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.
In this guide, you will learn why beard combs are important, how to use them as well as how to keep them clean. Finally, you will discover our recommendation of the best beard combs on the market.
Simply jump straight to the section you want to discover below or keep scrolling to read more.
- Why Do You Need A Beard Comb?
- How Do You Use A Beard Comb?
- How To Clean A Beard Comb
- Top 5 Beard Combs On Amazon
Why Do You Need A Beard Comb?
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 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.
Can I Use A Plastic Comb For My Beard?
Although plastic combs are cheap, they can put your beard’s very life at risk. Plastic combs are usually made through injection moulding or stamp pressing. As presses or moulds are made using two pieces of metal that clamp together, they often create 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, which 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.
What Are The Best Comb Materials?
Alternatively, good quality combs are usually made from wood or horn. However, synthetic cellulose acetate combs also provide excellent results. Also known as vulcanite, it’s a modified polymer derived from cotton and three pulp cellulose.
When saw-cut and polished, cellulose acetate results in a smooth and anti-static finish. They’re easier to clean than wood and a more vegan-friendly option than horn.
Similarly, horn offers excellent quality with a smooth, natural finish, which is second to none. They’re a precious and natural material and very hard-wearing. However, they’re often more expensive and therefore deserve care and frequent maintenance to help them last.
Finally, wooden 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. Splintered beard combs can irritate the skin and beard or even break.
However, a good quality wooden comb offers excellent value and a very comfortable combing experience. Furthermore, wood is natural substance and absorbs oils. This evenly distributes it into the beard and allows them to be scented.
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.
How Do You Use A Beard Comb?
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.
Keeping Beard Combs Clean
Firstly, be sure to look after your combs. Although they may seem quite sturdy, they can suffer when put through rough conditions. A good 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 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 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 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 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 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 comb. Consequently, your beard will smell fantastic.
Top 5 Best Beard Combs
As mentioned above, combs can be made with various materials. Furthermore, they often vary in teeth width, size and price. Each of the best beard combs below feature certain characteristics that are more adapted to different uses. Nevertheless, each are excellent options for general maintenance.
1. Most Versatile: Kent Set Of 3 Handmade Combs
- Composition: Cellulose Acetate
- Country Of Origin: UK
- Cost: $20
- Check Price On Amazon
Of course, Kent’s set isn’t a single versatile comb per se. However, having this in your drawer will cover all of your needs. In this set you will find a long comb with wide and fine teeth as well as a fine-toothed pocket comb. Furthermore, it comes with a handy moustache comb for precision finishes.
Kent have been manufacturing combs since 1777 and with such a long lineage comes an inherent savoir-faire. The combs are made from high-quality cellulose acetate and each tooth is machine cut by special circular saws. The material is lightweight whilst strong and resistant to regular use.
The teeth are then profiled, bevelled and hand-polished. This ensures that the teeth are fine enough to penetrate even the coarsest hair but smooth enough to only massage and not irritate the skin. Furthermore, each tooth features a saw-cut impression, which extracts dust from hair whilst encouraging the release of natural oils.
The set can be easily found on Amazon.com for $20. This comes to just over $6 per comb, which is a very reasonable price indeed.
2. Most Portable: Go-Comb Wallet-Sized Comb & Bottle Opener
- Composition: Stainless Steel
- Country Of Origin: USA
- Cost: $15
- Check Price On Amazon
Unlike most metal beard combs, the teeth are finely machine cut, which means that they won’t break the hairs or irritate the skin. Go-Comb’s novel little gadget is nothing short of impressive. At just over 1mm thick with a honeycomb structure, it’s exceedingly lightweight yet surprisingly strong.
In short, the comb is the same thickness as a credit card and slightly smaller, which means it slips easily into any wallet. Furthermore, with its sturdy build, there’s no worry for bending or breaking it.
Although it may not be as versatile as most combs with but one set of teeth widths, the Go-Comb is very convenient and more portable than folding pocket combs. The teeth are a nice length too, which means they can penetrate even the thickest full beards.
