man cleaning beard in the shower

So you want to learn how to wash and clean the beard so that it’s always in tip-top condition?

Great. We can help with our Step-by-Step guide to keeping your beard clean and hydrated so that you don’t have to suffer from beard dandruff, beard pimples, or itchy facial hair ever again.

Isn’t it just enough to wash my beard with regular shampoo at the same time I wash my head hair?

No brother! Please don’t hurt your beard like that.

Cleaning the beard should be done very sporadically, and much less often than you wash your hair.

Furthermore, your head hair doesn’t really care if you strip it from all the natural sebum oils, but your beard, it will get drier than the Saharan desert if you wash it on a daily basis with generic shampoo (which is far too powerful to be used on facial hair anyway).

Properly cleaning the beard is a simple three-step process that includes:

  1. Scrubbing/exfoliation (deep cleanse step).
  2. Beard shampoo/beard conditioner (beard washing).
  3. Beard oil/beard balm (moisture replenish & protection).

Below, we go through each of these steps in good detail, so you know exactly how to wash and clean your beard like a pro, and what are the best tools to get the job done.

Ready to get started? Then continue reading below. ↓

Exfoliate the Beard with Scrub and Brush

two panel with man using beard brush and man using beard scrub

There are two primary methods on how to exfoliate the beard (and couple others too, but let’s stick to the two most common ones here).

They would be the use of a beard brush, which cleans and exfoliates the skin underneath your beard thanks to the stiff boar’s hair bristles that sweep across your skin and beard hairs.

And the use of a special kind of beard exfoliator scrub, which is similar to basic face scrub, but with a difference of being a bit runnier and made from natural ingredients.

You can use them both or either one of them separately. Brushing is gentler on the beard skin, whereas scrubbing the mane with an abrasive exfoliant is bit harsher.

How Often Should You Exfoliate the Beard

man scrubbing his beard

If you’re using an exfoliating beard brush to clean the facial hair from debris, dead skin cells, and dirt, then you can go ahead and brush your beard on a daily basis.

This is because the brush won’t strip the natural sebum oils from your face, and instead, it actually stimulates the sebaceous glands to produce more of the beard nourishing goodness.

Exfoliating beard scrubs, on the other hand, provide a more of a deep-cleanse type of benefits, and they most certainly do strip the natural oils from the skin underneath your beard.

For this reason, you should only use beard scrubs 1-2 times per month at maximum, otherwise, you will risk drying up the skin under your mane and damaging your beard by continuously stripping it from the sebum oils it needs to grow and prosper.

So the bottom line is this: If you exfoliate your facial hair with a boar bristle brush, you can do it daily. If you’re using a special beard exfoliating scrub, you should exfoliate with it only 1-2 times per month, once every two weeks or so.

Exfoliating the Beard Step-by-Step

rocky mountain barber company beard exfoliating scrub

With a Boars Bristle Brush

  1. Make sure your beard is dry (never brush a wet beard).
  2. Grab a beard brush and go from top to bottom from underneath.
  3. Move into the cheeks and chin, and brush in every imaginable direction.
  4. You can also quickly brush your mustache area from side-to-side.
  5. Finish off by brushing the whole beard downwards (natural growth direction).

With a Beard Exfoliator Scrub

  1. Hop into a shower and wash your beard (preferably with beard shampoo).
  2. Rinse thoroughly and pour a nickel-sized amount of beard scrub to your palm.
  3. For about 30-60 seconds, vigorously scrub the skin underneath your beard.
  4. Rinse your beard thoroughly again, and if you got beard conditioner, use it now.
  5. Again, rinse your beard, hop out of the shower and towel-dampen the beard.
  6. Apply beard oil immediately after to trap in moisture and replenish lost oils.

Remember that the goal of scrubbing and brushing the beard is not to remove the sebum oils. Instead, your focus should be on eliminating beard dandruff and dead skin cells trapped deep within the bushy facial hair.

Wash with Beard Shampoo & Conditioner

scotch porter beard wash and conditioner

The most important step of cleaning your beard is, of course, utilizing the beard shampoo and beard conditioner to their full potential.

Like I said in the beginning, you should never use generic shampoo on your beard. That would only strip the facial hair from all of its precious sebum oil (thanks to the strong detergents) and leave behind a dry and itchy beard that eventually leads to beard split-ends and dandruff.

I used to be a knucklehead and didn’t believe beard shampoo was as good as claimed and continued to use scalp-hair shampoo on my beard (worse yet, I didn’t even use beard oil).

