Winter is coming. Scratch that, winter is here. The important question is whether or not your beard is ready. Cold weather tends to lead to two things – beards and dryness. A dry beard is not a fun beard so here are some tips to help your beard stay in tip-top shape this winter.
My first recommendation is to simply move down to Australia for the winter and just enjoy beautiful weather year round. For most of us, that’s not an option. If you are going to spend one season taking care of your beard, it’s going to need to be winter. The cold crisp air can do some damage to it.
KEEP IT CLEAN
Alright, let’s winterize this bad boy. First things first – you gotta love your skin. And when I say, love it; I mean love it! It all starts in the shower with your cleansing routine. This is where I challenge you to look at the ingredients of your products and make sure you are using items that are optimal for your beard. You should definitely limit products that contain irritants.
Next up is your beard wash. This needs to be free from harsh sulfates which will irritate your skin. The problem we run into is that you need a sulfate based shampoo if you are using conditioning products or hair products that have non-soluble silicones in the ingredients. Those ingredients include:
- Behenoxy Dimethicone
- Cetearyl Methicone
- Cetyl Dimethicone
- Phenyl Trimethicone
- Stearoxy Dimethicone
- Stearyl Dimethicone
Don’t be totally terrified of silicones though, as there are some water-soluble silicones. That means they can be washed out simply with water. Those silicones include:
- Dimethicone Copolyol
- Hydrolyzed wheat protein (Hydroxypropyl Polysiloxane)
- Lauryl Methicone Copolyol
- Silicons with PEG as a prefix
I’ve told you that you should avoid silicones, but I haven’t mentioned why. Silicone isn’t necessarily “bad” for your beard, but it’s not necessarily “good” either. The properties that silicone gives to your beard / hair is that it will coat the hair and provide a silky texture. It will also help lay your beard down and help it appear healthier. The problem is that these silicones will build up on your beard and prevent moisture, protein, and other healthy products from treating the hair. Over time these silicone build ups will lead to breakage of your beard because it won’t be receiving the nutrients it needs to thrive.
Beardbrand will be coming out with a Beard Wash & Softener soon! This stuff will be fantastic and doesn’t contain any silicones, parabens, or sulfates. Watch for this new product launch in the weeks ahead.
If possible, try to limit your beard washing to once or twice a week and always follow up with a softening product. On the days you don’t use soap, you should rinse thoroughly. If your beard needs daily washing to get dirt out, you need to really make sure the products you are using are gentle compared to the mass market stuff.
KEEP IT OILED
Now that you’ve hopped out of the shower, it’s on to your normal beard oil routine. During the winter, you can supercharge your application by applying just a hint of mustache wax in with your beard oil. This will give your beard a little more protection from the cold and help your beard stay hydrated.
This mustache wax will be your god-send during the winter months as it can also act as Chapstick in a pinch as well as a way to help hydrate dry skin. I suggest you keep it on you at all times.
For added protection, don’t let your beard get wet when out in the elements. I know icebeards are cool as hell, but they can lead to freezing the hairs and can cause more breakage. To help combat the dryness, feel free to go to your gym and hop in the sauna. A steam bath will be great for your skin and keeping your hair and beard hydrated. An alternative to a sauna visit would be to invest in a humidifier for your home to prevent your house from getting too dry.
With these tips, your beard will be ready to handle the harsh winter elements.
Top Photo Courtesy Tommy Cairns