“To straighten or not to straighten a curly beard?”
There is nothing wrong with embracing a curly beard.
In fact, when compared to a straight beard, a curly beard looks thicker, fuller, and more natural. However, it can also be a nightmare for most men.
For starters, a curly beard is hard to wash, style, and maintain. And because of the curls, it does not show any growth progress.
On top of that:
It is susceptible to knots and tangles; making it hard and painful to comb. The list goes on and on…
If you want to straighten your beard, I have got you covered.
Here, I’ll walk you through:
- Some reasons why beard hairs get curly
- The benefits of straightening facial hairs
- How to straighten a curly beard at home
- How to maintain a straightened beard
- The most frequently asked questions about beard straightening
If you are, let’s get into it…
What Causes A Curly Beard?
According to science:
Beard thickness depends on how sensitive the follicles are to testosterone and the genes.
The higher the sensitivity, the thicker the beard and vice versa.
But why are beard hairs curly?
There are two types of curly beards:
- A naturally curly beard and,
- A curly beard because of damage and improper care.
a) Naturally Curly Beards
A naturally curly beard is caused by either one’s genes or the follicles. In most cases, the beard gets curly as a result of the angle at which the follicles meet the skin.
While most illustrations show the follicles meeting the skin at a perpendicular angle, it’s not always the case. Sometimes, the hair follicles meet the skin at an angle.
Why does this matter?
Well, the angle at which the beard follicles meet the skin determines whether the facial hairs will be straight or curled.
If the follicles are at a right angle (symmetrical follicles) in relation to the skin, you will mostly have a straight beard, while asymmetrical follicles produce curled facial hairs.
If I ask, what’s the shape at the tip of your hair strands?
You will probably say circular or round, right?
Note that the shape at the tip of hair strands can be round, oval, semi-oval, or flat oval.
Why is the shape important?
This also dictates whether you’ll have straight or curly facial hairs.
- If the hair strands are round or circular, you will have straight hair.
- Oval strands result in curly hair.
- Semi-oval strands result in wavy hair.
- And, lastly, flat oval-shaped strands encourage the formation of coiled or kinky hair.
b) Curly Facial Hair Because Of Damage and Improper Care
This applies to those who had a straight beard, but it turned curly.
There are different reasons for this; including:
Why is hydration important?
- Water helps hair growth, making up to 15% of the components.
- Water helps in the circulation of important nutrients and vitamins that promote hair growth.
- Proper hydration makes the facial skin soft and healthy, translating to a better-looking beard.
- Water prevents facial hair from breaking, getting frizzy, and developing split ends.
Tip: Drink up to 16 cups of water in a day (3.7 liters of fluid).
2. Poor Eating Habits
Foods that promote healthy beard growth include:
- Chicken, salmon, and other lean proteins.
- Whole grains.
- Iron-rich food like liver.
- Zinc-rich foods like nuts.
- Healthy fats.
3. Using The Wrong Beard Care Products
Tips on how to choose the right products:
- Request your stylist to recommend products for you.
- If your growth journey is influenced by an influencer, check out their care routine and recommended products.
- Read online reviews before purchasing these products.
- Always check the ingredient list and look up any ingredient you are unsure about.
4. Not Washing or Drying Your Beard Properly
So, here are a few washing, styling, drying, and care tips:
- Wash the beards 1-3 times a week. For a dry beard wash less while for an oily beard wash up to 3 times.
- Always condition facial hairs after using a shampoo.
- Include beard oil or balm in your care products list.
- Use lukewarm water for washing.
- To dry the beard, gently pat dry using a towel. Don’t rub.
- Use the right tools and make sure they are sharp enough to make clean trims.
- Keep your facial hair moisturized.
- Cover the beard when it’s cold and dry.
- Stop stroking and touching the beard hairs, especially, with dirty hands.
Well, from the above checklist, identify what you’ve been doing wrong and fix it.
How to Straighten A Curly Beard Like A Boss
If you have a naturally straight beard but it’s now curly, start by assessing the root cause and address it. There is no need to use straightening products or straighteners in such a case.
Most of the time, it’s an easy fix, provided you have narrowed down all the possible causes of your curly beard and singled one out.
