What Is Beardruff (Beard Dandruff)? And How Do You Get Rid of It

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What is Beardruff?

Let’s just say this – every guy with a beard hates this subject!

Simply put beardruff is just dandruff on your beard.  But why does beardruff even occur in the first place?

More importantly how the heck do you get rid of this stuff?

When Do You Start To Get Beardruff?

To understand beardruff and how to cure it, you first and foremost need to understand the cause of it. The the root of every one of your beard follicles you have these glands called sebaceous glands.

where does sebum oil come from?

Check out this diagram: These sebaceous glands naturally produce an oil called sebum oil.

Sebum oil helps keep both your skin well hydrated and nourished.

The best way to understand the cause of beardruff is to think about a potted plant.

When you are growing a plant, you of course put it into a small pot at first and water it.

However, as the plant continues to grow, if you don’t move it too a bigger pot, it will literally suck up all the water and begin to wilt. The only way you can keep the plant from wilting so quickly is to move it to either a bigger pot or begin watering it at a more frequent basis.

So how does a plant relate to your beard?

The pot in this demonstration is your sebaceous glad (its finite in size).

What we see is that the pot simply can’t retain enough water (sebum oil) for the plant (your beard) to stay well nourished.

There comes a point in every mans beard growing adventure where simply your beard follicle gets too long and that your skin will start to dry out.

If you live in an area where you experience even more severe weather elements – such as one that is either extremely hot or cold (really just generally dry climates), you will be even more susceptible to beardruff.

What Products Treat Beardruff

Unfortunately for most men – the first thing they think of when trying to get rid of beardruff is to start using a anti-dandruff shampoo on your face.

Usually something along the lines of a Neutrogena T-Gel or a Head and Shoulders shampoo.

However, this is probably the worse thing you can do since you will be loading up chemicals on your face.

Personally I take the all natural (and more effective) route and use products like beard balm and beard oil.

Beard balm and oil is designed specifically to penetrate your skin, and contains the key ingredient to help cure beardruff – carrier oil.

Here is a look at how the two products differ:

Common Ingredients That Are Found In Most Beard Balms

beard balm in tins - tools of men

When you look at the back of the label of any decent beard balm you will see 4 core ingredients on the package:

  1. Beeswax
  2. Butter (usually shea or cocoa)
  3. Carrier Oil
  4. Essential Oil

Its important to understand what each one of the ingredients are before you start applying new product to your face:

  • First off the beeswax in beard balm is generally for holding purposes.  Beeswax itself doesn’t contain a ton of skin benefits (other than being a natural protectant).However if you are starting to have a bit more of a lengthier beard, the beeswax will help keep your beard in place after you comb it before heading out the door.
  • The second primary ingredient in beard balm is going to be the butter.Of course not your standard over the counter butter that you pick up in the store – in fact most popular beard balms use a shea or cocoa butter in their products.Both shea and cocoa butters are derived from nuts and are generally pretty safe to apply to your face. They are found in many other beauty products for men and women as well.

    The other added benefit to the butter found in beard balm is that it does a terrific job of adding additional moisture to your skin. While carrier oil does most of the nourishment and moisturizing work when applied to your skin – butters are a great added layer that can’t hurt when applied.

    Our highest ranked beard balm when we conducted reviews actually didn’t contain any sort of butters!  The beard balm contained an alternative ingredient – lanolin.

    Lanolin is actually derived from sheeps wool.  In fact, lanolin is essentially the sebum oil of a sheep (no sheep are harmed when lanolin is collected).  Its simply strung out of the wool and collected separately.

  • As eluded to earlier – carrier oils are going to give you the lions share of benefits when trying to get rid of beardruff.There are a ton of different carrier oils out on the market and several different types of carrier oils are used in beard related products.Some of the most popular carrier oils are jojoba (pronounced ho-ho-ba), argan, and sweet almond oil.

    As you may have guessed all the carrier oils are derived from a tree or plant. If you have terribly sensitive skin, I would highly recommend that you check out a beard balm with jojoba as an ingredient.

    Jojoba is natures closest compliment to the sebum oil that we naturally produce on a daily basis.Therefore your skin is much less likely to flare up when using a product containing jojoba oil and is also fragrance free.

    Speaking of fragrances….

