How to Clean the Skin Beneath Your Beard

Cleaning the skin underneath your facial hair can be tricky – especially if you have really committed to growing a beard for the past several months.

While we aren’t trying to tell you there is some magical way of washing your beard (spoiler: there isn’t), frequency and the products you use can significantly impact how your facial hair looks and feels.

Here’s how:

Harsh Soaps Strip Natural Oils

closeup of man stroking his beard

While sure, there may be some companies that offer 3-in-1 products that can work for just about everything on your body; your face is not one size fits all.

The skin on your face is sensitive, and using a harsh soap can actually strip away the natural oils that keep your skin healthy. This can lead to dryness, itchiness, and even irritation.

There’s a reason why companies make soaps and washes, especially for your facial hair – it’s because they complement the pH balance of your skin and help to preserve its natural oils.

There are plenty of great options to choose from nowadays; however, even after several years of testing various products, we are still fond of Professor Fuzzworthy Beard Shampoo. It’s made from a rich blend of natural ingredients that your skin and beard will soak up like a sponge.

Wash Your Beard Regularly

Washing your beard is a balancing act. Overwash, and you risk striping away the natural oils that keep your beard healthy, leading to dryness and irritation. Underwashing, on the other hand, can lead to a build-up of oils, sweat, and bacteria – none of which are good for your skin or your beard.

For starters, we recommend washing your beard daily, just as you would when washing your face with a cleanser. This allows you to remove any dirt, sweat, or bacteria that may have accumulated throughout the day.

However, you should keep tabs on how your skin and facial hair look and feel. If your beard still feels greasy or matted, then up it to twice daily, once in the morning and once at night. Should your beard feel too dry or start to look brittle, then cut back to every other day.

Continue to Exfoliate Even After Beard Growth

man washing his face over sink

Exfoliating your skin is a critical step in any good skincare routine – regardless of whether you have facial hair or not.

When you regularly exfoliate your skin, you lift dead skin cells, dirt, and oil that can clog pores. This allows new skin cells to grow in their place, giving you a more even complexion.

Get into the habit of exfoliating once every other day, just as if you didn’t have a beard.

Before or After Showering?

While this is a personal preference, we recommend washing your beard after you shower.

Your skin and hair are already damp and supple, plus the warm water helps to loosen things up, such as any dirt or debris that may be stuck.

Set Down That Dandruff Shampoo

One common trap many guys fall into when trying to resolve beard dandruff is by reaching for a dandruff shampoo the moment they see flakes.

Dandruff shampoos are designed to treat the scalp – not your face. Additionally, many dandruff shampoos contain ingredients like pyrithione zinc, which is an anti-fungal agent that can actually cause burning and redness.

Ultimately, if you see flakes, it’s probably due to dry skin – so you must condition it accordingly.

Which leads us to our next and final point:

Finish With a Lightweight Conditioner

Don’t forget once you’ve cleansed your skin, follow up with a lightweight conditioner such as a beard oil or beard balm to moisturize the skin. Think of these conditioners as a lotion for your beard and skin. These conditioners add back any natural oils you may have removed during the cleaning process, helping to keep your beard soft, healthy, and looking its best.

There are plenty of great options, both affordable and with a fragrance focus. However, all of these still deliver more or less the same result – a softer, more manageable beard.


There is no reason that washing your beard needs to be any different than washing the rest of your body. By using a good quality shampoo and conditioner, washing regularly, and exfoliating, you can keep your beard healthy, soft, and looking its best.

Adam Williams

As the lead editor of Tools of Men, Adam loves men's grooming products. Particularly of interest is managing facial hair and perfecting the art of the modern man's skincare routine. His work has been featured or quoted in several publications, including New York Magazine, Vice, Sharpologist, MIC, Elite Daily, and more. When Adam isn't working, he enjoys spending time with his two little kids who keep him both on his toes and young at heart.

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