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Which Is Better For You, A Beard Comb or Brush?

By: Shawn | Last Updated: July 12, 2016

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Maintaining your beard is an oddly complex process.

From beard oils, beard balms, beard washes, beard conditioners, etc it can get pretty in-depth.

In fact when looking at beard combs and brushes, the options are almost limitless.  I mean just a quick search for a beard brush on a popular online retailer site yields hundreds of results.  This is just brushes we are talking about after all right?

The same goes for combs as well, you will see tons of wooden combs, synthetic, and oxhorn as some of the most popular ones.

At the end of the day, both beard combs and brushes essentially tackle the same goal of just trying to keep your beard in order right?

However after researching quite a bit and breaking down this epic battle on deciding between a beard comb or brush, things do quite to get pretty interesting (way more than I would have ever initially though).

If you take great care in your beard, you are definitely going to want to ditch that cheap drugstore comb and get one that will actually make your beard look way better and healthier – heres why:

First a Look At The Boars Hair Bristle Brush And Comparing It To The Synthetic Counterparts

As I eluded to above – you last thing you want to do is go to your local drug store and pick up a cheap comb.

There are actually several reasons for this and why its so darn important to make sure that you take a long hard look at brushes made specifically for your beard.

Here’s the deal:

The hair on your face is much more coarser than the hair on your head.

Therefore it needs to be cared for a bit differently and coincidentally needs a different tool to maintain it.

If you are using your girlfriend or wife’s brush that looks something like this:

low quality brush that shouldn't be used on your beard

Please read below, here’s why:

If you use a much higher quality brush like one made of boar hair bristle will notice right away one of the biggest differences: length of the bristle.

Check out the pic below:

boar hair bristle brush to use on beards

When a bristle is cut at different lengths like that of a brush made with boars hair, you will reach hairs at every level of your beard giving you a much more effective and even brush per stroke.

The lower the number of times that you need to brush your hair will help improve the long term health of your beard by reducing the occurrence of split ends.

Which is a great thing since you won’t have to trim your beard as nearly as often, especially if you are trying to grow out a yeard (beard for a year for the newbies out there)!

But here’s the deal, bristle length is only one thing.

By and far the biggest advantage of using a boars hair bristle brush over a synthetic brush and even beard combs is its natural ability of the boars hair to trap in oil in order to provide an equal distribution of oil within your beard.

When we mention oil, we are referring to two specific types of oil, sebum (one that your skin naturally produces) and oil provided from products like beard oil and beard balms.

As a really brief primer on beard oil and beard balms there are a few things to note about it.  First off its typically made up of carrier oils.

Carrier oils are extracted typically from nuts or seeds and are used in a wide variety of beauty products such as shampoos, conditioners, lotions, and even shaving creams.

With carrier oils in beard oil, their key role is to help completely get rid of an itchy beard and ultimately beardruff (dandruff that occurs in your beard due to dry skin).

Another inherit benefit of using carrier oils on your beard is that they will make your beard both look healthy and make it feel incredibly soft.  Therefore when using a beard brush (specifically one made of boars hair), with each stroke, you will have an even coating of oils on your skin and up the length of the entire shaft of the beard follicle.

This adequate coverage of oil will help maintain the long term health of your beard.

Benefits of beard oil really don’t end there either!  I go a bit more deeper in detail within this article as well.

Last but not least – a brush will help train your beard follicles to grow in a uniform direction.

Here’s what we mean by that:

If you are growing a beard for the first time – or simply growing it longer, you may notice that your mustache hairs starts to curl up into your mouth.  In addition the beard follicles along your cheek and jawline will also likely be growing in several different directions.

This is where a quality beard brush changes these annoying little nuances of growing a beard.

When using a brush for a few days, typically for beardsmen, their follicles will start to fall in line and eventually grow in the desired direction.

Now everyones hair is different so its very much on a case-by-case basis.  There are some men that do have to use a beard brush in combination with a beard wax to keep things orderly throughout the day.

Just a quick note on other fibers:

Now at the beginning of this section we were giving synthetic combs a hard time.  For the most part they are usually considered the “cheap”, mass produced, and most importantly perform poorly.  However there is such a thing as high quality synthetic brushes used for the hair on the top of your head.  High quality synthetic brushes for your beard are a bit harder to find though.

Another animal fiber that is starting to gain more popularity as well across all different types of men and women beauty supplies is the re-introduction of horse hair fibers.

These fibers will also do a fairly good job in helping spread around the oils evenly into your beard.

Thinking about picking up a beard brush but unsure which one to get?  Be sure to check out our in-depth guide on selecting the very best beard brush 

When It Comes To Beard Combs, What’s The Difference?

Everything.

No seriously – there are major differences when it comes to beard combs.

You see when it comes to combs there are HUGE differences from your average drugstore comb and one that has been hand cut and polished for your beard.

If you were to pick up a comb off the shelf, 99.9% of the time they are poured into a mold, stamped out, packaged and sent to the store for sale.

cheap plastic mold stamp combs

You might be thinking to yourself, its just a comb after all, how bad can it be?

Here are the key differences that you need to know:

For cheaper combs – since they are stamped out of a mold, they have tons of microscopic jagged edges along the teeth of the comb.

Therefore when you run a low quality comb through your hair, you are breaking down the integrity of the beard follicle shaft with each stroke.

What this means is that your beard follicles are gradually getting torn apart making them much more susceptible to breakage and split ends.

Naturally when you have several split ends within your beard, you are going to have an increase occurrence in tangling, which for some men, may drive them crazy if they like to stroke their beard throughout the day.

