By now, the scraggly stubble you started with at the beginning of November has become a full, lush beard. Congrats on making it this far. Most guys give up during that awkward phase a few weeks into the beard-growing process.
Now that we’re in the dead of winter, you’re probably starting to notice a few things about your beard. Particularly dandruff collecting around your collar, wiry and unruly whiskers, and irritation on your neckline and under your mane — all of which are completely normal. But those issues are a sign that it’s time to start doing more than trimming up every other week.
If you want to make it through winter without completely destroying your skin, you need to develop a winter skin-care routine. It adds only a few minutes to your morning routine so you can get on with your day, and you can earn Cash Back at Ebates while shopping for all the best products.
Go easy on the hot water.
Few things feel better than stepping into a steaming hot shower on a cold winter day, but bearded guys have to be mindful of the water temperature. Hot showers wash away all of the oils that protect your skin and beard, and it’s hard enough as it is to keep the skin under your facial hair moisturized. You don’t have to polar bear it. Just dial back the heat for a week and you’ll notice a big difference.
Dry it. Dry it real good.
The biggest mistake most guys make is not drying their beard enough. We know everyone’s busy, but that extra minute or two will really make an impact. Beards naturally trap water, and all that moisture next to your face has the same effect as a hot shower. Plus, any beard oil or moisturizer you use will be less effective.
Pro tip: Pat dry instead of rubbing a towel all over your face. When you pat dry, you’ll end up with less irritation, follicle damage and split ends.
Stroke, don’t pluck.
One of the best things about having a beard is touching it 10,000 times a day. If you’re going to touch it (and you are) you have to avoid the temptation to pick at it. Picking leads to a patchy beard, which usually drives the owner of said beard to shave it off at midnight in a moment of weakness. Picking also opens the door for infections and ingrown hairs. Don’t be that guy. Take it easy on your beard.
Oil is your friend, but don’t overdo it.
If you want an easy and cheap way to keep your skin and beard healthy year-round, beard oil is it. It’s one of the best skin-care products for men — particularly bearded men. Sprinkle a few drops of oil in your hands, rub them together and run your fingers against the grain starting at your neck. Then run them down the sides of your beard to smooth it out. You can also comb in the oil. Really, there’s no wrong way to apply it.
There are endless options out there, but it’s all more or less the same. Generally, it comes down to whatever scent works for you. We’re big fans of Kiehl’s Nourishing Beard Grooming Oil. It’s a little pricey but well worth it.
Resist the urge to wash.
If you’re the type of guy who shampoos and conditions daily, you need to cut back. Daily washing makes it even harder to build up the essential oils your skin needs to stay healthy. You also need to avoid using the same products you use for your scalp. There are far more follicles on your head than on your face and the skin is different as well, so you’ll want to reach for shampoo and conditioner developed for beards.
We love Art of Shaving’s peppermint beard wash and conditioner. They both have great scents, and you get a nice tingling sensation from the peppermint that lasts long after your shower. Use them for a deep clean once a week.
If it’s really damaged, reach for the butter.
Beard butter, that is. Most are pliable blends of oils and wax that’ll stay in your beard longer and really bring it back to life. You apply it the same way you apply beard oil. Use it liberally if your whiskers are really unruly. Check out Joe Grooming’s Beard and Moustache Balm if you want a good beginner balm. It has no scent, and it’s non-greasy.
Now that you’ve got a few beard maintenance and winter skin-care tips under your belt, it’s time to put them to use. Follow some or all of this routine and you’ll be on your way to having a healthier beard and skin.