How to Care for a Curly Beard
A curly beard is something to be embraced, not straightened out.
There’s something about a curly beard that just hits different. After all, when you look at ancient statues of Greek gods and the like, their beards aren’t pin-straight—oh no, their beards are gloriously curled in tight ringlets. Those ancient sculptors understood the fundamental truth that curly beards are infinitely cool.Embed from Getty Images
If only it were that simple…
Having a curly beard can be incredibly frustrating. The hair tends to be coarse, dry, and frizzy, making it more challenging to manage. The reality is curly beard hair requires a different degree of maintenance and care, and many men, unfortunately, decide that it isn’t worth the hassle.
If your beard hair is curly, don’t get discouraged. We’re here to give you the knowledge and tools to help you unfurl those curls.
The following seven steps will help you learn how to care for, manage, and maintain a Greek god-level curly beard.
Note: this blog is intended for men with naturally curly beard hair. If you have straight or wavy beard hair and want to add more curl, check out this tutorial by Greg Berzinsky.
STEP 1: STOP FIGHTING YOUR CURLY BEARD
It’s a natural human tendency to want what we don’t have. People with curly hair wish their hair was straighter and people with straight hair wish their hair was thicker and wavier. It’s the way we’re wired.
Beards are no exception.
So the best thing you can do for your curly beard is stop fighting it. To get the most out of your beard, you have to stop trying to make your hair do what it doesn’t want to do. That means easing up on the heated straightening brushes and other aggressive straightening techniques that, over time, can cause damage to the hair and make your beard even more dry and scraggly than it already is.
Make a real commitment to your curls before moving on to any other step.
STEP 2: GET REGULAR BARBERSHOP TRIMS FOR YOUR CURLY BEARD
Every single hair in your beard is unique. Some will be more curly than others, and some might grow slightly faster than the rest of your beard hairs. It gets even more complicated when considering that each beard hair may vary in curliness from day to day.
It’s natural for beardsmen to want to trim flyaway hairs in their beard whenever they pop up. However, this can be a dangerous game when it comes to curly beards. What may look like an extra-long flyways hair might just be a hair that didn’t curl as much on a given day. In other words, you always run the risk of trimming parts of your beard that don’t actually need trimming.
Of course, you can still do minor maintenance trims on occasion. Still, you definitely want to find yourself a reliable barber (who has experience working with beards) and get a professional trim every couple of weeks. Let the barber know that you are embracing your beard curls and don't want to remove any length. Your barber should also be able to help you develop an action plan for your beard.
These regular trims will help keep your beard healthier and will help you combat the urge to break out the Beard Trimming Scissors every time you see a flyaway hair.
Curly beard after a fresh trim at Beardbrand.
STEP 3: CO-WASH YOUR CURLY BEARD
One of the biggest challenges with curly beards is that curly hair is almost always drier than straight hair. Your skin’s natural oils have a harder time making it through those dense curls. Aside from being incredibly uncomfortable, a dry beard is more susceptible to damage and split ends—and split ends make your beard feel even more dry and scraggly. It’s a vicious cycle.
The first place to start combating your beard’s tendency to feel like a tumbleweed is in the shower.
For curly beards, we recommend something called co-washing.
WHAT IS CO-WASHING?
Co-washing is short for conditioner washing. When most people wash their hair, they use shampoo and then follow it up with conditioner. With co-washing, you’re skipping the shampoo and only using the conditioner. The same applies to your beard, but with Beard Softener (our version of a beard conditioner).
WHY CO-WASHING WORKS
Think of shampoo and Beard Wash as your deep cleansers. For most people, using shampoo and Beard Wash daily would strip away too much oil from the scalp and face, leaving head and beard hair dry, wiry, and brittle.
If you have a curly beard, your hair is already susceptible to becoming dry, wiry, and brittle. So limiting how often you use Beard Wash helps your skin and beard retain that all-so-crucial moisture.
However, Beardbrand Beard Softener contains enough cleansing agents to handle the daily washing duties while still providing moisturizing, strengthening, and softening for the hair.
What if I need to wash products out of my beard?
Do you need to worry about product buildup if you use styling products in your beard daily?
We get asked this question frequently. The answer is that it depends on the products you are using. We recommend using only water-soluble products free of silicones and sulfates because they are easy to rinse out.
