Every man and his dog has been rocking a bushy beard for the past few years, and while fashion might be the reasoning in the vast majority of cases, a close second is the apparent grooming shortcut it presents. Grow a beard and you’ll save precious time shaving or maintaining stubble every morning, right? Well, yeah, that is true, but there’s a darker side to this supposed benefit, and it’s about time we started talking about it.
Beard dandruff is an ailment that blights even the most seasoned beard veterans and it makes total sense when you think about it. Obviously, that flowing mane of chin hair looks majestic and badass in equal measures, but the skin underneath? Not so much. The more luxurious the beard, the more the face beneath tends to get neglected, and this sort of behaviour can lead to embarrassing, unsightly flaky skin.
So, is there a fix or will it flake forever? Good news, there’s a fix (but you’ve got to be persistent). Looking after both your beard and the skin underneath – daily – is integral to up-keeping a healthy, flake-free appearance. Here’s what you need…
It’s amazing how many bearded guys don’t wash their beards the way they should. It should go without saying, but treat you facial hair the same way you would your actual hair. Wash it thoroughly to get rid of dirt and smells. If your beard dandruff has got to a peak point, Head & Shoulders or a dermatological dry scalp shampoo is your new best mate.
It may seem excessive (and it might be a subject of ridicule among any mates that happen to spot it in your bathroom), but what would you rather: a little bit of pis*-taking or a chin that creates a blizzard any time you give it a scratch? Using a specially designed beard brush before showering will exfoliate the skin and bring any dandruff to the surface, making it easier to remove in the shower. “It tames strays, it detangles knots, it distributes oils, and best of all, it exfoliates the skin beneath the beard,” says GQ grooming expert Adam Hurly in The Independent.
Rubbing acid on your face might sound like a good way to make a bad situation worse, but it’s not as harsh as it seems. Lactic acid cleansers work by gently dissolving those grim bits of dried skin and leave your face looking and feeling smooth, refreshed and revitalised. As counter-intuitive as it may seem, a lactic acid cleanser will also soothe angry skin, so if you’re suffering from the dreaded flakes make sure to stock up.
In order to have a healthy beard, you need to have healthy skin underneath. You can achieve this by using a strong moisturiser and massaging it into your face through the beard (you can get moisturisers specifically made for beards, too). Make sure you do this twice a day: once in the morning and once in the evening. Not only will this keep your skin soft underneath, it’ll also help with the itching – a major dandruff cause.
For your actual beard, invest in a decent beard oil. This will keep the hair healthy and tame (and smelling nice as well). If you think this is something you’d forget to do, try to make a routine of it. Clear some space on the shelf in your bathroom and line all your brand new products up, ready for daily action. Once you get into the habit of it, it’ll be second nature (and your dandruff will clear up in no time).
That’s it. Now you’re suitably equipped to go out into the world, proudly wearing your glorious beard and safe in the knowledge that you’re dandruff-free.