In addition, the in-built bottle opener may be something of a gimmick for some, but it’s a great tool for picnics, barbecues and parties. Finally, at just around $15 on Amazon, it can be a great complement to any beard enthusiast’s arsenal.
3. Best Wood: Huntsman Dual-Action Beard Comb
- Composition: Sandalwood
- Country Of Origin: China
- Cost: $14
- Check Price On Amazon
The Huntsman beard comb is well-known among beard enthusiasts and for good reason. It’s a small and durable wooden comb made with two clearly distinguishable sets of teeth. The wood used is sandalwood, which means it comes with a lovely scent that leaves a slight trace on your beard.
The wood is also polished so won’t suffer too much when in contact with water. However, care should be taken as it won’t appreciate an overabundance of humidity. Similarly, sandalwood is heat sensitive so it may not be the best choice when blow drying your beard.
Although the sandalwood scent may fade over time, remember that wood absorbs odours very easily. As mentioned above, you can leave it in a box or zip-lock bag with something to add a new scent over time.
The comb does have a few minor drawbacks. Furthermore, it’s made in China, which may be off-putting for some. Secondly, although it’s portable and credit card sized, it’s bulky and may get damaged in your wallet. Nevertheless, it’s supplied with a handy faux-leather case so could be carried around in that.
The Huntsman beard comb is certainly versatile and the teeth have enough depth to penetrate most full beards despite its small size. The wood material is naturally anti-static so you won’t finish with a frizzy beard.
Finally, wooden teeth are naturally smooth and its polished finish mean that you’ll get a smooth glide. It’s relatively inexpensive too at just under only $14 on Amazon. For a first beard comb, it’s a highly recommendable choice.
4. Best Horn: Zeus Medium Tooth Beard Comb
- Composition: Buffalo Horn
- Country Of Origin: USA
- Cost: $22
- Check Price On Amazon
Horn is one of the most durable and appropriate natural materials for combs. Therefore, Zeus’ buffalo horn comb offers almost limitless durability if well-maintained. Its rugged design is particularly appealing with a hand-made style finish between the teeth.
Although the comb only features medium-width teeth, it’s a great option for full beards. In addition, the teeth are polished so you can expect a smooth combing experience.
Furthermore, horn contains keratin, a natural protein that adds shine and protects beards by closing off the cuticle. Horn isn’t sensitive to water so it can be used after a shower and easily washed under the tap.
Unlike the Huntsman, Zeus comes with a genuine leather sheath, which is a luxurious attention to detail. Given that Zeus is made solely with animal byproducts, it may not be an ideal choice for vegans. However, it does provide second-to-none quality among its peers.
Finally, although it may be one of the higher-end combs, it’s surprisingly good value. Indeed, it’s the most expensive comb on the list and fetches for just over $20 on Amazon. Nevertheless, you will unlikely be disappointed by its quality.
"A genuine buffalo horn comb. Made from exclusive materials with a rugged design, Zeus' beard comb is one of the best available on the market."Rating: 5.0 ★★★★★
5. Best Acetate: Baxter Of California Beard Comb
- Composition: Cellulose Acetate
- Country Of Origin: USA/Switzerland
- Cost: $16
- Check Price On Amazon
Although Baxter is based in the USA, its combs are handcrafted in Switzerland. Like the Kent combs mentioned above, they use a similar cellulose acetate. However, it’s made through a detailed 12-step process, which results in smoothly bevelled teeth and softened tips.
Therefore, the combing experience is a smooth and enjoyable one with Baxter’s product. The teeth come with two widths, which means it’s a versatile choice. As cellulose acetate is a durable synthetic material, you won’t have to worry about it breaking. It’s also very easy to wash and isn’t sensitive to water or heat. Consequently, it can be used right after a shower and when blow drying.
Furthermore, it’s very small and can be carried in your pocket. Despite its micro size, it’ll fit comfortably in larger hands while remaining quite usable.
The finish is particularly reminiscent of old-school barber shop combs, which isn’t surprising given that Baxter of California was founded back in 1965. It’s a durable option with a retro feel and although may be around $16 on Amazon, it’s a worthwhile investment that will last.
Finally, if you’ve read about 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!