How To Wash A Beard: Your Basic Guide To Beard Care

How to wash a beard

Giving yourself the right style of beard is one thing. Taking care of that beard once you’ve got it is another matter. Whether you’ve got a classic style or you’ve got something a bit more experimental, you need to know how to wash your beard.

The trouble is, there’s a lot more to beard care than just trimming and the occasional wash. What works for our clean-shaven brothers is not going to work for us bearded ones! And facial hair isn’t quite like the hair on top of your head. Your beard needs a dedicated care routine distinct from the rest of your hair. In this guide, I’ll go over the basics of beard care, so you know how to clean your beard.

Starting Your Care Routine

To begin with, you’re going to need more than just soap, water, and a razor. A proper beard wash calls for a lot more than that. You’re going to need beard wash or beard shampoo at the minimum. Other beard care products are also available, like beard oil and beard balm. All of these have their purposes.

Whether or not the other products are necessary ultimately depends on your preferred style and how much of your budget you’re willing to devote to beard care. Generally speaking, the more complicated and impressive the style, the more product and care it needs.

I advise finding a routine that works for you specifically. Here, I’ll provide general tips that any routine can incorporate, and you can vary as needed depending on your preference.

Wash And Shampoo

We’ll start with the basics. Your beard needs a good wash with warm water and shampoo. But you can’t use the same shampoo that you use for your hair, because it’s too harsh for your beard. This is where beard shampoo comes in.

Wash and shampoo

The key difference between regular shampoo and beard shampoo is in effect. Regular shampoo is made strong to get rid of all the dirt and gunk in your hair. Beard shampoo is a lot gentler, formulated not to strip the oils from the hairs of your beard. This means that your beard will be healthier, less prone to breakage, and a lot less frizzy and untidy.

You may also see beard wash, which is a similar product with the same effect and same usage. The following steps are the same, whether you’re using beard shampoo or beard wash.

Usage is simple enough. Wet your beard with warm water. Don’t go too hot, because that’ll dry out your pores and mess up your beard. Warm water will open up your pores, letting your shampoo work better. Once your hair is soaked, put a bit of shampoo onto your hand, around the size of a quarter. Lather it up and apply it to your beard.

It’s important to massage the shampoo or wash deep into your beard. This gets it not just into the hairs of your beard but also cleans and hydrates your skin. This means you get a healthier, stronger beard. As with typical shampoo, leave it in for a while so that it can take effect.

Once you’re done with the shampoo or wash, rinse with warm water. Make sure all the residue has been washed out of your beard.

Dry Off Your Beard

Pat down your beard gently with a soft cloth. Gentle is important, because wet hair is vulnerable to damage, and being too rough while toweling off can ruin your beard. You can use a blow dryer, but make sure to use the lowest setting you have available, as the heat can be very hard on your beard.

I use a microfiber towel to dry off because it doesn’t leave any lint on my beard, which means less hassle when I brush out my beard. It’s also a lot gentler than typical towels, removing any leftover dirt without damaging your hair while it’s wet and vulnerable.

Apply Beard Oil

Apply beard oil

I use beard oil for several purposes. One, it helps your beard hair by softening and adding shine to it. Two, it tames scraggly hairs and makes your beard look fuller. Three, it moisturizes the skin under your beard and cuts beard dandruff. And four, it smells good, same as cologne. You may also encounter beard balm, which is a bit thicker than beard oil, but it works the same way and is applied the same way.

It’s simple enough to apply. Put three to five drops of oil into your hand, or a little more if you’ve got a long beard. Using downward motions, massage it into your beard. Make sure that you get it in thoroughly. If you’ve got a long or thick beard, a comb will help distribute the beard oil.

Just like shampoo, make sure that you leave the oil in your beard so that it can work into the hairs. 10-15 minutes should do.

Comb Or Brush

If your beard is still filling in, you can skip this step. Since I keep a short beard, I’m fine with just a brush. But if you’re growing a long beard, you’ll need a comb as well. A good rule of thumb is that if your beard took three months just to grow, you need a comb.

Comb your beard

The specific types of brush and comb you can get for a beard can fill up a whole article on their own, so I’ll just mention the basics. A brush is for both styling and conditioning, as its bristles will distribute the natural oils of your beard and keep it healthy, and it’ll also pull away dirt and dead skin cells where it can reach. A comb is more of a styling tool, made to detangle your facial hair and work with beard oil to get it into the desired shape.

I brush directly after I apply my beard oil. Not only does this give me all the benefits of brushing, but it also helps spread the beard oil evenly across the hairs of my beard, and it also lets the brush move smoothly. Go slow and go with the grain, the direction in which your hair is growing. Doing it in any other direction isn’t going to make your beard look neat. Also, if you encounter any knots or tangles in your beard, don’t force your brush. Do it gently.

I recommend starting from the sides of your face, near your ears, and work your way down towards your chin. Also, don’t brush too often. Once a day is just fine. Any more than that, and you risk stripping your hair of its natural oils, and your beard will look dull and frizzy.

For a beard comb, hold it with the teeth up at first. This will fluff up your beard and make it look fuller. Start at your neckline and comb outwards, moving towards your chin. Again, don’t force it if you hit a snag, just go back and try that section again. Once you’ve combed up, comb down from the top of your beard and put your facial hair back into place.

Trim As Needed

Trimming beard

Every so often, you should trim your beard to maintain the shape. There are a lot of tools you can do this with. I prefer using a cordless electric trimmer. They’re easy to use and hassle-free, which saves a bit of time. But you could write a whole bunch of articles comparing the different tools you can trim with, and a lot of it comes down to specific needs and personal preference. What works for my beard won’t necessarily work for your beard, especially if you’ve got a different style than I do.

A beard comb comes in handy here, especially if you keep a long beard. It’ll help you cut just the right length of hair and thus achieve a more even look.

It’s best to trim after you’ve done all the above steps because it’s a lot easier to trim a neat beard than an unkempt and tangled one. That means less chance of mistakes and taking too much off your beard.

Don’t Over-Wash Your Beard

One last tip. Don’t wash your beard too often. The exact frequency depends on your skin type and the conditions where you live and work in. Over-washing your beard can dry it out and strip it of its natural oils, leading to damage to your beard.

For skin type, oily skin needs more frequent beard washing compared to dry skin. If your workplace gets you dirty or if you live in a humid environment, you should wash your beard more frequently as opposed to a cold or dry climate. ‘More frequent’ here means around every 1-2 days, whereas if your skin type or environment are on the dryer side, every 3-4 days is better for beard health.


Whether simple or elaborate, a beard needs proper care to look its best. With the right products, a good routine, and consistent effort, you can get your beard looking glorious. Why settle for untamed fuzz when you can have beautiful and impressive whiskers!

No matter what kind of beard you have, it’s always helpful to know how to wash your beard. Trust me, your beard is worth the effort.

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