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Last Updated on October 27, 2020
While it is common to compare your beard to others’ beards, remember, having a good-looking beard is not a coincidence at all.
Having a well-styled and maintained beard requires a good grooming routine and the right tools. Beard brushes and combs are essential for keeping your beard clean, maintained and tangle-free.
Without the proper grooming tools, your beard may accumulate dirt, become dry and coarse, develop ingrown hairs and knot to the point of needing a chop.
Basically, a beard comb and brush are crucial for anybody with a beard and having the right tools for your specific beard will make all of the difference.
The Difference Between Brush and Comb
Generally, beard combs are made to detangle while beard brushes are meant to help release natural oils and relax your beard.
That being said, beard brushes and combs come in many different shapes and sizes. To truly understand the differences between the two, you need to understand what they are made of and all the options available.
What is a Beard Brush?
A beard brush, quite simply, is a beard grooming tool that is made up of a handle, a body and bristles. To the untrained eye, every beard brush can look exactly the same. However, the slightest change in materials or shape can make a huge difference to your grooming game.
A beard brush body and handle are generally made of the same material, usually a wood or plastic. An important thing to consider when investing in a beard brush is the shape of the handle.
Types of Beard Brushes
Beard brushes are generally offered in two shapes, oval ones which you hold in the palm of your hands, or rectangular brushes which have extended handles. Which one is better really comes down to your preference.
High quality brushes are generally made from wood or bamboo as these materials are durable, eco-friendly and expensive-looking. While wood brushes are built to last, they are not made to interact with too much water, as water will slowly deteriorate the wood.
To clean out a wooden beard brush, you will need to ensure that only the bristles touch the water. Many people opt to dry clean their wooden brushes by using a smaller brush to clean out the gunk in the bristles.
Synthetic plastic beard brushes are usually significantly less expensive than wooden brushes on the market and can be washed under running water. That being said, plastic products are not built to last as long as wooden ones, so you may need to replace your brush more often.
Though your beard brush handle and body is pretty important, the most necessary factor to consider with brushes is their bristles.
Beard brushes come with two types of bristles, either natural hair or synthetic materials.
Within the beard brush and hair grooming community, many debate which natural hair fibre is better between boar or horse hair. Boar bristles tend to be more stiff, but still flexible enough that brushing isn’t painful or aggressive.
Horse hairs are quite a bit gentler than boar, and are made to evenly distribute sebum, which helps to tame your beard. Generally, a safe rule of thumb to follow is the longer and thicker your beard is, the longer your brush bristles need to be.
However, some believe that boar hair is better suited to those with thick, prone-to-tangling beards. Which one is better for your beard really comes down to personal preference.
Synthetic bristles are available at a variety of price points, though they generally tend to be less expensive natural hair bristles. The advantages to synthetic bristles are that they are animal-friendly and that they can be specifically created for those with different beard hairs, lengths and thicknesses.
On the other hand, synthetic bristles tend to be more aggressive than natural hair bristles which can cause more breakage. Some people do prefer a more aggressive brush though.
What is a Beard Comb?
A beard comb is made of a thin body, one side is covered in teeth and the other serves as a form of handle. Generally, both the body and teeth will be made from the same material.
Likely the most raved-about material for beard combs, much like beard brushes is wood. While you can find wood combs at a variety of price points, the less expensive ones are more likely to develop splinters and snags which can damage your beard.
A high quality wood comb will be durable, well crafted, sleek and is beloved since it doesn’t cause any hair static.
Types of Beard Combs
Beard combs come in two synthetic materials; cellulose acetate and plastic. While there are some good plastic beard combs available, most are poorly-made, cheap and produce a lot of static.
Your beard comb is not something you want to skimp out on as a bad beard comb can actually damage your beard, more than most may realize.
Cellulose acetate on the other hand, is a rubber-like, durable material that is held in a very high regard in the beard comb community. Cellulose acetate combs are loved as they won’t produce static or snag your hairs and function quite similarly to wood.
Beard combs come in two other materials, ox horns and metal. Most beard experts would advise you to avoid metal beard combs at all costs as they can often be more harm than good on your beard.
Ox horn combs tend to be quite expensive and for good reason, they do not produce static and are built to last.
The material you choose for your beard combs mostly comes down to your price range and preferences. That being said, beard combs are usually made quite durable and will make a world of a difference on your beard, so they are usually a worthy investment.
The other factor to consider with beard combs is the beard comb teeth’s width. The width of the teeth refers to the space between each tooth. Beard combs come in two general widths, narrow and wide, and the one that is best suited to you really comes down to your hair thickness and texture.
If your beard is thick and coarse, wider teeth may be the best option as they are made to let through thick areas of hair without pulling or pain.
Use Both: When to Use a Comb and a Brush
For the most part, a beard comb and brush isn’t an either or situation. These two products are meant to be used together.
A beard comb is most effective when your beard is wet, so the best time is right after a shower. Usually, a beard comb is only necessary once you have at least three months of beard growth as this is when you will first need detangling.
That being said, a beard comb is useful for all when it comes time to trim your beard. If you use any beard oils or other products, it is best to apply it to your beard just before you begin combing.
If you have a shorter beard, you may actually only need a beard brush, though having both on hand doesn’t hurt. As a beard brush is made to help distribute the natural oils in your beard, many choose to use it when their beard is coarse or dry-feeling, though others will use their brush following combing.
Benefits of Using a Comb or a Brush
The advantages of a beard brush is that they are quite a bit gentler than using a beard comb. As brushes help distribute natural oils, they help to encourage your beard’s growth, uniformity and overall health. Continuous use of a beard brush will help to train your beard and give you some control in how it grows.
A beard comb is basically essential for de-tangling your beard. Every medium-length or long beard will naturally tangle and to avoid having to chop knotted sections, a comb needs to be a regular practice.
Beard combs are beneficial as they help you keep your beard clean by allowing a thorough wash of hairs that may not get reached otherwise. The other advantages of a beard comb is that they will help remove ingrown hairs and remove frizz and static.
Your beard requires just as much, if not more, care than the hair on your head. While it may seem easier to skip out on beard grooming, the long term ramifications will most likely make keeping your beard impossible.
A lack of beard grooming will not allow for your beard’s natural oils to distribute throughout, which is what prevents breakage, split ends and dry hair. Skipping your grooming will also promote knotting, ingrown hair growth, tangling and dirtiness.
Overall, beard care is essential and the only way to properly care for your beard is with the right equipment. A beard brush and comb are crucial tools for anybody who is bearded.
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