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How to Deal With Beard Knots

Beard knots are annoying and can lead to follicle breakage. Below, we will go over what causes beard knots, along with a few tips for removing and preventing them from occurring.

What are beard knots?

Beard knots are when individual facial hair follicles become intertwined and knotted.  Men with textured, curly, or long beards are more susceptible to beard knots.

What causes beard knots

Dry, unconditioned, and long beard follicles provide the ideal setting for beard knots to occur.  A dry beard can result from harsh cleansers, poor environmental conditions, or simply overuse of a blow dryer.

Some physical reasons why a beard may knot includes the following:

  • Stroking your beard excessively.
  • Rubbing your wet beard vigorously with a towel once finished showering.
  • Rubbing your beard on your pillowcase while sleeping.
  • Extreme winds.

How to prevent beard knots

Here are a few ways to prevent beard knots from occurring:

  • Beard conditioner.  By regularly applying a beard conditioner such as beard oil, beard balm, beard butter, etc., you actively moisturize your skin and soften facial hair.  The natural oils within popular conditioners also provide a semi-slick coating to the cuticles on the follicle to prevent knotting.
  • Combing or brushing regularly.  A beard comb will work to actively untangle knots.  The rigid structure of the comb will perform better when compared to a beard brush.  You should use a hand-polished beard comb as it will be gentler on the hair follicle shaft.
  • Shorter beard style.  A beard that is no longer than a few inches in length will be nearly impossible to knot, even if it isn’t conditioned or combed regularly.  
  • Electric beard straightener.  Modern beard combs contain ceramic plates that help to straighten facial hair.  Electric beard combs can be helpful for those men who have naturally curly facial hair or simply want the appearance of extra length. Plus beard straighteners are easy to use.
  • Beard wash.  To prevent dryness of the skin and follicle, use a natural beard wash rather than a standard soap or shampoo.  A well-made beard wash will complement the natural oils of the skin.  
  • Pat dry facial hair. After showering, pat dry facial hair rather than rubbing it vigorously.  

How to detangle beard knots?

Once a knot has occurred, detangling can be difficult.  Your best bet is to apply a thin beard conditioner, such as beard oil, let it rest for a few minutes then use a comb to remove the knot physically.

Which direction should you comb or brush your beard?

When brushing your beard, always comb or brush in a downward direction.  Some men may brush or comb upwards and then downwards to develop volume.  However, going against the grain of beard growth leads facial hair susceptible to knotting.

Are certain beard types susceptible to beard knots?

Men with tight curly facial hair or long facial hair are more likely to get beard knots.  Men with short or semi-straight facial hair are less likely to experience knots in their beards.

Sean Miller

As co-founder of Tools of Men, Sean Miller has nearly a decade of experience in male beard and grooming care. He started the site in 2014 after discovering the lack of quality men’s grooming information online. He is a nationally recognized expert in hair, beard and skin care for men, and has been featured in publications such as the Wall Street Journal, Vice, and more. He is also a frequent contributor to various online and print publications.

Sean Miller has dedicated his career to helping men understand the basics and fine details of proper grooming. He's traveled the world, testing products and learning from industry insiders to gain the knowledge he shares on Tools of Men. With a special focus on the trends, technology and products specifically designed for men he provides an educated, honest and informed perspective.

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