With the range of available beard grooming tools at your disposal growing every day, it’s easy to become overwhelmed by it all. Keep things simple by knowing which tools you truly need and which ones you can do without.
Once your beard is of a certain length, there’s a good chance that a beard comb will or should become one of those tools you can’t do without.
That’s why it’s so important to really get to grips with them. You’re about to learn some crucial facts, tips, and tricks you probably didn’t know before.
Everything from what beard combs are for, who they’re for, what the best ones are made of, and more.
Let’s get to it.
1. What Does A Beard Comb Do?
The two main functions of a beard comb are styling and detangling. Once you have enough length, both of these functions become a lot more important. Additional functions include flattening strays and removing food particles.
As a beard grows longer, its maintenance requirements do increase – there’s no doubt about it.
Tangling becomes more of an issue as it becomes harder for the bristles of your boar bristle beard brush to get to the deeper hairs of your beard.
The benefit of a beard comb is that the teeth are long enough to get down to those deeper hairs and detangle them.
Beard combs are also great for styling. They can direct beard hair in the direction you want them to lay in a neat and orderly fashion.
Again, when you’ve got a beard that’s on the longer end of the spectrum, this is important.
A question that often comes up is whether you need both a beard brush and a beard comb.
The answer to that is – it depends on your length.
You’ll be using a beard brush before you ever need to use a beard comb. Once you’ve got around 3 to 4 weeks of length, you should start brushing with a beard brush.
But until you get to at least 10 weeks of length, your beard is most likely too short to benefit from the styling and detangling functions of a beard comb.
However, once you get to this point, you’ll still need to use a beard brush as well.
Because beard brushes and beard combs do different things.
While beard combs are for styling and detangling, beard brushes train the beard to grow in your desired direction over time and also redistribute natural oils.
So, once your beard is long enough, the two will work hand-in-hand.
2. What’s The Difference Between A Beard Comb And A Regular Comb?
The main difference between a beard comb and a regular comb is the length. Beard combs are generally shorter and more compact than regular combs to allow for easy maneuvering in a small area.
Ultimately, beard combs don’t need to be long. As you’ll generally be combing in a downward direction, using a long, regular hair comb would mean you’d have to stick your elbow out to get the job done.
Not the end of the world, but still annoying.
Other than that, there’s very little that separates beard combs from regular combs.
Here’s a typical beard comb by Hunter Jack on
As you can see, it’s compact and handcrafted.
Ultimately, you can get both beard combs and regular hair combs that are made from plastic, wood, metal, and so on. You also get regular hair combs that have narrow teeth on one end and wide teeth on the other – just like with beard combs.
You can also get anti-static regular combs – just like with beard combs.
Don’t be fooled into thinking these things set beard combs apart from regular ones. The truth of the matter is, they don’t.
So, you could probably get away with using a regular comb on your beard. However, it’s not recommended.
Other than the inconvenient length of regular beard combs, another reason you’ll want a separate comb for your beard is to ensure it lasts long.
Doubling up on tools is generally not a good idea. Using it on both your hair and beard will lead to overuse, wear-and-tear, and ultimately, a shorter-lasting comb.
3. When Should You Start Combing Your Beard?
Start combing your beard once you have 10 to 12 week’s worth of length. At this point, the beard should be long enough to benefit from the styling and detangling functions of a beard comb.
Although it can be tempting to grab yourself a beard comb as soon as you decide to start growing a beard, don’t.
If you buy one early, you’ll be tempted to use one early.
Although using a beard comb on a beard that’s too short to need it isn’t a disaster, it is just a waste of time.
Doing so will most likely lead you to neglect using other beard grooming tools which would actually be useful for shorter beards.
Examples include beard brushes, which you should start using once you’ve got 3 to 4 weeks of length.
Beard oil is also useful for shorter beards, having a nice moisturizing effect and also producing a gentle sheen.
So, don’t fall for the temptation of a nice and shiny beard comb too early. Focus on other grooming tools that will actually move the needle.
Once you’ve got enough length for a beard comb to be worth using, go for it.
4. Are Beard Combs Worth It?
In general, yes, beard combs are worth it because you should be able to buy a good quality one for under $15. Given the wide range of benefits you get this should be considered good value for money.
A beard comb might cost you a little more than a regular hair comb, but it really shouldn’t break the bank.
A key reason as to why they should be considered worth buying is that it’s a tool you are pretty much guaranteed to use every day once your beard is long enough.
It isn’t something you just use on special occasions. It’s a pillar of your grooming routine that you’ll get to know like the back of your hand.
They can also be expected to last pretty long as well. With good maintenance habits, you could even use the same one for a year. However, it’s generally recommended that you replace it every 4 to 6 months.
This is simply because the teeth of the comb will start to dull after a while and will become less effective at their job.
5. Why Are Beard Combs Made Of Wood?
Beard combs are often made of wood because they’re generally anti-static and don’t snag as much as plastic or metal ones do. Wooden combs are also usually handcrafted and this craftsmanship is appealing to many bearded men.
Although there are men that do prefer plastic/acetate combs, many avoid them because of the static effect.
It can cause beard hair to frizz up, undoing the hard work you may have done with all of that oiling and balming.
Plastic and synthetic combs are also often a bit harsher on the beard hair itself than wooden ones are, sometimes doing more harm than good. The snagging can be uncomfortable.
Common types of wood used to make beard combs include sandalwood and pearwood.
