Let’s be real: What guy doesn’t want a man mane that’s soft to the touch?
I mean, come on!
Unfortunately, things like low temps, dehydration, and even under-grooming (read below) can turn your beard into a sandpaper of sorts.
So, no matter your facial hair situation (curly, straight, thin or coarse), this tell-all guide will show you how to soften your beard the easy way.
9 Reasons Why Your Beard is Coarse in the First Place
One of the most common reasons behind a rough and brittle beard is dehydration.
Are we talking about hair or skin dehydration here?
Well, a little bit of both.
You see, among others, hair consists of water and that alone means that your beard needs water to get by.
Besides that, the liquid is assigned with carrying nutrients throughout your body, and that includes your facial hair. In other words, water enables your budding scruff to grow.
Water also keeps your skin in tip-top condition, providing your hair follicles with a stable environment to do their thing, a.k.a. grow strong hair.
So, to sum up…
A hydrated body => healthy skin & hair follicles => nourished hair => a soft beard.
Another lesser-known cause of a coarse beard is dryness.
But, here’s the problem with this one: Unlike dehydration, dryness stems from external causes such as long sun exposure, lack of humidity and extreme temperature swings.
That said, you can’t always control how they play out. But, what you can control is their effects on your beard.
So, make sure you keep your skin moisturized by using a specialized beard shampoo, conditioner and top-shelf beard oil to lock in the moisture.
Lack of Good Hygiene
Correct me if I’m wrong, but that beard of yours gets in contact with everything you eat, right?
Not to mention that you stroke it multiple times a day; sometimes right after you’ve grabbed something nasty like that rail on the bus or your gym shoes.
Plus, unlike your legs, arms or shoulders, it’s always exposed to air which means it’s up for grabs for everything out there, whether that’s dust, rain or grime.
Of course, unlike your body, your whiskers don’t have an immune system of their own.
So, it’s your job to step in and keep those germs from tainting and roughening your scruff simply by washing it as often as necessary.
Even though drinking lots of water can do wonders for your beard, washing it with scalding hot water isn’t as beneficial.
Given its purifying nature, hot water can strip your skin and hair of all their natural oils, leaving them dry and parched.
More than that, your face skin has a bunch of fine capillaries (blood vessels) under its epidermis which when in contact with hot water, get jarred below and may cause severe inflammation.
From then on, it’s a vicious cycle as an inflamed face is a dry face; and a dry face is a rough-beard face.
And another thing: Many people believe that washing your beard with hard water can also make it coarse and fragile AF.
According to a recent study, this is all just a myth as hard water doesn’t interfere with your hair’s elasticity in any way, shape, or form.
By now, we all know that frosty temps and a silky smooth beard just don’t mix.
And that’s because winter’s crisp, dry air strips your hair follicles of their moisture, leaving them withered and dehydrated.
From then on, it all starts to go downhill for your beard as it grows malnourished and becomes more susceptible to breakage and split ends.
So, just like that, it turns into the still and rough “block of wood” you know and hate.
If you thought split ends are just for the ladies, well, think again!
Somewhere between the frigid weather and a serious lack of trimming (or worse, the wrong kind of trimming), your beard can have the same fate as your GF’s scalp.
And if you’re wondering why blame it all on your sebaceous glands.
These glands lie at the root of every hair follicle and are assigned with producing sebum oil which is a substance that keeps your hair hydrated.
The only problem here?
These glands are finite in size, which means they can provide your skin with a certain amount of sebum oil every day.
Now, if your beard is too long, the oil produced isn’t enough to cover the entire shaft, leaving the tips exposed.
And that’s how you get split ends and a rough beard.
And speaking of grooming, let’s talk about blow dryers.
Even though using them could save you a few extra minutes during the day, research suggests that such habit can seriously damage your facial hair.
That’s because hot air weakens the outer layer of your hair shafts, making it easier for moisture to escape.
You probably know this, but dehydration and breakage are major stepping stones to a rough beard.
We’ve talked about the effects that water can have on your beard.
But, did you know that certain foods can also make your whiskers soft?
Experts suggest that if your diet is low in Omega-3 fatty acids and biotin, chances are your hair (and in this case, your beard) will become more brittle and susceptible to breakage.
Chemical-Laden Beard Products
This is perhaps the last thing you’ll think of blaming, but the shampoo or conditioner you use may actually harden your beard.
More often than not, many of the synthetic detergents in these things remove sebum oil from your hair, causing them to become thin and less soft.
8 Tips to Soften Your Beard
Drink More Water
I can’t stress this enough, but drinking plenty of water is one of the most efficient ways to make your beard soft.
