Beard care and maintenance involve a couple of things; washing, trimming, combing, and styling.
Amongst the four, the one that sounds easiest is combing.
However, nothing could be further from the truth.
Beard combing can be stressful, painful, and complicated. If you’ve been having trouble with this, don’t fret.
That’s what this article is all about – how to comb your beard like a true pogonophile.
So, here is what I am going to cover.
- Why combing is important.
- The correct step-by-step process to comb a beard.
- When to start combing your facial hair.
- How often you should be combing your beard hair.
- I am also going to answer key questions regarding combing a beard.
With that out of the way, let’s get into it.
Importance Of Combing Facial Hair
While combing a beard won’t necessarily promote its growth, there are other benefits that make combing beneficial.
For instance, doing so:
- Helps in detangling and removal of knots that are common with facial hairs.
- Aids in the distribution of styling products like beard balm, oils, and wax. Moreover, since natural bristles spread sebum, wooden combs come with an added advantage.
- Prevents the formation of ingrown hairs by straightening strands that are curling back.
- Makes styling easier and faster since you’ll be able to shape the beard as desired.
- Helps in the removal of dust, food, and other foreign substances from the hairs.
- It’s a great way to straighten or train the strands to grow in a specific direction.
- Keeps the mouth clear for those with a mustache
When To Start Combing Beard Hairs, How Long It Will Take, and The Frequency
Beard experts recommend you start combing your beard when it’s around 2 inches long.
For a typical man, this will be around the fourth month; considering facial hair grows at a rate of ½ inch every month.
The length of your beard curls, type of hair, and style will determine how long it takes to comb and the frequency.
It takes a few minutes for those with short to medium stubble, while it can take up to 10 minutes for those with a full-grown beard.
In terms of frequency:
Combing once daily is sufficient for most gents.
But for those with a curly or long beard, you may need to comb 2 to 3 times per day to keep the beard looking neat.
A Step By Step Process on How To Comb A Beard
Before starting this process, here is what you will need.
- Beard comb(s)
- Beard brush
- Beard styling products (oil, balm, and wax)
- Beard trimming scissors
With the right tools, the next step is preparing the facial hairs for combing.
Step #1 Washing, Towel Drying, and Oiling
Before you start combing your facial hair, it’s crucial to make sure it’s clean and free of dust, debris, and food.
Since we shall be applying styling products, it’s also important to ensure it doesn’t have buildup and oils from previous applications.
Here is how to wash your beard hairs:
- In the shower or sink, use warm water to wet the facial hair until it’s soaking wet. If you have a full-grown beard run your fingers through it for about 2 minutes making sure every strand is wet.
- Put a small amount of beard shampoo on your palm. Rub your hands together to spread the shampoo to the fingers, but make sure a generous amount is on the palms.
- Now push your fingers through your facial hair; making sure you get to the skin before applying on the tips. This makes sure the shampoo does not end on the hair tips only.
- Rinse the shampoo out using warm water.
- Follow the same process to apply a beard conditioner and finally rinse off the conditioner.
- Using a towel, pat dry the beard slowly without using excessive force. If you have a long, curly, or unruly beard you can blow dry it on a low setting. Apart from drying, this will also aid in straightening and softening it.
- Apply beard oil and balm.
Refrain from washing your beard more than 3 times a week.
Beard shampoo can be harsh to the skin; especially, sensitive types. Because it strips off natural oils from the skin and hair strands.
This results in dandruff, split ends, and itchiness.
What if you prefer washing your beard daily?
Follow the steps above but skip using a shampoo. Instead, rinse the beard with just water or with a conditioner and pat it dry.
The best thing with most beard conditioners is that they contain natural oils that hydrate and nourish the skin and hair strands.
Step #2 Choose The Right Beard Comb and Get to Combing
Because there are different types of beard combs and picking the right one can be a challenge. The important things to consider include the material, size, and tooth width/spacing.
When it comes to the material, wood makes for a good quality beard comb.
First, wooden combs are lightweight and durable compared to plastic and metal combs.
Secondly, wood soaks in styling products aiding in the distribution of oils and styling products. On top of that, these combs look and smell great, are gentler on the beard, and have no static.
Not your style?
An alternative to wooden beard combs is bone or horn combs. They are of higher quality and very durable. However, they are thicker, heavier, expensive, and rare to find.
Apart from the material, the second consideration is teeth sizes and spacing. Here you will find fine-tooth, medium, and wide-tooth combs.
The wider the spacing, the easier it will be to comb your beard without straining or pulling hair strands.
There are also pick style and double-sided combs that have varying teeth spacing on both sides for added versatility.
It’s always great to have 2-3 combs with varying teeth spacing for different parts of your facial hairs.
Step #3 Time To Comb Beard Hair The Right Way
- Moisturize your beard. This helps to soften the hair strands and lubricate them for detangling.
- Use your hands to detangle visible tangles. For men with thick, wiry beards, it’s always wise to use your fingers to detangle your beard.
- Using the right comb – depending on how thick your beard is – start gently combing upwards from your neckline. Doing so removes any underlying tangles. If you run into knots, don’t pull at them forcefully. Instead, remove the comb and try again slowly.
- The next step is to slowly and gently comb the beard downward from the cheeks and chins towards the neckline until they look good.
- If you have a mustache, start combing it from the center to one side; then do the same for the other side. Moreover, to shape your mustache, use beard wax or balm to style it as desired.
- Work on your sideburns by combing them in the direction they grow. For most people, this will be downwards but for some people, it will be towards the ears.
That’s just about it.
Combing your facial hairs is a great way to make them look neater, fuller, and sharp. It also enhances the spreading/distribution of styling products while preventing ingrown hairs.
The process above is easy to follow, and only a few tools are needed.
If you have questions or you’d like to share with other readers how you comb your beard hairs, feel free to drop your thoughts below.
Until next time, beard on…
Frequently Asked Questions on How to Comb a Beard
There are several things that may be causing the pain, including:
The skin underneath is irritated and sensitive.
You haven’t oiled the facial hairs properly.
Forcefully combing through tangles and knots.
Using excessive force when combing.
Using the wrong beard care products.
Combing and brushing the beard too many times.
The best time to comb your beard is when it’s slightly damp – not soaking wet.
Pat dry the facial hairs using a towel until damp, then apply beard oil and balm.
When the hair strands are damp, the styling products spread easily, tangles loosen up, and there are fewer split ends and breakages.
If your beard is clean, but you want to comb it, start by moisturizing it to ensure it’s smooth and hydrated.
It’s perfectly fine to use both. The best way is to start with a small amount of oil. After a few minutes, apply the balm as you style the beard.
You can use the oil several times a day to moisturize and hydrate the skin and hair strands. This helps to reduce flaking and itchiness.
While pushing fingers through the beard won’t cause any harm, it exerts unnecessary pressure on the strands.
The only time you should use fingers is when detangling knots or when you forgot to carry a comb.
However, make sure your hands are clean to avoid transferring dirt, germs, and bacteria to your facial skin.