Some of the biggest, most lustrous beards out there are harboring a dark secret: beard dandruff. The skin beneath that impressive mane is often malnourished, having been starved for attention (in the form of moisture, that is). So, while the beard glistens, the dry skin beneath flecks and flakes.
Beard dandruff is a very real thing that can affect even the most veteran facial hair authorities. It’s a sneaky ailment, catching unwanted attention before you realize it’s there. That’s because while bountiful facial hair acts as a defense against the sun—a natural SPF, if you will—but it also creates a barrier to a necessary skincare regimen, which would otherwise keep the face nourished and smooth.
Which means bearded guys will need to make a few small adjustments to their regularly scheduled regimen. The following three steps, done daily, will banish any existing dandruff, while strengthening the skin to prevent further flakeage.
1. Exfoliate with a beard brush
Usually, exfoliating is the second step in a skincare regimen. However, when it comes to the skin beneath your beard, it’s logistically easier to exfoliate the beard area first—before cleansing, and before you step in the shower.
For this task, any guy with a beard needs a beard brush. (We like Zeus’ Boar Bristle Brush.) It tames strays, it detangles knots, it distributes oils, and best of all, it exfoliates the skin beneath the beard. Yes, you’re bringing the dandruff to surface here, better to deal with them now than when you’re in the bathroom at work or on a date.
Always shower after brushing.
2. Cleanse with a lactic-acid cleanser
Yes, we know: “Lactic-acid” cleanser sounds way harsh. But any cleanser that has it will naturally dissolve dead skin, acting as a second—and more soothing—exfoliating agent on the skin. (Bonus tip: Any body lotion that deploys lactic acid will help dissolve callused skin, so use it on your hands and feet.)
Whereas the brush lifts all the ready-to-flake skin from your face, this cleanser will help dissolve any of the dead, uppermost layer of skin and make way for the healthiest, sturdiest dermis. So, hop into the shower, lather up your entire face and beard with something like Aesop’s Parsley Seed Cleanser, and you should emerge flake-free and fresh-faced.
3. Moisturise with a beard oil
It’s hard to get goopy moisturizer under all those beard bristles. It doesn’t apply as cleanly, nor does it absorb as easily as to the rest of your face. Use an oil in its place. In fact, use Jack Black’s MP10 Nourishing Oil, specifically—and put your standard moisturizer on hold. This oil is first and foremost for your face, hydrating the skin with 10 natural oils as well as antioxidants. However, it also nourishes and softens facial hair, making it just as effective as a beard oil.
Two small pumps should cover both your face and shorter beard styles; add a pump for larger beards, and comb it through if necessary, to distribute the oil to your entire mane. Before applying, warm up the oil in your palms and fingers, then apply from below: Slide your hands up from beneath your chin, across your face to the opposite cheek. Repeat with both hands until everything is distributed. The oil is light enough to seep past the hair and coat the skin, thus fortifying it to prevent further flaking.