Why Do You Need A Beard Comb?
Although beard brushes are usually covered at great lengths, beard combs tend to take a back seat. Nevertheless, combs are tools that are just as important for beard care and especially for those with longer beards.
You’ll often hear about beard brushes and how they’re fundamental for healthy beard growth. While this is certainly true, combs are an equal necessity for more mature beards. After three of four months of growth, a brush on its own may struggle in taming a particularly luscious mane.
Longer beards risk developing knots and tangling over time in areas that are hard to reach. Therefore, combs are necessary to complement a man’s arsenal. Furthermore, combs are versatile tools that can be used for styling long beards after a shower.
Unlike brushes, they can be used on damp hair or even when blow drying a beard. This is an ideal solution for straightening curling hairs in the morning. After all, bed hair even affects beards!
Beard combs often come with two sets of teeth, which are wide and narrow. This renders them quite versatile as the wide teeth are used for maintenance and untangling knots. Conversely, the fine teeth are best reserved for precision styling and the moustache.
In addition, a beard comb is extremely handy when it comes to trimming your long beard. Whether you’re looking to style it, tame it or even reduce the length, a beard comb offers extra precision when used with scissors.
Finally, beard combs are a great portable solution. They often come with leather wallets or sheaths to keep them clean from dust. Alternatively, they’re often thin enough to slip into your wallet.
Will Combing My Beard Make It Grow Faster?
Unfortunately, combing your beard won’t make it grow faster. That said, a beard becomes much more healthy through the regular stimulation from combing.
Moreover, you can break your beard in and force it to grow in a particular direction through regular combing. Men with curly or frizzy beards can rejoice at this news. Combing a long beard when blow-drying is particularly effective for straightening it. Over time your beard will become straight through frequent brushing and appear considerably thicker and longer.
Can I Use A Plastic Comb For My Beard?
Although plastic combs are cheap, they can put your beard’s very life at risk. A plastic comb is usually made through injection moulding or stamp pressing. As presses or moulds are made using two pieces of metal that clamp together, it often creates small seams along the comb’s spine and teeth.
The problem with this is that the seams are quite sharp and when they wear, they can even become serrated. This eventually cuts into the beard and skin, which can cause irritation and break the hair.
Conversely, metal combs, which look quite visually appealing, are usually unfinished. The teeth are often machine-cut in a way that causes them to harm the beard and skin just like the plastic combs mentioned above. Furthermore, they’re not anti-static and can even cause your beard to frizz.
Best Beard Comb Materials
As mentioned above, plastic isn’t a beard comb material that we recommend due to the way it wears with time in a way that can damage your hair and skin. Meanwhile, wood, cellulose acetate, and natural horn offer their own unique benefits.
Cellulose Acetate Comb Benefits
We wouldn’t say that cellulose acetate is the material for the best beard combs but it’s certainly the most popular as it tends to be quite cheap.
Cellulose acetate combs provide excellent results for facial hair. Indeed, cellulose acetate is a modified polymer derived from cotton and tree pulp cellulose. In theory, it’s a natural product. However, the process renders it synthetic by definition as it’s ultimately a type of plastic.
Before cellulose acetate was discovered, vulcanised rubber was a popular material. However, it’s very rare to find today.
When saw-cut and polished, cellulose acetate is smooth with a glossy appearance and doesn’t have any visible seams. Furthermore, it’s anti-static so it doesn’t cause your hairs to stand on end when combed. Since they don’t absorb beard oil, cellulose acetate combs are easier to clean than wood. Similarly, they’re a more vegan-friendly option than horn.
Finally, another benefit is that cellulose doesn’t cause allergic reactions and is also quite cheap to produce. Unlike more artificial plastics, cellulose acetate contains no toxic chemicals like formaldehyde.
Natural Beard Horn Comb Benefits
Similarly, natural horn offers excellent quality with a smooth, natural finish, which is second to none. Natural horn is a precious material, which means that it’s often more expensive. However, as a hardened natural material, it’s also very hard-wearing.
Additionally, natural horn has unique properties in that it can function as a membrane. Consequently, it is able to partially absorb your natural oils as well as those used in your beard balm. This helps in evenly distributing the oils in your facial hair follicles.