6. How Often Should You Comb Your Beard?
Comb your beard at least once a day to prevent tangle formation and to keep the beard looking full and neat. A good rule-of-thumb would be to comb your beard whenever you feel as though it needs combing.
The portability of the often-compact beard comb does allow you to detangle and style on the go.
That’s the beauty of it.
But is there such a thing as over-combing your beard?
Yes, it is possible to over-comb your beard and you’ll want to avoid this. What constitutes “excessive beard combing” depends on the texture of your hair.
In general, anything more than five times a day and you’re probably at risk of over-combing no matter how thick your beard hair is.
However, if you’ve got especially fine or thin hair, even this may be too much.
Men with thicker and coarser beard hair may well need to comb their beard this often to keep things in check. Their beard hair is also usually coarse enough to withstand the frequent combing as well.
7. Can You Use A Beard Comb On Your Hair?
Beard combs can be used on head hair with good effect, especially if they come with both narrow and wide teeth. However, it’s generally better to use a separate, regular comb on your hair to avoid overuse of your beard comb.
Another benefit of using a regular comb on your head hair is that they’re usually longer than beard combs.
A long comb is useful when combing your head hair because you’re covering quite a large and wide area – larger than your bearded area.
Beard combs are smaller and shorter, so trying to comb your head hair with one would take a lot longer than simply using a regular comb.
It’s just less efficient.
But, overall, you could use a beard comb on your hair without doing much damage. This is especially the case if you’re using a good quality, handcrafted wooden one with anti-static properties.
8. Should You Comb Your Beard Against The Grain?
As beard hair generally grows downward, you’ll most likely be combing downward and with the grain. In other words, you shouldn’t comb against the grain.
Combing “with the grain” means combing in the direction of hair growth while combing “against the grain” means combing against the direction of hair growth.
Combing with the grain will lead to a neater and straighter appearance overall. Combing upward and against the grain will fluff up the beard and lead to a lion’s mane appearance.
You could, however, comb upward and against the grain before combing it all back down.
This is actually quite effective. By combing up and against the grain first, you’re fluffing up and separating the beard hairs in preparation for combing it all back down again.
Overall, this often leads to an even better and neater result.
9. Should You Comb Your Beard Before Trimming?
Yes, combing your beard before trimming is a good habit to adopt. Doing so makes the hair lie in a similar direction, making it easier for the blade to trim them evenly.
Although making your hair nice and neat before a trim might sound strange, it does allow for a smoother and more efficient trim, saving you time in the long run.
It doesn’t add much time to your routine and you don’t have to do much. It’s not like you’re styling it before heading out.
You’re just making it neat enough for the blade of the trimmer to snip through with minimal resistance.
It’ll also make it really easy for you to see what areas need some trimming and which areas might not.
This is especially useful if you’re trimming using a pair of beard scissors. After combing, you’ll be able to see any stray hairs or flyaways that stick out and need a quick snip.
10. Should You Comb A Patchy Beard?
Combing a patchy beard is an effective way of making it look fuller. The teeth of the beard comb will detangle the deeper beard hair which often makes the beard look less patchy overall.
Patchy beards are an exceptionally common issue that men face, particularly in the more “awkward” phases of growth.
Once your beard gets long enough to benefit from using a beard comb (after around 10 to 12 weeks), you’ll generally have passed these awkward phases in any case.
However, poorly maintained long beards often still look patchy due to tangling. So, using a beard comb would definitely be worth doing.
11. Should You Ever Comb Your Beard With A Plastic Comb?
Plenty of men do choose to use a plastic beard comb instead of a wooden one, despite the static and frizz they often cause. It’s down to personal preference – some just feel that plastic glides through their facial hair easier than wood does.
For your first beard comb, it’s generally a good idea to go for a wooden one (like sandalwood or pearwood) instead of a plastic one.
Overall, they are kinder on beard hair and anti-static. This reduces frizz and usually leads to a neater result.
Plus, they’re often handcrafted which is just a great touch and addition to any man’s grooming kit.
However, you may find that you just can’t get on with a wooden beard comb. Perhaps it doesn’t glide through your hair as easily as you’d like it to. Perhaps it just doesn’t detangle as effectively as you’d want it to.
If this is the case, try using a good quality plastic or synthetic beard comb – the ones made by Kent are good examples of this.
You may find that you prefer it. In which case – it’s fine. Try to be gentle and avoid over-combing. You should be absolutely fine.
12. Can You Comb your Beard In Public?
In most circumstances, you can comb your beard in public. However, avoid doing so in more formal environments such as stricter workplaces or weddings where you don’t want to draw attention to yourself.
Beards have become so mainstream in recent years, with the beard grooming market taking off like nobody’s business and bearded influencers cropping up like never before.
Because of this, whipping a beard comb out and flattening some flyaways in public really isn’t that big of a deal anymore.
It isn’t as pretentious or comical as using a mustache comb can sometimes come across, for instance.
However, you will still most likely draw some stares because someone combing their beard in public just isn’t something you see every day.
Not in a negative way – but you’ll probably get some attention.
Although this is absolutely fine in most instances, there may be those in which you don’t want to draw those stares.
The more formal events, occasions, and environments are good examples.
Hopefully, you’ve now got a better idea of what beard combs are all about – their function, benefits, and even etiquette.
Although it’s a pretty simple tool to get to grips with, the right knowledge and right technique will definitely enhance your results with time.