There are a lot of items that a beardsman can utilize to maximize the look of his beard. Whether you're a beginner with growing out your facial hair or if you've had one for years, you'll find these beard "essentials" quite useful in your beard arsenal.
I quote essentials there as these items aren't actually essential. Rather, they are simply tools that you can use to more easily tame your beard and help grow it to its fullest potential. No more itching, no split ends, and a healthy, presentable beard.
Recommended Beard Tools
Beard Oil & Beard Balm
Beard oil and balm are great for moisturizing both your skin and facial hair. Applying either one or both into a clean, damp beard will help provide hydration and protection from split ends.
Don't get it mistaken: oil does not promote any sort of new facial hair growth, which may be contrary to what several beard oil companies state. In fact, it's entirely possible that the oils on the market aimed at such a thing contain potent plant derived anti-androgens such as tea tree oil or lavender oil. You can learn more about dihydrotestosterone and beard growth by clicking on that link.
If you experience itchiness during your initial beard growth stages (usually around stubble length), oil is a great way to get rid of that. It can be used at any stage of beard growth, including on a freshly shaved face.
Another upside to using oils, balms, or butters is that it can give the appearance of a fuller beard.
Balm, on the other hand, could also be used at any stage but is generally desired for beards that have started growing out and need a bit of taming. Flyaway and uncooperative hair can normally be helped by applying a balm. The ingredients contain stronger-holding compositions compared to a beard oil, allowing the weight of the hair to be added onto while also becoming more pliable due to the oils.
Be careful with some balms as they may contain ingredients like beeswax, which can be comedogenic, or pore clogging. This should really only be a worry if you're using the balm down to your skin, intentionally coating it.
There's also something called beard butter, with a texture similar to lotion. This is a great alternative, especially for guys that generally get a dry face or brittle hair.
You certainly won't need all three, but many guys like to experiment a bit.
Notable mention: Mustache wax.
After washing your beard, drying it, and applying your conditioner of choice, you'd want to style it. So we'll move onto...
Beard Combs & Beard Brushes
As part of your daily styling routine, you'll want a comb or a brush. Preferably both.
A boar bristle brush is a great tool for exfoliating your face, taming your facial hair, and potentially encouraging hair growth due to the additional blood flow created upon brushing. So that you don't damage hair strands due to the brush's abrasiveness, don't brush more than once or twice per day.
Look out for brushes with synthetic bristles; they're hardly good for your hair or face, so opt to find one with 100% boar's hair. As an alternative to those that cannot use boar-related material or want a gentler brush, a horse hair beard brush might be the way to go. It will exfoliate and stimulate the face much less than the boar hair, however, as it's much softer.
Combs are a little more versatile when it comes to helping with styling your beard, and they can be used more often. You'll want to choose the width of the teeth based on the texture of your beard — in other words, the curlier your beard, the wider you'll want the teeth on the comb to be apart. The straighter your beard, the closer together you'll want your comb teeth.
If you can, make note of the quality of the comb you're purchasing. If you're going for a wood comb, you'll want one that's of high quality or else its finish may have non-sanded parts that snag onto your beard's hair, causing splits, pulls and general damage to the strands. Wood combs also take on the smells of your balms and oils, which can be seen as either a positive or negative.
A brush and comb are fairly essential to maintaining a nicely groomed beard. It's hard to go wrong with the Kent brand, if you're ever in doubt of which product to go for. They're anti-static, handmade in England, and have perfectly rounded teeth.
Despite how long or short you rock your beard, a trimmer will undoubtedly come in handy. From minor touch-ups to major trims, these things will have your beard looking right at all times.
If you really know you won't be needing an electric trimmer, you'll at least want a pair of beard scissors to tame your mane. Without these, you won't be able to effectively chop split-ends, which would cause them to travel up to the root of the hair shaft and shed the hair. During the split, the hair simply doesn't look healthy, lowering the overall appearance of your beard.
So catch split ends quickly and trim them before they deepen into your beard.
With a trimmer, it's easy to make a mistake, so set aside some time to do your trims and take all the time you need. The alternative of doing the trimming yourself is going to a barber, but the results will widely vary and it's hard to find a reliable barber with beard trimming talent. A trimmer will also save money in the long run, and you'll be able to do your trims whenever you want, on your own time.
Note that we don't recommend using an electric trimmer to do split-end trimming. Save it for cheek- and neck-line trimming, or general trimming.
Notable mention: Shavette or straight razor, for those that want a sharp look on the cheek line.
Aside from the couple of mentions we gave above, there are a few more things you might want; you may already own them!
The beard oil to keep your facial hair soft and healthy in between your trimmings and brushing, the balm to tame and condition it; having these tools in your arsenal will greatly up your beard game and routine. It becomes somewhat of a ritual when you take care of your beard and are fully aware of its existence and needs. It's a feeling that's hard to describe, but one that's fueled every time you style it.
Do you have any must-have tools in your inventory? Join up and let us know over on the beard boards.