Table of Contents
Now, if it’s been a while since you started growing a beard, chances are that you already thought that this fury beast has a life on its own.
As it grows longer, you realize that it’s getting all kind of weird shapes. What’s worse is that the hair normally stays on the opposite direction that you want.
Even though you see that there’s a need for some kind of control, it takes you a few months until you realize that there must be a way to tame the beast. And you should do it with something better than your bare hands.
You guessed that right. What’s better than using a beard brush for this?
On this article, we’re going to find out what the top beard brush is, no matter the length and density of your beard.
We’ll get to review a few great products that are available out there based on my, rather biased, opinion and experience.
But before that, we’ll discuss the criteria to choosing a good beard brush. This way, you can make the most informed decision possible and get the best value for your money.
If you’re like me, you’re eager to dig into the details of the beard brushes. For this reason, I prepared a table for you with the key characteristics of the discussed products.
Here are the 4 best beard brushes reviewed on this guide.
The 4 Best Beard Brushes
Now, that you got a taste of what’s coming, let’s see what this guide is about.
- What is a beard brush
- The criteria to choosing one
- How to use a beard brush
- What is the best brush for your beard
How to choose a beard brush anyway
Even though it can seem quite straightforward, there are some things that you need to take into consideration before getting a brush.
Depending on your beard grooming routine, the intended use and the required maintenance, pay attention to the following criteria. So that you decide what’s more important to you and get the best out of your new product.
Most beard brushes that you’ll find, their main body and handles that are usually out of bamboo, wood or plastic. There are however a few rare cases that it’s made of ox horn.
Even though plastic have some advantages, the highest quality beard brushes that I found are made of wood. This is closely related to the durability, quality and value for money that these brushes have.
Depending on the type of wood, the price of the brush may differ substantially.
Talking about the advantages of the plastic brushes, it mainly has to do with the durability and the water resistance.
Wood and bamboo brushes don’t react very well with water and this is why it’s highly recommended to dry clean them rather than doing so under running water.
On the other hand, wooden or bamboo brushes are more eco friendly materials. If this is something you’re sensitive about, it’s good to keep this factor in mind when selecting yours.
Type of bristles
When it comes to the bristles of a beard brush, you’ll have to choose among two categories that can be broken down into a few more. The two main ones are the following:
Let’s start by discussing the subcategories of the natural hair ones.
Natural hair brushes
The natural beard brushes are made of either wild boar or horse hair.
It’s the same type of hair that many great shaving brushes have, although badger hair isn’t a good choice for beard. This happens because of the fairly soft hair without backbone.
It’s very common to find hair brushes of all types out of the hair of these two animals.
Great with hair conditioning
First of all, they are all natural and this helps with conditioning the hair while brushing it.
In fact, natural hair brushes are able to spread the sebum oil -the one that our skin produces, throughout the length of the beard. With each stroke, your beard becomes softer and your hair remains well conditioned and healthy.
The two mentioned types of natural bristles are also among the oldest one ever used in hair brushes, as many realized soon enough that they treat the hair in the best possible way.
Take women as an example throughout history.
They were brushing their hair many times as a way to make it straight, style and soften it. And this was only with natural hair brushes as there were no synthetic bristles back then.
Due to the fact that it’s natural bristle and it’s able to “carry” the sebum oil, you should expect something similar to happen when you apply beard oil or beard balm.
Once you massage the product in your beard, you can start brushing and spread the product evenly throughout the facial hair.
Stiffness is welcome
Another great thing about the particular hair brushes is that they’ve got very good backbone.
Most beard brushes have firm bristles. If you take a closer look, the majority of the available products have “first cut” bristles. This is hair that is closest to the skin and it’s got the best backbone which make it ideal for a brush.
Speaking of the backbone, it’s useful when it comes to styling and cleaning the beard.
Boar and horse hair is fairly stiff and the backbone allows them to clean the beard and getting rid of impurities gathered throughout the day.
Lastly, good backbone means that is able to detangle the beard easier than softer bristles, as the bristles penetrate the beard easier.
I talked a lot about natural hair brushes and you might have realised by now that I’m a big fan. And that’s actually true.
