Beard comb or brush? This is the question.
Before we get to the specifics, I believe that there’s a reason why debating between a beard comb and brush is worth analysing.
This is why I have some more rhetorical questions that only my fellow beardsmen can understand: why does growing a beard have to be so confusing?
And what’s the deal with people saying that maintaining a beard takes less time than daily shaving?
They must have never woken up with a bed beard.
You know what I’m talking about: that beard that you try to shape in the morning and aches so much that you feel like you’re in the middle of an aesthetic surgery. Without anaesthesia…
These questions start arising once you put the razor down for a while.
In a sense, it’s kinda true: beard grooming might take less time if you don’t care about the looks of it.
But what if you actually care about your appearance?
If you’ve grown a beard before, you might have already noticed that the more it grows, the more attention it requires and the more time it takes.
What about when you want to properly shape your beard on you cheek and neckline and trim it in several areas?
Sorry to break it to you but you will need a beard comb or a brush to tame that beast.
I didn’t think that this would be something debatable until I started growing a beard myself. In the beginning, I thought it was just me that was confronted with this question.
But then, I started receiving comments about the beard comb or brush dilemma depending on beard growth stage.
Apparently, many beardsmen wonder whether a beard comb or brush is better to shape their beard. Well, the truth can be found somewhere in between.
So, I thought it would be a good idea to make the experiments myself and analyse when you should use one or the other or even both, depending on what you have in mind.
You will find the results of my research in this post.
When It Comes To Beard Combs, What’s The Difference?
When you first grow your beard, you don’t really think that straightening or getting rid of bed beard is an issue.
No one told you that once you pass the 3 month beard growth mark you’ll have to worry about what kind of beard comb you need to use.
Well, there’s two things that are certain in my opinion, after all the research.
- First, a good comb plays an important factor in the health of your beard.
- And second, choosing one isn’t as easy as you think.
With combs, just like with most things in life, you get what you pay for.
When you select a comb, you need to pay attention to few things such as:
- Tooth width,
- Comb’s material
- Production process
We’ll talk about each one of them. But do keep in mind that the material and production process are the most important factors when selecting the best beard comb possible.
For men that don’t have thick and/or curly beard this might not be such a big deal but for the rest it is of crucial importance when it comes to daily use.
I personally think that having two types of combs is indicated:
One with wide teeth and one with narrower.
This is particularly important when you want to straighten your beard after you shower or when you wake up. The longer, thicker and curlier your beard is, the more challenging to get it combed.
What do you do in such case?
First, you use a comb with wide teeth so you don’t pull your hair like a maniac and once you detangle your beard, you use the one with the narrower teeth to shape your facial hair better.
Therefore, consider the tooth width carefully by taking into account your beard’s characteristics.
Beard comb material
Combs made of plastic are obviously the cheapest and usually the ones with the poorest quality.
You’ll see in many cases that there’s seam in the middle of a plastic comb where the molds come together. While you use this cheap quality comb, the join lines on each tooth cut your beard every time you use it.
The consequence is thin hair and breakage.The good thing is that they are very cheap, they are quite durable and unless you break or lose them, they’ll stay with you for a long time.
But, I wouldn’t recommend using any cheap plastic comb since the health of your beard and hair should be valued way higher than the low cost of this comb.
Even though they might seem cool, metal combs should be avoided.
Besides the fact that they are nowhere close to anti-static, they’re not hair friendly at all due to their poorly cut edges that can cut open individual fibers.
These combs are usually made of vulcanite or cellulose acetate. Take Kent combs as an example, which are made from the latter and they are considered among the best combs on the market.
Rubber combs are usually smooth and they don’t produce any static electricity while you comb your beard or hair. On top of that, you can clean them very easily as opposed to wooden combs.
Wooden beard combs are usually the most common ones available on the market. They can be fantastic for your beard and they come in different shapes and sizes.
One thing to keep in mind is the quality of the wood that is made of and the way the teeth are cut. Teeth should be smoothly cut so that it doesn’t damage your beard. Otherwise, it’s not going to take long before you beard starts looking like shredded carpet.
A drawback of most wooden beard combs is that they aren’t waterproof and you need to dry clean them. If you do wash them with water, you might see your comb falling apart after a couple of months.
When it comes to production, it’s of great importance to choose combs that are saw-cut -rubber or wooden material. That being said, avoid plastic combs,
especially the ones that are made in machines and have seams.
Saw-cut combs have each tooth cut into the comb. The teeth and ends are then polished which allows a smooth beard combing that doesn’t snuggle and damage the hair.
Kent combs are among those that are made by saw-cut rubber. They are highly preferred by both consumers and professionals for their high built quality and performance while they cause the least (if any) damage to the hair.
Beard combs to style your beard and mustache.
- Kent – 73 mm Fine Toothed Moustache and Beard Comb
- Rocky Mountain Beard Comb – Natural Organic Sandal Wood
What about Beard Brushes?
Unlike common hair brushes with plastic bristles, beard brushes are made of natural boar bristle hair.
The same natural hair use for great shaving brushes with good backbone and excellent properties.
You can still use brushes with plastic bristles for your beard but normally, they’re not considered the best brushes to use even for your hair.
- Metal and plastic bristles aren’t very scalp friendly and they tend to break the hair causing many split ends. This is also why natural bristles are highly preferred and recommended.
- Boar bristle beard brushes are very gentle to your facial hair and skin and they were originally used to improve hair texture before hair conditioners made their appearance.
The reason is that natural boar hair is able to carry sebum, the natural oil your scalp produces, and spread it across your beard. By spreading the oils, you naturally nourish the dry hair, making it softer. The more you brush your beard, the straighter it becomes.
