Beard Care 101: Men’s Guide to Healthy Facial Hair

This is a question I get all the time — can men take HAIRLOVE? The answer is yes, absolutely! I have an entire article explaining the benefits of HAIRLOVE for men.  

But today, I want to take it a step further and cover a topic that is such a big deal for the gentleman out there: beard care. 

Did you know that 54% of men in the US have facial hair? Not only that, but a recent survey found that 3 out of 4 men feel more confident with facial hair. 

Just as our hair is so important for our self-esteem as women, men feel just as strongly about facial hair! 

A big part of the HAIRLOVE story is about feeling confident in your body and hair health. I love sharing that for both women and men! And so many benefits for hair health translate over to beards and other types of facial hair. 

Let’s learn more about facial hair growth, beard grooming, common facial hair problems, and beard care tips. 

The Biology Behind Beard Growth

Beard growth is primarily influenced by the biological processes within a man's body. Androgens, primarily testosterone and dihydrotestosterone (DHT), determine facial hair growth. These hormones stimulate your face’s hair follicles, which triggers the growth of thicker, coarser hair during and after puberty. Depending on each individual and personal hormone levels, density and distribution of facial hair can vary.

Facial hair goes through the same hair growth cycle as the hair on your head. It has three stages:

  • Anagen Phase: This is the active growth phase where the hair follicles produce new hair. The duration of this phase determines the length and growth of the hair.
  • Catagen Phase: A transitional phase where the hair stops growing and separates from the blood supply. This phase is relatively short, lasting a few weeks.
  • Telogen Phase: The resting phase when the hair follicle stays before shedding and restarting the growth cycle.

Of course, certain factors can impact this growth cycle, including how long you stay in anagen vs. catagen or telogen. These are the top factors related to facial hair growth:

  1. Genetics: The biggest and most talked about factor is genetics. The genes inherited from your parents help determine the density, pattern, and potential for facial hair growth.
  1. Hormones: Testosterone and DHT are the primary hormones responsible for stimulating facial hair growth. Hormonal imbalances or deficiencies can impact beard growth, which may lead to issues such as patchiness or slow growth.
  1. Lifestyle: Several lifestyle factors can influence beard growth. A healthy diet, regular exercise, proper sleep, and managing stress levels can improve overall hormonal balance and, in turn, support healthy beard growth. Meanwhile, unhealthy habits — like excessive drinking, poor nutrition, or smoking — can hurt the growth and quality of facial hair.

Most Common Beard Problems + Solutions 

#1: Dryness

Dryness is the root of all evil in the hair world. When your scalp is lacking its natural moisture and is generally unhappy, it can cause all kinds of problems. Here’s the most common facial hair concerns related to dryness:

  • Itchiness: Itchiness beneath the beard is often because of dry skin. To combat this, regularly moisturize the skin beneath the beard using beard oils or balms. These products help hydrate the skin and condition the hair, which lessens itching and discomfort.
  • Beard dandruff (Beardruff): Dry skin equals flakiness, AKA beardruff. Using a gentle beard shampoo or cleanser and regularly exfoliating the skin can help eliminate dead skin cells and reduce dandruff. Additionally, applying beard oils with hydrating properties can prevent flakiness. Our Nourish + Repair Serum, made of 100% argan oil, works great as a beard oil and has many antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits. 
  • Rough, brittle hair: When the beard lacks moisture, the hair becomes coarse and brittle. Regularly apply beard oils or conditioners to keep the hair soft and manageable. Opt for products with natural ingredients like argan oil or jojoba oil, which are known for their moisturizing properties.

#2: Oiliness

Sometimes, your skin and hair can be on the opposite end of the spectrum. You may struggle with too much oil vs. dryness. If that’s the case for you, it may manifest in these ways:

  • Acne and pimples: Excessive oil production can lead to acne outbreaks. This is where a gentle cleanser designed for facial hair is so important to clean the skin under the beard thoroughly. Avoid products with harsh chemicals that can strip the skin of its natural oils, since this can make matters worse and actually trigger more oil production. Look for non-comedogenic products to prevent clogged pores and acne.
  • Greasy appearance: To combat the overall greasy appearance caused by excessive oil, use a mild, sulfate-free beard wash tailored for cleansing without over-stripping natural oils. After this, apply a lightweight, natural beard oil or balm. The idea is to moisturize your beard without leaving behind a greasy or heavy feel. Also, consider introducing a beard brush or comb into your beard grooming routine. Regular brushing or combing helps evenly distribute natural oils throughout your beard. 

#3: Ingrown Hairs

Ingrown hairs are very common, especially for men who regularly shave. The biggest risk factor is having tightly curled hair (darn genetics!), but poor shaving habits or old razors can also cause problems. 

