Beard wash is specifically formulated to gently cleanse your facial hair to remove both dirt and oil buildup. When used regularly, beard wash also plays a crucial role in preventing dry, itchy, red skin from developing underneath your facial hair.
Below, we share the best beard shampoos currently available.
How to Choose a Beard Wash
When buying a beard shampoo, consider the following features:
Natural Ingredients: Most beard shampoos are made from natural ingredients, including carrier oils, essential oils, beeswax, and more. These natural ingredients can provide results that can cause facial hair to feel noticeably softer and smoother. A natural beard wash should be considered if you have dry, itchy skin or beard dandruff.
Chemical Detergents: Strong chemical detergents are good at removing oil buildup and dirt from facial hair. While effective, they can cause dryness if overused. Some chemical-based beard washes may include conditioners, such as natural oils to counteract dryness. Lastly, you may want to avoid a chemical-based beard shampoo if you color your facial hair, as sulfites may strip away the dye with repeated use.
Allergic Reaction: Like most grooming products, allergic reactions may occur, particularly for those men with sensitive skin. Refer to the following sources for further guidance on individual ingredients should you want to learn more: Environmental Working Group (a non-profit dedicated to protecting human health and the environment), Food and Drug Administration, or National Institutes of Health.
Beard shampoos and washes are available in either a solid bar or liquid form. Both types of beard shampoos have their advantages and disadvantages.
- Bar: Well suited for travel. Easier to control on short to medium length beards. It may not last as long.
- Liquid: Easy to use on all beard lengths. Sizes greater than 3.4oz will not be TSA compliant. Often contains artificial ingredients.
Beard shampoos are available in many different scents. When deciding on a shampoo, consider one that complements other fragrances you may be applying in your grooming routine.
Men with sensitive skin should do a patch test before applying a scented beard shampoo as some natural ingredients may cause an allergic reaction (source). Unfortunately, there are very few unscented beard washes currently available.
Chemical-based scents, typically marked on the ingredients list simply as parfum or fragrance, may linger much longer than a natural scent.
4. False Claims
Some companies may market their beard shampoo to “increase beard growth” or make your facial hair look much thicker after a few uses.
Virtually all these claims are not scientifically proven and should be disregarded.
1. Best Overall: Professor Fuzzworthy’s Beard Shampoo
Full of natural ingredients, including olive oil, coconut oil, castor oil, soy wax, leatherwood beeswax, and Mount Wellington spring water – the Professor Fuzzworthy beard shampoo is the real deal.
After only a few uses, you can expect dry or rigid facial hair to feel noticeably softer to the touch. The careful formulation within the bar works hard to gently strip away dirt and grime, so your beard is never left feeling greasy or nappy.
Unlike some mass-produced brands, this beard shampoo doesn’t contain harsh chemicals such as parabens, SLS, SLES, colorants, synthetic fragrances, or palm oil. Making it not only good for you but the environment as well.
While the shape makes it somewhat tricky to use while showering, once a nice lather develops, it’s easy to work into your facial hair. Plus, the small cube design allows this beard wash to fit easily within any toiletry or gym bag.
Just be sure that when you do use this beard shampoo, rest it in a soap dish or metal rack (for drainage), as the all-natural composition will dissolve a bit quicker than your standard bar of soap.
Pros: Relies on quality ingredients. It will make your beard feel and look great. It is made in Australia.
Cons: Cube form makes it a bit difficult to generate a quick lather.
The Verdict: If you want a quality beard shampoo and are tired of using an old bar of soap or shampoo, then this wash from Professor Fuzzworthy’s will provide some great results. The natural formulation will leave your beard feeling soft and looking healthier.
2. Best Scent: Billy Jealousy Beard Shampoo
Billy Jealousy expertly balances between both convenience and quality. This liquid-based beard shampoo relies on aloe vera, soy protein, and green tea extract to get your beard into the best shape possible.
The formula will work hard to untangle stubborn knots within your facial hair. Additionally, the soy protein will penetrate and condition the cuticles on the hair shaft to reduce beard split ends.
The aloe vera contained within the shampoo may add some volume to your facial hair with regular use.
The formula is sulfate-free, making it a top consideration should you regularly dye your hair.
Pros: Expert formula hydrates and conditions facial hair. Made in the USA. Light woodsy scent. Sulfate-free.
Cons: Chemically derived fragrance.
The Verdict: If you want a hard-working beard shampoo that will undo stubborn knots or add a bit of volume, then the Billy Jealousy Beard Wash is a sound choice. Most men will welcome the pleasant and versatile scent.
3. Deep Cleansing: Art of Shaving Beard Wash
Art of Shaving has been serving up quality men’s grooming products since 1996. One new addition to their lineup is their peppermint-based beard wash.
A stimulating addition to your showering routine, the bright note of peppermint along with eucalyptus provides a pleasant and premium washing experience to begin your day.
