WARNING: Shampoo Will KILL Your Beard! Here’s How You Can Save It

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I get it…

…you have a shampoo bottle or bar of soap that is sitting on your shower caddy right now…

..and I have a quick question for YOU:

Is that one bottle (or bar) pulling double duty for both your hair and your beard?

Did you answer yes?

Sit down…we need to talk.

First off, we have all been at this point in our beard journey.

It’s a classic rookie mistake.

Don’t be hard on yourself.

We still love ya!

In fact, we are only here to try and make you AND your beard look its absolute best by teaching you how to clean your beard properly from here on out.

But seriously, just don’t ever use a shampoo or bar of soap on your beard ever again.


Now if you are scratching your beard wondering why we are stressing this so much, then you will want to stick around and read today’s article where we cover EVERYTHING you need to know.

Don’t worry, despite the long scroll, it’ll only take about 5 minutes of your time to read it (we promise).

But check this out:

By the end of this short read you will learn how to have a much better looking beard within only a week or so (seriously its that quick – in fact just quick enough to look great for any parties you currently have circled on your calendar).

Ok, let’s get started:

Beard Wash vs Shampoo vs Face Wash

Beard Wash vs. Shampoo vs. Face Wash – Are They REALLY Different?

Quick Answer:  Beard wash is better because it uses natural ingredients. Shampoos and face washes either clean TOO much or TOO little leaving your beard itchy, dry, and susceptible to split ends.

Long(er) Answer:


Shampoos and face washes are great stuff.

But sometimes it’s best to let the products designed for the specific parts of your body to work on well…the specific parts of your body.

Check this out:

Most shampoos (i.e. many that you find at the grocery store) are chalked full of chemicals and other synthetic ingredients (more on this in a minute).

These shampoos are sold on store shelves for a few reasons:

They are muscled in by huge corporations that pay a pretty penny for that slot.

They carry a lot of brand equity that will ensure more sales for the retailers.

And well, they sell like hot cakes cause they are widely available.

While many avid beardsmen will dismiss the current ‘beard trend’ by stating that beards have been around for centuries (which we full heartily agree), the simple fact remains:

Quality beard washes aren’t normally sold in stores.

And no, you shouldn’t be substituting shampoo for beard wash, here’s why:

The harsh chemicals found in shampoos are suited best for your hair (even that’s a stretch).

The abrasive detergents found in these bottles have been designed to strip away excess oil from the scalp when its applied to your head.

The problem starts though when you try to apply this same solution to your face.

The skin beneath your beard is not suited to deal with shampoo on a regular basis (this is why face wash exist in the first place).

Regular application of a shampoo on your face may cause irritation on your cheeks and some general discomfort for some men.

So, in short – don’t use shampoo on your face – it’s not worth it.

But what about facial cleanser for men?

In fact, if you don’t have a beard, or have one that is less than a month in growth length, you should be using a face wash or cleanser as a part of your daily regimen.

face wash on beard less than one month growth

Face washes work to gently clear out the dirt and gunk build up in your pores in order to give you a gentle cleanse to ultimately prevent acne and a more even skin complexion.

But they lose their usefulness when you beard gets longer…

Enter beard wash:

Here’s how beard wash found a comfortable place between both shampoos and face washes:

Any quality beard wash will be formulated from the ground up to both gently cleanse your face and your beard follicles.

Typically constructed of natural ingredients including jojoba oil, argan oil, and other natural ingredients typically used in many high end men’s grooming products, a beard wash will do a terrific job at flushing your pores in a complimentary way, here’s why:

With every beard follicle you have a pore.

At the base of this pore you have a tiny little gland called a sebaceous gland.

What does the sebaceous gland do you might be wondering?

These glands produce an oil called sebum oil, a natural conditioning agent for both your skin and beard.

Well, as these oils excrete throughout the course of the day, they build up along the base and the shaft of the beard follicle.

With time you need to wash them out for sanitary reasons.

