Beards have a physiology and personality of their own. You can’t completely dictate how they’re going to end up, and actually, there would be no fun in doing that anyway. It would be like designing your own weird robot baby with artificial intelligence and knowing every single move its about to make, never feeling particularly enthralled or bemused by its unpredictable behaviour.
So, firstly, let’s take a moment to be grateful for our unruly beards. They’re not perfect, but they’re packed with character and that’s an important quality. If your beard, like mine, is a tad rough or wiry, then there are a number of reasons why this might be.
It could be the direction in which the hair is growing, with natural knots and curls interlinking to make a fantastic ‘Hagrid’ beard. While this is entirely acceptable as a style, it may not feel great when brushing up against your partner’s face, and might irritate your neck causing a rash to occur.
Another reason for having a prickly mane could be the amount of split ends. These are hairs that have literally come apart at the ends and flick off in various directions. Split ends can also occur midway up the hair line, making them difficult to manage.
A beard that hasn’t received enough love can also act out and become poorly nourished. Dry hair that lacks vitamins and water has the potential to turn against you overnight.
Like a furious teenager, your beard hair can snap, creating rigid edges and a rebellious appearance and texture. In order to identify the root cause of your tricky beard, it’s good to have a think about whether your beard has always been this way, or if it’s a recent development.
If it’s only become troublesome in the recent weeks or months, then a lack of love might be the culprit. If it’s a longstanding issue, there’s no reason that a good grooming routine can’t solve this common grooming problem.
What You’ll Need
There are a number of products that you can use to soften your beard. Sometimes it can be a bit of trial and error to see what works best for you, as your hair biology and temperament is unique.
Beard Softening Products
Beard oils are great for any beard style, whether you have a goatee or full on hipster beard. Not only do they soften the hair, but reduce your risk of developing dandruff and keep your man-mane smelling glorious.
It’s best to apply beard oil after a nice hot shower and shave. Natural oils are preferable for keeping the hair healthy and happy. The Smooth Viking Beard Oil for Men contains avocado oil and Moroccan argan oil, both of which are highly nourishing and gentle.
If the scent of beard oil is a priority for you, and you want to enjoy a rugged manly smell all day, then why not try the Grave Before Shave beard oil? It has a bourbon aroma with sandalwood after-notes, and is also made from natural organic ingredients.
Boar Bristled Beard Brush
A beard brush with natural boar bristles is a different from a comb. It works in such a way that it stimulates the hair and evenly spreads the natural face oils across the length and width of the beard, giving it as much moisture as possible.
The Magic Reinforced Boar Bristle Soft Palm Brush is a particularly popular brand, with very soft bristles that are comfortable against your skin.
Beard conditioner is applied to wet, clean beards. It’s usually best to shampoo the beard first. The conditioner should be massaged into the beard and left for a few minutes (unless the bottle states otherwise).
The Beardsley Ultra Conditioner for Beards is a particularly effective beard conditioner due to its use of marigold. Marigold is not only a natural healer, but is an antiseptic and antibacterial, which will assist in keeping your unloved beard is full-bodied health.
Another option is the highly popular Zeus Beard Conditioner Wash for Men.
This formula includes a list of safe but effective ingredients, including natural beard softening remedies like avocado and vitamin B5. The scent is a mixture of lime and sandalwood, which will be sure to wake you up in the morning!
Moisturising Beard Shampoo
As a rule of thumb, never use head-hair shampoo or body wash on your facial hair. If you’re already doing this, it might explain why the hair has become so rough and unruly.
Beard shampoos are specially designed to work with facial hair. It is desirable to find a shampoo that has moisturising qualities in order to keep the hair soft. Shampoos that are packed with synthetics are more likely to dry out the hair and skin.
This is why it’s best to use shampoos that utilise essential oils instead of adding artificial scents.
The shampoo is gentle but effective and smells bright and cheerful. Alternatively, Mr. Natty Natty’s Face Forest Soap Beard Shampoo contains shea butter and rosemary to soften and brighten the beard hair, as well as peppermint to stimulate growth and strengthen hair follicles.
Beard balms are similar to beard oils. You can use either one depending on your preference. People with bigger bushier beards often prefer beard balms over oils because they provide a little more hold. This is ideal if your mane needs to be tamed a little.
A popular choice is the Smooth Viking Beard Balm. This clever little product contains shea butter, pumpkin seed oil, jojoba oil and argan oil, making it a heavenly mix of natural organic ingredients.
There’s also Beard Balm for The Modern Gentleman by Liberty. This Balm contains a small amount of beeswax (as well as an array of natural ingredients such as coconut oil and almond oil) so that it provides a slightly firmer hold.
Even if you never shave, it’s still important to trim. Split ends are one of the leading causes of a rough beard.
Specially designed beard trimming scissors allow you to take full control of exactly which hairs get the chop. The Beard & Moustache Scissors from Striking Viking are made from carbon steel and measure at five inches in length, making them the perfect size for a precise snip. They also come in their own stylish carrier case, making them safe to travel with.
How To Soften Your Beard
The routine you adopt to achieve a softer beard entirely depends on how rough it is to begin with, as well as its length and style.
For the most effective results, follow these simple steps:
- Step 1
Wash your beard using a moisturising beard shampoo of your choice. Don’t be too aggressive while scrubbing or it can cause further split ends. Massage the beard lovingly and rinse the shampoo out using warm water.
- Step 2
Use a conker sized amount of conditioner. Rub it from the root through to the tip. Leave it in for a few minutes unless the bottle states otherwise. It might be wise to pass this time completing another men’s grooming activity such as flossing or partaking in some Tom Jones shower karaoke.
Then, rinse out the conditioner. Make sure none of it is left in by mistake, as this can actually irritate the skin and cause dandruff to occur.
- Step 3
Trim any loose ends or split ends with the beard scissors. Try to cut any hairs that are growing in an unusual direction or causing irritation.
- Step 4
Give your beard a good brushing. This should be done more than once a day for the best results (e.g. In the morning and before bed). Again, don’t be too aggressive with the brushing technique.
Try to start at the root of the hair and brush towards the ends in a smooth movement. Make sure that the bristles tough the skin to stimulate the hair follicles and help to spread natural oils around the beard hair.
- Step 5
Apply beard oil or beard balm. You won’t need too much of this, as large quantities will make the beard look too oily and slightly creepy. However, a wise trick is to apply some extra oil or balm right before bed.
This way the hair can repair itself while you’re sleeping, and it won’t matter if it does look a little greasy as it’ll wash out during your morning shower. If you have split ends, try to focus the majority of the balm in this area. If you have itchy dry skin, then extra attention can be paid towards the hair root.
Whether you do this daily or every few days is up to you. For desert-dry beards, it might be wise to adopt this as a daily routine until the hairs begin to soften. Shorter beards may only require a beard softening routine once a week.
The most important factor in creating a softer look is paying attention to the products you’re using, ensuring they’re packed with nutritious, safe and organic ingredients for the very best outcome.