Do know that the formula is a blend of both artificial and premium natural ingredients. The moisturizing-focused olive oil and jojoba oil ingredients should help stop any beard itch or dryness. Also, if your beard has been feeling a bit crunchy lately, this beard wash, along with a good conditioner, will fix that quickly.
Expect a nice clean and soft feeling after your first use.
Pros: Luxury scent. Effective and deep-penetrating formula.
Cons: Chemical and natural blends may not work for everyone.
The Verdict: This is a premium beard shampoo that stands up to expectations. If you want to treat yourself, consider giving this beard wash a try.
4. Luxury Pick: Jack Black Beard Wash
After what seemed like years of waiting, Jack Black finally released a beard wash. Not to be confused with their Beard Lube (shaving cream), this Beard Wash is the latest addition to their luxury lineup.
The aloe-based formula is intended for men in any step of their beard growth journey, from stubble to a long beard. With the inclusion of natural oils, most notably jojoba oil, the Jack Black Beard Wash will hydrate and nourish both your facial hair and the skin underneath.
The beard wash has a silk-like consistency, making it easy to use. This beard wash does rely on a blend of both natural and artificial ingredients.
The light, eucalyptus scent is inviting and pleasant.
One notable downside is that the Jack Black only makes this in a 6oz size. While no problem for home use, if traveling, you will need to transfer it into a travel-friendly container.
Pros: Premium formula and scent stops beard itch.
Cons: No travel sizes available.
The Verdict: Fans of Jack Black will enjoy the latest addition to their grooming lineup. This beard wash will work no matter where you are in your facial hair journey.
5. Versatile Formula: Kiehl’s 2-in-1 Hair & Beard Wash
If you are always looking for shortcuts in your grooming routine, then this shampoo by Kiehl’s is the ultimate time-saver.
Not only is this a hair and beard wash but also a shampoo and conditioner!
So if you are tired of rotating through countless bottles while showering, just place this up on your shower caddy, give it a few pumps and get to work.
Within the shampoo and conditioner, you will find a rich blend of artificial and natural ingredients. Notable natural ingredients include sandalwood oil, rock rose oil, pracaxi oil, and many more.
Given the complexity and oil-heavy formula, men with oily or sensitive skin may want to exercise caution before using it.
Lastly, this hair and beard wash is available in three different sizes, 8.4oz, 16.9oz, 33.8oz. So if you go all-in, consider the 33.8oz size to save some money over the long run.
Pros: A uniquely versatile offering for all hair above the shoulders.
Cons: Oil-heavy formula may be a problem for men with oily or sensitive skin.
The Verdict: If you value efficiency and don’t like owning several grooming products, then this hair and beard wash by Kiehl’s should be seriously considered.
6. Affordable: Viking Revolution Beard Shampoo & Conditioner Set
For those guys that seek out the no-frills options and are just looking for something to help get their beard in decent shape, consider the Viking Revolution beard shampoo and conditioner set.
The natural-based formula provides a standard wash and conditioning that can help to provide relief of both dry skin and beard itch. Additionally, the peppermint and eucalyptus-scented shampoo and conditioner should work well to make your facial hair feel smoother and silk-like.
Pros: Gets rid of dirt without stripping necessary oils. A good product for the price. It only needs to be used a few times a week.
Cons: No-frills may not work for everyone.
The Verdict: This is a solid shampoo and conditioner set that provides reasonably good value. While not as well-known as the other brands on our list, it does get the job done.
Beard Wash & Shampoo FAQs
What are some classic beard shampoo scents?
Beard shampoo scents vary from one brand to the next. The more popular fragrances include woodsy, invigorating, citrus, or a classic barbershop scent.
Should beard shampoo be used only in the winter months?
Beard shampoo should be used all year. Whether you have a short or long beard, a beard shampoo will work to gently cleanse your facial hair without stripping out the natural oils.
How do you wash your beard?
Washing your facial hair is just the same as washing the hair on top of your head. Just follow these steps to clean your beard:
- Rinse facial hair thoroughly.
- Work a beard shampoo into your facial hair. Be sure to get all the way down to the surface of your skin.
- Let the shampoo rest for a minute.
- Rinse thoroughly.
How often should you wash your beard?
Most beard care companies recommend that you wash your facial hair about one to three times every week. However, you may want to adjust the frequency depending on how your beard looks and feels.
Can I use a face cleanser on my beard?
A face cleanser or face wash can be used to clean short facial hair. However, as your facial hair grows, dryness to both the beard and skin underneath becomes a concern. Beard shampoo can help to reduce these common problems along with a regular application of a beard conditioner.
Shawn Burns is the founder and senior editor of Tools of Men. He started this site with the goal of teaching men proper grooming habits and sensible style. Shawn’s expertise includes in-depth product reviews and how-to articles. Shawn was recently featured in the Wall Street Journal for his expertise.