You’ve decided to grow a beard. Welcome to the club. It’s awesome to have you. Beards can offer a lot to your appearance, sophistication and look, but they do have a drawback. If you don’t know how best to maintain them, they can be itchy. This short guide helps you understand your itchy beard as well as how to stop beard itch for good.
What causes an itchy beard?
Not all beards are created equal - some have itchier beards than others. For many, beard itch can become so unbearable that you want to give up your bearded look entirely. But wait. Put the razor down.
There are a number of reasons why your beard could be itching. Understanding this, forms the solution to stopping it.
A New Beard
Most beards itch when you first begin growing them as your skin has become used to being hair-free after years of shaving.
If you’ve never shaved, each hair tip still has a tapered edge, which means it’s smooth and rounded. As it grows, there’s no friction with the hair follicle and no irritation. However, when you shave, the blade cuts the hair at a sharp angle which can irritate the skin as it grows. This problem can be even worse if you opt for a close shave, as the angle of the cut is harsher and sharper. High quality razors, shaving brushes and products that allow a really close shave will lift the hairs away from your skin allowing for a cleaner cut.
This wouldn’t be a problem if you continued shaving, but when you decide to grow a beard, the sharp edges beneath the skin scrape against the hair follicles. They press against the underside of your skin and cause irritation. This isn’t happening with just one hair follicle, but all over your face. That’s itchy.
This will usually stop around around week three, so hang in there! Your beard will be worth it.
A grown or full beard
Unfortunately, it’s not just new beards that itch.
There are a number of reasons why fully-grown beards still itch, but the most common are due to dry skin or coarse hairs (or both).
Beard hair, particularly coarse and wiry hairs, will constantly rub against your skin as you move. This can cause itching and irritation to skin that is properly hydrated, but if your skin is already dry, the problem is doubly bad.
Dead skin cells constantly flake from your face (gross, but true), but if you have a beard, they can become trapped against your face. Dry skin worsens this problem as there are more dead cells building up. This leads to a persistently itchy beard.
But don’t despair. We have some tips that will stop beard itch, bring you relief, and allow you to keep that stylish, sophisticated visage.
How to stop beard itch
Keep it clean
If you can prevent dead cells and dirt from becoming trapped against your face, then you’re much less likely to have an itchy beard. Giving your beard a wash every day (or every few days) is a great solution.
However, beard hair isn’t the same as the hair that grows on your head; I’m sure you’ve noticed! It’s androgenic hair, which means it’s affected by testosterone levels. It grows differently to the hair on your head, often thicker and more wiry. If you use shampoo or soap that isn’t designed for this type of hair, it will remove the natural oils that your beard needs to stay healthy. Standard soap will dry the skin beneath the hair too, leading to problems with dead skin cells and itchiness.
Instead, you need specialist beard shampoo. This is tailored for both your beard’s unique hairs and the skin of your face.
(We particularly like Le Pere Lucien Natural Beard Shampoo which is pictured above. It’s got a wonderful fragrance of citrus and eucalyptus.)
Conditioning and Beard Oil
Conditioning focuses on moisturising the beard itself. We mentioned that your beard could be itching because coarse hairs are abrasive and rub against your skin. Beard conditioner softens the hairs. This not only helps to stop beard itch, but also creates a softer, more controlled appearance, and means your beard feels lovely!
You can achieve this with specialist beard oils or beard balms. Beard oils and balms are formulated to moisturise both your hairs and the skin beneath, which is just as important to keep hydrated. Many beard oils and balms can facilitate growth, helping your beard grow quicker and thicker. They can also help with styling!
Combing your beard is a detail that people often overlook, but it has huge benefits. It helps your beard look soft, under control and sophisticated as well as training the hairs to grow in the right direction. Combing your beard also helps to remove any buildup of dirt or molecules that get caught in the hairs.
You should brush your beard before and after your wash it. A pre-wash brush loosens dirt and skin cells, ready for you to wash away, and the post-wash combing keeps your hair from tangling and means it looks as good as possible.
Getting into a good beard maintenance routine will make all the difference between an itchy beard and a beard that’s smooth, soft and looks fantastic. You can stop itching while also improving the overall appearance of your beard.