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August 1st to 7th is National Cleanse Your Skin Week. Especially with heat waves across the country, this is the perfect time to talk about the what fors and how-tos of cleansing your beard. We’ve said it before, and it’s the hill we’re willing to die on. Beard care is skin care.
If your skin is dirty, too dry, too oily, or in a constant battle against breakouts, your beard will suffer. What better time than National Cleanse Your Skin Week to focus on building your beard-friendly skincare regimen? If you’ve got a beard and you’re interested in cleansing your skin, that means paying attention to both your beard and your face, and they each have different needs.
What’s the Difference Between Washing Your Beard and Your Face?
Washing your beard and washing your face are very closely related, but they are not the same process. When you wash your face, you should not neglect your chin skin. It also wouldn’t make much sense to neglect your face when you wash your beard.
Washing your face means that you’re using a facial cleanser on your entire face (including your chin skin) primarily for the purpose of clearing away dead skin, excess oils, and any germs you’ve picked up over the course of your day.
Washing your beard means that you’re using a beard cleanser exclusively on the hair of your beard and your chin skin for the purpose of cleansing your beard and caring for the unique needs of the skin beneath your beard. Ideally, you’d follow up a beard wash with some extra TLC for your beard that will help it look and feel nice until your next beard wash.
How Often Should You Wash Your Beard?
There’s a stigma out there that beards are inherently dirty, nasty, and unhygienic. That’s simply not true. A beard is no more prone to smell or collect germs than the hair on top of your head. As long as you don’t have Robert Barone’s eating habits, there’s no reason that food should be falling into your beard all the time.
The average guy can be perfectly healthy and hygienic washing his beard once or twice a week. A lot of men do really well following a beard care routine that includes a good beard wash about once every three days.
Remember that beard care is skincare and vice versa. Your skin and your beard may have completely different needs from the next guy’s. The frequency at which you wash your beard should depend on two factors, namely your skin’s needs and how dirty your beard is.
It goes without saying that you may need to wash your beard and extra time or two if something made it especially dirty. If your skin runs on the drier side or you’re prone to beard dandruff, you may need to wash your beard a little less often than your oily-skinned counterparts. No one is pointing fingers here. Wash your beard as often, or as infrequently, as works for your skin and your lifestyle.
How Often Should You Wash Your Face?
At a minimum, you should wash your face once per day. Although it may excessive for some, many people could stand to wash their face twice a day, once in the morning and once at night. In addition to taking care of the unique needs of your skin based on whether it's oily, dry, or normal, washing your face also serves the hygienic purpose of removing germs.
It’s important to find the perfect balance for your body. If you don’t wash your face enough, oils may clog up your pores causing breakouts. If you wash your face too often, you could throw off the production of sebum, causing your skin to produce way too much oil to make up for what you’re stripping away too often, which also leads to breakouts.
Just like our personalities, our faces are unique. One face may need salicylic acid. Another may need hyaluronic acid, and the next face may need both. (Pro tip: Salicylic acid is great if you have acne, and hyaluronic acid helps to thoroughly moisturize your face.)
Some days, your face may not be as dirty as others, and that’s where a mixture of products comes in. One day, you may only need a no-suds moisturizing gentle facial cleanser. Every now and then, you might need something with either a chemical or mechanical exfoliant. On those in-between days, you may do just fine with a gentle facial soap that’s somewhere in between.
How to Wash Your Beard
Washing your beard is not an intimidating process. Just follow these simple steps.
Thoroughly wet your beard with a generous amount of water. It doesn’t have to be sopping wet, but no part of your beard should be left bone dry. Be sure to neglect neither your chin skin nor the longer strands of your beard.
Rub your wet hands on your bar of Big Beard Soap. Once you get a nice lather going on your hands, start working that into your chin skin. If you run out of suds, wet your hands and rub the soap again. Be sure to use your finger pads to scratch down to the roots of your beard, agitating the skin and really working in the suds. Once the chin skin is nice and soapy, start moving down your beard until your reach the tips.
Once your beard is thoroughly lathered with our moisturizing, cleansing beard soap, rinse it out. You can do this in the shower or at the sink. Be thorough. Remember that beard soap isn’t supposed to sit in your beard for a long time.
Next use the softest towel you can find to gently blot and squeeze your beard dry. Your wet hairs are in a fragile state, so you don’t want to wipe, scrape, or rub with the towel. You’re not looking to make your beard bone dry. You want to leave it just a hair or two above damp.
Seal in the moisture that’s left over from the water with a healthy helping of beard oil. Work the beard oil from roots to end, allowing some (not too much) to get on your chin skin.
Finally, style your beard to your taste. You may want to blow dry it or smooth it down with beard balm and a beard brush.
At some point, you also need to detangle your beard. Detangle is just a fancy way of saying comb out the kinks. Depending on the texture of your beard, it may be best to detangle at steps one, two, or five. Detangle at the time when you’re able to work out the most knots without being too forceful. A wooden beard comb or a beard brush make perfect detangling tools.
Finding the right beard and skin care regimen for you involves a good bit of trial and error. Rest assured that all of the errors you could possibly commit will not be fatal flaws. Simply be willing to adjust your routine if you see that something is not working.