Growing a beard has become more and more popular in the past few years, and along with this, the market for beard care products has exploded in growth.
There’s so many to choose from, all the way from beard oils into various beard dyes and mustache combs. And granted, it sometimes may look like beard maintenance would require the skill set of a rocket scientist.
↓ No time for full review? Here’s a quick comparison table. ↓
The big question is this;
Well, not really, but sort of yes. If you have a beard, you know that it grows perfectly well even if you wash it with normal shampoo meant for the hair on the top of your head.
But if you look deeper into it, there is a reason to actually opt for specific beard shampoo and conditioner (or not even specifically a product targeted towards beards, but different than most store-bought shampoos).
The hair on your face is hormonal, and its health is much more dependent on hormones such as testosterone and DHT, as well as the naturally produced sebum oil.
For this reason, it’s important to choose a shampoo and conditioner that is free of hormone-suppressing chemicals like parabens, sulfates, and phthalates and hormone suppressing compounds like mint, vegetable, and seed oils, saw palmetto, etc.
(you generally find the above in anti-hair-loss shampoos, but for the love of god don’t put those on your beard, they have the opposite effect on hormonal hair as they are usually chock-full of DHT blockers)
If you opt for androgen (DHT & testosterone) blocking beard products, prepare to see this in reverse:
So what you need to look for in a quality beard wash are the following:
- Chemical and endocrine disruptor free: no parabens, phthalates, sulfates, etc.
- Free of polyunsaturated fatty-acids: these suppress DHT and testosterone.
- Free of hormone-suppressing herbs: avoid mint, licorice, eucalyptus, green tea.
- Opt for mild products: to make sure you’re not stripping all natural oils.
Sadly, even though there are hundreds of different brands of beard washes out there, 95% of them are rubbish.
The producers don’t understand hormones or hormonally driven hair, and they don’t design their products for beards at all, they simply slap in the word “beard” and junk up the price.
You should also avoid washing your beard on a daily basis (major beard mistake). It has been shown that the healthiest beard is a 3-day beard (that is, 3 days of no washing), it is the optimal natural oil balance for growth and maintenance. So washing your beard 1-2 times a week, or even less, is our recommendation.
The Seven Best Beard Washes of 2019
1. Scotch Porter’s Moisturizing Beard Wash
This is one of the more popular beard shampoos out there, and surprisingly enough, the ingredients were not a disappointment.
There are no synthetic chemicals or endocrine disruptors in the beard shampoo, and the ingredient list doesn’t show any prominent testosterone or DHT suppressive oils or herbs.
The base ingredients include shea butter, coconut oil, marshmallow root, aloe, agave nectar, and silk proteins.
There are no sulfates, no estrogenic parabens or phthalates, and no vegetable, seed, or mineral oils used, so you know your beard won’t be in contact with any questionable ingredients.
2. DIY Beard Wash
Here’s the deal.
It’s hard to find an amazing shampoo for your beard since the manufacturers rarely have any clue about the involvement of androgens in healthy facial hair growth.
For this reason, I’ve been making my own beard shampoo, and it’s not that hard to do really.
Most people think that you need a factory and machinery with various “cleaning” chemicals and compounds to create shampoo.
In reality, to make your own sensitive and good-for-hormones beard wash, you need just a couple of ingredients.
Here’s the DIY beard shampoo recipe:
- 2 tsp jojoba oil (closest to the natural oil of the skin).
- 1/4 cup liquid Castile soap (get one with no hemp oil).
- 1/4 cup distilled water.
- Some type of container to put this in.
That’s it. You don’t even need any essential oils for scent, as you should be using beard oil afterward anyway, and those usually have the essential oils in them.
Just add all the above ingredients into a container, give it a good shake, and you’re done. That’s your all natural, DIY shampoo for facial hair, free of xenoestrogenic chemicals like parabens, phthalates, and BPA, and free of DHT suppressing oils you commonly see in shampoos.
It’s also gentle and doesn’t strip away all the natural oils in your beard; which would results in dry beard dandruff and the dreaded “desert face”.
3. Big Forest Shampoo for Beards
I was impressed at the ingredient list of OneDTQ’s beard shampoo called “the Big Forest”.
Turns out it has nothing bad in it (other than small amount of hemp oil), and a bunch of good ingredients (even the possibly androgenic balsam fir oil) to thoroughly clean and nourish your facial hair. (their beard balm – seen on the picture – is also pretty dope stuff).