You really want to be wary of silicones—they’re sneaky and are found in many shampoos, conditioners, and beard products. Silicones coat the hair to give it a smooth, hydrated look and feel, but over time they actually smother the hair, zapping it of its moisture. And because silicones cling to hair so well, they are tough to remove, which requires more frequent washing, ultimately leading to more dryness.
HOW TO CO-WASH YOUR CURLY BEARD
Skip the Beard Wash the next time your shower. Use Beardbrand Beard Softener as you usually would. That’s all there is to it. Then, once a week (maybe twice if needed), do a deep clean of your beard with Beard Wash, followed by Beard Softener.
It’s important to keep in mind that there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to co-washing, and it will take a little experimenting to find what works best for your curly beard.
WANT TO KICK IT UP A NOTCH?
If you want to give your beard an extra boost in the moisture department, you can use Beardbrand Beard Softener as a conditioning mask. Start with a wet beard, and then apply Beardbrand Beard Softener. Let it soak into your beard for 30 minutes, and then lightly rinse with water.
STEP 4: DETANGLE YOUR CURLY BEARD IN THE SHOWER
Curly beards are more likely to develop snags and beard knots. It just comes with the territory.
However, once you get out of the shower, you want to focus on scrunching the beard and helping the curls form. Combing your beard at that point is counterproductive.
So instead, try combing your beard while you are still in the shower. However, hair is more susceptible to damage when wet, so comb with care.
This is also why having the right Beard Comb is crucial.
You want a Beard Comb with wide teeth—wider than what you would find on a standard hair comb. Avoid plastic and metal combs as they produce static, making taming your beard more difficult. We use cellulose acetate to make the Beardbrand Beard Combs. It’s a rubber-like material that doesn’t produce static, is very durable, and won’t snag your hair.
HOW TO COMB YOUR CURLY BEARD IN THE SHOWER
The hair at the top of your beard is closer to the root and, therefore, less prone to snags. Tangles form at the bottom of your beard, so that is where you want to start combing. It will be easier to work the comb through the beard when you start an inch or two from the bottom and work your way to the top. If you hit a snag, don’t try and force the comb through it. Back it up and then slowly try again. Repeat this until the snag comes loose and the comb glides through easily.
STEP 5: LEAVE THE TOWEL ON THE RACK
Look, we love terry cloth shirts, but it might be best to leave the terry cloth towels on the rack when it comes to curly hair and beards.
There’s some indication that terry cloth soaks up too much of your curly hair’s needed moisture. That’s no bueno for a curly beard. Instead, many with curly hair opt to use a simple cotton t-shirt or microfiber towel to dry their hair and beard.
The next time you shower, try using a soft cotton t-shirt to gently pat and scrunch the excess water out of your beard. From there, it’s all about experimenting. Some men find that their beard curls more if they let it airdry, while some prefer to scrunch it until it is mostly dry.
Try scrunching to various levels of dryness to find what gives your beard curls the most shape and definition.
STEP 6: LEARN HOW TO STYLE YOUR CURLY BEARD
Styling your beard is a personal journey, and there’s no one-size-fits-all approach. That said, the following routine tends to work pretty well for creating a more defined curly beard:
- Apply Beard Oil after you get out of the shower, focusing on the skin beneath your beard.
- Apply a slow-releasing moisturizer like Beardbrand Utility Balm while your beard is damp. Use a scrunching pattern to help the hair curl more. Utility Balm contains beeswax and can give the curl a slight hold. If you need more hold, add a small amount of Beardbrand Styling Balm using the same scrunching technique.
- Let things air dry. When the beard is completely dry, shape the curls a little more by using the same scrunching technique.
If you need more moisture or hold throughout the day, try adding a conditioning cream or gel into your routine. You can apply more Beard Oil, Utility Balm, and Styling Balm throughout the day, but be careful not to oversaturate your beard.
STEP 7: ROLL WITH IT
Curly hair is wild and free. It’s going to do what it’s going to do. Learn to embrace the unpredictability nature of your curls. That’s what makes you stand out, and it’s why so many men with stick-straight beards are envious of your Zeus-like locks. As we mentioned above, everyone’s beard is different. There will always be some variance in what works from person to person. Experiment with the techniques above and have fun embracing your curly beard.
Keep on Growing.
Struggling with your curly beard or just need some beard advice? Text "STYLE" to 512-879-3297. Our resident beard and style expert will text you back with personalized advice—for free.
Keep on Growing.
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