The 10 Best Beard Washes
This wiki has been updated 28 times since it was first published in March of 2016. Unfortunately, many men think that all they have to do to attain perfect facial hair is simply stop shaving, which is a recipe for looking more like Sasquatch than a sex symbol. Luckily, all it takes is one of these excellent beard washes to clean and tame your facial fuzz. Remember, the mane on your chin collects just as much dirt as the one on your head, so you need to freshen it up regularly. When users buy our independently chosen editorial recommendations, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.
April 15, 2020:
For any man with decent growth of facial hair, beard washes are just as vital to good grooming habits as shampoo and body soap. So if you want to keep that mane looking and smelling its best, not to mention soft enough that it won't scratch your significant other's face when you go in for a kiss, you should probably check out one of the options on our list.
Broadly, beard washes can fall into two categories, all natural and those that contain some chemicals. However, we'd like to break it down one step further, so we have identified three distinct types: all natural, those that claim they are all natural but have ingredients difficult for the average person to identify, and those that use some chemical additives.
Obviously, all-natural options will be the gentlest on both hair and the underlying skin, so they are our favorite options. Beard washes on our list that fall into this category are OneDTQ Medicine Man's Anti-Itch, Maple Hill Honest For Men, Mountaineer Brand Timber, Mr. Natty's Forest, and Professor Edward J. Fuzzworthy's Shampoo Bar. Of these, we feel OneDTQ Medicine Man's Anti-Itch and Professor Edward J. Fuzzworthy's Shampoo Bar are best for itch relief, thanks to ingredients like sea fennel in the former and Tasmanian seaweed extract in the latter. Maple Hill Honest For Men and Mountaineer Brand Timber are the most moisturizing due to the multiple types of oils in them, and Mr. Natty's Forest is the best at exfoliating the underlying skin to keep it healthy. Good exfoliation can also help reduce dandruff, since it scrubs away much of the flaky skin before it has a chance to turn into unsightly dandruff. Maple Hill Honest For Men and Mountaineer Brand Timber are also good for dandruff relief, and Professor Edward J. Fuzzworthy's Shampoo Bar has above average thickening properties.
Polished Gentleman Growth Set and Zeus Shampoo claim to be all-natural options, but when we see ingredients like butylene glycol in the former, which can cause skin flakiness, and sodium benzoate and potassium sorbate in the latter, which have the potential to cause irritation or dryness, we question if they are truly gentle enough for daily use, even if they claim to be. That being said, they both do have beneficial ingredients to counteract the potential downsides of the aforementioned ones, so most users shouldn't experience any issues. We do like that Polished Gentleman Growth Set can help those struggling with cultivating a respectable beard, and that Zeus Shampoo is made using cruelty-free methods and is rich in antioxidant phenols and anti-inflammatory compounds, which can make it very useful for those with acne.
Grave Before Shave, Spartans Den Premium Classic, Billy Jealousy Cleanse + Soften are the only products on our list that don't claim to be all natural. That being said, they can all still be good options for those who need to deal with certain issues. For example, Grave Before Shave works very well for reducing frizz and flakiness, Spartans Den Premium Classic is excellent at fighting dandruff and has a scent that fades very quickly after rinsing, and Billy Jealousy Cleanse + Soften can strength hair strands and give them a nice luster.
Maapilim Beard Wash Maapilim Beard Wash has a cedar and citrus lavender scent that is masculine, while at the same time appealing to many women's sensibilities. Not only is it paraben-, alcohol-, and sodium lauryl sulfate–free, but it contains argan and almond oil, which provide the skin and beard with nutrients to keep them healthy. maapilim.com
Brass Knuckle Beard & Body Wash If you are a simple man who doesn't want to deal with using a lot of grooming products, you may find joy in the simplicity of Brass Knuckle Beard & Body Wash. It can be used on practically every part of you from head to toe, since it is free of harsh chemicals and is just lightly scented with Woodsman classic essential oils. thebeardedbastard.com
Beard Washing 101
The presence of oil is necessary for a great-looking beard, and regular shampoo contains specific chemicals for scrubbing out oils.
If your facial hair is in full bloom, yet you’re still skeptical about the efficacy of beard wash, you’re probably not alone. Yet there’s an abundance of beard washes on the market today for a reason — and it’s not a well-organized conspiracy within the beard product industry to trick you into purchasing more grooming items (though that sounds like an intriguing film plot). It’s because there’s a genuine difference between regular shampoo and beard wash.
