You are probably used to washing your head hair with shampoo every day or every other day, but should you wash your beard just as frequently?
The answer is; no.
The facial hair is androgenic-hair which is reliant on the natural sebum oils. If you wash your beard daily, you will be stripping away too much of the natural oils, which results in a dry skin underneath your facial hair and itchy beard that is prone to beard dandruff and split-ends.
For this reason, most beard and grooming experts suggest that you wash your beard with shampoo no more than 2-3 times per week, and some even suggest washing just once per week.
What is equally as important as the facial hair washing frequency, is that you do not use normal generic hair shampoo on your beard…
“You see, regular shampoo is loaded with alkali chemicals like sodium hydroxide and potassium hydroxide that act as strong detergents.”
They are extremely effective at cleaning the hair, but they are also very harsh on the sensitive beard skin and potently remove all the natural sebum oils from the follicles.
If you strip the natural oils from your beard too often, you will quickly run into problems like beard itch, beard dandruff, and beard split-ends.
So to completely answer the question of how often you should wash your beard; make sure to never wash it with generic scalp-hair shampoo, and only wash it 1-3 times per week if you’re using beard shampoo.
There is also an alternative that doesn’t use shampoo at all, and that is called the beard co-washing method.
The idea is simple. Instead of shampooing your beard, you only use conditioner, and nothing else.
Beard conditioners have natural oils and tropical butter in them that help hydrate and nourish the skin underneath your facial hair, and they also contain a marginal amount of detergent (sodium hydroxide, potassium hydroxide, or lye).
This makes sure that your beard will retain most of the natural oils it needs to grow and flourish, while it also stays relatively clean thanks to the small amount of detergent in the conditioner.
If you opt to use the beard co-wash method, then you can wash your beard daily with no issues.
So to recap:
- Never wash the beard with generic shampoo.
- When using beard shampoo, wash the facial hair 1-3 times per week.
- If you use the beard co-washing method, you can wash your beard daily.
Should I Use Beard Shampoo or Just Co-Wash?
So, co-washing or using a beard shampoo + conditioner, which is the better method to keep your beard clean without drying it?
Our answer is ever so boring; it depends.
If you are working in a dirty environment, and sweat a lot during exercise, etc. then you might need to be washing your beard more often than recommended.
In that case, beard-co washing would definitely be the better route to take, since you could potentially wash your beard every day with conditioner without causing dryness and split-ends.
On the flip-side, if you work in a clean office environment, and you’re not sweating it out too often in the gym, then you could easily just not wash the beard that often and opt for using beard shampoo 1-3 times per week instead.
Personally, I’ve found that what works for me is the middle-ground. I wash my beard roughly every 10 days or so with a beard shampoo, but almost daily with conditioner alone (co-wash). On top of this, I try to exfoliate my beard once per month for a proper “deep cleanse”.
Our Beard Wash and Conditioner Recommendations
At this point, you probably want to know what are some good beard shampoos and conditioners to use to get the job done.
Well, you’re asking the right person.
I’ve tested dozens of products in part of our list of the best beard washes and our list of the best beard conditioner.
The winner in both categories actually came from the same brand; The Scotch Porter.
Their all-natural beard wash is free of SLS, mineral oil, and parabens, and it’s very gentle on the beard and won’t strip away your precious natural sebum oils too much.
They also make an amazing beard conditioner in part of the same lineup, which is also free of parabens, SLS, and mineral oil, and perfectly buttery for daily co-wash use.
There are few other alternatives as well, and you can find those by clicking the links above that take you to our larger reviews, but for what it’s worth; you really can’t go wrong with Scotch Porter’s wash and conditioner.
You should not wash your facial hair more than 1-3 times per week at maximum, and make sure to never use generic scalp-hair shampoo on the facial hair.
If you use the beard co-wash method (washing only with conditioner) then you can wash the whiskers every day without any issues.
Using good beard shampoo and conditioner products is a key part of your beard cleaning routine, but what’s even more important is that you apply beard oil after the shower to seal in moisture and replenish the lost oils (if you used shampoo).