Growing a beard can be hard, but looking after a beard is even harder if you don't know what you're doing.
There's nothing worse than going through all the effort of growing a beard that would make ZZ Top give you nod of approval, then having it get knotted, patchy or full of dead hairs and skin.
That's why knowing how to look after your new pride and joy is essential, and luckily for you, Major Beard is here with the definitive guide on how to keep your beard sleek and clean.
In this guide, we'll be going over beard washes, specifically designed beard shampoos and conditioners, why you should use them, and the best ones on the market.
First, our three top picks for beard conditioners.
Top Beard Conditioner Wash
A complete shampoo and conditioner beard cleansing kit, Polished Growth's shampoo and conditioner not only work to clean your beard, because it's also packed with natural ingredients like rosemary, biotin, aloe and eucalyptus, it's a hair growth and thickening stimulant, so regular use should promote a thicker, healthier, cleaner beard.
Packed with goodness and with a fresh, tea tree scent, there's a reason Polished Growth's beard wash is overwhelmingly positively reviewed. There are even multiple options for sizing, so you can grab exactly as much as you need.
- Clean and fresh smell
- Improves beard growth
- Multiple options available
- Cheap feeling bottle
Alternative Beard Conditioner Wash
With a fresh lime scent that was good enough I wanted to try and eat this stuff and a great moisturizing and conditioning action that left my face feeling silky smooth, Zeus's beard shampoo and conditioner is another good option if you're looking for a top class beard wash. The only reason it loses out, price.
It's also paraben and sulfate free, so if you're looking for a more natural beard wash, this is a good choice.
- Smells gorgeous
- Paraben and sulfate free
- More expensive than the Polished Growth wash
Best All Natural Beard Conditioner
Our all natural pick, Scotch Porter's beard conditioner hydrates and nourishes completely organically. It's fantastic at moisturizing, and leaves beards feeling soft and supple. It's also non-greasy and sinks in easily, leaving little residue. The only real downsides are the distinctive scent, and the fact that it's slightly more expensive than beard conditioners that aren't completely natural.
- Completely natural
- Fantastic softening and conditioning
- Non-greasy, great feel
- Reasonably expensive
If you want to see our complete list of the best beard conditioner wash out there, you can read our best of review here
So what's a beard conditioner wash and why should I care?
A beard conditioner is, exactly like it says on the tin, a conditioner, for your beard.
Now, I can hear you already. You're a smart, conscientious man who likes looking his best. You already wash your beard. In fact, as I write this, you're probably saying 'I've already got a bunch of shampoos and conditioners in the shower. They seem to be doing the job fine.
'See, you can say that, but the problem is, normal shampoos and conditioners are the worst thing you can use on your beard. They're actually worse than not using anything at all.
The problem is, normal shampoos and conditioners are specifically formulated to be used on your head. They're designed to wash away all of the crap that builds up over the course of a day, like dirt and dust, pollen, exhaust pollution from cars, as well as the natural oils that your skin produces every day which leaves hair looking shiny and greasy.
It's the last part that concerns us. See, your beard needs these natural oils to stay thick and healthy. And when you wash them away, your beard starts to get brittle and fragile. I'm sure you've already noticed that every morning, when you brush your beard, you end up with a few dozen broken hairs in your brush or the sink. (What? You aren't brushing your beard either? You should be. If you have no idea how, you can read our guide here)
Of course your beard will shed hairs over time. It's only natural. But in the course of time you're only going to lose a few hairs a day, and if you're losing more than that, that's a huge sign that what you're doing to your beard is damaging it.Another huge sign that you aren't looking after your beard the way it needs to be looked after is beardruff. Beard dandruff. Not only is it disgusting, and annoying to deal with, it's the biggest single sign that your beard needs more love.
See, beardruff, and dandruff in general only shows up when your skin is overly dry. At the bottom of every hair, we have sebum glands. These produce oil that keeps our skin moisturized and hydrated. As our beards get longer, the hairs that make it up wick away the oil to keep your beard supple and strong. But your body can only produce so much oil, so when your beard starts to get longer and draw more oil away from your skin, it starts to get dry. Hence beardruff.
And then you go and wash away most of that oil every morning with a chemical packed shampoo...