But the damage doesn’t end with just an annoying split end.

Unfortunately, the best way to resolve a split end is to effectively cut off the tip of your beard.  While every beard needs to get trimmed every now and again, more frequent split ends will ultimately lead to you having to trim your beard more regularly.

Secondly, when you use a cheap comb, your beard will be much more ‘staticky’ (is that even a word?)

The core purpose on why you would use a comb in the first place is to style your beard – so the net gains that you get out of combing with a cheap comb will likely be negative when compared to a comb of higher quality.

Lastly, plastic molded combs are typically pretty flimsy and are going to be much more susceptible to having their teeth broken (especially if you keep it stored in your pants pocket).

While I won’t go on regarding the downsides of combing your beard with a comb containing broken teeth, lets just say that it does’t help matters 🙂

So does that mean we are lost and are forced to use beard brushes only to maintain an unruly beard?

Absolutely not.

When you break it down there are several quality beard combs on the market, from wooden to sawcut – heck even bone and ox horn combs as well.

However, here at Tools of Men, we found one set of combs that tends to stand out above the rest – Kent combs (you can check out our full review of the best beard combs here).

kent combs the ultimate beard comb

But why are combs like those made by Kent good for your beard, they are made of a synthetic material just like the cheap flimsy drug store combs right?

First lets covered out they are made.

Instead of made in a factory in China – Kent combs are actually handmade in the U.K.

While we could talk politically why U.K. manufacturing is better than having products imported from China, but that is way beyond the scope and purpose of this site.

Let’s focus on the manufacturing process:

Kent handmade combs are known as being sawcut combs.  This means that each and every single comb is literally cut with a saw and then polished to make sure there are no microscopic jagged edges like those on the molded cut cheap comb.

Therefore when it runs through your beard, you can rest assured that the amount of damage being caused is minimized (not completely eliminated but minimized).

Secondly, the ends of the teeth are also polished so just like in between the teeth this causes very little damage to your hair follicles but also very little damage to your skin below your beard.

Here’s a short video we put together diving into Kent combs a bit more in detail:

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Thinking about picking up a beard comb but unsure which one to get?  Be sure to check out our in-depth guide on selecting the very best beard comb 

What Is The Best Time To Brush or Comb My Beard?

best time to brush your beard - tools of men

Overall the single best time to brush or comb your hair is after a shower.

But not directly after a shower.

In fact your morning routine should look something like this.

First off you should jump out of bed and into the shower.

While there you should be using a decent beard wash.

After showering, you want to dry off your beard with a towel and let it air dry for a couple of minutes.

Once your beard seems reasonable dry (only a couple of minutes) you are going to want to apply a high quality beard oil.

If this is your first time hearing about beard oil – there are a few important things you need to know.

Beard oil is the ultimate tool in your beard maintenance box.

It plays a critical role in making sure that it not only stays well hydrated, but way more importantly – well nourished.

You see if you use a beard oil like this one, it contains one of the key essential ingredients – jojoba oil.

Jojoba if you aren’t aware is a natural oil from the jojoba plant that is natures closest oil to the one that we naturally produce every day (sebum oil).

When you start to really take beard growing seriously (a few weeks of growth), the longer your beard naturally the more nutrients it needs.

This is where beard oil steps in to supplement your natural oils.

Not only will this make sure that your beard appears natural and healthy, but it also makes sure that it is soft and doesn’t have beardruff prevalent.

But before I go too long of a tangent about beard oil, you can read about all the benefits of beard oil here.

So after applying beard oil, you will want to run your comb or brush through your beard.

If you are using a brush, you will ONLY want to do this about once a day.

Brushing more frequently – even it it is with a high quality beard brush WILL damage your hair.

However if you use a comb, you can get away with combing about 3-5 times a day without causing any additional damage.e

Should I Comb Or Brush My Beard?

beard comb or brush - tools of menThere are a few things to keep in mind when deciding whether to comb or brush your beard.

If you are going for a fuller more natural look, generally (although this doesn’t hold true for every guy) you will want to brush your beard.

On the other hand if you are going for styling purposes you generally (again same rule holds true as above – that it doesn’t work for every guy), you will want to comb your beard.

If your main goal is to get your mustache out of your mouth or to begin training your hairs to grow in the direction that you want, its best to start out with a high quality boar hair bristle brush.

Here’s the truth though:

All guys have their very own preference on either or and in fact many of them prefer to use a comb to get out the knots and tangles of their beard first with a comb and then brush it to train their hairs and lastly comb it (again) to style it even further.

Here are a couple of thoughts of what beardsmen around the web think:

beard brush vs comb testimonal - tools of men

beard brush vs comb testimonal - tools of men

beard brush vs comb testimonal - tools of men

beard brush vs comb testimonal - tools of men

beard brush vs comb testimonal - tools of men

beard brush vs comb testimonal - tools of men

The point is this:

It’s your beard – therefore you are going to find out what works best for you and what doesn’t.

If it’s your first ever time investing in any sort of beard brush or beard comb I would recommend that you pick up both.

Overall its a relatively small investment and in the end you may very end up up using both of them in your daily morning routine.

Questions, Questions?!  I Am Happy To Answer!

If this is your very first beard comb or brush, not to worry! I will be more than happy to help you out in any way possible!

Just drop a question in the comment section below and I will try to respond as quick as possible!

Or if there is something you need to know absolutely right away, you are always welcome to email me at shawn {at} toolsofmen.com!

Look forward to hearing from you and hope that this article helps you out in deciding!

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