Despite the fact that well-groomed men have been using their beards to turn heads for centuries, beards have largely been kept away from the spotlight as far as grooming rituals go. No longer. Beard care is finally brought into consciousness as a front and centre topic of the male grooming world – and deservedly so – after all, beards themselves are front and centre to those who do them.
With a lifetime of guesswork, how can you begin your beard grooming routine to a professional standard? To help demystify the do’s and don’ts of keeping your facial hair styles looking luxe, we’ve explored the key steps to getting, and keeping, a beard that’s strokably soft.
For a softer beard, it is vital to keep it well maintained. Wash and condition the beard properly and be sure to brush regularly. Keep trimming equipment in excellent condition and tackle split ends often. For a finishing touch, use beard oil to protect and hydrate.
Read on to discover what makes a beard rough, the best beard treatment on the market, and how to style your newly conditioned facial hair.
What makes your beard rough in the first place?
Whether your beard has been growing for eons or you’re fresh to the game, you may have already encountered some problems with your facial hair. These can include:
- Your beard feeling wiry to the touch
- Itchy, dry skin beneath your beard
- Beard hair sticking out at odd or uneven angles
- Difficult to groom facial hair that just won’t hold in the shade you want
- Unruly face fuzz that’s more caveman than man about town
Sound familiar? Before we get into the how to of beard care, it’s important to understand the factors that could be causing your beard to feel rough or look unkempt in the first place. There are five main culprits that can cause a texture that’s more rugged than you’re looking for.
- Improper cleaning
From the minute you start to grow a beard, it’s important to consider it in your daily routine – the same way you consider the hair on your head. Some would say even more so. Your
beard hair, for example, comes into contact with all of your favourite food and drink on any given day. It’s also likely that you touch your beard regularly, especially in the beginning when you may not be used to how it feels on your face. Stay mindful of your cleaning routine to avoid a build up of oils and dirt, which can quickly make your beard look less than suave.
- Low temperatures
If you, like us, live in a less than tropical location, then low temperatures can often have a huge impact on the health of your beard. Think about it. While the rest of you is bundled up and cozy in scarves and coats and boots, your face and facial hair take the brunt of the weather. You’ve probably noticed that your skin feels a little – or a lot– drier in the cold? The hair that makes up your beard is dealing with the same cold weather woes, so it makes sense that it would dry out without proper care and hydration in the same way your skin would.
- Hard water
Hard water is water that is high in mineral content and, while it sounds positive put that way, it can quickly begin to negatively affect your beard health. You’ll know you have a hard water supply if a chalky film appears in places that water usually frequents, like your kettle or shower head. It’s very common to have a hard water supply, but it can make hair care a little trickier.
Hard water is problematic because it can make your beard feel more rough or prone to tangling and, when it’s in that state, it becomes more difficult to clean. The addition of cleansing product like shampoo and conditioner can become much more difficult to wash out thanks to hard water, so without thorough rinsing, it’s easy for residue to build up. The feeling of a residue, naturally, makes you want to wash again. On repeat. The cycle, without intervention, never ends – and all the while, your beard hair isn’t getting any softer.
- Split ends
Ok, so all else is going well: cleaning, protection, hydration, conditioning. The last step of the perfect beard puzzle is trimming. Sometimes though, this too can leave your beard a little rough around the edges. It’s important to make sure your trimming device of choice is well sharpened and well cleaned. The last thing you want is beard hair breakage when you were after a clean, easy trim. Split ends are yet another thing to watch out for if your beard feels rough.
Now, with a range of ways your beard may be being sabotaged, what can you do to get your beard feeling soft?
What is a beard treatment?
In order to maintain a strong, healthy-looking beard, a proper routine is a must. This is referred to as a beard treatment. But what exactly does that mean?
A beard treatment, by our definition, is an overarching term that refers to general beard maintenance. Depending on how full your beard is, and how much time you have to dedicate to your lower-face follicles, this can include up to five different processes: washing, conditioning, employing beard oil, brushing and trimming.
While it may sound like a lot, most of these pieces of basic beard maintenance you likely already do without thinking about it. To help you get the most from your beard care routine, we’ve broken it down into these simple steps:
- Wash and condition
The first piece of the puzzle is, without question, a shampoo and conditioning routine. Building an intentional beard scrub into your routine three times a week will also get rid of any dry skin lurking beneath your beard – and it’s ok to make it a little indulgent.
Massage shampoo into your beard in a circular motion, working up your jawline. Not only does this technique improve circulation and help release any facial muscle tension, it’s also a great way to start the day. Once you’ve shampooed, rinse thoroughly. Every time.
Repeat the same massage-and-rinse process with your favorite conditioner. If any spare product is left on your beard following your in-shower routine, there’s a high chance that it’ll have the opposite effect to what you’re going for, leaving your beard rougher and dryer than it was before so take care when you rinse.
Brushing, whether with your hands or your favourite beard brush, is also a pretty simple piece of the puzzle. With a clean beard, your brush should be able to smoothly glide through your strands. Brush from the neck upwards and out over the chin first, bringing all of your beard strands to attention, then work your brush back in a downward motion from the cheeks and chin, and comb to shape into your favorite style.
Trimming your beard can be your best friend or your worst enemy. Take care to ensure that your trimming device of choice is properly cleaned and sharp. If it’s full of leftover stubble or residue from your last grooming session, it won’t glide smoothly when you need it too now.
