beard too much, but typically this would mean running the comb through your facial hair hundreds of times per day.

As you glide the beard comb through your facial hair, you will inevitably hit up some snags and tangles, and as you clear them, you are also pulling the beard slightly at the same time.

This can cause some beard damage if you do it excessively. But the key word here is “excessive”. You literally need to be OCD about your beard combing to be able to do any actual harm to your facial hair follicles.

Should You Comb Your Beard Wet or Dry?

man washing his facial hair

Most grooming experts agree that it’s best to comb your beard when it’s dry, or after you’ve applied some beard oil to it.

Combing a wet beard is not the end of the world, but it does have some issues, as clearing knots and tangles from wet facial hair is significantly more likely to cause breackages.

The worst thing you could do to your beard comb-wise, is to use a comb with fine teeth spacing on a wet beard. This combination creates unnecessary pull and damage to the facial hair, and it’s simply just better to comb your beard out when it’s dry or oiled up.

Are Plastic Combs Really Bad for Beards?

plastic comb

Plastic beard combs are considered to be the lowest in terms of quality.

This is because plastic beard combs tend to be cheaply stamp-pressed from a large piece of molten plastic, which leaves behind uneven jagged edges that cause unnecessary pull and stress on the beard hairs.

Jagged edges also make the beard comb glide less optimally through your beard hairs, and we all know how annoying it can be to use a comb that won’t go through the hairs smoothly with each passage.

Another issue with plastic combs is the fact that they can cause static charge, and this in turn can exaggerate a frizzy looking curly beard.

With all of this being said: it’s not a cardinal sin to use a cheap plastic beard comb, just know that wood, ox horn, and cellulose acetate beard combs are almost always superior in quality.

Does Combing a Beard Help it Grow?

do beard combs help growth

While many beard comb manufacturers like to add “boosts growth” to their sales pages, there has never been any evidence to support this claim.

And if you think about it, how could combing your beard ever help it grow?

You are essentially just gently running a comb through your facial hair, in what way would this ever be enough to stimulate the facial hair follicles underneath the skin?

The short answer is that it doesn’t. Yes, there are many ways to speed up beard growth, but sadly combing your beard is not one of them.

Can You Use a Hair Comb on the Beard?

man cutting hair

You can use a hair comb on your beard without any issues. In fact, some high-quality hair combs can be better than many dedicated beard combs on the market.

Yes, your scalp-hair and beard hair are different. The former is not hormonally driven, and the latter grows in response to hormones like testosterone and DHT, but still, the actual hair fibers spewing out of the follicles are similar to the hair on top of your head.

Which means that using a hair comb on the beard should not be an issue, and vice versa of course; there’s nothing wrong in using your beard comb on your head hair (just remember to swipe off any beard oil residues from it unless you want to get oily looking hair).

When Should I Start Combing My Beard?

man with dark beard combs it

It goes without saying that you can’t really comb a short beard that well. There just isn’t enough hair for the comb to glide through.

For that reason, it’s best to start combing your beard at around the length of 2 inches and upwards, which typically translates to four months of beard growth, considering that the average facial hair growth rate is ½ inch per month.

What should you do before combing then?

That’s easy, use a beard brush. It’s more suitable for shorter beard lengths.

How to Clean a Beard Comb?

three wooden beard comb designs

Cleaning a beard comb is super easy, all you need to do is take out a bowl, fill it with water and some shampoo, and then just manually wash your combs in there.

Then take out the combs and put them on a towel or a piece of paper, and make sure they dry off completely – especially the wooden combs, you don’t want to let them soak up the water too much.

If there’s some grime that refuses to wash off, you can always use an old toothbrush or even a small beard brush to brush that grime off.

How Often Should You Use a Beard Comb?

sophisticated man with a wooden beard comb

There isn’t a set of rules for how often a man needs to comb his facial hair. Some comb it every couple hours, some never comb theirs.

As a good rule of thumb: comb your beard when you feel like it’s in need of combing.

If you want some solid advice, try combing your beard after you apply beard oil. This helps to evenly distribute the oils to every beard hair, from roots to tips.

Can You Train Your Beard by Combing it?

beard growing in every direction

No matter how much you comb your beard, you can’t train it to grow in the direction you would like to make it grow.

The shape and size of the beard follicle determines your facial hair type and growth direction, and no amount of combing, brushing, or styling your beard can change this.

Oval-shaped follicles typically sprout out curly beard hairs, while symmetrical round follicles tend to spew out straight hairs.

The direction in which your beard grows in, is largely determined by your genetics, and unless you get something like beard transplant surgery, then there’s nothing you can do to affect these growth patterns.

Should Mustache be Combed Down or to the Sides?

thick hungarian mustache with boxed beard

While there isn’t a set of rules on how to properly comb a mustache, most experts would agree that a mustache that is grown over the top lip and then styled to the sides with the help of mustache wax and a comb is typically the best looking one.

That kind of big side parted mustache is commonly known as the Hungarian mustache.

If your mustache is thick and short, kind of like the chevron, then combing it straight down is the best way to go.


Combing the beard is not exactly rocket science.

You just do it when you feel like your beard needs to be combed, and preferably with a nice high-quality comb that won’t pull and snag on your beard too much.

As for directions, comb upwards only from the area below your chin and jaw, and downwards at the cheeks and chin – the mustache (if it’s long enough) should be combed to the sides.

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Ali is a published author and a beard grooming expert. To this date, his articles have been read more than 15-million times on various sites, and he has helped thousands of men make their beards look better and grow thicker. His work has been featured and cited in Seeker, Wikihow, GQ, TED, and Buzzfeed.


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