When you use a standard shampoo, it’s like a shock to the surface of the skin on your face.

Now with a beard wash, the natural ingredients will gently scrub these oils away and replace them with a natural (typically nut or seed) derived oil that will compliment both your skin and hair.

…and you can’t skip this process if you have a beard, here’s why:

Is A Beard Shampoo Necessary?

The quick answer: Yes!

The long(er) answer:

As we were just talking about shampoos and face washes above, a beard wash will be much more complimentary.

When you use a beard wash, the complimentary properties will do a few things for your beard:

  1. Make it incredibly soft (some men liken the texture to silk)
  2. Remove any beard itch that may have been present
  3. Make you feel and smell more like a man (more on this in a minute)

While all the above may sound great, when you try to substitute a standard bargain shampoo for a beard wash, you lose out on all these great benefits.

In fact, in many cases, just the opposite will happen:

  1. Beard may be more brittle and susceptible to split ends
  2. Beard itch may become more pronounced due to the harsh chemicals
  3. Your beard now matches the scent of your hair – may be a win for some men or a loss for others
is beard shampoo necessary

How Often To Wash Your Beard?

The Quick Answer: Once every couple of days.

The Long(er) Answer:

You don’t want to overkill it and wash every single day.

It’s important to understand that your skin has a moisture barrier that helps it to be healthy.

Regularly scrubbing your hair and skin may just simply dry out or irritate the skin, especially if you scrub too hard and too often.

Even with all the great complimentary ingredients you find in a decent beard wash, you just can’t overdo it.

This same rule applies whether you have only a month long beard or even a yeard (beard for a year).

Washing your beard once every couple of days will help to ensure that you fully flush out the excess oils and that it smells its very best.

Just be sure to use only your hands as sometimes men can get a little carried away when using a washcloth when cleaning.

natural soap is the best beard shampoo

Types of Beard Washes

The Quick Answer: Brick/solid and liquid forms.  Go with personal preference, just make sure you don’t compromise for shitty ingredients.

The Long(er) Answer:

When browsing for a beard wash, you will quickly find that they come in two primary categories:

Brick/solid or liquid form.

It’s really down to the man on what you feel like handling.

Some men who work out regularly may prefer the liquid beard wash as it’s a bit more sanitary and easier to take with you.

However, if you are going on a business trip, make sure you pick up a wash that is under the 3.4fl oz liquid travel restrictions enforced by the TSA.

Given that most beard washes are made by small mom-and-pop companies, you are likely going to have to search a bit before you find one that adheres to this size restriction (Billy Jealousy is the only brand that comes to mind that is under 3.4oz).

Now if you largely always shower at home or go on the occasional business trip, a solid beard soap akin to something like Professor Fuzzworthy’s is great for storing on your shower caddy or storing in your dopp kit when on the road (and one that won the distinction of being the best beard wash for your beard).

Scented Beard Washes Ok

Scented Beard Washes Ok?

The Quick Answer: Yes.  Just make sure its scented naturally through essential oils.

The Long(er) Answer:

When you pick up any grooming product and turn over the label, you are likely going to ‘Fragrance’ or ‘Parfum’ on the side of the label.

While this sounds like a pretty harmless ingredient, it’s actually an umbrella term that companies can use to encompass over 2,000 different types of ingredients!


Given its obscure makeup, even the folks over at the Environmental Working Group (EWG), give Fragrance/Parfum a highly hazardous score of 8 out of 10 (source).

In short, if you can avoid it, do so.

Luckily for us men though, given that beard washes are relatively new and are made not by huge corporations that shave every penny they can off the production process, many artisanal companies rely on NATURAL essential oils instead.

But wait there’s more (Billy Mays Style!!).

Essential oils have been rediscovered in recent years due to their great therapeutic properties.

For instance, essential oils like tea tree oil or sandalwood (that classic barbershop scent), have natural antiseptic and antioxidant properties.

Why should you care?

