Newbie: beard care, a little frustrated

Discussion in 'Beards & Moustaches' started by Bkmstr, Sep 27, 2018.

    Im 54 and growing beard and mustache for first time. About 1 1/2 months of decent growth. Trying to make sense of how to care for beard after reading what seems like many different opinions on the subject.

    Wash: 3-5 times a week? What about skin underneath on non-wash days? After a workout? I have a good beard bar soap.

    Conditioner: how many times a week? In shower or use oil/balm or both? Only after wash? I have a good beard oil and balm, but don't have beard shower conditioner.

    Moisturizer: apply lotion after each wash? I have been using Lubriderm and then using oil and or balm on top of that after each wash.

    Beard doesn't seem very soft.

    Any help would be GREATLY appreciated!
  1. troy

    troy Ambassador

    Welcome to the forum and the beard side of it. One reason you get so many different answers is everyone's hair and skin is different. Here's what I found works for me. I wash when I feel it's dirty, if I'm working in the field and in a dirty place I will wash every day, if I'm mostly in the office I may only wash once in a week's time. I used to use regular hair shampoo, but have switched to Grandpa's Pine Tar soap, I think it's a little better, but never really had issues with shampoo. On days that I don't was I still usually rinse through it well, while in the shower. I rarely use conditioner, it usually just leaves it with too much body for me and wants to puff out more than I like. I usually just use a little oil, but do occasionally use a little balm or wax if it's a little too unruly. So most mornings it's just a rinse, a little oil and drag a comb through it.
  2. I use to have problems having dry skin under my goatee, but have recently found a regimen that works to get rid of the issue as well as make my beard softer. I use Mountaineer beard wash daily in the shower. After the shower, I use a boar beard brush to exfoliate the skin, then finish with some Honest Amish beard oil. It took only a few days to see a noticeable improvement, and has continued to work very well for me.
  3. Thank you both. Interesting comment on the conditioner making it puff out more. That seems to happen to me as well with the oil. Balm seems better at controlling that. My primary concern was how the skin under the beard was going to be cleansed without washing and resulting blemishes. Sounds like rinsing will be adequate, so I will go with that on days I don’t wash.

    I too exfoliate with brush after shower, so hopefully that will assist with preventing clogged pores.
  4. Bkmstr, I've been a barber for 50 years and I think I can help. Shampoo your hair and beard every time you shower (bar-soap leaves a dull, sticky residue). After that you can use hair-conditioner to make the beard softer. Beard oil is messy, as was the hair oil we used decades ago. It's an unnecessary gimmick. If the beard is trimmed well, it shouldn't necessitate putting any kind of goop on it.

    Wash it three to five times a week? I guess that's good advice for people who only shower that frequently.

    Let me know if you need advice about trimming it yourself.
  5. Thanks for advice Carson. Yes, beard oil is messy. Think I’m using too much, probably won’t use going forward.

    Have no idea on how to trim, but have some beard sissors and was going to give it my best shot.

    I’m seem to be getting acne now under the beard that’s concerning. I know, kind of weird for a guy my age, but I generally have had oily skin. My thought is that it is either the beard oil or not washing beard as frequently. Guess I will experiment now with washing more frequently.
  6. Bkmstr, there's no reason not to keep your beard clean with the rest of yourself. That's nonsense.

    As for beard oil, when beards became fashionable, manufacturers of grooming products asked themselves, "How can we make money from this trend"? They came up with a 1950's solution: beard oil. And a lot of men bought into the idea! But your beard doesn't need oil any more than does the hair on top of your head. If your beard needs softening, hair conditioner is a much better solution. Who wants an oily beard? Yuck. If your beard is cut well, you won't need any kind of guck to shape it into place.

    There are two basic kinds of hair conditioner: moisturizing for coarse hair in need of softening, and protean for hair that needs more body. By your description, you need the former. Try washing your beard with shampoo and following that with conditioner. You'll like it. One of the best brands is Nexxus. I'd recommend their Therappe moisturizing shampoo and, if you need a conditioner, their Humectress. You can get both for a reasonable price at a Costco store if there's one near you. You can use these products for the hair up top too.

    As for trimming your beard, scissors are way too difficult to use. They're only good for lopping off the stray hair that wants to stick out. There are beard-trimming kits that come with a small electric clipper and usually a single guard (attachment) that enables you to adjust the clipper's cutting length by sliding it backward or forward on the clipper. But you can also buy just a cheap home hair cutting kit that comes with a clipper and several guards. A guard is a simple plastic attachment that keeps the blades of the clipper a consistent distance from the scalp (or face) as you run the clipper over it, cutting the hair the same length, like a lawn mower.