It has water, organic coconut oil, potassium, olive oil, organic hemp oil, jojoba oil, citric acid, cedarwood oil, balsam fir needle oil, bergamot oil, and vitamin E (which – as a free-radical scavenger, likely balances out the possible negative effects of hemp in terms of lipid peroxidation).
I have previously reviewed their beard care kit here, which includes this facial hair wash as well.
4. Bluebeards Original Unscented Facial Hair Wash
I recently found this great washing product for facial hair.
It’s unscented, free of sulfates and parabens, has none of the common DHT suppressing oils like mint or peppermint oil (beware, they do have a scented version of this shampoo which uses those, don’t get that).
The ingredients in this thing are short and sweet:
Water, Decyl Glucoside, Betaine, Glycerin, Xanthan Gum, Propylene Glycol, Honey, Vitamin E, Aloe Vera Leaf Juice, Panthenol (Provitamin B5), Lecithin, Phenoxyethanol, Caprylyl Glycol, Sorbic Acid.
Granted, this stuff isn’t completely chemical-free, and I still think making your own shampoo is superior to any product. However, their ingredients still beat 99% of the paraben-laden antiandrogenic beard shampoos out there.
5. Dr. Squatch Pine Tar Beard Soap Bar
Dr. Squatch Natural Soap Bar for Beard and Face is easily the best thing ever invented for this very purpose.
Their price is low, the product is great and the pine tar scent smells really amazing. It lathers well and unlike many other soaps, doesn’t leave your face or beard dry at all.
The most important thing, of course, is the ingredients. As beardsmen, we don’t ever want to hurt or slow down the rate of growth, and sadly, many companies put antiandrogenic chemicals like parabens and DHT blocking essential oils like tea tree or lavender into their products.
This is a crucial mistake, as beard growth is regulated and fueled by androgenic hormones, and we want our beard care products (soap included) to help these hormones instead of hindering their natural potential at the follicles.
Dr. Squatch seems to get this, as their beard soap comes with all-natural hormone-friendly ingredients such as;
Saponified olive, palm, and coconut oils, shea butter, lye, sea salt, kaolin clay, natural fragrance, pine tar extract, pine oil, oatmeal, sand, and orange oil.
Since they have the sand and oatmeal in it, this bar provides a nice exfoliation to the skin underneath the beard; a problem area for many.
They do have some other scents than pine, which I don’t actually recommend due to the essential oils in them possibly having some antiandrogenic effects, but the pine one; it’s perfect for facial hair.
Check out their video below, they sure do know how to make a presentation:
6. Duke Cannon Tactical Scrubber + Big Ass Brick of Soap
I have used this black soap bar from Duke Cannon for years now, and while it isn’t specifically designed for facial hair use, it actually cleans that up rather well too, without leaving it dry.
This is because the all-natural soap bars use tallow as the main ingredient, with not much else added, just iron oxide and color agents, bergamot and pepper for scent, and steel cut oats for an exfoliating scrub.
Recently, they have also started making these tactical scrubbers, which make the use of soap bars for beard and face that much easier.
They also benefit the veterans and actually get their inspiration from Korean war G.I’s
All-in-all, this is a great product, not as great as Dr. Squatch, but definitely close.
7. Professor Fuzzworthy’s Beard Wash Bar
This is one of the most popular beard washing products out there.
It’s actually not a soap, it’s a shampoo bar, so while it may not be as versatile as the two above, and it’s a tad bit more expensive than Dr. Squatch, this is still a worthy addition to your beard care arsenal.
When looking at the ingredient list, the only possible small issue I see is the use of soy wax, which at least when ingested orally might have some estrogenic effects.
However, there’s no evidence of that happening on the skin, and it will only be there for mere seconds, so it’s unlikely to cause any issues.
As for the full ingredient list, this is what you find in it:
For what its worth, I think Prof. Fuzzworthy’s is the third best beard wash bar there is. It’s not the best of the beard shampoos, nor the best beard soap (Dr. Squatch is) but a good alternative on the podium.
Regular Shampoo Vs. Beard Shampoo
I want to hammer home the point here.
If you have so much facial hair growing on you that periodically need to clean it, please do not use regular scalp-hair shampoo to do the job.