What about the synthetic bristles then?
Synthetic hair brushes
When it comes to beard brushes, synthetic hair have very good backbone. This is the exact opposite with shaving brushes that have synthetic hair. When it comes to shaving, you’re interested in softer bristles touching your face while applying shaving cream lather.
Synthetic bristles able to brush your hair efficiently, spread the beard products that you apply and clean your beard.
Though, it doesn’t work as well as natural hair brushes when it comes to caring the sebum oil and conditioning your beard.
If you love animals too much, go for synthetic
One big advantage of the synthetic beard brushes over the natural ones is that they’re vegan friendly.
Obviously, I don’t think that animals enjoy getting their fur away and I doubt that most of the hair is taken without any animal suffering.
Therefore, consider the pros and cons of the bristles and decide what you consider more important when it comes to the top brush for your beard.
The size of the brush has a lot to do with the intended use.
There are different sizes and shapes that you can choose from and there are both normal and travel sizes.
I’m a big fan of travel size beard brushes. I think that their size is more than enough even for regular use in case you don’t have a very long beard. Besides that, they tend to be cheaper than normal size ones and they’re easier to both store and carry.
Travel size brushes have fewer bristle rows which is something that doesn’t sound so appealing when you first hear about it.
In my opinion, if you’re not growing a beard for more than a year -with no trimming or shortening meanwhile, there’s no need for a big size brush.
But again, that’s only what I think based on my personal experience. For me, a travel size works like a charm even though I’ve got a decent beard length and pretty dense facial hair growth.
The size of the brush is important but this is also determined by the handle.
Most brushes come in oval and rectangular shape, with or without handle.
When a brush comes with a handle, it feels comfortable and you have better control while using it. These tend to be longer and carrying them in your pockets isn’t an option.
The ones without handle are easier to take them with you.
In terms of functionality, all shapes work great. But it also depends on your grip and the size of your hands.
If you ask me, I’d prefer one that has a handle and at the same time, to be small enough to carry with me. Alternatively, I’d choose a small oval or round travel size beard brush.
The rule is that you get what you pay for.
Price is still one of the most important factors that heavily affects our buying behavior, no matter if we understand the quality difference among similar products or not.
Although there are some great offers from time to time, with beard brushes -and brushes in general, there’s a quality and performance reason why some cost more than others.
On this article, most of the beard brushes that we review are between $12 and $30. They’re not the cheapest products you can find but certainly not even close to the most expensive.
Speaking of price, these are products that will deliver great value and it’s going to worth your money.
Later on, we’ll get the chance to talk more about the price to value ratio for each one of the products.
How to use a beard brush
You might wonder why this is important when getting a beard brush.
Based on how you intend to use it, you might want to reconsider the model of beard brush you have in mind.
So let’s see how you can use it by following the below five steps.
1. Decide on the intended use
Depending on how you want to use it, you might want to get a a travel brush over a normal size brush and vice-versa.
Choose the appropriate one based on your grooming routine, habits and schedule. How many times are you out of your house and you want to brush your beard?
Think about it.
2. Use on dry beard
No matter if your beard is clean or not, use the brush only on dry beard.
If your beard isn’t clean enough, you can use the brush to get rid of any dirt that your beard collected throughout the day. But again, use it only when the hair is dry.
When it comes to a clean beard, you might want to use the brush for shaping or even conditioning it.
3. Conditioning your beard
When your beard is clean and dry, it’s the best time to apply beard oil or balm.
- Massage the oil or balm into your beard and face, until you make sure that every spot is covered.
- Get the beard brush and start brushing from your neck and upwards so that you distribute the oil better. The beard close to your jaw and mouth is usually denser and requires more attention.
- Start brushing the sideburns and cheeks so that the product you applied reaches all spots.
- You finish by brushing on the direction you want your beard to take so that you shape it however you want. You’ll see that the more you brush it, the higher the chances that your beard follows your commands in terms of straightening and direction.
4. Using the brush after applying wax
Besides distributing the oils and balms across your beard, you can use the brush with beard wax for shaping purpose.
