By Adam Hurly
You’re a natural: You look good with a beard. Damn good. But a full mug of face fuzz sometimes gets in the way of your dadly duties. Like, sometimes it rubs against your kids or partner and they get a bit of a bristle burn. Not a great look. Luckily, there’s a follicle-fluffing regimen that can remedy all of this, sparing you and your family any agony, at no cost to your beard’s magnitude. The key is to keep your chin curtain hydrated, both with natural oils from the skin and supplements like beard oil and balm. Things like extreme weather, hot showers, and your skin’s pH levels (how oily it is, or in this case, how un-oily it is) are all factors that contribute to the beard’s brittleness. With a few proactive measures and a small product supply, you can keep your beard ready for nuzzling, whisker tickles, and other all-star dad stuff.
Wash Your Whiskers Regularly
You can’t deliver all the healthy nutrients to your hair and skin if you don’t first have a clean canvas. This would be like trying to moisturize your face before cleansing it: You would just be coating cream over top all the grease, grime, and Cheerio dust that has accumulated. So, before you apply any oils and balms (in that order), you need to first wash the beard with a gentle cleanser. Even if you didn’t follow the cleanse with a nourishing oil (though we highly suggest you do it), this process gets rids of the toxins and excess oil that prevent your hair from growing healthily and from absorbing the sebum produced by the skin. So it’s doubly important to scrub: It promotes softness and clears the way for a hydrating agent. We Like: Stubble & Stache’s Face & Beard Wash
Oil It Up
Beard oil isn’t a gimmick: It consists of essential oils that absorb quickly into the skin and hair, nourishing cells and restoring everything to a healthy, vibrant state. This softens existing scruff and promotes healthy, conditioned growth from the hair follicle. So, skip the moisturizer on the beard region of your face, or just employ a nutrient-dense face oil that doubles as a beard oil. A morning application — a couple drops post shower and cleanse—should have the biggest impact of any of these tips. We Like: Jack Black’s MP10 Nourishing Oil
Style It. Or At least Tame It
Oils aren’t the only nourishing product available. They penetrate deepest—getting to more cells than just those on the surface. But a beard balm conditions hair superficially and handles one other crucial task: styling. Take a pea-sized amount of the product, emulsify it in your palms, then brush your hands gently over your beard. This minimizes pesky strays, and keeps the prickly pests from scratching any tiny humans’ faces. Instead, it keeps everything lying flat, while nurturing it with skin-friendly ingredients like shea butter, beeswax, and essential oils. We Like: Brothers Artisan Oil The Tamer
Brush Your Beard Nightly
Unless you have a daughter of your own, you may not understand why women and girls need to brush their hair. It’s more than just taming method for unruly hair: Brushing evenly distributes the skin’s natural oils throughout the entire strand of hair. It’s hard for the ends of the hair to get the same kind of natural conditioning that the shaft receives, and brushing ensures that the oil is evenly spread. (This prevents split ends, which you know as a symptom of dry, brittle hair.) The same logic goes for your beard, though it’s significantly easier to brush. Just get a simple boar-bristle brush and run it through your whiskers before bed, after cleansing. (This is probably unnecessary if your beard is less than a centimeter, however.) We Like: Zeus’ Beard Brush
Do a Weekly Hot Oil Treatment
If you’ve got a big, bushy beard, then you need to crank your conditioning to the highest notch—but just once a week for 20 minutes. It’s called a hot oil treatment, and at first it resembles a normal oil application. Wash and dry the beard, then apply a few drops of oil. Since your beard is so big, you might want to comb the oil through the whiskers. (Use a comb, not a brush.) Then, soak a towel in hot water and wrap your face with it for a few minutes, until the temperature cools significantly. (Don’t use scalding hot water, but also don’t settle for lukewarm water.) This hot towel opens the pores and softens the bristles, allowing for easier, more direct absorption of the oil. Repeat the towel application—soak it, wrap it—and after it cools, remove the towel and wash your face and beard with cold water. This will close the pores and remove any excess oil. After everything dries, you can apply your typical coat of beard oil. Et voila—it’s like a facial, except for your beard. A lower-half facial, perhaps? Nomenclature aside, this will keep the hair soft, though it’s intensive and strong enough that you needn’t employ the practice more than once every week.