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Many men in my life have facial hair, including my boyfriend and both of my brothers, so I’ve gotten a front-row seat to the neglect. They barely run their face under the stream of water in the shower. They groom for vanity’s sake, to the point of being presentable, but it’s a bare-minimum situation.
I wonder if they even remember that there is skin underneath the beard. My guess is that if they can’t see it, it doesn’t exist to them. There’s not much going on in the skincare department altogether, and yet they’ll still complain about razor burn, acne, dryness, or flakes as if it’s the end of the world. I need to help solve this problem.
“When you have a beard, you have to make sure that the skin underneath is also taken care of,” said Julien Howard, a master barber in New York City who goes by the Velo Barber. Regularly trimming the scraggly hairs will also work wonders for maintaining your appearance, he said.
Dr. Anthony Rossi, a dermatologist at Memorial Sloan Kettering in New York, agreed that it’s absolutely necessary to tend to facial skin in addition to properly grooming your beard. There are three essential steps when it comes to beard care, he said:
- Washing your face (every day!)
These steps help not only clean the hair but also the skin underneath, and keep the whole facial hair area healthy even while having a full beard.
“Another note for men with beards is that they should avoid stroking the beard with their hands (though it may look cool),” Rossi told BuzzFeed News via email. “Their hands are full of bacteria, and this gets transmitted to their face and can cause infections and breakouts.”
Clearly, some of our bearded friends need help. They want to look cool and have killer facial hair (nothing makes my boyfriend happier than a compliment on his mustache), but they need a push in the right direction. Do them a favor and send them this guide, or give them some of these products to kick-start a thorough beard care routine.
How to wash your face if you have a beard
Although washing your face might seem to be the most straightforward skincare task, it’s easy to get it wrong if you haven’t put much thought into it. (Regular soap isn't the best choice as it’s likely not gentle enough for your face and will end up drying out your hair and skin.)
Something as simple as finding a face wash that caters to your needs and feels good on your skin can fix the issue.
Howard has been loving this creamy Acqua Di Parma Barbiere Refreshing Face Wash that foams up as you use it. It cleanses and removes impurities without stripping away moisture, leaving the skin fresh, smooth, and supple.
You can buy the Acqua Di Parma Barbiere Refreshing Face Wash from Nordstrom for around $49.
If you have a particular skincare concern like dryness, redness, or acne, you can always look for a face wash to target that. Another cleanser that I’ve found to be good for most skin types is the Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Cleanser.
You can buy Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Cleanser from Amazon for around $25.
For those who already wash their face but want more of a beard shampoo that really gets into thick, coarse facial hair, this Jack Black Beard Wash will remove dirt and oil from the beard, soften the hair, and cleanse the skin underneath.
You can buy Jack Black Beard Wash from Amazon for around $19.
How to moisturize if you have a beard
“The objective is to not only soften the beard hairs, which can sometimes be pointy and sharp, but also moisturize and protect the skin underneath from dryness and flakiness (also known as seborrheic dermatitis),” Rossi said.
There are plenty of facial moisturizers that can accomplish this, but using a beard oil or beard conditioner can achieve the same outcome. The beard-focused products may have the added benefit of taming and smoothing facial hair while also nourishing the skin underneath. You just need to work the product into the hair and skin.
Ideally, you should moisturize every day, even in the beginning of growth, Rossi said. When you’re in the stubble phase, use SPF since your skin will still be exposed to the sun. As the beard grows, you can think about transitioning to more of a beard conditioner or oil.
Keeping in line with his preferred face wash, Howard recommends the Acqua Di Parma Barbiere Face Cream for long-lasting hydration without greasiness. For targeted moisture to the beard, he loves the Aesop Shine Hair & Beard Oil.
You can buy Acqua Di Parma Barbiere Face Cream from Nordstrom for around $92.
You can buy Aesop Shine Hair & Beard Oil from Bloomingdale’s for around $35.
It’s especially important to use hydrating aftercare after shaving since shaving is essentially a form of exfoliation and may dry out the skin. Howard’s favorite for post-shave hydration is the Aesop Moroccan Neroli Post-Shave Lotion. It’s lightweight, absorbs quickly, and promises to balance and calm the skin.
You can buy the Aesop Moroccan Neroli Post-Shave Lotion from Nordstrom for around $55.
If you’re prone to acne or pimples in the beard skin, Rossi suggests avoiding beard oil since it can make you prone to more breakouts. In those cases, a lighter beard conditioner may be more suitable, like this Scotch Porter Hydrate & Nourish Beard Conditioner.
You can buy Scotch Porter Hydrate & Nourish Beard Conditioner from Amazon for around $19.
How to groom your beard
Of course, grooming is a key component of beard upkeep. You should have a beard comb or brush to smooth and detangle, particularly if you have a thick, bushy beard. This beard comb from the Art of Shaving is highly rated, as is this Cremo Boar Bristle Beard Brush that will remove debris and feels good against your skin.
You can buy the Art of Shaving Beard Comb from Amazon for around $30.
You can buy the Cremo Boar Bristle Beard Brush from Amazon for around $11.
And then there’s shaving. The first suggestion from both Howard and Rossi is to shave either in the shower or afterward. The heat of the water will help open pores, soften the hair, and rid the hair of sebum and oil.
A shaving cream will always help things run a little more smoothly, avoiding irritation and nicks. Always try to shave in the direction that your hair grows. Get a good, sharp razor, and change the blades every two to three shaves. Opting for a subscription razor service like Harry’s can help if you tend to forget to buy new blades.
You can buy the Winston razor from Harry’s for around $12.
You can buy Kiehl's Ultimate Brushless Shave Cream from Amazon for around $24.
For trimming, Rossi also recommends using a shaving cream or oil to keep the hairs from pulling or tugging. Scissors can work for longer beards, like these Ontaki Beard & Mustache Scissors made from durable German steel. But an electric razor with guards is likely the best way to trim shorter facial hair without causing irritation — just make sure to clean the guards as well as the razor to avoid bacterial buildup.
You can buy the Ontaki Beard & Mustache Scissors from Amazon for around $15.
You can buy the Wahl All-in-One Rechargeable Beard Trimmer from Walmart for around $20.
And lastly, don’t forget to moisturize immediately after you shave. It’s the icing on the cake for both facial hair and skin that feels and looks great.