Perhaps it’s easiest to begin by stating what a beard wash is not: it is not a replacement for a beard balm or a beard oil. Those products have their place, but their purpose is not to clean dust, debris, and waxy substances out of your beard.
Whereas the primary function of normal shampoo is to clean your hair and rid it of the oils that make it look greasy, beard wash works to clean and nourish your facial hair without stripping out its natural oils. The presence of oil is necessary for a great-looking beard, and regular shampoo contains specific chemicals for scrubbing out oils. Without oils, your facial hair may appear dry and shriveled.
A quality beard wash won’t impact your natural oils, but it will eliminate dust, dead skin cells, and other unpleasant substances that distract from the majestic nature of your carefully manicured facial hair. Beard washes tend to include more natural ingredients (as opposed to chemicals), which are more effective at moistening the hair and protecting the skin on your face. By using regular shampoo, you’re more likely to be left with itchy, irritated skin.
If you’ve been using traditional shampoo on your beard, you should consider making the switch — it won’t take long for you to notice a healthier, fuller, and softer beard.
What Makes A Quality Beard Wash?
When it comes to what you put in (or on, in this case) your body, you can never be too careful. Say you’re given a choice between eating a food made from two or three organic ingredients, or a heavily processed, packaged snack — you already know that most expert dieticians would recommend going with the simple, all-natural option. You can think of beard washes in the same way.
Go for something masculine and subtle; something that will attract attention, but not overwhelm the senses.
If, upon checking the label of the beard wash you’re considering, you discover a laundry list of chemicals you can’t even pronounce, you should see this as a red flag. Natural ingredients play an important role in keeping your beard healthy and clean; lots of chemicals tend to lead to dry skin and dandruff. Specifically, you should try to avoid products that contain ammonium lauryl sulfate, sodium chloride, formaldehyde, and propylene glycol, as these chemicals can cause rashes and itchiness.
As always, performance is an important factor — just remember, a hefty price tag does not necessarily guarantee desirable results. An effective beard wash is often an efficient one, which means a small quantity should go a long way. When in use, the substance should generate a thick foam that moisturizes the skin and leaves the beard soft and easy to groom with a beard comb. As a rule of thumb, thick beard washes are often the most reliable and effective.
Before you make the purchase — and this goes for balm, wax, oil, or any other substance you’re applying to your body or hair — make sure you like its scent. If you have a significant other, you may want to get that person to sign off, as well. Go for something masculine and subtle; something that will attract attention, but not overwhelm the senses.
Some additional advice when it comes to the smell and the product’s shelf life: the best scents tend to come in small, amber bottles. This protects the substance inside by filtering out ultraviolet light, leaving the wash intact for a longer time. On the other hand, since the ingredients are mostly natural (assuming you went with a quality brand), the wash isn’t going to last forever, so don’t drive yourself crazy trying to conserve it.
The Importance Of Proper Care And Grooming
If you don’t take care of it, what’s the point of growing a beard in the first place? A dirty, tangled mess of hair makes you look more like a Neanderthal than a hot lumberjack. If you’re going to do the beard thing, do it right.
By failing to wash it enough, your beard runs the risk of becoming dry and gnarled.
Especially if you live in an urban area, your beard’s going to attract dirt, dust, and other pollutants as a standard part of your everyday life. Plus, it’s situated underneath your nose and surrounding your mouth — not the ideal location for staying squeaky clean. Cleaning your beard should be a part of your routine, the same as showering regularly, washing your hair, and brushing your teeth.
Though it’s a widely deliberated topic, the expert consensus seems to recommend washing your beard about as often as you clean your hair. By failing to wash it enough, your beard runs the risk of becoming dry and gnarled. If you wash it too often, you’re simply wasting energy and money. Three times a week should be sufficient for most guys. If you use a beard trimmer to tame your mane, I’d recommend taking care of that before beginning the cleaning process.
Washing your beard is simple, but there are some nuances and techniques you’ll want to keep in mind. Moisten your beard with warm water first, which loosens the pores beneath your hair follicles, then scrub deeply enough to cleanse the skin underneath. Try to use just enough beard wash to work up a good lather, and no more than that. If your beard is relatively new, experts suggest scrubbing a bit more aggressively to stimulate the hair follicles, fostering quicker growth.
When you’re done washing, rinse your beard with water (making sure no shampoo residue remains), then dry it thoroughly using a clean towel. To finish it off, apply your preferred beard balms or oils, then comb it until it’s soft and neat. Just like that, your beard is ready for the world to admire.