Although we’d argue that the best beard combs are made from natural horn, we realise that this may not suit everyone. Not only are they expensive beard combs but they’re not a vegan friendly option either.
Wooden Beard Comb Benefits
Finally, wooden beard combs are very common but vary in quality. Poorly made and untreated wooden combs can dry out easily after being wet, which causes them to splinter or even rot. Splintered beard combs can irritate the skin or damage your beard. Similarly, they may even break when confronting tough knots.
However, a good quality wooden beard comb offers excellent value and a very comfortable combing experience. Furthermore, wood is natural substance and absorbs oils. Like natural horn, it can evenly distribute the natural and beard oil into the beard.
This natural characteristic also means that you can scent a wooden beard comb. For instance, you can leave it in a bag of pipe tobacco for a few days, which imparts the fragrance. Afterwards, it can also scent your beard!
How To Comb A Beard
Unlike beard brushes, beard combs are best used on damp hair. The perfect time to comb your beard is right after a shower. This is because the beard will be softer and pliable. You will find it easier to untangle any knots and style the beard properly. You can also use the beard comb while blow-drying to style your beard in a particular way and make sure it keeps its shape.
- Using the wide teeth, gently comb from the neckline towards your jawline.
- If you have a thick beard, comb out in layers for a fuller result.
- If you hit a knot or snag, pull the comb out and gently start again.
- Comb downwards from your sideburns and cheek line in long, gentle strokes.
- Finally, use the narrow teeth on the moustache to brush from the centre towards the sides.
Remember not to comb hard and fast or force your beard through knots as that may pull the hairs out. Furthermore, snags aren’t always knots but just hair growing in the wrong direction. By pulling out and going in again, you’ll avoid irritating your skin.
Finally, remember that combing from the neckline towards the jawbone should be done in layers. This ensures that the hairs stack on another and don’t bunch up. The result is a lush and full beard that is vertical when brushed downwards from the front.
How To Clean A Beard Comb
Firstly, be sure to look after your combs. Although they may seem quite sturdy, they can suffer when put through rough conditions. A good beard comb can last generations. However, it may fall apart in years if neglected.
Natural combs must be kept in a dry place. Given that a bathroom can get pretty humid, a drawer or cabinet should keep it well enough away from water. Furthermore, if your beard comb contains any synthetic materials, keep it somewhere away from the light. UV light breaks down plastics and rubber and causes them to become brittle or perish.
Combs often come in protective cases. Therefore, be sure to use this to avoid the teeth becoming bent or broken.
Consider cleaning your combs regularly to prevent the build-up of grease and dirty oil. Furthermore, if your beard comb is made of a natural material like wood or horn, it will preserve it for longer. For horn, rubber and plastics, a quick rub down with shampoo under the tap should be sufficient. A used toothbrush will help you get to those hard-to-reach spots.
How To Clean A Wooden Comb
If you have a wooden comb, it will need some extra attention. Wood is a natural material that absorbs oils and odours. Therefore, it will absorb a lot of grime, sebum and dirt over time. If your beard comb is unvarnished or untreated, it’s likely to dry, splinter and break over time if left untreated.
- Add a dab of shampoo to a small bowl of lukewarm water.
- Rub the comb down using a cloth with the shampoo solution.
- Use an old, soft toothbrush to gently scrub away grim between the teeth.
- Dry down the beard comb with a clean towel.
- Generously rub a natural oil into the comb’s spine and teeth.
- Use only a natural and edible oil (olive, jojoba, coconut) as the comb contacts the skin.
- Leave to air dry naturally.
Furthermore, don’t forget that untreated wood is very sensitive to water. Don’t immerse the wood in water like under a tap or in the bowl of shampoo solution.
Some people recommend leaving the beard comb in a zip lock bag when drying. In this instance, remember that wood absorbs odours. Therefore, you can leave something fragrant in there to perfume the wood. For example, essential oils, herbs or even pipe tobacco can add a scent to your beard comb. Consequently, your beard will smell fantastic.
Finally, if you’ve read about the best beard combs but don’t yet have a brush, we highly recommend that you read our full guide on beard brushes. Beard brushes are the fundamental basis of beard care and should even be your first investment before a comb! Otherwise, check out some of our related guides below: