Seasonal Beard Care
It can be difficult to navigate the widespread market of beard care techniques and products... My goal is to share that, often, the most important part is figuring out what their beard truly needs.”-@hunni.cutts
In the hair industry, seasons play a large role in how, when, and what we style with. The same can be said for facial hair and how styling techniques can change. As a barber, I’m often asked what the proper strategies are for taking care of beards. The short answer is that there are a myriad of ways to successfully style and care for your beard; it all comes down to the individual and what their goals are for their specific needs. For beards of any length, the portion of “care” that often gets neglected is just that. Bearded individuals will usually focus on length rather than the skin and hair care needed in addition.
As someone with a beard, it can be difficult to navigate the widespread market of beard care techniques and products on the market in today’s industry. Too often do we see a tonic for thickness, a serum for growth or any number of other products that people use as universal remedies. The overwhelming amount of information can be daunting when trying to find the right beard solutions. My hope for any reader is to realize that, often, the most important part is figuring out what their beard truly needs.
As seasons change, so do the requirements of what individuals need to address issues brought about by excess dryness or oil production. In warmer months, we usually see an excess of sweat and unnecessary oil that can cause breakouts and an overall surplus of oil. When warm turns to cold, the opposite is true; a predisposition for dryness and lack of moisture that can cause itching and flakiness. Having an appropriate routine for the individual as well as the time of year is paramount in finding the best solution.
A universal theme for hair and skin care is the concept of exfoliation versus moisturization. A good rule of thumb is that when things have too much moisture (i.e., sweat, oil, product buildup) we want to cleanse the area and start with a clean slate. Alternatively, when we don’t have enough moisture, excess dryness is usually the result. In this case, the introduction of moisture is the most common solution. These concepts, while simple in nature, can be difficult to grasp without prior knowledge of how to tell which is which. An easy way to tell is to give your beard a couple good scratches. If you notice flakes starting to fall from your beard like dandruff from your scalp, your beard could probably use some moisture. If you scratch a few times and notice your fingers are a bit shiny or the skin underneath have some tender areas, your beard might have a bit more moisture than needed. However, the question remains, how do we solve these problems?
Exfoliation and moisturization can take the form of numerous techniques, most of which are very effective and simple. In the case of both an overly oily beard or an excessively dry one, shampoo and conditioner, just like we use for our hair, can be used to remove excess buildup, and clear the skin for the reintroduction of “healthy” moisture like a beard oil or a multi-use oil used for hydration. For myself, I like to use my fingers to massage the face and beard with firm pressure to ensure I am loosening any stubborn buildup or dead skin as well as increase blood flow to these areas for increased hair nutrients. All can be done in the shower after a face wash.
After clearing our slate, we want to cater our product use to what our beard needs. For dryness, using a healthy amount of moisturizing oil on both the beard hair and skin underneath is a great way to replace the oil lost with shampooing. This way, the beard receives hydration that the body can’t produce on its own. For those of us with too much hydration, resulting in a “greasy” look, the grooming strategy may look a bit different. When the body creates the moisture itself, we want to ensure we aren’t over-saturating the hair or skin with more hydration than necessary. What this can look like is making sure the beard is clean and dry after washing. Depending on the individual, the use of product may be unnecessary, which puts the focus on how to properly exfoliate and clean the facial hair.
Because there are so many types of products and grooming, people with beards can often get lost in the options. I find that the simple solution is learning what type of beard you have and what your needs are. If the beard is too dry, adding healthy moisture can help with itching and flakiness. If your beard has too much moisture present, exfoliation and proper cleaning can be a tremendous help in reducing breakouts and creating a healthier feeling for the skin and hair. Even these two principles of hair care can be somewhat daunting, however, it’s prudent to remember that everyone’s body and hair needs are different. Because of this, a fundamental understanding of what your body needs is the key to finding the most appropriate routine.