Straightening a curly beard used to be a long and tedious task, but it’s already 2020 and the straightening tools and methods have evolved a lot from the old days.
Nowadays you can straighten your beard safely in just about five minutes with a heated beard straightening brush and keep the results for longer with the help of some beard wax.
Using beard heat protectant and making sure the straightener is on its coldest heat-setting possible, will make sure that you are not damaging the beard in the process.
Ready to learn how to properly straighten your facial hair and make it look amazing in no time? Great, then keep reading below to find all the details and best practices.
Best Tips & Tricks for Straightening a Beard
1. Get a Proper Beard Straightener
It’s 2020 already, so you really should invest into a good quality beard straightener if you want to start straightening your beard.
Sure you could use a blow-drier, beard combs, and all that stuff people have been doing for the last twenty or so years to make their beards straight…
But nowadays there are so many better alternatives such as heated beard brushes, which literally take just a minute to heat up and about 2-5 minutes to fully straighten a big beard.
My recommendation is that you get yourself a heated brush from the price range of $30-50, such as the Tame The Wild Beard Straightener or Aberlite Beard Straightener which we ranked at the top in our review of the best beard straighteners.
There are also some cheaper “beard straightening combs” out there which usually have that blue part inside and a price tag that starts from around $5-10. You should skip them completely.
Those are just as good “made in China” trash as you can expect, and the product reviews highlight that as well.
Bottom line: The most important part of learning how to straighten a beard is to get yourself proper tools for the job, namely a heated beard straightener brush. Not the cheapest ones, but a brand from around a price range of fifty bucks should be good.
2. Trim Your Beard Before you Begin
There are three reasons as for why you should always trim your beard before you straighten it:
- It takes less time to straighten the beard, and you will get better results, as there’s less “fluff” to deal with.
- The less time it takes to straighten the beard, the better it is because inevitably all heat applied to the beard will result in some damage.
- You will have a clearer view of the end result as your beard is already somewhat neat and well-groomed.
Bottom line: A well-kept trimmed beard is easier and faster to straighten, it’s also visually easier to see where you’re going as all the unwanted extra beard hairs are removed.
3. Never Straighten a Wet Beard
You might think it would be a good idea to straighten the beard while it’s wet or at least damp.
But it’s not. Straightening a wet beard is one of the biggest beard mistakes you can make.
According to the research by Dr. Paul Christian, using heated tools on any kind of hair fibers causes the most damage. That’s because the small amount of water already absorbed into the hair cortex will quickly boil and expand.
Without anywhere to go, the expanding water inside the hair fibers will eventually break the delicate keratin-bonds that give your beard its natural structure and thickness.
The researchers write:
“In dry hair, thermal treatments cause chemical damage and some structural damage. However, in wet hair, thermal treatments cause the same chemical damage, but considerably more structural damage, which causes significant changes in the physical properties of the hair. It is likely that the rapid evaporation of water from the hair is the main causal factor.”
According to another study by a group of Korean scientists, the least damaging method of straightening beard hairs after a shower is to first towel dampen the beard, then let it air dry for 10-15 minutes, and then move into the actual straightening process.
4. Always Use the Coldest Heat Setting Possible
While there is no way to completely avoid the heat damage that frequent use of beard straighteners and blow driers cause, there are still many ways to mitigate it.
Perhaps the easiest one is to always use the coldest heat setting that still allows you to get the beard straightening results you’re looking for.
It’s simple really, I mean why would you straighten your beard with a temperature of 415°F if you can achieve the same results with 300°F?
Most people associate more heat with better straightening results, but that’s only true up to a certain point.
Bottom line: Test out different heat settings on your beard straightener, straightening iron, or blow dryer, and see what would be the coldest possible setting that can still give you the beard style you’re looking for.
5. Don’t Forget to Use a Beard Heat Shield
Beard heat shield (also known as beard heat protectant) is usually an oil-based mixture with the main ingredients typically being argan oil or sometimes silicone.
But how does a beard heat shield work and why does it protect the facial hair from heat damage?
The silicones and natural oils in beard heat protectants create a protective barrier over the cuticle of your beard hair strands. This protects the hair fibers from keratin-bond breakage and protein-loss damage, but only to an extent.
You can use a normal hair heat protectant on your facial hair or you could also get a dedicated beard heat shield spray such as the Aberlite Beard Heat Protectant Spray which we do recommend.
Bottom line: While beard heat shields never offer a 100% protection against the damage caused by heated beard tools, they still do mitigate a lot of it and due to their low cost, it’s a no-brainer to use one if you frequently straighten your beard.
6. Do Not Straighten Your Beard Too Often
Straightening a beard is safe and doesn’t noticeably damage the facial hair if you do it correctly.
And one of the most crucial factors in properly straightening a beard is to not do it too often.
Straightening your beard daily, is in my opinion, way too much. I know some guys do it, but that is inevitably going to make your beard dry, brittle, and wiry.
I recommend that you use any beard heat tools a maximum of 2-3 times per week, and usually that’s plenty enough to have your beard be straight and neat even on the days that you’re not using the beard heat tools (especially if you follow the other tips on this list which help you keep the straightening results for longer).
7. Use Beard Wax to Keep The Results for Longer
If you want to keep the great looking results you get from using a beard straightener or blow dryer, consider using beard wax right after.
Why beard wax you ask?
Beard wax has the main ingredient of beeswax, which when applied thoroughly into a freshly straightened beard, prevents the facial hair strands from curling back into their normal state.
8. Aim for a Natural-Looking Beard
Your beard straightening goal should not be to get the pin-point most straightest lined up beard in the history of humankind.
Because when you over-straighten your beard, it looks really unnatural.
Just look at the example image above. Sure it’s clean and crisp, but also 100% signals that someone is going absolutely overboard with their beard grooming routine.
9. Blow-Drying is an Option, But it’s Much More Work
Before the time of heated beard straightener brushes, blow-drying the beard and using straightening irons were basically the only methods of making your beard lose its natural curls.
I mean sure you had the option of using a boar bristle brush or beard comb of course, but those are not going to uncurl your beard hairs that effectively.
So what’s the issue with the old way of blow-drying a beard?
Nothing really. It’s still a viable method and it will certainly make your facial hair straight, but it does take time.
To straighten your curly beard with a blow-dryer you would first need to take a shower to make your beard wet, then wait a while for it to dry and fire up the blow dryer.
And then you would use a beard comb to manually straighten small sections of your beard while simultaneously blowing the cold air from top to bottom as you go.
That all takes a whole lot of time, up to an hour in most cases if you’re growing out a long beard. Now compare that to using a beard straightener which would have you done in less than 5 minutes.
Bottom line: There’s nothing wrong with the classic blow-dry or straightening iron methods, it’s just that they are extremely time consuming ways of uncurling your beard.
10. Skip the Beard Relaxer
There’s a handful of chemical beard relaxers on the market, which work by breaking the keratin bonds that naturally coil and curl your beard hairs.
Beard relaxers works exceptionally well to make your beard straight as a dart, but they do so by damaging the structure of the facial hair itself.
Since hair is mostly made of dead cells, breaking the bonds that give it it’s only structure, means that you are also making your beard a lifeless bundle of hair that just droops straight down with no apparent thickness or volume.
So how do you straighten a beard? In 2020, the obvious answer is to use a heated beard straightener brush, on a clean (but not wet) beard, along with the proper use of a beard heat protectant.
To extend the straightening result and prevent your beard from quickly curling back, you should also use beard wax.
As a rule of thumb, you need to remember that the lowest heat setting possible is often times the best choice for facial hair.