By keeping your skin and hair follicles hydrated, water basically prevents a series of problems that could make your beard feel like a metallic pot scrubber, some of which include dryness, skin irritation, and flakiness.
Moisturize Your Skin & Hair
Unfortunately, hydrating your body can only get you so far, especially if you live in a place where dryness and sub-zero temps are a recurring theme.
So, make sure you protect both your beard and face skin from extreme weather conditions by developing your own beard care routine.
Start by stocking your caddy with a line of skin-friendly shampoos, soaps, and conditioners and always remember to lock in the moisture with a high-quality moisturizer.
Now, when it comes to your facial hair, invest in a careful selection of beard oils, balms, and beard butter that will seal in your scruff’s natural moisture and preserve its softness as long as possible.
Beard brushes and combs (preferably wooden) are also a must-have on your beard care list as they help you apply all these products in a jiff while distributing your skin’s natural oils all over your whiskers.
And let’s not forget that they are always there to detangle all those annoying knots.
Wash Your Beard Thoroughly
Take a look at any beardo’s mane, and you’ll see that there are all sorts of stuff hiding in there, from his last meal at Arby’s to all that subway grime (OK, you can’t see that, but you get my point).
So, much like your scalp hair, your beard needs its own cleaning routine.
Just wash your beard anywhere from 2-3 times a week (or maybe more, depending on how oily your skin is).
Also, avoid using your regular hair shampoo as its formula is not fit for your scruff.
Instead, lather up to a specially designed (preferably sulfate-free) beard shampoo and conditioner which will nourish your whiskers from the inside out.
And don’t forget to deep-massage your face as you apply the products to increase its blood’s flow.
Shower With Cold & Warm Water
As mentioned above, washing your face with piping hot water can do more harm than good to your beard.
So, whenever possible, swap hot baths with warm or cold showers.
And yeah, I get it: Cold showers suck.
But, there’s a trick to make this more bearable.
Simply wash your beard separately in the sink.
Since your face skin can stand lower temps than the rest of your body (and that’s a fact), you’re more likely to pull this through than if your torso or legs are involved.
Get Regular Trims
We all know that split ends can make any beard feel and look like a stack of hay.
To avoid such a mess and nip any further issues in the bud (stunted hair growth, etc.), trim your beard at least once a week.
Be careful, though!
Your beard should be clean but not wet when you start chopping those split ends.
So, make sure you dry it first and then dig in.
And a friendly note: Not all trimming scissors are created equal.
So, look for one that has a comfortable grip and is made of high-quality materials (see: stainless steel) to avoid hurting your facial hair as you cut it.
Towel-Dry Your Beard
Even scientists agree that blow-drying your hair on the reg is one of the worst things you could do to your man mane.
So, when you have the chance, ditch the blow-dryer and go old-school with a towel.
Literally, all you have to do is squeeze away any excess water and pat your whiskers dry.
Just make sure you don’t rub it against the towel too hard or pull it violently as you dab it.
If it’s still damp after wiping it, let it air-dry for a few minutes, and that’s pretty much it.
Oh, and one last thing: If you can’t let go of your blow dryer, just set it at the lowest temperature possible to minimize the damage.
Eat the Right Foods
You’ve probably realized by now that softening your beard isn’t just a matter if that you put on your body but also what you put in it.
But, how do you know what actually works?
Well, experts conclude that biotin and Omega-3 fatty acids are the key to a softer, smoother man mane as they boost keratin production and nourish your hair from within.
So, all you have to do is head to the nearest grocery store and get yourself some fish, avocados, nuts, seeds, sweet potatoes, and kidney beans. #SoftBeardLoading
Opt for Natural Beard Products
When it comes to beard products, there are a ton of options out there.
But, while that could be a good thing, choosing the right one for you isn’t always easy.
And why’s that?
Some brands are loaded with synthetic ingredients, harsh chemicals, and sulfates, which, according to dermatologists, could wreak havoc on your skin and hair.
That’s why you should always read the label and choose products that contain natural (or at least, safe-to-use) ingredients.
Don’t know where to start?
Here’s a short list of all the chemicals you should avoid:
- Formaldehyde and Formaldehyde-Releasers
- Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES)
- Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS)
- Sodium Chloride
- Polyethylene Glycols
- 1,4 Dioxane
So, there you have it, folks.
Here’s exactly how to soften your beard without breaking the bank or spending ages in front of a mirror.
Start washing, combing, trimming and nurturing it, and that porcupine-like texture will go away – no doubt.
So, ready to take your beard from stark to sleek?