    Whichever you use, clip on a guard that cuts the beard to your desired length, and run the clipper over the entire beard, against the growth direction. That probably means mostly upward strokes on the cheeks and chin and forward beneath the jaw. Make short overlapping strokes to assure thoroughness.

    The first time you do this, begin with your fattest, longest-cutting guard and work you way down until you find the one that cuts your beard to the length you desire. You can even trim the mustache this way by running over it in different directions until you've cut all of it. After you've cut the entire beard this way, remove the attachment and carefully cut all around the perimeter of the beard with just the clipper's blades. To outline the mustache, comb it all downward and trace the lip-line with your clipper or scissors. Be patient with yourself; you'll get the hang of it. And let me know if you have any more questions.
  7. I wash and condition my beard the same as the hair on my head, daily. Once a week I add beard oil, usually on the weekend and trim the fly away hairs that stick straight out as needed with a full shaping when I cut my hair. I think mostly do what seems to work after experimenting! Enjoy the process and do what feels right.
  9. Yes, I wash my beard every day. I don't know how to separate beard washing from the rest of my face, so I just wash it all with face wash. Then I use a conditioner on my beard made specifically for that use. I don't like beard oil , it seems to make me break out a little. So I have been skipping it. My beard is about a month and a half old.
    As for trimming, if you need help, there are beard trimming videos on the web. Also, if you want go to a barber once and ask him/her to trim your beard and watch carefully. Make sure the barber knows what they are doing and tell them exactly what you want. Ask the barber questions if necessary.
  10. Thank you all. Some great practical advice that I was looking for and feel I have some good direction now. Really appreciate it!
  11. I use Bluebeard Beard Rinse with the "citrus" aroma. I like it and it keeps the facial dandruff in check. For some reason it also curtails the itchiness when growing my new beard at the beginning of the fall/winter season.
  12. I'm not an expert, but based on personal experience I would recommend skipping shampoo & conditioner in favor of a dedicated beard wash and oil or balm. Your scalp and your face may both have hair growing out of them, but they are different skin types and will react differently to the same products.

    In my early beard-growing days I used shampoo/conditioner regularly, thinking like so many others "hair is hair." I assumed specialty beard products were just another trick to get people to unnecessarily spend money. Even with regular washing, my beard was still susceptible to flaking and occasional itching. I figured it was just a necessary evil that accompanied all beards. One year I received some beard oil for Christmas and after trying it, I am now a beard product advocate. The itching and flaking stopped immediately with a dime-sized drop of oil (more, for longer beards). I then turned to dedicated beard washes, currently using Professor J. Fuzzworthy's beard soap.

    Of course, everyone's biochemistry varies to a certain degree, so you may not need beard oil, but if you're having trouble with itching, flaking, or general coarseness, you may want to dry a good beard oil or balm.
  13. What about itch ? Does it ever go away ? Any secrets to that ?

    I grow beard once a year for about 6 weeks, and have tried special "beard" soap and oil initially, and while I didn't mind the soap, in fact liked it, I agree with @Carson West, oil is not something that feels great on your beard, even in super small quantities, for me I just don't feel "clean" with it in my beard.

    Issue for me is, I just cannot stop the damn thing from itching, even with soap/oil or shampoo/conditioning combo. I don't do any trimming at all for 6 weeks and itch comes about week 2 and never really goes away.
  14. As a guy who has had a full beard for 10+ years, here's my advice to your questions. Regardless of how often you shower, rinse your beard every time you shower, but only use shampoo/bar soap designed for beards once or twice a week. My exception to that rule is if you work in a very dirty environment or sweat profusely everyday. Conditioner... early on, I used a leave-in conditioner on my head hair and did the same with my beard. Haven't used conditioner on my beard since using beard oil (various brands and scents), jojoba oil, and vitamin E oil on it every morning -- couple drops of each, depending on the length. Personally, I would not use any body/hand lotion on my beard. That's what the oil is for. Regarding the beard not being soft... regardless of your facial hair color, facial hair by nature is going to be more coarse than head hair and as it gets grey, I would imagine it will be even more coarse and wiry. Regardless of its color, a beard is not as rough as 5 o'clock shadow, at least in my case. Probably the only thing softer than a beard is your face right after you shave -- if you are clean shaven, and that depends on your method of shaving. When I was clean shaven, I used a straight razor or a DE razor. My shaves were baby butt smooth. But IMO, nothing beats having a full beard. I'm not shaving anytime soon. Good luck with your beard!

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