The Winter Beard Care Guide
Posted on 25 January 2017
So Movember is over and now you’re left with a macho stache. That just so happens to be the perfect starting point for letting the rest of your mug-carpet to grow into its rightful real estate.
The Winter Beard. Never a more appropriate time to wear that built-in face sweater than during the chilliest season of the year. But you might be surprised to figure that your rugged facial hairs are actually more fragile than you expected, especially during winter.
Due to the cold air, biting wind, and lower humidity your beard will endure more punishment than it normally would during the year’s warmer months. So how can you protect your lumberjack dignity when Jack Frost is constantly assaulting your face mercilessly like the vampires in 30 Days of Night? Here are a few tips to keeping your furry friend strong, healthy, and full.
Take cooler showers
Wait, that’s a joke, right? Nope. It seems paradoxical to take colder showers when you’re freezing your butt off. But think of your beard. Do it for him.
In all seriousness, hot water is harmful to your beard. It dries it out more quickly because the water evaporating from the hairs takes your natural oils with it. This leaves your beard dry and more at risk for damage, such as split ends or brittleness.
If you’re unwilling to turn down the water temperature, then at least keep your beard out of hotter water while showering, and wash it later with cooler water.
A great way to keep your beard moisturized and strong is to apply beard oil at least once per day. This is especially important during winter because of the extra punishment your beard takes from the cold air. Applying oil generously two or three times per day is even more beneficial to your face-rug.
Keep it clean
It’s important to keep your beard clean and fresh as well. Just make sure to be careful with the water temperature as described above.
Keeping your beard clean reduces the risk of damage to the hairs. It also keeps your beard tidy, prevents frizz, and eliminates bacteria and odors that accumulate from eating lots of food, smoking expensive cigars, and other common around-the-holidays activities.
It’s a good idea to invest in some shampoo specifically designed for beards. Specifically, you should look for beard shampoos that don’t contain Sodium Lauryl Sulphate, a foaming agent that irritates the skin on your face. Additionally watch out for shampoos with silicones in the ingredients. While these help shine up your beard, they also coat the hairs with a waxy barrier that prevents moisturizer, like beard oil, from penetrating and doing its job.
Tame the beast
Combing your beard is important for two primary reasons: one that’s obvious and one that’s not as obvious, but important nonetheless.
First, it keeps your beard smooth, presentable, and shapely. With winter’s dryer air it’s easier for your facial hair to get a little more wild and out of line. You’ve got to be diligent about keeping that animal under control.
Second, combing your beard thoroughly and evenly helps to distribute moisturizing oils through all of the hair. This is especially true right after applying beard oil. Don’t let it all stick in one place. Smear that goodness around.
However, don’t over-comb that bad boy. Whipping those hairs into shape too often or too roughly can cause brittle hairs to break or split ends to form. As macho as your facial ropes are, they’re also sensitive little guys too. Don’t go Full Metal Jacket on ‘em. They may appear as tough as nails, but just like Lieutenant Dan, they’ve got soft spots as well.
Tend the field
You might be tempted to let your beard grow without limits, but keeping it trimmed goes a long way in preserving its integrity. If a hair develops a split end, the split can start to creep all the way up the hair, right into the follicle. That means that entire strand is damaged and can’t be repaired. Those months of length become useless and the hair might as well be plucked out.
Make sure to keep an eye out for split ends or damaged hairs in your beard, and give it a quick trim job to keep everything healthy and strong. If you’re afraid you might mess up your beard’s mojo, then head over to the barber to have him whip you into shape.
The second you step out of your warm, comfy pad, your beard will face an onslaught of bitter cold, stinging wind, moisture-sucking air, and even icy rain. So don’t try and be a hero. Protect your Precious.
All of the previous tips on keeping your beard healthy are useless if you walk outside unprotected, inviting the elements to abuse your beard until it breaks and loses its will to live like a subject of enhanced interrogation. If you live in especially cold environments, you probably already wear a scarf to keep your neck warm. So just scoot that scarf up a few inches to give your facial protection some protection.
Your face may feel warm and toasty thanks to your beard, but that hair is taking the brunt of winter’s fury. So be kind and remember your beard.
If your beard gets wet from rain, make sure to dry it off as quickly as you find some shelter. Remember that water can actually suck away vital moisturizing oils and make your beard dry and brittle. Drying your beard is also super important in below-freezing environments. Ice Beards may make for awesome Instagram shots, but about the only thing worse than freezing your beard in ice is burning it off with fire.
Everybody needs some TLC. Even your beard.
Many people love the changes that winter brings. Snowboarding, log cabins, crackling fires, flannel shirts, and husky beards are all great things and provide opportunities for fun times with friends and unforgettable memories. But just make sure to keep an extra careful eye on your beard. He’s one of your closest buddies and he’ll fight for your warmth, manliness, and tree felling until the bitter end. So protect him like you would a brother in the trenches.