Besides assisting in beard softening, by brushing your beard, you stimulate blood flow to the facial hair follicles offering yourself a relaxing
Beard brushes that I recommend
Should you use a beard comb or brush for your beard?
Depending on the beard growth stage you’re currently at, you might wonder whether a beard comb or brush is appropriate.
The answer is surprisingly a bit more complicated than you would expect.
Let’s see in more detail what I mean.
When should you use a beard comb
You might probably wonder why would you use a beard comb if you don’t have a long beard.
And you’re actually right.
Normally, you need to have a certain beard length before a comb can be deemed useful.
From my personal beard growth experience, it’s not until the 3rd to 5th month that a beard comb starts becoming useful. Until then, you can easily manage it either with your fingers or with a beard brush.
After the 5th month, a beard comb can seem useful for the following:
Long beard gets tangled too, not just your hair.
With that being said, the ideal time to detangle your beard is right after washing it while it’s still soft and wet.
Depending on the thickness, length and how curly your beard is, you can start with a wide tooth comb to avoid snags and as you get your beard detangled, you can continue with a narrower one.
I find beard combing after washing quite important since it’s going to keep your beard well shaped during the day and it makes product application -like beard oil, effortless.
You can do the same for dry beard as well but arguably, detangling won’t be as easy as when your hair is wet.
Blow drying your beard is actually a thing. And important one.
Once you finish combing your long beard, you need to get it dry as well, don’t you?
While blow drying, you can continue combing your beard in order for it to dry straight and detangled.
At the same time, your beard softens as you continue stroking and combing it.
When your beard is short, this wouldn’t be something that applies to you. But as your beard grows longer, you might appreciate a comb more when it comes to styling your mane.
When you apply beard wax, you can shape your beard either with your hands or with a comb. The beard comb can give your beard a nice shape and straighten every single hair.
Once you finish combing, you can use your hands or a beard brush to make your beard appear a bit more natural.
Cutting and trimming
Beard comb is the perfect tool in combination with a scissors and/or a good beard trimmer when you want to groom your beard.
When your beard start growing longer, the need for shaping it, is more obvious than ever before. Using a beard comb gives you excellent control, allowing you to trim or cut your beard accurately, especially if you beard is curly.
When should you use a beard brush
There’s one minor difference when you want to choose a beard comb or brush and it has to do with the condition of your hair.
With that being said, the best time to use a beard brush is when your facial hair is already dry. On the contrary, you can use a bead comb no matter if you have dry or wet hair.
But there are a few more things to keep in mind about beard brushes.
Compared to beard combs, beard brushes can be used relatively early in the journey of your beard growth. Depending on how thick your facial hair is, you can even start using a beard brush from the second month after you stopped shaving.
In the beginning there’s not much to brush for shaping purposes but there are more ways to use a beard brush.
And I’ll explain.
Natural hair bristle brushes and more specifically, boar bristle, are excellent for making your beard soft.
Due to the fact that it’s natural hair we’re talking about, they are excellent in spreading the sebum oil nicely across the length of the hair. We talked about this a bit earlier.
By brushing your beard continuously, you distribute the sebum oil evenly and this way, it nourishes the hair. The more you brush, the softer it becomes. You can also call it the ultimate natural beard softener.
Good brush – clean beard
Natural beard brush is also great for cleaning purposes. During the day, your beard and hair accumulates dust and dirt -not the best image in your head.
Using a beard brush removes a good deal of it, leaving your beard clean and soft.
The fact that the boar beard brush removes the dirt off of your beard, this could also mean less washing on weekly basis, especially if you’re concerned about the high frequency that you wash your beard.
Applying beard oil and balm
We talk about how a natural boar bristle beard brush carries sebum across your facial hair, conditioning and keeping your beard soft.
Same thing happens when you apply beard oil.
When you use beard oil on your beard, beard brush helps distributing the oil evenly on your facial hair, covering all spots that you might miss by using only your fingers or even a comb.
The great thing about beard brushes when it comes to beard oil application, is that you can try different techniques.
For example, you can pour a few beard oil drops on the beard brush and start brushing your beard upon that. Or as we just talked about, apply the beard oil directly on the beard and then start brushing it. You can experiment as you please.
Besides beard oil, you can do the same with the beard balm right after you apply it on your beard with your hands.
What should you use then?
I understand that even after this analysis, things might still be a bit unclear.
So, is it a beard comb or a brush the ideal tool for your beard right now?
I’ll try to break it down to two different time frames.
Month 2 to 5
Use beard brush for grooming and applying beard oil or beard balm.
On top of that, use it to keep your beard clean by brushing one or two times per day.
Month 5 to infinity
Beard comb becomes fairly necessary during this time.
Start using it for blow drying your beard, detangling, and straightening.
As for cutting and trimming your beard, a beard comb will give you more control and precision.
While you use beard comb during this time, you can also use beard brush for the same purpose as you did during month 2 to 5. From my experience, beard softening products are better applied with a beard brush rather than with a comb.
I hope this gave you a good idea what to select between beard brush and comb.
As discussed, depending on your beard length and stages of beard growth you are at the moment, you can choose one over the other or in combination depending on your needs.
In a nutshell…
- If you’re on the first stages of beard growth get a beard brush in the beginning and then include a comb in your beard grooming routine.
- Prefer beard brushes with natural boar bristles and combs that are saw-cut rubber or wooden and not cheap plastic ones.
Concluding, both of these tools of beard maintenance will make your daily routine more pleasant and assist you in keeping your mane healthy and well
- Best beard oils and selection criteria
- DIY beard oil recipe guide
- How to make beard balm. Recipe with beeswax
- The definitive guide to the best safety razors
- The best beard balms to tame the beast
Image courtesy: BigStock.com/gstockstudio