A good beard shampoo and conditioner is instead made only from the best natural ingredients, and they're specially created to replenish your beard and skin. The vast majority of good beard washes also contain a replenishing oil that act like the oils your skin produces, moisturizing your face as it cleans and preventing your skin from drying out, keeping your beard fresh and healthy, and preventing the dreaded beardruff.
Right. So no to shampoo, yes to beard wash. What should I look for when I'm buying it
Glad you asked.
Like I just explained, a good beard wash is completely different from normal shampoo, and it's reasonable to assume that you're going to want to be looking for entirely different things.
In general, the main thing I'd be looking for in a beard shampoo is natural ingredients. Because you don't want to damage the skin on your face. In my opinion, what's not in a beard shampoo is just as important than what's in it, so if the product you're looking at contains any of these things, I'd recommend you give it a miss.
- 'Fragrance' : What does this even mean? I'll tell you. It could mean a generic nice smell made from natural sources, but it probably means an unnatural, factory made chemical from a list of over 3000 ingredients. And you have no way of knowing which one
- Parabens : Parabens are terrible, and linked to huge amounts of diseases, included cancer. Great stuff to rub on your face every day
- Polythylene Glycol : Banned in some states. Do I have to say more?
- Sodium Laureth Sulfate : Another cancer causing chemical, and one your liver has huge trouble filtering out of your body
- Sodium Lauryl Sulfate : This is the main one. Found in loads of shampoos, this is the chemical that strips away all of the oil on your skin
So what's actually going into a beard wash?
Well, like a lot of beard products, there will be a carrier oil as a main active ingredient.
This could be anything from the oils you'd find in a good beard balm, like jojoba or almond oil, or other oils that are great for the skin like coconut, castor and olive oils.
These oils moisturize your face by working like the natural oils that are already on your skin, and are the most important part of the beard wash.You might also find essential oils in your shampoo. These are normally found in tiny quantities, and add natural scents to your wash, as well as sometimes adding vitamins and minerals that are good for the skin.
It's also normal to find a lot of other skin products inside a good beard conditioner. Anything from cocoa powder (fights aging, full of antioxidants) exotic honeys (great antibacterial, good for acne and spots) beeswax and shea butter (excellent general skin care) as well as others.
A rule of thumb. If it sounds like it was made in a lab, give it a miss.
Okay, I'm washing my beard with beard wash. Is this all? Am I good to go?
'fraid not, fella. Just because you're using a beard conditioner now doesn't mean you can stop with the rest of your beard care routine. At least, if you want your beard to look its best.
You should already be regularly brushing your beard and using a good beard balm or beard oil to protect and moisturize your beard. On the upside, if you're already doing this, then washing your beard with a dedicated beard wash is the final piece of the puzzle, and it's going to make so much difference in how your face looks and feels that you won't ever want to get back to the way things were.
If you aren't already using a beard oil or balm, what's wrong with you?!
I'm joking, of course. Up until a couple of years ago, I had no idea all these beard products even existed. Luckily for you, we've got a handy set of guides on the importance of proper beard care. The full list is below, so go right ahead, take ten minutes to read a couple of these and soon you'll know more than your local barber about your beard.
- The Ultimate Guide To Beard Conditioners
- The Ultimate Guide to Beard Balms
- The Best Beard Balms
- The Ultimate Guide to Beard Oils
- The Best Beard Oils
- The Ultimate Guide to Beard Butter
- The Best Beard Butters
- The Best Beard Conditioner Washes
So how do I use beard wash?
Using a beard wash and conditioner is pretty damn simple, and you aren't going to have any trouble adding a minute to your morning showering routine, especially if it's going to help you achieve that epic mountain man beard you long for.
First thing to know. Frequency.
Don't wash your beard every day. This is a rookie mistake. I would know, I made it.
I keep harping on about beard oils. There's a reason for this. Most beard related problems come because your beard isn't the well-oiled machine you wish it was, and even using a dedicated beard wash every single day is too much for most beards.
So how often to wash? People fall into two camps.
The first camp say it's okay to wash your beard every second day. Simple, easy to remember.
The second camp say that's still too much, and that you can apply a conditioner to your beard every second day, but you should only shampoo it once a week.
What camp do I fall into?
The first one. I wash my beard three or four times a week, and I'm fine. I think that, as long as you've locked down a good beard care regime and regularly use a good beard oil or balm, this is absolutely fine.
