Beards are back—and not just in Williamsburg or Portland, either. You’d be hard pressed to find a Hollywood red carpet or metropolitain sidewalk that’s facial hair-free these days, especially since No-Shave November is nearly upon us. If you’re thinking of jumping on the pro-bristles bandwagon and becoming a beardsman yourself, there are a few things you should know before simply ditching your razor and letting your whiskers grow willy-nilly. Trust us, that will not end well and might have you looking more Chuck Noland than Khal Drogo. Just like with your regular hair, beards require grooming practices like washing, conditioning and cutting in order to reach their fullest potential, all of which can easily be done at home. Follow the three grooming steps below and we guarantee you’ll have the best beard of your life.
Just like the hair on top of your head, your beard needs regular washing and conditioning in order to keep it smelling and feeling great. When it comes to selecting a shampoo, choose one with a scent you love (you’ll be smelling it all day long, afterall) and that boasts hydrating properties. Jack Black’s Beard Wash ($18) is always a good pick. There’s nothing worse than a dry itchy beard and a main cause of that can be using a low-quality shampoo. As far as beard conditioners go (yes, washing your beard is also a two-step process), make sure to look for those that claim to soften and moisturize. Billy Jealousy Beard Control ($20), which contains aloe leaf juice and jojoba seed oil, is the perfect example.
Because your beard can cause your complexion to overdry and become flaky and irritated, it’s important to make sure you take an extra step towards nourishing it and the skin beneath it. How, you ask? Via either a beard oil or a beard balm. Beard oil is, as its name suggests, a light oil-based moisturizer that can be applied through your beard quickly with the help of a beard brush or comb. Thanks to its more liquidy nature, oil is a more effective skin moisturizer when used on shorter beards and absorbs into hair and skin more quickly than its stickier counterpart. Our favorites? Baxter of California’s Beard Oil ($27) and Port Products’ Conditioning Beard Absolute ($20). Beard balms, on the other hand, are better for medium to long beards and those that are super dry and need some extra TLC. Balms are more viscous than oils, meaning they take longer to absorb into skin and hair alike, which results in longer lasting and deeper hydration. Thanks to its texture, it’ll also help keep flyaways in place and will serve as a beard-appropriate styling gel, of sorts, when applied with a beard comb or brush. Check out Badass Beard Care Beard Balm ($20) and Honest Amish Beard Balm ($12).