In the world of men’s style, there are plenty of options that may seem like a good idea but often actually end up doing more harm than good. The question is, can you use hair gel on your beard?
Hair gel should not be used on your beard. The ingredients are often too harsh on the facial skin and the hold will be too stiff. In addition, the scent can be strong and overbearing when applied so close to the nose.
Although that’s the short answer, there’s more to it.
After going through the main reasons why it just isn’t a good idea, I’ll give you a few alternatives that would be much better going forward.
Let’s get to it.
5 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Use Hair Gel On Your Beard
After reading these reasons there probably won’t be a doubt left in your mind.
1. Hair Gel Is Harsh On Facial Skin
Products designed for use on the hair and scalp are often too strong to be used on the beard and face.
Scalp skin is tougher and more resilient than facial skin.
The ingredients used in hair gel are usually going to be harsh on the facial skin beneath the beard hair.
It simply isn’t worth doing. As we’ll go through in more detail later on, there are several products actually designed for beard hair that you can use for styling instead.
2. The Hold Is Too Stiff
Hair gel produces a notoriously stiff hold. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing; it actually appeals to many people.
You’ve got the benefit of a set-it-and-forget-it hair product that sets the hair in place and keeps it that way.
Sure, you won’t be able to restyle it (without some wet combing first) – but that doesn’t matter to a lot of people.
The trouble with applying hair gel on your beard, however, is that a stiff hold is rarely an attractive prospect.
It doesn’t usually look or feel good.
Sure, it’ll keep stray beard hairs and flyaways in check – but the end result will lack any sort of texture and will often look unnatural.
3. Hair Gel Often Flakes
Hair gel often flakes. Not all of them do, but the cheaper options are notorious for it, especially when used excessively.
If it does, you’ll get the same result on the beard.
The trouble is, flaking is even more noticeable when it’s on the beard. It’s front and center, visible to anyone right from the outset.
4. You Shouldn’t Mix Hair And Beard Products
Using the same product on your hair and your beard is usually not a good idea.
Dipping your fingers into a tub of hair gel, applying it to your hair, and then on your beard, is not a routine you’ll want to get used to.
5. The Scent Is Often Too Strong
Hair gels often have strong scents. This scent could be anything ranging from coconut to vanilla or chocolate.
The bottom line here is that the scent will seem a whole lot stronger when the hair gel is applied to your beard and mustache.
The reason for this is that the gel is now so much closer to your nose.
This is why styling products actually designed for use on the beard usually have a more subtle and neutral scent.
It’s enough to be noticeable, but not enough to be distracting or unpleasant.
3 Alternatives To Using Hair Gel On Your Beard
Here are a few products that you can use to style your beard. Any of them would be more appropriate to use than hair gel.
Note that these products may not be appropriate for your individual circumstances. Seek professional advice prior to application if you have any concerns.
The hold beard balm gives you is often quite subtle, but enough to keep the beard flat and neat, settling strays and flyaways.
A great way of evenly distributing the beard balm across your beard (preventing it from accumulating in specific areas) is to gently run a beard comb through after application.
Beard butter is a product that has more of a lotion-like consistency to it when compared with beard balm.
It feels creamy due to the fact that it often contains natural butters like shea or cocoa butter.
It feels light once it’s applied, often even lighter than beard balm.
The hold you can expect from beard butter is usually quite similar to that of beard balm, but sometimes not quite as strong.
Beard wax is one of the heaviest styling products you can use on your beard.
However, despite the hold being “heavy”, it usually won’t be as stiff or overbearing as the hold you’d get from using hair gel.
Beard wax would be more useful if you were going for a more “complex” style or if your beard was especially long/thick.
Once again, using a beard comb to distribute the wax more evenly once you’ve applied it is often a good idea.
There you have it. Hopefully, everything you could need to know about a topic that’s rarely discussed properly.
Overall, using hair gel on your beard isn’t a good idea. But at least now you know what alternatives will see you through instead.
Ready Sleek founder. Obsessed with casual style and the minimalist approach to building a highly functional wardrobe. Also a fan of classic, vintage hairstyles.