Of course, everyone's beard is different, so the best thing to do is experiment.
So how do we go about washing out our beards?
It's really simple, and just like washing the hair on your head.
When your beard is thoroughly wet, lather up your beard shampoo and work it deep into your beard, making sure to massage it through the hairs and into the skin underneath. Leave it to soak for a minute or two whilst you wash other areas, then rinse it out completely.
Once your beard is shampooed, squeeze out a few drops of beard conditioner, work that into your beard in much the same way, working it down towards the bottom of your beard hairs, where it meets your face. Don't wash the conditioner out of your beard, though. Leave it to soak in. That's why we only use a few drops.
When you get out of the shower and you've dried your face, follow up this regimen with an application of beard oil or beard balm, and that's your beard looked after for another day.
If you're making the switch from regular shampoo to beard shampoo, for the first few days your face will feel oilier than you're used to. Don't worry. This is just a normal part of the process. It's your face getting used to having a natural amount of oil to work with again. In a few days this will fade and your face will look, smell and feel better than ever.
So what will a beard wash actually do for me?
The benefits of regular beard care are huge. It's actually hard to compare a beard left to its own devices with a beard that undergoes regular care.
Using a beard wash regularly will:
Keep your beard truly clean.
Hair is highly absorbent and picks up particles in the air, whether they're things you'd notice, like dust, or (god forbid) bits of last night's dinner, or smaller particles you'd never even see like the tiniest pieces of liquid fuel and ash pollutants that go hand in hand with living in a city or around a lot of cars.
If you aren't regularly washing your hair, this builds up and up over time, and starts to overload your hair. Your pores clog up, you get spots, and your bear will start to smell. It's just overall a real bad time.
Fight against beardruff and an itchy face.
A regularly itchy face is the first sign that your skin is getting dry. If you aren't making the effort to moisturize your skin and compensate for the dryness having a robustly masculine beard causes, then you're going to end up with white flakes of dead skin all over your face and shirt. A beard conditioner wash should be a major part of every man's grooming routine specifically because it fights all of this.
Promote healthy, strong beard growth.
I'm lucky. My beard is pretty thick and dark, with great coverage, but I know a lot of guys who bemoan the fact that no matter what they do, their beard just ends up patchy, especially on specific parts of the face.
The vast majority of good beard washes contain a lot more than just carrier oils that moisturize, and using beard conditioners can be a huge part of having a thick and lustrous beard.
In fact, there are specific beard washes out there now designed just for this purpose, with added nutrients that feed your beard exactly what it needs to thicken and thrive.
Soften and control an errant, bushy beard.
Untamed, unkempt, badly looked after beards are full of split hairs, curls, knots, and even fully dead hair that just needs to go. If you've ever been near a sink, imagine grabbing a scouring pad and rubbing it on your face. Feels good, right.
Now imagine filling that scouring pad with a soft, sweet smelling oil and giving it a damn good brush to pull all of that filthy scraping surface off and force the curls to lie straight.
It's not gonna feel anything like it used to, right?
Okay, terrible analogy, but you get the gist of what I'm saying. See, your body is smart. Hair included. You've got a few years behind you, and you like your hair a certain way. Have you found that the more you brush your hair a certain way, the easier it is to get it to sit in that style, and the better it looks?Why is the hair on your face any different?
Regular washing and grooming teaches your hair to lie in a particular way, so it'll be easier to style. And regular treatment with a good set of beard care products keeps your beard saturated with the things it needs to stay healthy, so it grows out strong, has less broken hairs so stays thicker, and keeps hydrated and soft.
Contribute to an overall great look
Lets face it. There's a reason beards are in right now. Every man looks better with a well-styled face rug.It's a way to show off your sense of style. It goes with damn near any look, and it's just goddamn manly.
Of course, when that girl on the other side of the office who's been giving you the eyes comes over, only to realize that the beard she was eyeing up from afar more resembles badly combed roadkill stuck to your chin now that she's up close, she's gonna go running.
As good as a beard can look, a well groomed and looked after beard will always look better.I've looked into this, and I'm hearing a lot of conflicting information? So tell me, does beard conditioner actually treat dandruff?
