Combing your beard will, without a doubt, enhance the appearance and texture of your beard. Its benefits are undeniable. However, many men question whether there is a correct direction when it comes to combing. In short, yes, there is. So, should you comb your beard up or down?
In short, first, start at your neck and brush upward and outward. Continue combing up to your cheeks. Combing upward in this way helps to ensure that your beard will look fuller and healthier by separating the hairs, and “fluffing” them up. Once the entire beard has been brushed upwards, comb the beard back down.
All beards are different, so you might need to adjust this guide based on the style you’re working toward, as well as your personal preferences.
Let’s go through this all in a little more detail.
If you’re interested, do check out this article listing my most recommended beard trimming and grooming products of the year.
So, Why Comb Your Beard Up First?
There are several reasons why you should comb your beard upwards and outwards first. Let me tell you the main ones.
Makes Your Beard Easier to Style
Combing your beard upwards first helps to ensure facial hairs are separated. Separating the hairs untangles them, allowing you to glide your comb or brush through your beard more easily when it’s time.
When it comes to combing your beard downwards (the next step in our process) it’s much easier when the hairs are separated and untangled.
Similarly, if you’ll be brushing your beard (which also has many benefits), having the hair detangled first will make it so much more effective and comfortable.
Reduces breakages and split-ends
The detangling effects of combing a beard upward not only makes styling more manageable, but it also reduces the likelihood of snagging and pulling.
When the hairs of your beard are caught on the teeth of your comb or the bristles of your brush, this can lead to breakage. Although a certain level of hair loss is normal and expected, premature damage from brushing and combing is not.
When tangled, hairs can easily be pulled out or snapped off. This can lead to split ends and in severe cases, patchiness.
Split ends can make your beard look unkempt, frizzy, and dull. It is often possible to avoid this by combing your beard upwards prior to any styling.
Makes Your Beard Look Fuller
A fuller-looking beard is perhaps one of the most noticeable benefits of combing your beard up.
Separating the hairs by pulling them upwards and outwards with the comb adds volume. This gives your beard the appearance of increased thickness and fullness.
Sure, you’ll be combing it back down afterward. But it’ll still look fuller than if you were to just comb downward right from the start.
Combing your beard up will also make your beard look fuller by reducing breakage. Less breakage means more hair, and hence, a fuller beard.
Why Comb Your Beard Down Afterward?
So, combing your beard up is excellent for the styling, health, and appearance of your beard. But what about combing your beard down afterward? What exactly will this do for you?
Helps Style Your Beard
To put it simply, if you combed your beard up and left it that way, it wouldn’t look terrific. Your facial hair would be sticking out in all directions and would not look the way you want it to. It’ll look more like a lion’s mane than a well-groomed and rugged beard.
Combing it down afterward will prevent this.
It flattens the beard in the direction you want, while still maintaining the volume you gained from the first step. It’s a great way to keep your beard looking its best, depending on your personal style preferences.
If your beard is quite full already, the volume-adding benefit of combing upward first may not seem as significant to you. In contrast, if your beard is thinner, you may place more importance on combing your beard upward first.
Teaches your beard to grow the way you want
Not only will combing your beard down help with your daily styling routine, but it will also train your hair to grow in the correct direction.
By combing your beard and mustache into the position you want, you are training the hairs to grow a certain way.
This can be particularly helpful for those with unruly beards that grow outwards instead of downwards. Combing your beard downwards while damp will help the hairs stay in that direction when dry. It’s one of the best ways to minimize the amount of beard hairs sticking out.
Similarly, those with a mustache will benefit from this, as they can train their mustache to grow away from their lip.
There’s nothing more frustrating than the tingle of hair on your upper lip. Combing it can alleviate this peculiar discomfort.
Combing your mustache down and out in either direction will help increase the likelihood that it grows that way naturally. In other words, not instinctively down onto your lip.
What Is a Beard Comb Anyway?
A beard comb is a thin strip of material with a row of teeth on one or both sides. It’s used for detangling and styling a beard. They’re glorious and incredibly manly grooming devices to own.
Is a Comb Different from a Brush?
Although some people use the terms interchangeably, a beard comb is very different from a beard brush. Knowing the difference is essential to understanding which product you should use, and for what reason.
Beard brushes have bristles made from either synthetic or natural materials, whereas combs have teeth. Beard brushes are great for distributing oils evenly and keeping the skin underneath clean.
Combs, on the other hand, are essential for styling, detangling, and grooming on-the-go.
How are beard combs different from regular combs?
High-quality combs designed specifically for beards are made of durable materials such as cellulose acetate, wood, metal, or horn. These strong materials ensure the comb will not bend or break when you run it through your facial hair.
This is particularly important, as beard hairs are coarse and can be difficult to comb through otherwise.
Additionally, these combs are usually saw cut and polished, reducing jagged edges that can catch and pull on your beard hairs. This ensures a smooth glide as you run it through.
Beard combs are spaced out wide enough to allow your beard hairs through, making it easier to use for this purpose than a regular comb.
Which comb should you choose?
When considering what kind of beard comb to choose, there are a few factors you should consider. The first thing you should look for is quality.
Your beard is only as good as the tools you use to groom it, so making sure your beard comb is high-quality is crucial.
Next, consider which material works best for you. Beard combs come in natural materials such as wood and bone, and processed materials such as cellulose acetate, metal, and plastic.
It’s a good idea to consider the effect of each on your hair’s appearance, as some materials (mainly plastic) can cause frizz.
A beard comb with high-quality anti-static teeth will keep your beard looking great. Plastic combs produce static electricity and will, therefore, make your beard frizzy. In general, plastic molds are often damaging to the integrity of beard hair.
Another critical factor to consider is the texture of your beard. The spacing between the teeth of your comb should cater to your beard’s texture and style.
Wider spacing is perfect for those with curly and coarse beards, as they’re generally thicker and need more space. For fine, straight beards, a comb with narrow spacing will work well.
The direction in which you comb your beard has a significant impact on its overall look. However, as all beards are different, there is no one way to do this.
You should consider the texture and nature of your beard, as well as the style you want to achieve before deciding how to comb your beard.
Much like beard brushing direction, beard combing direction is more of an art than a science.
As a general rule, combing your beard up first creates volume and leaves you with a fuller looking beard.
It also helps to separate the hairs, resulting in easier styling if you choose to brush or comb it down.
Combing your beard down afterward assists in the styling of your beard, and flattens it down into the shape you want. Combing downwards also helps train your facial hair to grow in the direction you want, whether that’s downwards or to the side.
Nothing is stopping you from experimenting with your technique and finding what works best for you and your beard.