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Should You Brush Your Beard Up, Down, Forward Or Back?

July 31, 2023
Should You Brush Your Beard Up, Down, Forward Or Back?

Many men hear of how great a beard brush could be for their beard but just aren’t sure of the technique. A question asked by many is what direction? Should you brush a beard up or down? 

Although there is a great deal of variability here due to the vast number of beard styles there are, the following rule of thumb generally applies.

Brush your beard towards your chin for a neat, full, and uniform look. In other words, this means down your cheek beard and fore beard, and up your neck beard in a forward direction. 

Of course, there is a lot more to it than this. Beard hair is notorious for sticking out in all sorts of directions. To tame it properly it may require varying the angles slightly to get a well-balanced look. 

What we’re going to talk through is why this simple technique works, as well as a step-by-step routine for brushing your beard in this way.  

If you’re interested, have a look at this article listing my most recommended beard trimming and grooming products of this year.

Why you should usually brush towards your chin

This means down your cheek beard and fore beard, and up your neck beard. 

There are three reasons why this simple rule is worth remembering.

1. It gives you a routine

Well, the main reason I generally like to follow this rule is that it gives me a simple, easy-to-remember routine that I can use without having to overthink.

It’s satisfying to know that I have a structure to my beard brushing process. It’s an easily repeatable system that actually works, and I appreciate that. 

2. It creates a neat, sharp beard outline

Brushing the cheek beard down towards the chin should flatten out any stray hairs sticking out and sharpen the outline of the beard.

If this isn’t what you want, try brushing vertically downwards along your cheek beard to produce a more square-shaped outline.  

The fore beard is the hair over the chin that usually forms the lowest point of the beard. It can get long, depending on what style you’re rocking. Brush down the fore beard, neatening and straightening it. 

Overall, brushing the cheek beard and fore beard downwards in the direction of the chin area should give the beard a nice, sharp outline.

Remember, by doing this you’ll generally be brushing with the grain (in the direction of hair growth) which often produces a neat result. Any strays will be gently pulled in the direction you want them in. It just looks so much neater

3. It can add some volume

The neck beard can be more difficult to brush. It forms the bulk of the lower beard and although it remains out of sight, it’s vital in giving the fore beard support from behind. Flattening it out too much can make the lower beard look – well, flat. 

N.B – the term “neck beard” sometimes refers to the unsightly, untamed rug of hair that can extend towards the chest untrimmed.

I’m assuming this has been trimmed and you’re left with an acceptable amount of neck hair above the neckline. This is what supports the fore beard, and this is what we’re going to brush. 

By the way, if you’re looking for a quality “all-in-one” trimmer that’ll allow you to trim your beard (including the neckbeard) and body effectively, check out the Philips Norelco Multigroom on Amazon by clicking here. With self-sharpening blades and great versatility, it’s hard to find a more cost-effective option for an all-in-one.

Back to the point – why brush the neckbeard upwards?

Brushing the upper parts of the neck beard gently upwards towards the chin gives the lower beard fullness, and supports the fore beard from behind very well. 

Overall, this adds to the balanced appearance you’re hoping to achieve by brushing your beard. As you’ll see, it adds volume, and volume is what many men want.

From 123rf

How to brush your beard in 6 steps 

Again, having a routine is crucial to effective beard grooming. It isn’t difficult, but many get it wrong. Follow these steps for consistently impressive results. Remember though, don’t brush too often. Start off with once a day and see how it goes. 

1. Wash and clean your beard

This may sound obvious, but if you’re going to brush your beard, be sure to get the washing done first. 

Start by simply washing your beard with lukewarm water. Run it through your fingers and don’t pull or tug too hard.

Consider some beard wash.

2. Brush everything upwards first

Once dry, using your beard brush, brush all of your beard hair upwards.

Yes, this will give your beard a Mufasa-style mane that shouldn’t be seen in public. But don’t worry, it won’t be. 

What this does is lay the foundation, you could say. It gives you something to work with. A starting point

If you were to just rock up to your mirror and start brushing immediately, you’ll most likely find that the hairs are clumped together, tangled, and not facing in their natural direction. 

Brushing everything upwards should separate some hairs and have most of them facing a similar direction. 

After this is done, you can start moving them in the direction you want them in. This brings us to the next step.

3. Brush the cheek beard and fore beard with the grain

With the grain means in the general direction of hair growth. This will in most people be downwards – i.e vertically downwards, towards the chin, or as is usually the case, a mixture of both. 

It’s best to just see what works best for you and suits your particular style. The beauty of brushing is that you can encourage the hair to lay in the direction you want it to.

If you’d rather brush vertically downwards as opposed to diagonally downwards, try it out. 

But be gentle.

Boar hair bristle brushes are brilliant because they work their way easily through beard hair. They have a very similar consistency to beard hair, so you don’t need to be heavy-handed.

4. Don’t forget the mustache

You’re usually better off using a proper mustache comb for this, but if you wanted a quick fix you could run your brush through it. 

If you’re interested, take a look at this one on Amazon.

Brush downwards through your mustache to keep it looking neat. This should also allow you to spot any hairs creeping over your upper lip.

5. Try brushing your neck beard upwards

This step varies from one beard to another. Like I said earlier, the neck beard is the bulk of the lower beard – just be sure to trim it so you have an acceptable, defined neckline. 

This neck hair lies behind the fore beard and gives it support. Take your beard brush and brush this hair gently upwards towards your chin.

This can make the lower beard look nice and full, and often adds a great finishing touch. 

If you feel as though this looks too untidy or “puffy”, undo it. Try brushing downwards. Or, just leave it alone. This step is the best one to experiment with. 

6. Step back and analyze

You’re most likely happy with what you’ve just done. But take a step back, look in the mirror, and search for any stray hairs that may have escaped the process. 


The direction in which you brush your beard is important. However, as you’ve learned, there is no one single answer. Sometimes you brush your beard up, and sometimes down. The direction depends on the area of the beard being brushed, and more importantly, on the nature of your specific beard.