If your beard is naturally curly, here are your options:
a) Using a Blow Dryer and Comb/Brush to Straighten a Beard
If you are looking for a way to straighten your beard naturally without using harsh chemicals or excessive heat, this is one of the best options.
It’s simple but involves a strict beard care routine.
Basically, this method involves combing or brushing the beard from underneath then changing the direction, at the same time blowing hot air using a blow dryer.
Here’s what you need to do:
How to Use a Blowdryer, Comb (or Brush) to Train a Beard
The downside with this method is that the results are not often permanent. Therefore, you have to constantly brush your beard every day.
For this method, the most important tool is the comb or brush.
Quick Tips on Buying a Quality Beard Comb or Brush
When buying a comb, the first consideration should be the material.
Combs made from wood or animal horns are better than those made of plastic or metal. The latter can easily get charged, causing frizz and static making it hard to brush.
Consider the spacing between the teeth.
Wide spaced teeth are ideal for thick and long beards, while spall spaced teeth are ideal for a short beard.
If you decide to buy a brush, consider the size, handle, and type of bristles. Ensure it fits perfectly in your hands and is easy to handle.
When it comes to the type of bristles, you will find brushes with boar, synthetic, and horsehair bristles.
So, which one is the best?
While any of these brushes will get the job done, boar or horsehair bristles are better for the distribution of styling products and are not overly aggressive when brushing.
b) Using A Heated Beard Straightener Comb or Brush
Unlike the regular beard comb and brushes, heated straighteners are styling tools that use either ceramic, ionic, or porcelain heating technology to tame and straighten frizzy beard hairs.
Wondering; what’s the difference?
In a nutshell:
- Ceramic heated brushes and combs’ selling point is that they warm hair evenly and are great in heat retention. Not to mention, they heat up faster.
- Ionic heated brushes and combs generate negative ions that break water molecules in the hair without damaging the hair strands.
How Do These Tools Work?
Heated brushes and combs work the same way.
You start by connecting to a power source, then selecting your preferred heat setting before starting to comb the beard.
The main considerations when buying a heated brush or comb include:
- The number of heat settings.
- Maximum temperature.
- Heat-up time.
Other common features among heated brushes and combs include:
- LCD display – to indicate the temperature.
- Auto shut off feature – if accidentally left on for some time.
- USB rechargeable.
- Ceramic coated bristles.
How To Use A Heated Brush Or Comb To Straighten Beard
- Start by shampooing, conditioning, and drying the beard.
- Apply a heat protection spray to protect the hair. Most of these sprays contain jojoba and castor oils that coat hair follicles preventing damage from heat.
- Brush using a regular beard comb to remove tangles and knots
- Turn on the heated brush and let the straightener heat up. Start with the lowest heat setting but adjust if more heat is needed.
- Start brushing the beards downwards gently. Repeat the process until the hair feels soft and looks straight.
- Finish by moisturizing and applying beard oil to soften and hydrate the beard.
When buying a heated brush, look for a model that is specifically made for beards; for the best results.
This is not an everyday-use tool. Advisably, limit the use and the time taken to brush the beard. That’s why I recommend first brushing using a regular comb.
c) Using a Flat Iron Straightener
Another way to straighten even the most unruly beard hairs is using a flat iron.
What is a Flat Iron and How Does it Work?
A beard flat iron is similar to a regular flat iron (a popular styling tool for women).
While both work similarly, beard flat irons are smaller in size and are designed with beards in mind.
This method is very effective but more aggressive compared to the other methods discussed above.
How Does a Flat Iron Straightener Work?
A flat iron is a clamp with two heated plates on each side.
You’re supposed to place the beard hair between the plates, compress and pull to straighten the hair strands.
Unlike a heated brush or comb, a flat iron applies heat directly to the hair and can damage your strands if not used properly. Hence, the need to be extra careful with this.
Here’s How to use a flat iron to straighten beard
- Start by washing and drying the beard.
- Comb or brush the beard to remove knots and tangles.
- Apply a heat protectant spray to protect the hair from the heat.
- Plug in the flat iron and set the lowest heat setting.
- Hold a section of your beard and place it between the clamps and pull the hair through repeatedly.
- Straighten all areas until your beard feels soft and straight.
- Apply beard oil to replenish the lost oils and moisture.
Flat irons are only ideal for those with medium to long beards. If you have a short beard, you may end up getting burnt.