Beard wax tends to offer strong hold depending on the wax type. Many bearded men might not be fond of that as we may end up with some stiff feeling and unnatural looks.
So what’s the solution here?
- What you want to do is rub a bit of beard wax between your fingers and palms until it melts.
- Apply it in your beard by spreading it all over the area that you want to shape. Proceed with haste as some waxes tend to become solid quickly, even before you manage to reach your facial hair.
- Next, take the beard brush and start brushing until your beard gets the shape that you want. The more you brush, the more evenly you spread the wax and it doesn’t stay concentrated in one place.
The great thing with this technique is that your beard is softer with great hold and it’s got a more natural look.
5. Cleaning the brush
Even though this refers to the after use rather than the way you use a brush, this is important when it comes to maintaining it at a decent state.
- If you decide on a bamboo or wooden beard brush, dry cleaning is the only way to do so. Otherwise, after a few washes your brush might start getting cracks. On top of that, it can rot if you don’t dry it properly.
- Now, in order to dry clean it, you can use a very small and thin brush to get the dirt away from the bristles and the base of the brush.
- One good tip, when cleaning the hair of the brush, is to rub them with coconut oil and then use a thin brush again to brush the dirt off.
The coconut oil has some cleansing effects and treats the natural hair of the brush. In the same way coconut oil treats your beard.
What is the best beard brush
I became familiar with Smooth Viking for the first time almost two years ago.
More specifically, I bought their oil for beards. In fact, I included it in the buying guide for the best beard oils I’ve written some time ago.
As a company, Smooth Viking have decent beard care products while they price them very competitively. Same thing applies for their brush.
The smooth viking is an oval shaped beard brush that is made out of wood with boar hair.
It’s a handful brush and it’s got a nice grip. Even though some people say that this brush feels small, I’ll have to disagree with that claim. In my opinion, it’s just about the right size and for my taste, and it might be a bit larger than I personally prefer.
The size of this brush seems to be good for all beard sizes and the number of bristles are more than enough to brush perfectly any hair length.
One thing that I didn’t understand are the pictures of the brush that the brand has online. The actual product appears to be different in real life than in the pictures. It doesn’t mean that the actual product is worse than in the pictures but just… different…
More specifically, the density and the looks of the bristles are completely different in reality than in the pictures. Fortunately, the actual product appears to be better than online.
Let’s get to more details.
When you first open the carton box and take the brush out, it looks like any normal hair brush or even a shoe polish brush. Not to worry though, that’s absolutely normal.
The bristles are tied fairly close to each other. Compared to other brushes, they’re on the softer side which isn’t my all time favorite.
Due to the soft bristles, it feels like stroking the beard rather than actually brushing it. With that said, it doesn’t seem able to penetrate the beard as well as other brushes do. The hair has good backbone but that doesn’t seem to help in brushing.
My impression is that when it comes to cleaning and detangling this brush doesn’t reach my expectations. On the other hand, this brush is good when you want to apply beard care product. It spreads it nicely across your facial hair.
All in all, this is an affordable beard brush. If you want my personal opinion, it doesn’t feel as a beard brush and it doesn’t act like it.
It’s good if you have a short beard, when detangling isn’t required and you don’t like bristles with good backbone. For this reason, I feel that this beard brush won’t work well for someone that has an 8-month beard or longer.
In terms of value for money, this is a good beard brush. But it doesn’t live up to its raving reviews that I saw online. It’s a decent product but I believe that it doesn’t reach the quality standards and value of their beard oil -and possibly their balm.
Liberty grooming is a brand dedicated to beards.
I had the chance of using one of their other beard care products and more specifically, their beard balm. In fact, their beard balm is one of the best I’ve ever had and it was the reason why I wanted to give this brush a try.
You might remember the brand’s owner, Curt Storring. He was featured here at The Manliness Kit some time ago, sharing his tips on growing a healthy beard.
But enough with the intro, let’s dig into the details of the brush.
Out of all reviewed beard brushes in this guide, this is the longest one. It’s so long that it looks more like a brush for hair rather than for beard.
First of, it’s a wooden brush with natural boar hair. If it makes any difference, it’s a beautiful and manly looking product.
