When I began growing my beard, I didn’t know how I would cleanse it. On my shaved face, I was using a skin cleanser named Spectro Jel, which is a liquid solution that helps get rid of excess sebum and reduce acne. The thing is, when you have facial hair, that kind of product may be harmful to hair follicles and generates dandruff big time.
What about regular shampoo? That’s a reflex many of us had at first. Hair is hair, isn’t it? Well, yes and no. Facial and scalp hair are two different animals and have different needs. Regular shampoo is loaded with chemicals. Beard soap and beard shampoo are typically made of all-natural ingredients. So, regular shampoo is a big no no, but beard soap and beard shampoo are OK. Cool, but how often should you wash your beard?
Some beard gurus say that you should wash your beard occasionally (read: sometimes). Others say that you should wash it a 2-3 times a week. Where do you go from here? Speaking for myself, I tried things and found out what is best for me. No way will I wash my beard twice a month… that’s too gross, sorry.
The method I found out and have been using since is called co-wash. I do it 6 times a week, and the 7th time, I use a beard soap or beard shampoo before.
The term “co” refers to conditioner. Basically, co-wash is a cleaning method popular among people with dry and curly hair, especially. When you co-wash, you clean your hair with conditioner only. That means, you don’t use shampoo. It may sound strange, but for people with dry or curly hair, this cleaning method has several benefits.
Here are the 3 main reasons to co-wash your beard:
It doesn’t strip your skin from all of its natural oil
You probably noticed that scalp hair tend to feel greasier after using conditioner. On the other hand, when you use shampoo only, your scalp hair usually feels dry. Your beard isn’t different. From my personal experience with the co-wash method, conditioner enables you to clean your beard without drying your skin out. Therefore, a portion of your skin’s natural oil remains on your beard and skin. Of course, you can always compensate with beard oil and beard balm, but why not keep your body’s natural oil as well?
It helps get rid of that fluffy beard
Beard soap and beard shampoo work great for cleaning facial hair. However, even though they’re all-natural, they tend to dry hair out (less than regular shampoo, but still do to a certain extent). As a result, many beards get fluffy when using beard soap or shampoo only. Therefore, using beard soap or shampoo too often may result in getting a fluffy beard while on the other hand, using conditioner more often helps prevent that situation.
Personally, I seldom get a fluffy beard when I co-wash only, except when humidity levels are quite high.
It gives you a softer beard
Beard soap and shampoo give you a soft beard, but never as soft as a conditioned one. When using conditioner only, since some of your skin’s natural oil remains on your face, it helps make your beard soft. Who wants steel wool on their face?
Please note that the co-wash method is not recommended for people with super straight and oily hair, as it may not do any good to you. It may actually worsen your condition.
Recommended Beard Conditioner
From my personal experience, while regular shampoo isn’t recommended for a beard, regular (quality) conditioner works fine. Nevertheless, a beard conditioner (also called “beard softener”) is better.
What kind of cleaning method do you use? Feel free to comment below!