Beard Brushes - Comprehensive Guide to Understanding and Using Brushes for Beard Styling.
Brushes for Beards!
If you’ve been bearding for a while, you've heard about beard brushes.
You may know that a quality boar bristle brush is the best choice for beard maintenance. Natural boar bristles excel at spreading oils and balms and are gentle enough that they will not damage hair when used properly. The relative stiffness and the larger diameter of each bristle (in comparison to synthetic or plastic bristles) aids in penetrating and separating beard hair to achieve styling and grooming.
But perhaps you have encountered the same questions I did when I started shopping for a brush. There are so many brush choices that it’s pretty easy to pick the wrong thing! So, what’s the difference between brushes and which brush is best for what?
Read on to gain some answers and learn my method for using brushes to style my beard. Note: My method will achieve a natural looking groomed and managed beard. No gimmicky straighteners or other potentially harmful tools that can irreversibly damage your beard!
Boar Bristle brushes are not all the same!
There are significant differences in the bristles of each brush that matter to your beard!
Coarse bristle brushes have the least number of bristles, are not very tightly packed and feel very stiff. Coarse bristle brushes are best for separating and straightening of beard hair. They are a great choice for brushing out your beard after applying beard oil, as the stiff bristles will penetrate beard hair easily. Coarse bristle brushes are best used to establish the initial shape when grooming. This brush is the best choice for stimulating the skin under your beard.
Medium bristle brushes have more bristles that are a little more tightly packed. The bristles on the medium brush are not as stiff as the coarse brush, and feel closer to a regular hair brush. The medium brush is a great choice for everyday styling and as the next brushing step after a coarse brush. The medium bristle is well suited to beard shaping and styling, following application of styling balm or wax. The medium bristles do not penetrate beard hair as easily as a coarse brush, and their main function is to shape and give some texture to beard hair.
Fine bristle brushes have the most bristles and are the softest and most densely packed. The fine bristles of this brush will not penetrate deeply into beard hair and are the best choice for final finishing of style. The fine brush is used to smooth the outer layers beard hair and add enough texture to give your beard a full and thick appearance. It’s also the best choice for touch-ups throughout the day as it will not alter the shape of your beard, when used properly.
My daily beard grooming routine
After lots of trial and error, I found this to work best for me.
If you have a beard hair type like mine, a little coarse and curly, or just need more control over your beard style, I would recommend Sandalwood-Amber Beard Softening and Relaxing Oil™ and Sandalwood-Amber Beard Softening and Styling Balm™. The unique formulation of ingredients in these products excel at naturally relaxing coarse, curly hair types and will make your beard much more manageable for styling!
After washing my beard with Total Wash™ and lukewarm (not very hot) water, patting/squeezing dry with a soft towel and applying Sandalwood-Amber Beard Oil™, I use a wide toothed de-tangling comb to separate and remove any tangles. I will comb down, then up and then back down again. What the comb is made out of is not important as long as the teeth of the comb are smooth and don't yank on your hair, causing damage. The Coarse bristle brush is used next. The brush helps to evenly spread beard oil, establish the basic shape of the beard, stimulate the skin under the beard and train beard hair follicles to grow in a specific direction. This brush is pushed into my beard firmly enough so that I can feel the tips of the bristles massaging the skin under the beard. Be careful not to over brush! Not many strokes are needed. 10-20 strokes is more than enough when done properly!
Once I have established the basic shape, I apply Sandalwood-Amber Softening and Styling Balm™, then brush out with the Medium bristle brush. Focus is on style and shaping my beard to the desired appearance. I do not press this brush hard in to my beard, but instead focus on achieving smooth, even strokes to achieve the shape I want. Be careful not to over brush! Not many strokes are needed. 10-20 strokes is more than enough when done properly! Too much brushing with the medium brush can remove beard styling products, break hair and create split ends!
The last brushing step is the Fine bristle brush to finish style and set the final shape of the beard. I lightly run this brush over the exterior surface of my beard. The objective is to lay down and fold in any flyway’s and smooth the overall appearance. The brush is not pressed into my beard at all, but instead is used with a very light touch smoothing over the exterior layer of beard hair. Using this brush as a finishing step will help to give your beard a thicker, fuller appearance. The high bristle count and density allows the bristles to grip many hairs at once and smooth them together, creating a fuller thicker looking beard. Don’t overdo the brushing as this can damage your beard!
After brushing and styling are done, I will take a small dime sized amount of Sandalwood-Amber Softening and Styling Balm™, rub my hands together until melted and smooth over the surface of my beard with my hands. This final step will set the shape and produce additional texture and fullness. Your beard may require more or less balm, depending on your desired final appearance. A little experimenting will help you find what works best for you!
At the end of the day, I will use the medium and fine brushes to brush out my beard. This is optional, but over time will train your beard to a specific growth pattern, create more reliable and easier to manage natural beard shape and increase the natural sheen of the hair. I typically will perform 10-20 strokes, starting at the cheek line and moving smoothly down toward the beard hair tips with consistent, gentle pressure. The focus is on smooth even strokes.
So…what should You choose?
Well, that’s up to you. It’s your beard style!
I use all three every day and that is what I would recommend for best results. If you can only have one brush, I would recommend the Medium bristle. It has enough stiffness to penetrate most beard hair and give shape. When used with a little technique it will function well for daily touch-ups.
The best results will always be achieved by using all three types in the correct manner. It takes a little practice to understand how to best use brushes to style your beard, but once you figure out how to best use these on your beard, you will achieve consistent and repeatable styling results!
What experiences do you have with beard brushes? What grooming tools do you use and how you use them? Let us know in the comments!