Firstly because regular shampoos tend to be full of silicone, SLS, sulfates, parabens, phthalates, and other questionable chemicals.
Then the manufacturers often add polyunsaturated vegetable oils into the mix, which unfortunately work against the androgenic hormones necessary for healthy beard growth.
Lastly, shampoo for scalp-hair is efficient in removing all of the natural oil from the hair it’s used on.
And since the skin under your beard produces far less sebum and natural oils than the skin on your scalp, you will end up with a dry and flaky beard in no-time when using regular shampoo
If you wash your beard on a daily basis (mistake, but some men do this) and with a regular shampoo, be prepared for some itchy desert face action in near future.
Beard washes on the other hand – if they’re good quality – should have no harmful chemicals, are gentle enough to leave some natural oils intact, and have no polyunsaturated hormone-suppressing fats in them.
Sure, it’s hard to find products that achieve all of the above, which is why I usually make my own or buy a bottle of Scotch Porters Shampoo.
How to Use Beard Shampoo
I was thinking I probably shouldn’t even write this section, as it’s pretty obvious to everyone with a couple of brain cells how to use shampoo.
(Yes, exactly like you do on your hair, just not as often, and add some beard oil after washing to seal in the moisturizing H2O).
For some ungodly reason if you’ve managed to grow a beard and have no idea how to use beard wash, check out the video above for guidance. As interesting as it is, there seem to be dozens of guides on washing your beard on YouTube, so it must be hard, right?
Frequently Asked Beard Wash Questions
Below are some of the most common questions about facial hair shampoos and soaps, answered in FAQ style.
Q: How much beard shampoo should I use?
Answer: This depends entirely on the length of your beard. For an average-sized beard, a dime-sized amount of beard wash should suffice, but for larger beards, more may be needed.
It’s best to always use a bit less than you think you need, just to make sure that you’re not power-washing the mane and stripping of all the natural oils.
Q: How often should I be washing my facial hair?
Answer: Unless you work in a dirty environment and are prone to getting some grime on your beard on a daily basis, consider washing 2-3 times per week. Even less, if you feel like it.
It can’t be stressed enough how important it is to not wash the beard too often. The sebum oils are the best kind of natural “beard oil” for your face and your best weapon against the dreaded “itchy beard” and flaky beard dandruff.
Q: How can I make beard shampoo at home?
Answer: Making beard shampoo is easy. You only need pure castile soap as the base ingredient, then some purified water, and a carrier oil. Then just get an empty container where to put everything and give it a shake.
I shared my recipe earlier on this post, which included pure castile soap, purified water, and jojoba oil. You’d think there have to be more ingredients in a beard wash, but honestly, that’s unnecessary.
Q: What makes beard shampoo & soap different from regular?
Answer: Regular supermarket soaps and shampoos are filled with unnecessary chemicals like sulfates, silicone, and parabens. They are also fairly strong, which results in more natural oils being washed away. This may work on the scalp, but it’s a bad idea on your facial hair, as the beard is much more reliant on the natural sebum oils.
Beard shampoos and soaps on the other hand (if they’re the good kind) are usually gentle and filled with mostly natural ingredients. They preserve some of the natural oils of the skin and are often free of harmful chemicals.
Q: What is the difference between beard soap and beard shampoo?
Answer: Not much, other than the fact that shampoo is liquidy and beard soap is a solid bar or brick.
Beard shampoos are recommended to use only on the facial hair, while the idea of beard soap is that you could use the bar to wash both; your facial hair and your body.
Therefore the ingredients and composition are different, but both have the same end result; a cleaner beard.
Q: Where to buy beard shampoo and soap?
Answer: You should be able to buy beard shampoo from most large stores and from pretty much all major online retailers like Amazon, eBay, Alibaba, and Walmart.
Conclusion on Facial Hair Shampoo and Soap
Beard shampoos and soaps are some of the more useful beard care products, purely because regular shampoo and soap tend to – for a lack of a better word – suck.
Your best bet and best bang for your buck are to actually make your own DIY beard wash using the recipe above, but if that’s not your cup of tea, I suggest you check out any of the four products mentioned. If your more of a soap guy, pick any of the three options above.
They’re the only brands I managed to find with an ingredient list I can honestly recommend without losing my sleep.
That’s it, thanks for reading and keep on beardin’.