Also, some flat irons remain scalding hot for minutes after being switched off, posing a danger to kids and can also cause a fire if not switched off and properly stored.
Lastly, limit the use of a flat iron and make sure you have a mirror to see what you are doing.
Flat iron your beard hours before leaving the house so that hairs will have regained the natural texture instead of looking shiny.
d) Use Beard Straightening and Softening Products
When it comes to beard straightening products, you will mostly find:
- Relaxing and softening creams
- Relaxing balms
Beard relaxers or texturizers contain alkali chemicals as the main ingredients to straighten a beard permanently.
How Do Beard Relaxers and Straightening Products Work?
Relaxer’s main ingredients (sodium hydroxide and potassium hydroxide) soften hair strands by breaking the keratin bonds that define the curliness of the strands, thus, making them straight.
Evidently, this method works by forcing hair strands to submit by breaking the properties that make them curly.
Therefore it is a brutal process, which is not necessarily a good thing; because it can also result in flat beards. Especially if the relaxing ingredients are very strong.
The other issue with relaxers is that they don’t straighten any newly growing beard hair. So if you have a curly beard, any newly grown hair will also be curly.
This means you will have to use a relaxer after every 2-3 months to relax the newly grown hair.
Are There Good Beard Relaxers?
Yes, there are relaxers that have minimal relaxing ingredients and mild relaxing abilities.
This is a good thing.
Some of them have natural relaxing ingredients and contain healthy hair oils.
This saves you from the brutal and forceful effects of using beard straightening products with strong chemical ingredients.
If you want a good beard relaxer, check the ingredient list. And if the relaxer or softener is promising instant but permanent results, that is not a good pick, unless you have the curliest beard hairs.
How to Maintain a Straightened Beard
Unless you are straightening your beard for just one occasion you should strive to maintain it that way.
As you have seen, some of the above methods can be brutal and damage your beard. Therefore, maintenance helps you limit the number of times you use these methods; i.e. keeping heat and chemicals away.
Now the big question is, how do you maintain a straight beard?
- Implement a care routine to ensure your facial hairs are in their optimum state.
- Shampoo and condition the beard up to three times a week, properly dry them, and apply beard oil and balm regularly.
- Apply beard wax to hold the straightened beard in place without losing shape.
- One of the main reasons for a curly beard for men with straight facial hair is dryness. Therefore, moisturize and oil your beard to keep it soft and smooth.
- Train your beard by combing and brushing it every day
- Moisturize and hydrate facial hair every time you use heat to replenish the lost moisture and oils.
- Avoid touching your beard – yes, keep your hands off your facial hair.
Frequently Asked Questions About Beard Straightening
Have I answered all your straightening questions? If not, here are a few more questions from the bearded community.
The answer is a resounding – No.
Because of the heat, consistent use of either a heated brush or flat iron will damage your hair.
That’s why it’s recommended to apply beard wax and to comb the beard every day so that the strands don’t curl again.
There is no way to make a new beard hair grow straight.
Curled beards are determined by your hair follicles and the shape of the hair strands, and you can’t change that.
If your beard is curly because of being dry, you can easily fix that by moisturizing and oiling.
I know that sometimes you want to feel your beard, which is fine when washing or styling them.
But stroking has negative effects, especially if it’s an unconscious habit.
First, if your hands are dirty, you’ll transfer some of the germs, bacteria, and dirt to your beard. And that can affect the health of your facial skin and hair follicles.
Also, touching/stroking facial hair can wipe off some of the oils and moisture on the hair strands. Thus, leaving them dry
Beard straightening is always a hot topic among bearded men.
On one hand, some believe a curly beard looks great and is luxurious, which is true. On the other hand, men with curly a beard find it a challenge to maintain, style, and take care of the whiskers necessitating the need for straightening.
When done right, beard straightening and softening is a smart option. You have more styling options, the facial hairs look longer, and washing/maintenance is easier.
Always start by assessing whether they are curled because of being dry. If this is the case, then it’s easier for you to fix that.
If your curls are natural, try the brushing and training method first, before trying straighteners or chemical relaxers.
Because of the imminent downsides, when using chemical relaxers, start by trying a small section and observe the results before proceeding.
As always, I am interested in hearing from you. What worked for, and how do you keep your beard straight? Be sure to leave a comment below.