A device that isn’t cleaned properly, or with blades that aren’t properly sharpened, will leave you with more split ends than you started with and can actually cause some serious damage. Damage is obviously bad on its own, but think about split beard hairs like you would the hair on your head. When individual hairs become split and frayed, it makes it nearly impossible for each strand to lay flat against the next. This leads to an unruly, wild, caveman-style look.
- Protect and hydrate
The real star of the whole beard treatment process is something called beard oil. It’s a product designed specifically to help protect and hydrate your beard hair as it grows, encouraging a smooth and soft feel when it otherwise might tend toward unruly or dense. While it can, too, be as straightforward as applying and heading out the door, it’s better to see it as an excuse to treat yourself.
Using Beard Oil Well
To really make the most of a beard oil treatment, go for a product that’s rich in nutrients. To help evenly distribute the oil, pump a few drops into the palm of your hand and rub together to warm.
Separate your palms and begin to work the product through your beard. Drag the palm of each hand in downward motion along each cheek. Then, again using your palms, rub from the underside of your neck or chin – depending on your hair growth – upward towards your jawline. After these two steps are done, start to use your fingers to massage the product more deeply into your hair, making sure to be thorough and not just surface level. The idea is for your hair to absorb the oil, softening it. Think moisturiser rather than styling gel.
With the oil evenly distributed, it’s all comes back to Number 2: Brushing. Using your fingers or a comb, brush the hair beneath your jawline upward. This will help to straighten and detangle any strands you may have missed. Then, again using a comb or your fingers, begin shaping your beard into your desired style – always working towards the jawline, which ultimately defines the final shape. After a few days use, you should see your beard oil really going to work – softening your strands for a smoother feel and easier shaping.
Ready to treat yourself? Why not opt for a hot oil treatment? Simply repeat the oil application process but, before shaping and styling, apply a towel soaked in hot water to your beard
area. Lay back and enjoy. As it cools, add more hot water, wring your towel out again, and reapply for up to 30 minutes of pure relaxation.
The Added Bonus of Beard Oil
Even beyond soft facial hair, beard oil has benefits galore. It’s a great agent for taming stray hair and training your beard into shape.
Consider it a skin care go-to as well. When you sport a beard, even with the best intentions, the skin beneath tends to get overlooked. Beard oil is specifically designed to help nourish this skin while it’s out of view so if you ever decide to go clean shaven, you won’t discover a difference of skin texture or sensitivity. And if you don’t? You’re at least giving your hair and skin a good moisturising. It’s a win-win.
Extra product support
So you’re sold on beard oil and have got to grips with the step-by-step process that will help ensure a soft, supple beard, but there are a few other products that will help you style your soft, new beard.
L’Oreal Paris Barber Club Beard, Face & Hair Wash is a product designed to do exactly what it says on the tin. It’s an all-rounder for beards, faces and scalps. When it comes to your face, its paraben-free formula deeply cleanses and purifies your skin. As far as beard care benefits go, it’s designed to remove any reside, dandruff or flaky skin that may be hiding, at the same time as it eliminates odours. It works equally on beard and scalp to soften and cleanse each and every one of your follicles for luscious, smooth, touchable strands.
To use, first apply a splash of warm water to your beard, face and hair. Then, apply one pump of product to the palm of your hand and massage in circular motions, working into a foaming lather into beard, skin and hair. Rinse off with warm water.
The short cut saviour...
If you’re less interested in a great, big, bushy beard, and more down for the short cut look, consider L’Oreal Paris Barber Club Short Beard & Face Moisturiser your ticket to grooming paradise.
As well as working wonders for your beard, L’Oreal Paris Barber Club Short Beard & Face Moisturiser is thoughtfully formulated to work for your skin. It doubles as a lightweight moisturiser that absorbs seamlessly into your skin, without leaving any excess oil in your beard.
To use, apply your beard moisturiser every morning after you have finished cleansing your short beard. Apply one to two drops of moisturising gel into the palm of your hand and rub together to emulsify. Then massage gently into your skin and beard hair from the neck upward until it’s absorbed.
The style icon...
For maximum control over your finished style, look no further than L’Oreal Paris Barber Club Beard & Hair Styling Cream. Not only good for full beard styling, this light-hold cream works wonders on moustache and hair grooming as well. It offers all-day control that’s lightweight and natural-looking, all while helping you to achieve your ideal beard style.
To use, work L’Oreal Paris Barber Club Beard & Hair Styling Cream between your hands and apply to dry or towel dried hair and beard. Use a comb for further styling to set your beard and moustache in place.
Routine for the softest beard
So, now you understand how to make a beard softer, it’s time to bring it all together in a simple-to-follow routine for a lusciously soft beard:
- Choose products that work for the type of style you’re after, but don’t skimp on
the all important beard oil. Take your time to do your research and be sure to use the products that best suit your beard length and skin type.
- Wash your beard with your beard shampoo of choice. A little goes a long way, but don’t rush the process. Give your face and beard a massage to give it some extra encouragement for maximum growth potential.
- Towel dry using gentle patting motions. Avoid rubbing your beard with a towel, as
this will cause the hair to stand on end and can make your beard appear rougher. Be kind to your beard and your beard will repay you by looking its best from morning through to night.
- Apply beard oil. This is a step that shouldn’t be missed if you want to achieve
An even softer beard. Notice how much easier it is to style your beard now all the loose ends have been tamed.
- Use a beard brush to distribute the oil. This will help avoid any greasy patches
and will make sure every part of your beard is left feeling silky soft.
- Go wild with your style. Go on...you’re worth it.