The handle is fairly long which makes it comfortable to hold. Because of the size, it feels great to use it and it has a good grip and balance.
The boar bristles of the particular brush are fairly different than the others being reviewed.
They have a medium stiffness while being softer on the tips. In principle, this should mean that the bristles are able to penetrate the beard easily while being gentle to your face.
You might wonder if this is really the case.
I’ve tried this brush after applying beard oil and balm and in both cases, the results were more than satisfactory. Other brushes might reach your face and kinda exfoliate because of the stiff bristles. But this one with the softer tips is more gentle to the skin.
The truth is that I liked it because I don’t have a very long beard. Though, men with longer beards might not appreciate it as much as I did.
Each hole on the brush that holds the bristles are placed very close to each other. Together with the soft(er) tips of the boar hair, you might feel that they doesn’t penetrate the beard very well. I would imagine that detangling your beard could be a challenge.
Unfortunately, I was only able to test it on my beard which is almost a year worth of length. But I improvised by trying it out on my hair and I noticed that the brush had some trouble penetrating it. On the bright side, it makes an excellent hair brush.
As for the price, it’s more like on the higher end. It’s a lot of money and I would recommend it only what you should expect from a beard brush. Meaning that it might be better to get a cheaper one first, see if this is something for you and decide if you want to upgrade at a later stage.
However, you get a big and high quality product with 100% natural boar bristles.
Overall, it’s a great beard brush, although I believe that it makes a better hair brush that works just as well for the beard.
I would highly recommend it for men that have shorter than yeard length. If you ask me, for this kind of beard length, this is one of the best beard brushes you can find.
This is actually the first beard brush I’ve ever tried and it’s been a great choice ever since.
Canyouhandlebar is one of the most premium beard care brands and I would dare to say that it’s among my top five favorite beard companies.
Apart from their beard brush I’ve used their beard oils, balms and lately, their secondary moustache wax. There was no single product from them that left me disappointed.
It’s a round beard brush that comes in a very handy round tin. The tin is great for storing the brush in the bathroom as it needs to be kept dry. As we already established, wooden brushes don’t react very well with humidity.
Here, we’re dealing with a small, travel size wooden beard brush. Either with or without the tin, it’s very easy to carry and it also fits in your jacket’s pocket.
When you hold the brush, it feels light and comfortable while maintaining a great balance. There was no time that I had trouble holding it properly. And here’s where the round shape helps a lot.
One unique feature, compared to other product that we review, is the type of natural hair this brush has.
In fact, this is the only beard brush I’ve found so far that is made of horse hair.
Wondering how horsehair feels?
It’s slightly softer that boar bristles and if I compare it with the Zeus brush we’ll talk about next, it’s even softer.
Although it’s the smallest product in this guide, I consider it a good beard brush for longer beards. It’s one of the brushes I always recommend on other post on this blog.
The primary reason is because of the particular type of bristles and the gap between the holes holding the hair.
FIrst, the horse bristles are tied tightly. The holes that hold the bristles have enough space with each other. Now, together with the good backbone of the horse hair, this beard brush is able to detangle and groom your beard effortlessly.
Besides being able to detangle your beard it’s also great for distributing the natural oils of your skin as well as spreading the beard care products of your choice.
When it comes to price, I’d say that it’s a bit more expensive than I would prefer. There’s a substantial difference between this and other travel sized beard brushes.
I understand that you might be a bit hesitant at first when you see the price tag. I know I would be one of them. But it’s all worth it.
After using it for over a year, I’d say that it seems to be fairly durable. Just avoid any contact with water and it’s going to be with you for years to come.
Is this the best beard brush you can get? I’d say yes and no.
Yes, when it comes to the size and no if take the price of a small size brush into consideration. If you feel that the cost isn’t something that can stop you from buying it, I’d say, by all means, go ahead and get it.
Last but not least, we’ve got this boar hair beard brush by Zeus Beard.
It’s not the first time that I use a beard product made by this brand. I’ve had the pleasure of using their beard oils already in the past. They’ve got great products, though a bit pricier than the competition.
And how does the price impact the value? Let’s have a look.
