The thought of brushing a beard can be an exciting prospect for many men. It implies that growth is happening and progress is being made. So, when should you start brushing your beard?
Although beard growth rate varies among men, in general, you should start brushing your beard after 3 to 4 weeks of growth. By this point, you will be far beyond stubble and firmly within “short beard territory”. There are benefits to starting at this early stage of growth, both for your beard and for your skin.
A simple boar bristle beard brush can make a beard growing journey a lot smoother, even during the awkward phases.
What we’re going to go through are the benefits of starting to brush your beard at an early stage of growth. Then, we’ll go on to why it’s also important that you don’t overdo it. We’ll finish off by talking about the point at which a beard brush on its own won’t be enough to tame a beard.
Here’s another article listing my favorite beard trimming and grooming products (including my favorite brush).
Now, let’s get started.
Why you should start brushing after 3 to 4 weeks
Because it’s a safe bet. There’s a chance you could do with brushing your beard earlier than this. But in most men, the beard hair just wouldn’t be long enough to actually benefit from it.
Brushing stubble isn’t usually the most productive use of time.
The 3-week mark is also a notoriously awkward phase in terms of how the beard looks and feels. Running a brush through it once a day could relieve some of this stress in more ways than one.
4 benefits of brushing your beard from an early stage
Beyond the 4 week mark, there is no excuse to not brush your beard. The benefits are universally accepted. Let’s go through them now.
1. It trains the beard
Beard hair is notorious for growing in different directions. In general, the majority of hairs within a certain area grow in the same direction. For example, downwards in the cheek beard and fore beard.
But you be certain that there are hairs that rebel – that grow the opposite way and stick out. This can make the beard look untidy and patchy.
This is visible and evident during the early stages. For example, from 3 weeks onwards.
Brushing the beard can “force” these hairs to lie in the direction you want them to. Usually, this would be with the grain. In other words, in the general direction of the majority of hairs in that area. This makes the beard look much neater and fuller.
But when I say “force”, I don’t mean in a rough or heavy-handed way. It isn’t necessary to use a lot of literal “force”. The beauty of a boar bristle brush is that the bristles navigate through beard hair very easily, with only a small force necessary.
Over time, the beard hairs are trained to grow in the direction you want them to and do so naturally. This means you’ll need to brush less to get the results you want. The sooner you start brushing, the sooner this training can begin.
2. It gets rid of weak hair
Running a brush through the beard has the added benefit of picking up weak, thin, or loose hairs. These hairs are most likely on the verge of falling out if they haven’t already.
Removing them just ensures only the strong ones remain, making the beard look neater and healthier.
It would be foolish to assume that every hair on a beard grows to have the same strength. Often you’ll find mouse-like, bent hairs that eventually fall out.
They’re visible during the early stages of growth as well, maybe even more so. Removing them makes the awkward phase look a lot less awkward.
3. It exfoliates the skin
The skin is more visible during the early stages of beard growth, and so you want to make sure that it’s presentable.
Boar hair bristles are great for physically scrubbing away any dirt or dead skin cells, giving the skin a nice glow. This complements a growing beard very well.
You don’t need to set aside a specific time to work the skin. Brushing a short beard will usually double-up and exfoliate the skin as well.
This also reduces flakiness and beard dandruff, both of which can make an otherwise glorious beard look hideous.
Be careful not to brush too aggressively, as this can have the opposite effect and irritate the skin more than help it.
Firm but gentle is always best. Potential skin irritation is also another good reason not to brush your beard too often – once a day is almost always enough.
4. It re-distributes oils
This refers to both beard oil and natural sebum. Both of these can moisturize and nourish a growing beard.
Actually, the sooner you start applying beard oil, the better. Again, the 3 or 4-week mark is usually a good time.
Honest Amish make a wildly popular beard oil worth checking out on Amazon if you’re interested.
Brushing the beard can ensure these oils don’t just sit at the base of the hairs and clog the pores. The boar bristles are great for transporting it along the hair shafts and to the tips, all across the beard.
This coating of goodness gives the beard a nice, healthy shine without making it look greasy. It can also make the beard look less patchy, and many believe it speeds up growth. Another great reason to start brushing that beard early.
Are all beard brushes the same?
No. Synthetic brushes are usually made of nylon and are inferior to boar hair brushes in a couple of ways.
One reason is that they aren’t able to distribute those oils anywhere near as well as boar hair bristles can. This is a pretty big deal.
Another reason is that the consistency of boar hair is very similar to that of human hair. Because of this, the boar hair bristles can work through even thick and coarse hair without much force.
This leads to less irritation of the skin and follicles, and better results overall.
Although synthetic brushes are a little bit cheaper than boar hair brushes, I’d strongly recommend you don’t go for one. A good boar hair bristle brush isn’t very expensive and would be a very worthwhile investment for your beard.
Why you shouldn’t brush too much
One of the dangers of starting to brush at an early stage is over-doing it. Brushing too often can do more harm than good.
It puts too much stress on the hair shafts too frequently, causing direct damage, split-ends, and eventually, early shedding.
That’s right – it can cause healthy hair to fall out or be pulled out.
How often you should brush your beard varies from man to man. But in general, once a day is a good starting point. You may feel it requires touch-ups during the day. This is particularly the case if you have a more complex style, a curlier texture, or the humidity is causing excess frizzing.
To avoid over-brushing in these instances, try using a beard comb for these touch-ups instead. Beard combs are generally less irritating to the skin and are better suited to styling than brushes are.
Alternatively, try using a beard balm to keep those freshly brushed hairs in place during the day.
Again, this article lists my favorite brush, comb, balm and more if you’re interested.
When to start using a beard comb
A beard comb should be added to your grooming routine at around 3 – 4 months. Let me explain.
A common mistake that beginner beardsmen make is presuming that they can choose to either brush or to comb. The truth of the matter is, both habits are pillars of effective beard grooming.
The teeth of a comb are longer than the bristles of a brush. This accounts for most of the differences in what they’re capable of doing.
As your beard grows longer, the bristles of a brush just won’t be able to untangle or style effectively. This is particularly true of the deeper hairs that it just can’t reach. On the other hand, untangling and styling long beard hair is what a comb does best.
Be sure to choose a comb suited to your specific beard. If your beard hair is thicker or longer, you’ll need a comb with teeth spaced wider apart.
The reason you still need to use your beard brush daily is that if you don’t, you’ll miss out on the benefits we’ve already talked about.
A beard comb isn’t able to re-distribute oils and products, break up dirt and debris, or exfoliate the skin as well as a beard comb can.
So, to summarize, a beard brush alone will be enough as your beard is growing. But, once you get to around 3 – 4 months of growth, you’ll need to add a beard comb. Trust me, tangled hair is a nightmare and you’ll want your comb on you at all times.
Again, beard brushing is a pillar of proper grooming. Introducing it into your routine as soon as it becomes necessary can improve your outcome dramatically. Knowing when to start brushing your beard is a crucial decision here.
Its benefits are widely accepted and for good reason. Try not to make the mistake of starting too late. A simple brush can make even the most awkward phase of beard growth look and feel a lot more comfortable.
Do you have any beard brushing tips you can share? When did you start using one? Drop any comments down below!