Here’s some good news for all the bearded dudes out there: According to a recent survey conducted by PlentyOfFish, the goatee, the mustache & beard combo, and the 5 o’clock shadow are undoubtedly trends for the near future.
Point being: Ladies dig the scruff.
But here’s the thing: Without the proper TLC, your facial hair can quickly go from sexy to, well, kind of nasty. Check out these easy ways to keep it fresh and clean, and you can be sure your better half will never get grossed out by the hair on your face.
Basic hygiene goes a long, lonnng way. “Your pores produce sebum, which accumulates in your beard, creating a smelly odor and irritating the skin underneath,” explains Fadi Mourad, the chief innovation officer at Dollar Shave Club. If you’re sporting little more than stubble, face wash is a perfectly fine way to cleanse both your skin and facial hair.
But if your beard or mustache is on the longer side, you’ll need a daily round of shampoo and conditioner, says Vaughn Acord, men’s stylist and founder of V76 by Vaughn. Suds up and condition while you’re in the shower; this two-step process will ensure your facial hair is both clean and hydrated, he notes. And no, you can’t skip conditioner: “It seals in moisture and allows your beard to hang smoothly with a defined shape, instead of looking dry and messy,” adds Mourad. He suggests the Wanderer Hair and Scalp Shampoo & Conditioner $15, dollarshaveclub.com. Post shower, comb through your facial hair…but please don’t use the same comb you use for your head. “Keep a dedicated beard comb on hand so that you’re not depositing all kinds of residue from your scalp onto your face,” advises Acord.
Little particles of dead skin lodged in your beard? No thanks. To keep these flakes at bay, exfoliate regularly, Acord recommends. “Choose a product that contains chemical exfoliants—like acids or enzymes—that can get past the thick hair and reach the skin to dissolve dead skin cells,” he explains.
Try: V76 Daily Balance Exfoliating Facial Cleanser $23, v76.com, which also contains moisturizing jojoba oil and soothing chamomile.
Beard oils do double duty, both softening the hair and leaving behind a subtle scent. But not all options are equal, so spend a few extra minutes checking the ingredient list. “Many of these products are made without consideration of the skin underneath the hair,” says Acord. “Look for ones that contain essential oils, which will nourish the hair and skin, and avoid anything that contains heavy mineral oil.” Essential oils also smell nice, but aren’t so fragranced that you’ll get sick of having an overpowering scent under your nose all day, he adds.
Try: Jack Black Beard Oil $24, sephora.com. Pro Tip: Apply throughout after patting your beard dry to achieve a well-groomed look, advises Mourad.
It may sound silly, but a magnifying mirror is an inexpensive way to keep your facial hair in check. “As your mustache and beard start to grow out, you may not notice if your nose hair is growing like crazy, or the beard is unruly on the sides,” says Acord. “A magnifying mirror makes it easy to see all those little grooming details that can start to get lost…but that other people are definitely seeing when they look at your face.”
Sometimes you just have to leave it up to the experts. “Just like a haircut, facial hair is going to look a little weird as it starts to grow out. An expert can help you shape it and show you what tools and products to use, so it looks good no matter what stage it’s in,” notes Acord.