Starting off with the size, we’re talking about a pocket size beard brush. It might seem bigger in the pictures but in reality, it’s quite small. How small? For me, it’s the perfect size.
I already mentioned that I prefer small size brushes and this one is no different. At the same time, it boasts something that you would highly appreciate. And that’s the handle.
Although it’s a small beard brush the handle makes it super comfortable and it definitely improves the brush’s performance. It gives you superior control and you can easily use it for any beard length.
Now, the bristles. Again, we’re dealing with a boar bristle beard brush.
This is the stiffest brush of all reviewed on this guide. As the description says, it’s a “first cut boar hair” which means that it’s the the part of the hair that is closest to the skin.
Some men might not appreciate it but the good backbone of the boar hair is excellent for exfoliating your skin, and helps with brushing your beard. At first, it might feel that it’s too stiff but it gets a bit softer after a month or so.
Besides the exfoliation part, the brush is particularly good for detangling and shaping your beard.
Compared to the other beard brushes reviewed, this one has less bristles in total and has the widest gap between each hole holding the boar hair.
You might get the impression that less hair means worse performance but this is far from truth. From my experience with this brush, I got better results with it than any other brush discussed here.
Lastly, I used it after applying both oil and balm. The pleasant surprise is that even though the bristles are stiff, the brush was able to spread the product nicely throughout the beard.
As for maintenance, it’s very easy to dry clean. We mentioned already a few times why you need to dry clean the brushes that are made of wood. Same thing applies to this one. Avoid rinsing the brush with water and everything’s going to be just fine.
Pricewise, we’re not dealing with the cheapest brush possible, neither with the most expensive. In all fairness, it is a bit pricey. I feel that if it was around 20% cheaper, this would make it the best value for money beard brush.
So, what’s the verdict?
To me, this product is good for any beard stage you’re at. No matter if it’s been a while that you started growing a beard or you’ve been doing it for years, this is one of the best beard brushes you can get.
The only hesitation that one might have is the price. But again, it’s not that you’re buying beard brushes everyday. Buying a quality beard grooming product it should mean that it’s going to stay with you for years to come.
Other beard brushes to consider
Although the above are only my top picks among the beard brushes I’ve personally used, this doesn’t mean that there are no better ones.
The market is filled with great brush producers and even more brands (happens more often than you think when someone rebrands the exact same brush).
In that respect, it’s simply impossible to try out all the products and I know that I missed some that might be even better than what we’ve got here.
If you feel that I missed something great, feel free to let me know and I’ll make sure that I’ll have a look at it. And why not, include it in this article.
With that being said, the following products aren’t included in this review, and it only means that I didn’t manage to get my hands on them.
Let’s see what we’ve got here:
- GBS Combo Set – Oval Wood Beard Brush, Bamboo Beard Comb, Pocket Moustache Comb & Dressing Comb
- Rocky Mountain Boar Hair Beard Brush
- ZilberHaar beard brush
- Zeus 100% Boar Bristle Beard Brush – Medium Firm Bristles
Even though beards have been with us since the beginning of humankind, beard brushes are something relatively new to bearded men.
The question that I get quite a lot is whether buying one makes sense or not.
In my opinion, the answer is simple. It does make sense big time!
Most beard brushes are designed in such way so that a bearded man can enjoy the following:
- It’s smaller than a regular hair brush and this helps in controlling and balancing the brush on your face.
- Softens the facial hair.
- Conditions and keeps the beard healthy.
- Cleans and detangles.
- Spreads the natural oil of your skin and distributes the product you apply evenly on your face and beard.
It’s no coincidence that the above bullet points are also the criteria to selecting the best beard brush.
In any case, pick the one that you believe that will work for you the best.
And the best part is, no matter what you’re going to select, you can’t go horribly wrong with any of them.
If you liked this guide, you might also like the following:
- The complete guide to the best beard combs
- The ultimate guide to selecting the top beard oils.
- Best beard trimmers for neat beards.
- DIY beard oil recipes.
- How to make beard balm.
- A selection of the best beard balms.
Main image courtesy: Oleg Baliuk/BigStock.com