Beards are great. Beards inspire confidence. Beards may even help you to attract members of the opposite sex.
But they’re sometimes hard to tame.
Anyone who’s grown a beard understands that whiskers can become unruly and hard to shape in a style that best suits them. That’s why products such as beard wax are some important – they help you to tame the wild beast that covers your face.
And we’re here to help with a guide on how to apply beard wax. While it’s not rocket science, there are a few tips and reminders for making sure you make the best use of your favorite wax.
How to use beard wax in 6 easy illustrated steps
1. Clean your beard
You don’t want to apply wax to a dirty beard. Dirt and dust accumulate in your whiskers and it’s even more of an issue with a longer beard. It’s harder to style a dirty beard, plus the wax will trap the dirt within your whiskers.
Your best choice for cleaning your beard is to use a beard shampoo or wash. Don’t use the same shampoo you use on your head – which we’ll discuss a bit later – because it serves a different purpose and has different ingredients.
One of the primary purposes of many mass-produced scalp shampoos is to remove natural oil from your hair that gives it a greasy appearance. Scalp shampoos often include harsh chemicals that get rid of oils and greasy sheen.
Beard shampoos don’t contain those chemicals because the natural oils produced by your skin (called sebum) keep whiskers moisturized and well-nourished. Beard shampoos clean your beard, but also leave the oils in.
Moreover, they’ll help wash away dead skin cells while alleviating beardruff, itching, and irritation.
There are plenty of good beard shampoos from which to choose – one that we like is Professor Fuzzworthy’s Beard Shampoo with all-natural oils.
You can also apply a beard oil or conditioner to your beard, after you’ve dried it, to make it more manageable and to add moisture to it. Every bearded gent should have a bottle or two of beard oil in their grooming kit because of its many benefits for overall beard health.
2. Dry your beard
Before working in any beard product, it’s important to dry your beard as much as possible. Excess water will dilute the product and reduce its effectiveness. You can use a blow dryer or let it air dry – whichever you prefer.
Once you’ve shampooed your beard and rinsed it with warm water (water that’s too hot can dry out the skin underneath it) you need to dry it before you apply beard wax.
Use a soft towel to pat your beard dry; you can use a blow dryer if you choose, although excessive hot air is harsh on beards and can make them look dull and rough. Use the dryer on a medium heat setting and take breaks during the process.
This is an important step because applying wax to a wet beard makes it more likely that clumps will form—and nobody wants clumps!
3. Comb your beard to untangle it
Once you’ve washed and dried your beard, it’s time to comb it. Combing untangles your whiskers to make it more manageable and to provide a better surface for beard wax.
But don’t use just any comb. Instead, always have a beard comb on hand designed for the task of untangling and styling facial hair.
Don’t use a cheap plastic comb or even the same one for your scalp because you’ll end up damaging your whiskers. Instead, use a quality beard comb such as Kent’s Handmade Comb.
Beard combs typically consist of wood, metal, or cellulose acetate. Wooden beard combs come with varied teeth widths and, especially if they’re hand-cut, don’t have the rough edge that tug and pull at your beard.
Beard combs offer many benefits, from de-tangling to preventing ingrown hair.
Take your time when combing your beard. Start from the bottom, i.e., your beard’s neckline, and work your way up. Then comb your whiskers downward to make them easier to style.
Note: be gentle if you encounter any snags along the way. Stop and gently use your comb to pull through the snags. Using beard oil before you comb will make tangled whiskers easier to navigate.
If you use a blow dryer, you can simultaneously dry your beard and comb it to prevent tangles and to make it easier to style.
4. Preparing the wax
It’s almost time to apply your beard wax. But you need to soften the wax first because the fatty acids found in waxes solidify at room temperature and become less pliable.
The easiest way to soften beard wax is to expose the bottom of the container to boiling water for a brief period.
You can also run hot water over the tin (with its lid on) to soften it further. Or, if you so choose, you run a blow dryer over the can for a minute or so to soften the wax.
In short, heating and softening the wax makes it more pliable and easier to apply. Applying wax to your beard before you soften it can leave residue and flakes of wax in your whiskers.
5. Applying the wax
Now that you’ve properly prepped your beard and wax, it’s time to get down to business:
- Use one finger to scoop a small amount of wax from the can. By “small,” we mean running the tip of your finger over the top of the wax to get about a dime-sized amount of wax.
- Rub the wax between your thumb and forefinger to soften it further. Or, you can rub it into the palm of your hand until it’s soft to the point of liquefying.
- Begin by applying the wax to the sides of your beard. Be careful not to apply too much wax because it can leave flakes and residue behind.
- Take your time or, at the least, leave yourself some extra time to apply your wax.
- Always apply small quantities of the wax and massage it evenly throughout your whiskers. You don’t need to apply wax down to the skin; save that for beard oils and conditioners that moisturize the beard and the skin underneath it.
- If you like, you can use your beard comb to help distribute the wax throughout your beard. The comb makes it easier to spread the wax evenly and to set your beard into the shape you prefer.
- Repeat the process – while using a small amount of wax each time – while concentrating on one side of your beard at a time.
- Add a small amount of wax to the front of your beard, as well. Use a comb to style it in the way and direction you want.
6. The finishing touches
Give your beard and wax a little time to dry before you head out into the world. Don’t panic if you’ve applied too much wax because you can remove the excess with a dry towel or a clean piece of cloth. You can also comb out the excess.
