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A Guide To Washing Beards With Water Only

July 31, 2023
A Guide To Washing Beards With Water Only

With just a touch of stubble you could most likely away with the minimum amount of effort. But longer beards need a little more thought when it comes to washing. The question remains, however, can you wash your beard with water only

Potential Benefits Of Washing A Beard With Water Only

This is based on my own experience of contrasting the effects of washing my beard with water only against washing it using beard shampoo. 

Nothing in this article should be construed as personalized advice. Ultimately, every beard is different.

1. It’s cheaper

With the beard trend growing almost exponentially, so too is the ever-expanding market of beard grooming products

“Beard shampoo” hasn’t been a mainstream term for very long at all. 

As you’d expect, the cost of beard shampoo is usually more than that of head shampoo.

Unfortunately, this is one of the main reasons why bearded men choose to wash their beards with damaging head shampoo instead. 

One of the clear advantages of choosing not to shampoo the beard at all is that you save on the cost

Water, as it flows majestically into your bathroom sink, is relatively “free”. I mean sure, you pay for it monthly. But you’re using it to brush your teeth and wash your face in any case.

Why not run it through that glorious beard as well? 

The money you save on beard shampoo could be used on other grooming products such as beard oil, a beard brush, or a beard comb. 

2. You may not notice a difference

You may not notice a significant increase in the “oiliness” or “greasiness” of the beard.

Even if it does look a little bit oilier, it may just add a subtle shine as opposed to greasiness.

Certain smells linger in the beard longer than others, and if you’re exposed to them it may take more effort to remove them. I’ll discuss this in more detail later on. 

3. It can be less drying

Ultimately, shampoos and similar products can sometimes be drying. Washing with water alone could be a way to counteract it.

From Shutterstock

Disadvantages Of Washing A Beard With Water Only

1. It can be difficult to wash out certain products

As I mentioned above, the available range of beard grooming products is really quite alarming. Balms, pomades, waxes, etc.

But it’s no secret that certain products are just tougher to wash out than others. This is particularly true of those with a medium to strong level of hold.

These are designed to be resilient, and keep that facial hair in whatever spectacular style you desire. 

Beard wax is one of these. It has a strong hold, and can be tough to wash out without beard shampoo. 

Your options would include choosing a product with less hold but easier to wash out (like beard balm), or using beard shampoo only when using wax on those special occasions. 

2. It can be hard to remove some odors

Some smells are just harder to remove than others. If you happen to work around fumes, whether it’s a factory or restaurant some odors are just going to stick. 

In addition, some men are just worse at leaving bits of food in their beards.

Being a messy eater isn’t a crime, but it can make beard hygiene a little more complex. Cigarette smoke is another resilient odor that’s hard to extract.


Cleaning a beard is an important component of beard grooming. As your beard gets longer, hygiene becomes more of a pressing issue. 

Knowing how to wash a beard effectively is important, but knowing what to use is a good starting point

Washing a beard with water only may not be for everyone, but it may be for you.