Beard styling has come a long way in the past decade. What started out as a hipster fashion and niche expression has become commonplace for men everywhere. It used to be that you either had a beard or you didn't, and if you did, it just grew until you trimmed it and that was it. Now there is an entire industry built around trimming, styling, and nourishing beards. Most bearded men are familiar with the myriad of balms, oils, waxes, and pastes. They probably own a trimmer or entire kit specifically designed for beard maintenance.
The one area of whisker customization that most men remain unfamiliar with is beard straightening. It is hard enough to find a man who has tried straightening his head hair, let alone his facial hair. We're here to tell you that if you're interested, you should try it! (Both, but for now, your beard.) The two processes are very similar, relying on a blow-dryer and brush or specialized tool. They can be done by a professional or just as easily at home with a little practice. If beard straightening is something new to you or something you've been wanting to try, we put together this guide just for you. It will help you figure out a routine that works for you at home, and with a little practice, it will become just as simple as brushing your teeth.
Before deciding how to straighten your beard, you first have to decide whether you should straighten your beard. The short answer is it all comes down to personal preference and how you like the look and feel of your current beard. If you feel it’s too long, unwieldy, or not in the style you desire, then you should certainly try straightening. If your beard feels scraggly and untamed or uncomfortable, beard straightening is a good remedy. However, if your beard hair is damaged or doesn’t feel healthy or nourished, hold off on straightening for a while because it can deter recovery.
Using a beard straightener is definitely the easiest way to get the job done. If you plan on straightening your beard often, purchasing one is a solid investment. It will save you time and get the desired look consistently. There are many beard straighteners on the market to decide from, but, to make your decision easier, here is one that we recommend.
Drybar The Baby Brush Crush Mini Heated Straightening Brush
While this heated mini brush isn’t technically designed for your beard, it gets the job done seamlessly. Drybar’s Baby Brush heats up to 400 degrees F, the optimal temperature for straightening and smoothing shorter styles. Plus, it comes with a two-year limited warranty, so you really have nothing to lose.
Step 1: Make sure your beard is dry. Hair is porous, so if it’s still holding water, the heat will singe the hair cuticle, basically cooking it. So get the beard as dry as possible first.
Step 2: Condition the beard. Because you are cooking out a lot of the hair’s moisture, be sure to use an oil-based conditioner; a beard oil or beard balm is good. A water-based conditioner will just make the hair coil back up.
Step 3: Create tension. Beyond the hair’s cuticle layer are hydrogen bonds. These bonds are what keep the shape of the hair. Applying heat (like a blow-dryer or hot comb), in combination with tension, allows us to reshape those bonds and our hair.
Step 4: Comb downward. Run the brush through your beard slowly.
Step 5: Preserve and protect. Add a bit of beard oil or balm to style the beard into the shape you want.
If you already own a blow-dryer and brush or comb, you can straiten your beard with these tools as well. A round brush is recommended but a flat comb works as well.
Step 1: Take a section of your hair the same width as the tool you are using; so an inch width of hair if you’re using a 1-inch comb.
Step 2: Start at the bottom of your beard and work your way up to the cheeks, section by section.
Step 3: Turn the comb into the beard as you go.
A few things to keep in mind when you're considering whether to straighten your beard are length, natural curl or texture, and any trimmed style. If your beard is at a length you like currently, straightening it will also lengthen it, so you should considering trimming it, but do so after your straighten it. That way you will know the length it will be straight. The curlier your beard hair is, the more length you will gain when it is straightened. Beard hair with a tight natural curl can present more of a challenge to straighten.
You can straighten beard hair with a very tight curl, but it can be tough to maintain and it might never quite lose that natural curliness. Curly beard hair can be controlled through beard grooming products, a beard-straightener brush, and the right grooming approach. Straightening curly beard hair can be a tall order if your beard is especially curly or especially long, but where there’s a will, there’s a way. You can always consider a slightly shorter cut to reduce some of the curliness that tends to come with longer beard hair, but a beard straightener is an effective temporary option in most cases.
If you have had your beard trimmed at the barbershop, you should be sure to maintain the same style. If you have the beard trimmed while it’s more natural and then straighten it (or vice versa), it may suddenly look messy because the hairs will be at different lengths.
Just like with all at-home grooming, beard straightening may seem daunting or unusual at first, but you'll only know if you like it after you try it. If you do like it, it will get easy after the first couple of tries. So have no fear of straightening your beard!
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