It’s thought that an estimated 42% of males in the UK boast one form of facial hair or another, with 44% of this number wearing fulsome and thick beard!
This has increased from just 29% five years ago, whilst in total it’s now thought that an impressive 18% of the UK’s male population now have a full beard.
Whilst growing a beard is one thing, however, it’s quite another to cultivate this carefully and groom your facial hair successfully. In this post, we’ll provide an insight into how you can effectively groom your beard, whilst asking why beard brushes and combs can play such a pivotal role in this process?
A Look at the Differences Between Beard Brushes and Combs
Before we delve deeper into the importance of beard brushes combs and which one is right for you, it’s important to understand the key differences between these two seemingly similar tools.
The most obvious differentiator is the materials used to create each tool, with the bristles on beard brushes typically made with animal air (namely boar or horsehair).
These robust and coarse hairs work to naturally reduce frizz and negate potentially painful tangles, whilst distributing oils throughout your facial hair evenly.
Conversely, combs are typically made from a single piece of material, which may be natural or synthetic depending on your budget. Cheaper beard combs may be made from hard plastic, for example, whereas higher-end products are usually manufactured from smooth materials like sandalwood and pearwood.
As you can imagine; the latter products are amongst the most sought-after, as these woods are durable and boast anti-static properties to prevent friction.
Our own personal favourite is sandalwood, which boasts a deep and woody aroma that delivers a truly delightful aroma as you move the comb through your facial hair.
A second, and arguably less well-known, difference revolves around portability. As a general rule, combs are much thinner and more compact than beard brushes, which means that they’re far easier to pack into a travel bag or coat pocket.
So, if you’re travelling abroad or limited for space, a beard comb represents the ideal choice regardless of your final destination! On a similar note, beard combs often come with their own compact travel case, which protects the teeth from damage and prevents dirt and debris from becoming trapped between its teeth.
There are also subtle in terms of usage, and if you regularly groom your beard after taking a shower and when the hair is still wet you may also want to consider using a beard comb.
The reason for this is breathtakingly simple; as this tool will have been intricately designed to work through the knots when your facial hair is soft and damp. Not only will this enable you to groom your beard more efficiently, but it should also prevent any instances of snagging or straggling hairs.
Conversely, beard brushes work by actively removing dead skin cells from your hair, whilst they also compel individual hairs to lie in a desired and universal direction. This is ideally done when your beard is dry, so you should definitely tailor your choice of products to suit your unique grooming habits.
What are the Benefits of Grooming your Beard, and Why Should You Care?
Regardless of these subtle differences, there are undeniable benefits of grooming your beard regularly and in a regimented fashion.
There’s an even greater argument for grooming your facial hair using a designated comb or beard brush, as these high-quality tools are entirely fit for purpose and can make even the most unkempt of beards appear more orderly.
We’ve covered some of these advantages below, whilst asking why they’re so important for bearded men around the world!
Grooming your Beard Prevents Ingrown Hairs
If you’re growing a beard for the first time and from a position of ignorance, the chances are that you’ll make a fair few mistakes along the way.
You may also notice small but irritating red spots appear around your face or neck as a novice beard enthusiast, and these can become quite painful over time.
These are caused by ingrown hairs, which will have circled around and gradually begun to grow just under the surface of the skin. These can penetrate the skin and cause considerable discomfort, whilst in rare instances, they may even be a cause of infection.
However, combing or brushing your beard every day helps you to negate this risk, simply by cultivating beard growth and encouraging individual hairs to grow in one direction.
Grooming your Beard also Helps to Keep it Clean
Whilst you may wash your beard every day (or even twice daily if you’re particularly fastidious), this alone is not enough to keep your facial hair clean.
This may come as a surprise, but the fact remains that food particles, allergens and debris can all become trapped in your beard during the course of a typical day.
Unfortunately, these are often microscopic in their nature, making it almost impossible to remove them simply by splashing water and product onto your face.
This is where combing or brushing comes into play, however, as this can actively remove these particles from your facial hair and ensure that it remains debris-free at all times.
Take it from us; nothing ruins a well-kept beard that the remnants of last night’s dinner, and by integrating effective grooming and brushing techniques into your daily regime you can avoid this particularly faux-pa!
Grooming your Beard can Help you Achieve the Desired Look
We’ve already touched on the fact that a beard brush can compel your beard hairs to grow in a single direction, but this achieves far more than prevents snagged hairs and maintaining an optimal level of cleanliness.
In fact, it also helps you to achieve a particular look or style, as you cultivate each beard and moustache hair in order to bring even the most unusual vision to life.
Even on a fundamental level, training your facial hair to grow in the desired direction will make it appear much neater, so it can boost your appearance and self-confidence even in instances where you don’t have the desired style.
There’s even a school of thought which suggests that this can make your beard appear thicker and more fulsome, so this is ideal when looking to grow your facial hair to the desired level.
Grooming your Beard can Help you to Moisturise More Effectively
If you’re considering whether to invest in comb or brush, we’d wager that you already use products such as beard oil or beard balm on your facial hair.