Soon enough, all my dark shirts started to collect beard dandruff into them, and I would have to constantly wipe it away to not look like a hobo. Eventually, my beard got so dry that it started physically hurting to even touch it (especially around the mustache area).

That’s when I sucked up my pride and bought a bottle of beard wash and conditioner.

And man, what a difference do they make. Instead of power-washing your beard with a strong detergent, real beard wash is gentle enough to leave some natural oils behind. They also don’t contain any silicone so your beard doesn’t feel weird after the shower either.

The conditioner leaves your beard feeling soft hydrated and nourished after each wash, and despite the higher costs compared to generic shampoo, I would say that beard washes and conditioners are worth every cent.

Types of Beard Washes Explained

beard wash bar

If you have conducted any product research for beard cleaning products, you may have noticed that there are a couple of different types of beard washes that you can get.

They are:

  • Liquid beard shampoos – made mostly of natural ingredients and scented with essential oils. These are usually sold in 4-10 oz bottles and tubs.
  • Pressed beard wash bars – There are few popular beard washing bars out there which are shampoos that have some natural waxes in them.
  • Body and beard soap bars – If you’re looking for a 2-in-1 type of solution to beard cleaning, you could opt for a beard soap that can be used on the rest of the body too.

The liquid beard shampoos are easily the most sold product in this category, but surprisingly enough the wash bars tend to have a better value since they lather up much more liquid per bar than you could get from the beard shampoo bottle.

Beard and body soaps, on the other hand, are somewhat of a sub-par product, and they’re usually so harsh that your beard will be left pretty dry. I wouldn’t necessarily recommend them unless you absolutely have to have one bar for all of your washing needs.

How Often to Wash the Beard

washing the beard over sink

How often should you wash the beard? Believe it or not, that’s a heated topic in the beard-o-sphere.

But beardsmen are not fighting over whether you should be washing daily or not (everyone seems to understand that daily beard washing is a major beard mistake).

Instead, they’re arguing about whether you should be washing your facial hair 2-3 times per week or just once per week.

And that’s even with the special beard shampoo – the kind that leaves some of the natural sebum oils intact.

If you’d ask us, we would recommend that you wash your beard once per week, and maybe 2-3 times per week if your job or daily activity (exercise, etc) leaves your beard dirty and riddled with bacteria.

Washing the Beard Step-by-Step

beard washing

With Beard Shampoo

  1. Hop into the shower and wet your beard thoroughly.
  2. Squeeze out a nickel-sized amount of beard shampoo into your hands.
  3. Rub it into your beard and wait until it lathers big and white.
  4. Rinse your bead again, and if you have a beard conditioner, apply it now.
  5. Once again, rinse the beard and hop out of the shower.
  6. Towel-dampen the beard and finish off by applying beard oil.

With Beard Wash / Soap Bar

  1. Start by getting into the shower and thoroughly wetting your beard.
  2. Grab your trusted beard wash bar or beard & body soap bar.
  3. Gently rub the bar against your beard until it lathers up in foam.
  4. Rinse your beard and again if you got conditioner, apply it at this point.
  5. Rinse the conditioner and hop out of the shower. Towel-dampen the beard.
  6. Apply beard oil to seal in moisture and replenish the lost oils. You’re done.

Always Apply Beard Oil After Cleaning the Beard

beard oil

So the first step is to exfoliate and scrub the beard, the second step is to wash and condition the beard…

And now it’s time for the third step, which is moisturizing and protecting the beard.

This can be done in a very simple manner – which I already slipped out a few times above.

Every time that you clean your beard by either exfoliating or washing, you will be stripping away some of the natural oils (even if you’re using special beard shampoo, some of the sebum oils will be stripped away).

The fastest way to replenish these oils and re-moisturize the beard skin is simply to apply beard oil immediately after you hop out of the shower.

As an added benefit, you will be locking in some of the moisture from the shower while doing so, which makes your beard feel soft as a pillow for many hours afterward.

And if we get to the bottom of it; the actual #1 benefit of using beard oil (and its purpose) is to replenish the natural oils you lose when washing the face, so what better time to apply it than right after cleaning up the facial hair?


If you think cleaning the beard is as simple as just washing it with your generic scalp-hair shampoo, you are sadly mistaken.

Such an act might fly for a while, but eventually, your beard will get dry and dandruffy, as experienced by thousands and thousands of beardsmen before your time.

As for how to wash the beard properly, you should be doing it in three steps – exfoliation -> utilizing a beard wash and conditioner -> and finally applying beard oil to replenish the lost sebum oils and protect the facial hair.

Seems excessive and unnecessary? Maybe, but you only have one beard. Why grow it in the first place if you don’t want to make it look and feel the best it can be?

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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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