Here’s some proper beard grooming and shaving habits to minimize the likelihood of ingrown hairs:

  • Before shaving, wash your skin with warm water and a mild facial cleanser.
  • Apply shaving cream or gel a few minutes before shaving to soften your facial hair. Be sure to look for clean ingredients and pick products specifically designed for facial use. 
  • If you’re prone to ingrown hairs, try a sharp, single-blade razor to avoid cutting too close. For some people, a too-close shave leads to irritation and ingrown hairs.  
  • While shaving, don't pull your skin. Also, shave in the direction of hair growth instead of against it.
  • Rinse the blade after each stroke to stop hair and product from building up.
  • After shaving, rinse your skin and apply a cool, wet cloth for about five minutes. 
  • At this point, you can apply a soothing after-shave product or a glycolic acid lotion to exfoliate and remove dead skin cells since they can block hair follicles. 
  • Be sure to replace your razor every 5 to 7 shaves if you’re prone to ingrown hairs. 
  • Try an electric razor if you’re extremely sensitive. Electric razors do not cut as close, so they help with avoiding ingrown hairs.  

#4: Patchiness and Slow Beard Growth

Earlier, I covered the hair cycle for facial hair growth. Keep that in mind if you are experiencing patchiness and slow beard growth. Genetics, hormones, and lifestyle are all factors. But don’t worry, hair loss and hair growth is my specialty! 

For patchy areas, let your beard grow and trim the rest to match the slower-growing patches. Be patient as hair grows at different rates in various areas. Derma rolling is an option to stimulate hair growth in specific areas, and has lots of other benefits for skin health too. Try HAIRLOVE’s Derma Roller to encourage hair growth, both on your scalp and your facial hair for men. 

You can also look to take a beard growth supplement. Our Growth Complex supports overall hair growth, including facial hair for men! It provides key vitamins and minerals your body needs to stop excessive shedding, breakage, and thinning and help you grow healthy, strong hair. 


Tips for Beard Care, Beard Grooming, and Healthy Facial Hair 

For general beard care and beard grooming, I put together a list of helpful tips. A few little changes in your daily routine or lifestyle can make a world’s difference for your beard — and your confidence!

  • Add beard oils into your routine. Beard oils are essential for nourishing both the beard and the skin underneath. They help moisturize the beard hair, preventing dryness, itchiness, and beard dandruff. Plus, beard oils containing natural ingredients like argan oil offer hydration for a softer, more manageable beard.
  • Drink plenty of water. Drinking enough water throughout the day keeps your body and skin hydrated. Along with all the benefits of drinking water, it helps prevent dryness and promotes healthy hair growth. Hydrated skin results in a softer and more supple beard.
  • Eat right for healthy facial hair. Nutrition goes hand-in-hand with hydration. A balanced diet rich in healthy fats, proteins, and vitamins is crucial for optimal beard health. Essential nutrients like vitamins A, B, C, E, and biotin contribute to healthier and stronger hair growth. Foods like avocados, eggs, fish, and nuts provide these necessary nutrients for promoting beard growth.
  • Exercise regularly. Exercise helps maintain optimal physical health, which can indirectly influence beard growth. Physical activity also increases blood circulation. This delivers more nutrients and oxygen to hair follicles, potentially stimulating healthier and fuller beard growth. Time to pump some iron! 
  • For styling help, try beard balms. Beard balms are thicker than oils and offer both nourishment and hold. They help in styling the beard, taming stray hairs, and providing a natural sheen. Balms often contain beeswax and shea butter, which not only help shape the beard but also provide hydration.
  • Soften your facial hair with beard conditioners. Conditioners aren’t just for the ladies! Beard conditioners are designed specifically to soften and untangle coarse facial hair. They make your facial hair more manageable, reduce frizz, and promote a smoother, well-groomed appearance.
  • Trim your beard regularly. This one surprisingly has so many benefits! First of all, trimming your beard will help maintain a neater appearance. By trimming and defining clear lines for the neckline and cheek area, you get a more polished look. It also keeps your hair follicles healthy and manages split ends. If your goal is hair growth, trimming actually helps prevent breakage and encourage more hair growth. It will also lessen the need to shave, which is great news for any men prone to ingrown hairs. 
  • Use a high-quality beard comb or brush. This will not only benefit overall grooming and neatness, but brushing or combing your hair helps distribute natural oils evenly. This is especially helpful if you have coarse and unruly hair, or struggle with oily or greasy facial hair. 

And that’s a wrap on our ultimate guide to beard care! Lots goes into keeping your beard looking its best. So it’s perfectly okay to start with one recommendation and gradually add more into your beard grooming routine until you’re confident with your look. Sending you good vibes for an even more manly, strong, and healthy beard! 

Photo by Lance Reis on Unsplash