  • The last key ingredient found in many beard balms is essential oils.Essential oils are like the life of the beard balm party.  They are ALL about the scent.If you want to smell like a lumberjack that just got done chopping down a pine tree – there are several different types of beard balms that contain this type of scent (see pine, cedar, and sandalwood oils).On the other end of the spectrum there are also essential oils that are flowery (i.e. lavender) and even citrusy – with lemon and grapefruit being among the most popular.

    Its largely a personal preference when it comes to picking out a beard balm with a wide array of essential oils.

Beard Oil Is Just Beard Balms Younger Brother

making your own beard oil vs buying it

When it comes to looking at beard oil, its really just a derivative of beard balm. In fact beard oil contains two of the same exact ingredients found in beard balm:

  1. Carrier Oil
  2. Essential Oil

Yes thats it! If you are having a hard time trying to decide between the two, here are a few things to keep in mind:

Beard oil isn’t going to give your beard any sort of hold or styling properties.

Therefore if you have a bit longer of a beard, a beard balm may work out better for you.

Also if your beardruff is a bit more severe, generally I would recommend starting with a beard balm since it has that extra layer of protection with the addition of butters to the ingredient list.

If putting a beeswax or butter in your beard seems unnecessary to you, then probably the best option to go with will be just a bottle of jojoba oil.

It will be the most cost effective way and won’t leave any sort of scents lingering around.

However, if you are looking to dive in and try a beard oil, be sure to check out our in-depth reviews of some of the most popular beard oils on the market.

Getting Rid Of Beardruff Isn’t The Only Benefit

benefits of beard balm - what does it do to you beard

While this article is heavily focused on talking about getting rid of beardruff altogether, its important to add that adding a balm or oil to your beard you will also reap some other really great rewards!

For instance, when your beard is all dried out, its going to feel much more prickly and brittle.

Therefore, these products are a great way to really soften out your beard as well for others to enjoy!

Secondly, with a softer and a much more well nourished beard, you are also going to run a much lower risk of developing split ends on your beard.

Therefore if you are trying to grow it out, you won’t have to trim it as frequently since it will be much more healthier and generally in better shape.

Hey This Stuff Is Kinda Expensive!

old pots for beard balm - tools of men

Yes the beard market has really taken off over the past couple of years – and with that, there have been a flood of products that have entered the market.

While the prices may have dropped a little bit, generally speaking, beard balms and oils are pretty expensive.

Most boutique companies will sell beard oil for around $20 to $25 (not including shipping).

Beard balm for the most part generally is a bit cheaper than its oil counterpart – generally in the $15 to $20 range.

When growing a longer beard, you will start to fly through the product pretty quickly and having to order a new bottle all the time will add up! So what about making it yourself? It’s actually pretty darn easy to make beard oil and beard balm!

But how?

Check out our insanely detailed guides we put together!

As you can probably infer, beard oil is just two ingredients, so mixing them is pretty straight forward.

Beard balm on the other hand is a bit more complicated of a process and does require substantially more measuring and melting of products together.

Here is our complete guide on how to make beard oil.

And here is the complete guide for making beard balm.

What About a Beard Shampoo or Wash?

A beard shampoo is a great way to make sure that your beard stays in great shape between using beard balms and oils.

In fact, beard shampoo for the most part is made completely different that the regular shampoo thats used on your hair.

You see the shampoo you use regularly on your head is designed to strip out all the sebum oil on your hair.

This is bad news especially if you are looking to try and retain that sebum oil within your beard!

Therefore, I generally recommend checking out a product like Professor Fuzzworthy’s Beard Shampoo since it contains several different carrier oils and other great ingredients that are designed to keep your beard well moisturized and nourished.

But here’s the kicker:

Beard shampoo is a compliment to your bearded routine – so don’t skip the beard balm and beard oil and go straight for this. If you live in the frigid dry northern states or in the desert areas of the country – you definitely may want to consider adding in a beard shampoo as beardruff will likely be much more likely to occur.

Let’s Recap Real Quick On Getting Rid of Beardruff

When you boil everything down, in order to get rid of beardruff you need to not use any sort of harsh shampoos (or anti dandruff shampoos) that strip out the sebum oil from your hair.

Instead, you should start to introduce a beard balm or oil into your daily (or every other) day routine in order to completely get rid of this pesky stuff.

After a few days of use you should have your beardruff completely cleared up and one epic looking beard!

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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