The benefits of these products are well-known; as balms and oils can be combined to maintain your beard’s shine and soothe the underlying skin beneath your facial hair.
However, there’s only so much that you can when applying these products by hand, as we struggle to smooth this into the pores of the skin and realise the full range of benefits on offer.
Using a comb or beard brush can help with this, as the bristles or teeth on these products help to apply the moisturiser more effectively and distribute this evenly into the areas that need it the most!
What Should You Look for in a Beard Brush or Comb?
Regardless of whether you’re shopping for a beard brush or a comb, it’s important that you invest in high-quality tools that are robust and capable of helping you to achieve your grooming goals.
But what exactly should you look for in a beard brush or comb? Here’s a breakdown of the key considerations for both products:
Beard Combs – From Teeth to Materials
We’ll start with beard combs, which are readily available and come in a host of different shapes and materials.
You can also by combs with variable teeth width, and whilst this not might be a significant consideration for those of you with thick or fulsome beards, it’s far more important for the rest of us on a daily basis!
In general terms, a fine-tooth comb is tailor-made for shorter beards or moustaches, as there’s minimal risk of their hair being caught and snagged whilst it’s being groomed. At the same time, these teeth are able to manipulate and shape relatively small hairs, introducing a sense of style no matter how you wear your beard.
Conversely, wider tooth combs are introduced as men grow their beards longer, as their smooth teeth allow the tool to glide through the facial hair without significant snagging.
For those of you who have incredibly long and thick facial hair, you can even invest in a specialist comb with so-called ‘super-wide’ teeth. This is perfect for detailing long and thick hairs, whilst they can also help to tame wet and wild beard in most instances.
When it comes to materials, beard combs come in an array of different options. These also tend to priced differently, and whilst there’s some debate in the industry as to which is best this is definitely an important consideration.
This is particularly true with regards to durability and value for money, as whilst plastic combs tend to be the cheapest on offer, they’re also the poorest quality and prone to breaking.
These can also be damaging for your facial hair, as you’ll notice a seam in the middle of the comb where the moulds are joined together. The join lines on each tooth can also your beard each time you use it, causing your hair to thin out and break over time.
We’d also recommend avoiding metal combs wherever possible, as whilst these may look cool, they’re known to be anti-static and have poorly cut edges. As a result, they can slice through individual hairs and leave your beard looking really uneven.
What About Beard Brushes – What do I Need to Know?
Just as the teeth size is a key consideration when buying a comb, you’ll need to pay careful attention to the bristles when choosing a beard brush.
Arguably the best option in this regard is natural boar hair, which tends to be very gentle on your facial hair and the skin that lies underneath. In fact, legend has it that this type of bristle was used to improve hair texture before conditioners were developed, so it’s definitely an ideal choice in the current market.
But why is this the case? The short answer is that natural boar hair is able to carry sebum, which is the natural oil that your scalp produces at all times. This is capable of nourishing dry hair and creating a softer beard, whilst a beard brush can spread this oil even across your facial hair whilst grooming.
This is an important consideration, particularly if you really want to take off your beard and maintain even the roughest of facial hair.
You’ll also need to choose the right handle material, and once again there is a wide range of options on the existing market.
The best products tend to be manufactured from natural wood, such as our aforementioned favourite sandalwood, whilst bamboo also provides a smooth and durable finish that won’t excess beard oils.
Just like beard combs, brushes also come with handles manufactured with cheap materials. Once again, we’d recommend avoiding those made using basic plastic moulds, as these will definitely damage your facial hair over a period of extended use.
So, should you Use a Beard Brush or a Comb?
Now that we’ve touched on the benefits of grooming your beard and the subtle differences between beard brushes and combs, the question that remains is which product is right for you?
In simple terms, you should aim to use a beard brush whilst your facial hair is relatively short, as this will help to train the direction in which your follicles grow.
It will also help to condition your beard whilst distributing balms and oils evenly throughout, whilst your brush will also help to smooth moisturiser into your skin.
As we’ve already touched on, beard brushes are also great if you regularly groom your facial hair whilst it’s damp. Not only is this type of tool excellent and untangling short and damp hair, but it also helps to clean your beard and remove any trapped particles.
On the other hand, a beard comb is perfect for detangling longer facial hair, especially after you’ve grown it for a period of three to five months.
Remember, you can also vary the teeth size according to your precise beard length, whilst transitioning from one product to another with the minimum of fuss.
Not only is a beard comb also a sensible choice for anyone who likes to groom when their facial hair is dry, but it also suits anyone who trims using scissors (as opposed to an electric trimmer).
This is because a beard comb affords you outstanding control, which in turn lets you cut your facial hair accurately (even in instances where it’s particularly long or curly).
Whilst the final choice is yours, keeping these general rules in mind should help you to make an informed decision.
The Last Word
If you want to enjoy the greatest level of flexibility, of course, you may want to consider using a beard brush and a comb together.
If not, you’ll need to choose between a beard brush or comb based on a number of different circumstances, from the length and style of your facial hair to your preferred gaming regime.
You’ll also need to think carefully when buying a specific product, as you look to prioritise value for money and invest for materials that really are fit for purpose!