Beards are just like any other hair– the longer they get, the easier it is to tell if someone doesn’t take care of theirs. Tangles, snarls, and general messiness are the enemy for anyone who wants their beard to look neat and well-groomed, so beard care tools are just as important as any beard care product. All the oils and balms in the world can’t save a beard that isn’t combed or brushed! Combs and brushes are similar but serve some different functions, and there are lots of different types of beard combs and brushes on the market, each with different things that they’re especially good for. To help you navigate your next shopping trip, here’s a quick breakdown of the facts you need to know about beard combs and brushes!
Brushes are best for helping to stimulate blood flow and healthy hair growth, and also to distribute oils through hair, either the natural oils that your skin produces or any products that you add to your beard. Brushes are usually made of wood, plastic, or a material like oxhorn or bamboo. The best quality brushes are ones made with natural materials. They tend to be more durable and more eco-friendly, and bristles made of natural materials are more effective at distributing oils, which helps to keep the full length of your beard moisturized and healthy, not just the roots. Boar bristle brushes are considered by many people to be the gold standard in this department. These brushes do tend to cost a bit more, however, so plastic can be a good option if you’re on a tighter budget.
Some brushes have handles, while others are small and designed to fit in your palm. Which you choose is really a matter of personal preference. They also come in many different sizes, and you might find that one size works best for you or that you prefer to have a large brush at home and take a smaller one with you on the road. Bristle length is also something that you’ll have to experiment with to find out what works for you, although the general rule of thumb is that the longer and thicker your beard is, the longer the bristles should be.
Brushes can definitely be used to detangle your beard, but its best use is to help distribute oils or product through your bead and to help you with shaping.
Combs are the tool you’ll want to reach for when it’s time to tackle some tangles. Much like brushes, the best ones are made of wood, bamboo, or some kind of horn, but plastic combs are also widely available, though not as high-quality or long-lasting. Where with brushes you’d focus on the bristles, with combs you’re focusing on the teeth, mostly the width of them. A wide-toothed comb with big spaces in between the teeth is best for detangling, while a comb with finer, more tightly spaced teeth will be better for grooming and shaping.
While combs do perform some of the same functions as a brush by distributing oils and product and stimulating your skin, they’re mostly for making sure your beard is neat and tangle free. This means that while pretty much anyone with a little bit of a beard can benefit from a brush, shorter beards might not be long enough for a comb, whereas for longer beards a comb is a basic necessity.
You can get combs in a wide variety of different sizes, and they can be really easy to toss in a bag, car, suitcase, or even in your pocket to help you tidy up on the go.
So, the big question: do you need to have both? You probably don’t need both a brush and a comb, but if you want to have a truly excellent beard, you really should have them both. While there’s some overlap in their functions, you’re always better off having the right tool for the job at hand, and a comb and a brush work great together– use a wide toothed comb to bust the tangles and then use a brush to achieve the shape and smoothness you want. If you’re just starting on your beard care journey, don’t be scared to try things out and see what combinations work for you. Many veterans not only have both brushes and combs in their arsenal but different kinds of each based on the situation.
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