If you’re in a hurry, you can always use a hairdryer to dry it, but you shouldn’t have to if you’ve applied the wax evenly and without excess.
Wash your beard comb after you’ve finished. Doing so prevents flakes and residue and should keep your whiskers flake-free day after day.
How to remove beard wax (A simple, illustrated guide)
It’s always a good idea to remove beard wax at the end of the day to prevent build-up – which can block pores and weigh down your beard unnecessarily. But there’s a right way and wrong way to do it.
1. Don’t use soap and water
While many men have used hot, soapy water to remove beard wax, it’s not the best option. For one, many soaps contain harmful ingredients that can damage your hair, while water that’s too hot can dry out your whiskers.
You should also avoid using shampoos that you use on your scalp hair. The consistency of the hair on the head and face is different, while many commercial shampoos include harmful detergents.
2. Do use beard washes and conditioners
Use a beard shampoo/wash to remove the wax. Unlike regular shampoo, beard shampoos don’t contain harsh chemicals that may strip your facial skin of its natural oil (called sebum). The oil produced by your skin is vital to your beard’s overall health.
The best quality beard shampoos and washes clean the dirt, dust, and grime from your beard but without stripping it of natural oils.
By using a beard wash and conditioner every time you shower, you’ll be able to keep your facial hair healthy—and soft enough that it won’t irritate your skin when left untreated.
3. How it’s done
Use a small amount of beard wash and apply it to your beard. Make sure to spread it evenly so that it covers all of your follicles. If you prefer, you can also use a beard conditioner to help remove the wax build-up.
Let the wash/shampoo soak into your beard for a few minutes so that it binds to the wax which you want to remove. Next, use a quality beard comb to get rid of any excess wax and shampoo.
Rinse your beard using warm water to remove the excess wax. You can pat it dry with a soft towel or let it dry on its own.
Tips for choosing the right beard wax
Not all beard wax is the same, although they may have similar ingredients. That said, it’s important to consider the following factors when choosing a beard wax that best suits you and your beard.
It all comes down to the hold with the wax. By “hold,” we mean how well it keeps your whiskers in place. Waxes typically come in three types of hold, light, medium, and strong.
Waxes with a lighter hold work best on shorter beards while stronger waxes work well on longer beards with whiskers that tend to stray from the herd. Hard wax also works for certain styling purposes, such as creating a handlebar mustache.
While many beard waxes share similar ingredients it’s always a good idea to choose organic ones that are better for your beard and even for the environment. Look for waxes that include natural oils, butter, and beeswax.
Also, one common rule of thumb says that higher-quality waxes include more ingredients, although that’s not true in every case.
What type of scent you choose is a matter of personal preference. Choose a wax with a light scent or no scent at all if you’re sensitive to fragrances.
What is the difference between beard wax and mustache wax?
A common question about beard wax is how it differs from mustache wax. Both types of wax accomplish the same thing, i.e., they keep whiskers in place while making them easier to style while protecting them from the elements.
Is there a big difference? Not really.
Beard wax and mustache wax share many of the same ingredients – including beeswax. You can use both for any facial hair, although products are marketed separately for specific use on beards and ‘staches.
The biggest differences between the two may be in the strength of their hold, whether the hold is light, medium, or strong.
How is beard wax different from beard balm?
Beard wax and beard balm both work to hold your beard in place, but wax provides a much firmer hold and is better for styling your beard.
Beard balm is a great tool for reviving your beard, including that it provides needed hydration to keep it healthy.
In that way, it’s a lot like beard oil, and you can use beard balm at any stage of your beard’s growth, although some experts suggest that it works best on long beards.
Beard balm also contains essential oils such as jojoba, argan, and grapeseed that help nourish and moisturize the whiskers.
Can you use beard wax and beard balm together?
The short answer is, yes you can use these two fine beard products together, although each is good on its own.
But if you’re truly serious about styling your beard, you can apply some beard balm first and then follow by applying beard wax.
Also, beard balm has carrier oils that help keep your beard soft and free of the dreaded beardruff – those pesky white flakes caused, in part, by dry skin beneath your facial hair.
FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)
What does beard wax do?
The primary purpose of beard wax is to style and hold a beard in place. It also helps to protect your beard from the elements, such as wind and rain, as well as from pollutants.
What is beard wax?
Beard wax is a special type of wax used to groom a beard and protect it from harsh weather conditions such as rain and wind. Common beard wax ingredients include beeswax, coconut oil, shea butter, and scented oils.
How do you make beard wax?
The most important ingredients for making beard waxes are beeswax and essential oils. You’ll also need resin and petroleum jelly. Use more wax for a firmer hold.
Begin by mixing and heating petroleum jelly and a few drops of oils, and then blend them with beeswax (which should be heated to the same temperature).
How much beard wax should you use?
You don’t need much. Start by rubbing a small amount of wax between your thumb and forefinger and applying it evenly over your beard. Only add more if you haven’t covered all areas of your whiskers or need a firmer hold.
Beard wax, like beard oil and many other beard products, serves an important purpose in your daily grooming routine. You need wax to style your beard, to help it hold its shape, and to keep it looking its best rather than dull and lifeless.
We think the above guide for how to use beard wax will help you to get the most from it every time that you apply it.
How about you? Do you use beard wax? If so, what brand? As always, we welcome your feedback and suggestions.