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Does your facial hair look more like a bird’s nest than a beard? If so, it may be time to brush up on some hygiene tips — wink wink. Learning how to brush your beard correctly can evenly distribute oils, exfoliate the skin, prevent itchiness and flaking, promote healthy hair growth and keep you looking dapper all day.
After a few days or weeks of consistent care, you might even reach beard nirvana where any shape or size is possible. Here are a few tips to help you get there.
1. Wash First
This may sound obvious, but you’re going to want to wash your beard before taking a brush to it. So hope in the shower — or lean over the sink — and suds up.
Use a gentle beard shampoo to clean your scruff one to three times per week or a beard conditioner to wash it as often as you’d like. Remember to lather the product until it reaches your skin and the base of your hair follicles. Then, let it sit for at least 30 seconds before rinsing it out.
2. Oil Up
After you’re done in the shower, gently towel dry your mane and apply some oil to your beard. This extra pre-brush step will allow the bristles to distribute the oil to each hair when you brush it. Applying the product first also relaxes the hair and protects the shaft to prevent breakage during brushing. You might even notice that your beard is softer and straighter after a few uses.
3. Use the Right Tool
The beard brush is the single most important thing in your hair care arsenal. You should have little trouble brushing your beard if you pick the right one. Most experts recommend using a high-quality boar bristle brush, which will clean out extra dust and oil with each stroke. The natural texture of the bristles will also allow for stronger strokes so you don’t have to brush your beard 100 times on each side.
If you want to style your beard or give it more volume, try using a round brush to comb the hairs out and down. Want a style that stays? Apply light heat with a hairdryer. Then, apply cool air to lock the look in place.
4. Brush Up
Sometimes, you want a neat, classic look. Keep things simple by adopting an everyday brush routine that begins by brushing everything upwards first. Yes, step number one sounds like madness, but using upward strokes will give you a clean slate so to speak.
If you rolled up to your mirror and immediately began brushing towards your chin, you’d most likely battle clumping and tangles, especially if your beard is longer. Therefore, it’s best to accept the upward stroke — and that crazy Mufasa mane — before your facial hair takes its final form.
5. Then, Brush Down
This brings us to our next point: brush down. After you have all your hair pointing up in the same direction, you can begin using downward strokes on your cheek beard and fore beard. Brushing your cheek beard down towards your chin will flatten stray hairs and sharpen the outline of your beard.
This method can also give your mane a v-shape. If you aren’t going for a Megamind-worthy point, brush your cheek beard down vertically towards your jawbone to create more of a square shape.
6. Go With the Grain
Brushing down doesn’t apply to every part of your beard, however. When it comes to your neck hair, you should always brush up. Otherwise, you might end up looking like a werewolf.
Of course, brushing in all different directions can get a little confusing, especially for the guy who wants his beard to look presentable. Thus, it’s best to follow this general rule of thumb: go with the grain. In other words, brush in the direction of hair growth, and you really can’t go wrong.
7. Don’t Overbrush
As much as you want to practice your new beard-brushing skills, there is such a thing as overdoing it. If you brush your beard too often, you may experience hair loss, a patchy mane and dry, irritated skin.
But how often is too often? Well, the answer will vary daily and from man to man. Many different factors determine how often you should brush your beard, including its style, texture, length and even the weather. Thus, ironing out your brushing routine might take trial and error, so be patient. Those perfectly shaped bristles are waiting just around the corner.
Training Your Beard
No one grows and shapes a flawless mane overnight — unless you’re Ben Affleck. Training your beard may take many weeks of brushing in the right direction, just as training would.
However, if you stick to your routine and consistently give your facial hair some TLC, you’ll eventually tame the beast and make it easier to style. Just try not to get carried away and grow a Gandalf beard or handlebar mustache.