Yeah. It's confusing out there. There are a lot of people saying a lot of different things. But then, that's why you've ended up here. All of our articles are sourced and linked, so you can be sure that what you're reading is legit.
Anyway, onto the question.
A beard conditioning wash will definitely help treat beard dandruff. As we've already discussed, the single biggest thing that leads to beard dandruff is a lack of natural oils on your face.
Because specially created beard shampoos and conditioners keep your natural oils in balance, they don't dry the skin out like regular shampoo, so they're obviously going to contribute to keeping your face clean and dandruff free. On top of that, washing out all of the dirt, chemicals and dead skin your face naturally picks up over the course of the day is a huge factor in keeping your beard healthy and clean.
But using a good beard wash is not the only factor that goes into getting rid of beardruff. Once your face is dry and you're out of the house, the oils on your face start to dry out. That's why it's absolutely essential that once you've washed your beard thoroughly, you apply a beard oil or beard balm to it to keep it moisturized throughout the day.
I'm convinced. I need this in my life. Where can I buy some, and how much is it gonna cost me?
The good news is that there's almost certainly somewhere near you that sells beard oil, and it's not expensive at all. Especially when you realize how long a tube lasts.
You can get beard products from most large pharmacies, but the absolute best place to look for beard products is the internet, specifically Amazon. It's where I buy every beard lotion and potion I own.
See, whilst your local chemist might have a couple of options when it comes to beard conditioner, Amazon has hundreds, with reviews right there so you know what you're buying is the best. Even better, the convenience of having it delivered to your door just can't be beat.
On top of this, Amazon now has a monthly service that delivers your regular products to your door, whenever you tell them to. So when you find a product you love, with just a couple of clicks it'll be turning up in your mailbox just as the last tube runs out. And that is something I love.
What if I don't want to buy a beard wash, or I live in the stone age and don't have any way to buy it online?
I'm confused. If that's the case, how are you reading this? But hey, if you have no other option, you can always do it yourself. It's real simple. All you need is.
- 3 cups of water : Filter it if you can, because it's better for your skin
- Some rosemary : Rosemary naturally stimulates hair growth, and it smells pretty good. If a little bit flowery
- Essential oil (Optional) : If you want a different scent, a couple of drops of your favorite essential oil. I like sandalwood
The steps to make your own beard wash are just as simple as the ingredients list.
- Put the water into a pan and get it up to boiling
- Once the water is boiling, add the rosemary
- Turn the heat down just enough to let the water simmer, and let the whole thing sit for around 25 minutes (If you're adding essential oils, do it now)
- Leave the pan with the rosemary in it to steep for at least 10 hours
- Once it's done, pour the water into a spray bottle, and squirt it into your beard
As you can see, this is so simple to do. It's the easiest thing in the world to set this up before you head to bed and wake up to your very own homemade beard conditioner.
If you're still struggling with the process, just follow the instructions in the video below. It shows you everything you need to do from start to finish.
I already use beard oil. Should I use beard conditioner alongside it?
Oh yeah. Definitely. Beard oil and beard conditioner go together like PB and J. Like Starsky and Hutch. Like sunglasses and Stevie Wonder. It's a perfect fit.
Now I'm not saying you use them at the same time. Beard conditioning washes should be used in the shower, and beard oils and balms should be used as soon as you're done with the shower and your beard is still damp, but not soaking wet.
My beard is patchy, and every time I brush it, another handful of hairs come out? Is it safe to use beard conditioner?
Do you know why you keep losing beard hair and your beard is all patchy?
Because your beard isn't healthy.
I wouldn't be asking if beard conditioners are safe for you to use. I'm telling you to use them, because they're going to solve all of your problems.
Not only will your beard look better, because it's been washed and groomed, but beard washes stimulate hair growth anyway and keeping your beard clean and well looked after is going to promote good facial health.
If you've got a patchy beard, you need a beard wash and conditioner. It's as simple as that.
Got more questions? Still not convinced? Click here to read our beard care product masterclass. It covers everything you need to know to look after your beard, including the differences between beard oils and balms, beard conditioners, the importance of regular brushing, and answers for any and all beard related problems.
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We've attempted to answer all the questions we've been asked over the years, however if you've got a question that you want answering, please ask it below or contact us directly via our contact form here.
Last update on 2018-01-28 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API