Well, if you have a bit of acne beneath your beard or simply want to work in an anti-aging regimen without having to feel like are paying extra for anti-aging properties (antioxidants will fight the free radicals from damaging your skin), essential oils make for great substitutes.

But with all this great stuff, surely there has to be a catch right?!

If there was anything, it would be costs, but more so for the manufacturer on a larger scale.

Should you be producing a billion bars of soap a year, the pennies matter, but when buying from a quality mom and pop shop, then its typically not compromised on quality.

Oh, and essential oils smell pretty damn good too – making your beard smell great (in a subtle way), post wash.

Where To Buy Beard Wash?

The Quick Answer: You can’t find this stuff at stores, you need to go online.  Amazon has the best selection, hands down.

The Long(er) Answer:

Given the relatively small (but quickly expanding) market of beardsmen, there is very little places that carry QUALITY beard washes on store shelves.

If you head to the drug store or grocery store, you might find some generic mass produced versions, but from our experience, they have always been far inferior to some of the brands that are just a few clicks away.

Before you do buy a beard wash, we would recommend checking out our in-depth review of the best beard washes and soaps.

There we fully break down and compare the top brands on the market.

But if that isn’t your cup of tea, then the next best route is Amazon.

A simple search on there will yield an endless sea of results (over 1,000 matches on our last check).

After Amazon, you will have to go to each beard companies website to see if they sell directly consumers (nearly all that we find sell their products on Amazon as well for the same price).

Surprisingly, both Walmart and Nordstrom have a wide selection as well.

How To Actually Clean Your Beard Step By Step

Ok guys, cleaning your beard is pretty easy (nothing new here).  Whether you have the solid or liquid soap you will want to follow these steps:

  1. Hop into the shower and get your beard nice and wet (just like you were washing the hair on the top of your head).
  2. For Liquid: Once wet, drop in about a quarter sized amount (adjust according to beard length) of wash into the palm of your hand and rub into beard thoroughly.
    For Solid Bar: Rub against beard just as you would with a standard bar of soap for about 15 seconds. Make sure that you lather up a rich sudsy base.
  3. After cleaning thoroughly with your hands (be sure to get all the way to the base of the beard follicle), let rest for a couple minutes while you clean the rest of your body.
  4. Rinse thoroughly.
  5. Pat dry once exiting the shower.
maintaining your beard regularly

How To Condition Your Beard After After You Wash?

Quick Answer: With a beard oil or balm.  This will help to further soften your beard and eliminate beard itch.

The Long(er) Answer:

Even after you washed your beard thoroughly with a top-notch beard wash, you still MUST condition it properly.

This means using either a beard oil or beard balm.

Basically these two products are very similar and feature identical ingredients (carrier + essential oils).

Beard balms do often contain added conditioning agents for better results in cooler or dry climates.

If you are looking for recommendations on a particular oil or balm, check out the detailed guides here:

  1. Best Beard Oils
  2. Best Beard Balms

But when it comes to the application, it’s simple:

Make sure that your beard has been patted dry (ok if slight dampness), and take either a dime-sized amount (if using beard oil) or about a thumbnail sized amount (if using beard balm), and rub against both hands.

Once evenly coated (or melted down to no lumps if a beard balm), rub thoroughly into your beard.

Be sure to start at the base of the beard follicle and work towards the tip of the hair for full and complete coverage.

Regular application (every other day), of either a beard oil or beard balm will help to fully remove any pesky beard flakes and beard itch.

In addition, the conditioning agents found in these key products will help to ensure that your beard doesn’t develop split ends and will look its very best.

Key Takeaway: If You Want A Great Looking & Feeling Beard, Then A Proper Wash Should NEVER Be Skipped

Seriously, a small addition of beard wash to your grooming routine will give you a great layer of comfort for your beard that you likely weren’t experiencing previously.

The natural ingredients found in this product will make your beard sing and look on point.

But whatever you do, just don’t forget to use beard oil regularly for best results.

About Shawn Burns

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.

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