Beards have been serious expressions of masculinity since ancient times. Their prominent position on the face ensures that the wearer will be weighed and judged before his hirsute mouth ever utters a word. For that reason alone, the bearded should be sure that they are caring for their whiskers with judiciousness. Here we’ve compiled a list of the products that we feel are key to making your best — if hairiest — impression.
Best overall: Pacific Shaving Co 3-in-1 Everyday Beard Care
When testing beard products for Grooming Awards, we kept going back to Pacific Shaving Co’s 3-in-1 Everyday Beard Care, which functions like a beard conditioner and styling cream. It’s made with natural ingredients, features a pleasant citrusy fragrance, and just a dab of this smooths, softens, and controls even the curliest hair.
Best Beard Oil: Duke Cannon Beard Oil
Best for: Men with full beards
Beard oil keeps whiskers soft, smooth, and shiny, while promoting growth. It’s key for itch prevention because it not only softens the hair, it also helps moisturize the skin beneath. We recommend that guys with much more than the very shortest of beards or stubble use a good beard oil. Apply it after the shower when your beard is warm, moist, and open to absorbing moisture. If your beard is particularly dry, you may want to apply some later in the day, too. Put about a dime-sized amount in your palm and work it through the beard, running from the skin’s surface out to hair ends. There are many great options out there, from straightforward, unscented versions, to more fragrant offerings that can stand in for cologne.
We particularly like Duke Cannon’s Great American Budweiser Beard Oil that actually contains a touch of Budweiser for taming and conditioning, and carries a cedarwood fragrance that smells masculine and outdoorsy.
Best Beard Cream: The Beard Club Beard Cream
Best for: Men with dry beards
Beard Cream is yet another way to make sure that your bearded face stays soft and comfortable, while avoiding itchy, scratchy skin. It’s particularly helpful if you have dry skin already, whether naturally, from dry, winter conditions or from summer’s heat. Massage the cream in after a shower, throughout your beard, allowing it to reach the skin’s surface. Top off with some beard oil.
The Beard Club Beard Cream is moist and creamy, and packed with natural ingredients.
Best Beard Balm: Bevel Beard Balm
Best for: Men with curly beards
Beard balm, in combination with beard oil and beard cream, completes a trifecta of beard softening and care. Beard balm is really more of a styling aid, taming unruly hairs, maintaining beard shape, and lightly conditioning. Warm a dime-sized (or a quarter-sized, depending on just how long that beard has gotten) amount in your palm, then use your fingertips to apply to your beard, paying particular attention to any stray hairs that want to head off in their own direction. It’s particularly helpful if your beard is curly, but is also great for training the beard if you’re just getting started.
Bevel Beard Balm is one of the softest we’ve tried, with a natural blend of oils and beeswax, as well as a light, citrusy fragrance.
Best Beard Wax: Beard Brand Mustache Wax
Best for: Men with coarse beards
Wax is to beards what gel or pomades is to hair, providing style and shaping assistance. Those gravity-defying handlebar mustaches? Those are shaped with beard wax, but even those of us with more modest styling preferences can benefit from using beard wax. It’s great to provide some shape to an unruly beard, helping to tame curls and even out spaces that may be forming as your beard does its natural, wavy thing. It can even provide a little lift and volume to sections of the beard that may be “clumping” together. Of course it can also add a little more shine and gloss to a dry beard. Apply by taking a small amount on the back of your thumbnail. Remove that with an index finger and rub the index fingers together to warm and melt the product. As it becomes less tacky, apply it where required, further shaping and training the hairs.
Depending on whether you are seeking beard levitation or just a little styling help, there are various waxes that offer varying degrees of “stiffness” and hold. Beardbrand’s is a medium hold, and comes in a handy tube that’s easy to “‘stache” in a pocket. It also comes in the company’s signature scents, so you can layer your beard care with cologne, shampoo, soap, etc., for maximum impact.
Best Brush: Rockwell Beard Brush
Having a beard brush is a key tool for proper beard facial hair management, particularly if you are just starting to grow your beard. A good brush helps clean the beard, as well as distribute oils and provide shape. Using one on a regular basis becomes almost therapeutic. Regular users report using them while driving, watching television, and writing about beard products. Natural boar bristles are preferred, and a beard brush is specifically made to be softer than most hair brushes, which is good because you’re basically scraping it over your face.
Rockwell Razors’ brush has a stylish bamboo handle and which looks great and is lightweight so you can toss it in your bag and keep it handy.
Best Comb: Everyman Jack Beard Comb
Once your beard gets to a certain length, it starts to get a little unruly, particularly after you’ve washed and conditioned it in the shower. Before you start applying oils, balms, and waxes, you’ll want to get things in order. Using a brush on wet hair can lead to split ends and broken hairs. Start by carefully, gently running a wide-toothed comb through your beard while it’s still moist and warm from the shower.
Everyman Jack’s comb offers two sizes of teeth so you can work your way through that mess easily, then further utilize it for styling with a beard balm.
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