7 ways to keep beard hairs from sticking out

As your beard gets longer and longer, it gets harder to maintain the shape and style. There are many reasons why your beard hair can quickly become out of shape on your face and why the individual hairs may not behave themselves. In this article, we will go over all of the things you can do about keeping beard hairs from sticking out of the lines of your beard. You will be pleasantly surprised by how easy it is to keep your beard in shape!

Keep your beard hairs from sticking out by ensuring that your beard is trimmed well, that the hairs are long enough to fall under their weight, and that your beard maintenance routine works to hydrate and hold your beard hairs throughout the day.

Beard hairs stick out for various reasons, such as dry, unevenly trimmed, curly, and even static build-up from plastic combs. 

Before we get into the answers for keeping beard hairs from sticking out, we need to understand exactly why beard hairs stick out in the first place, and from there, we can decide the best course of action for your beard.

Everyone’s beard is different, and the approach you will need to take will differ from person to person. As you read this article, take notes on what is relevant for your beard and then use those approaches (or a combination of those approaches) to see what works best for you.

Why do beard hairs stick out?

Beard hairs stick out for a variety of reasons, and whatever those reasons, it doesn’t make it any less frustrating when you are trying to create defined lines and style within your beard, but you can’t help it and get these stray hairs that seem to stick up out of nowhere.

Sometimes, I find it difficult to control the stray hairs on my beard because it is particularly curly, and the hairs do not lie in a completely flat position.

Let’s take a look at why your beard hairs stick out:

Super curly hair

Your beard hair may be super curly!

As your beard grows, you will notice that it waves and curls in particular directions, and those directions change over time.

The follicles of beard hairs may grow in a range of different directions on your face. The hair follicles are responsible for introducing some curliness into your beard. The more parallel they lie with the skin’s surface, the curly hair is likely to grow.

Your hair follicles are also responsible for the direction of beard growth, and in some circumstances, the beard can grow in a circular pattern causing a cowlick. If you want to know more about how to deal with beard cowlick, check out my ultimate guide – click here.

The shape of your hair shaft also dictates how curly your beard is. The flatter and more oval the beard hair cross-sectional shape the curly are the beard comes. You cannot tackle this issue directly as your genetics determines this.

In 2003 there was a science article published in the Journal of American Academy of dermatology that looked at the hair shape of curly hair. The hair follicle is a unique organ composed of different compartments that interact surprisingly autonomously.

A hair follicle is a self-renewing organ, and the study found that the shape of the hair shaft is programmed from the hair bulb that grows in the hair follicle.

Dry beard hair

Your hair may also be very dry if you are finding that you have a lot of stray hairs that you have to deal with.

Dry hair can be caused by various reasons resulting in dull, brittle and curly hair.

Dry beard hair can result from a lack of natural sebum produced on the face.

But, as your beard gets longer, you need to use products to supplement the natural oils produced by your face.

Dry beard hair is also associated with age.

As you get older, your face makes less oil and hormonal changes that happen later in life can also lead to dry and easily damaged beard hair.

Environmental conditions such as sea salt and harsh UV ray exposure is common way that beards can become very dry. Unlike head hair and other hair on the body, beard hair is out in the environment every time our face is out.

It is very hard to cover up a beard during the day, and so exposure to wind, chlorinated or salty water, dry, hot climates can easily make your beard dry.

Uneven trimming

Uneven trimming is where your trimmers are unable to pass through your beard completely and leave some of the hairs on your face untrimmed.

To counteract this, you should invest in a beard trimmer that is particularly good for your type of beard.

Here is a list of articles that I have written about different types of beard trimmers for different beard types:

If you want a quick rundown on a couple of options for your beard, check out my YouTube video below. I go through everything you need to know about my two preferred types of trimmers.

The best way to deal with uneven trimming is to regularly brush your hair while passing the trimmers through your beard. The brushing will extend and expose any beard hairs that you have missed on the first pass and allow you to see how even your blades are cutting.

Beard hairs are notoriously hard to trim because even the slightest touches can cause the beard hairs to become entangled and not extend beyond the lines of the beard.

A good quality beard trimmer with a powerful and sharp cutting blade will ensure that your beard doesn’t get flattened as you are trimming.

Static

Static can be caused by a range of things you do to your hair. For example, brushing your hair with a plastic brush can introduce charges onto the hair’s surface, which causes the hairs to repel each other.

You can think of this as the Van de Graaff generator in high school that can introduce static charge into the hair, causing it to stick up and stand on its end. The electricity is generated simply by the friction of a band on an internal surface. The same thought process happens when you rake plastic (or non-organic) materials through your beard.

There are a variety of shampoos and conditioners that can remove static, and some shampoo formulas remove static by using anionic surfactants.

These soaps carry a positive charge; the surfactants (soaps) bond quickly to the hair strands and reduce the frizzy effect of static charges.

The static electricity after using the shampoo results from balancing out the electric charges during the removal of sebum and residue from the face.

So, there are the main ways that hairs stick out from the face and here are the things that you can do to stop the beards from sticking out and causing your beard shape to look scruffy and unkempt.

Ways to stop beard hairs sticking out

The most effective ways to stop your beard hairs from sticking out are based on the type of beard hair, density, and style you have and want to achieve.

In this section, we will highlight all of the ways to stop beard hairs from sticking out. The first one is as simple as chopping away at the hairs you want to remove.

1. Trimming

Trimming your beard into a shape will achieve about 80% of the look that you are aiming for. These days, there is a tendency to rely too much on beard oils and waxes to hold the hair in place.

In my experience, you need to trim up the hairs as a first method of controlling any stray or wild beard hairs.

There are a couple of issues with trimming that we will get into below. However, the first thing I would say is you must cut your beard when it is dry.

Do it dry!

Cutting your beard when it is dry means that it is in its worst possible shape, and then you can get a true gauge of how much you need to remove and which beard hairs you need to remove to keep it in position.

This method was popularised in the curly hair community, and it has gained traction for people with curly hair as it results in the best trimming.

The problem with trimming

There are a couple of issues with trimming up your beard. The biggest one is that regular trimming could leave your beard looking thin.

I often have a pair of scissors next to the mirror in my bathroom, which causes me to regularly over trim my beard. Regularly plucking away and trimming hairs means that you will remove the density of your beard over time. Beards that look thin and see-through can cause your beard hairs to look like they are sticking out more.

I recommend that you trim up only once every couple of weeks, and then you do not get tempted by taking off beard hairs daily.

Learn how to cut your beard effectively by watching my YouTube video below.

2. Wait for the hairs to grow

The second approach that you can use to control the beard hairs sticking out of the lines of your beard is to wait until they are long enough to fall under their weight.

If you aim for a big full beard, this is probably the best option for you rather than taking scissors or trimmers to the hairs that do not behave. Trimming a beard too much can cause it to look thin and weak.

It can take anywhere from about two months to 6 months for hairs to get long enough to fall under their weight. It can be an excruciating wait for this to happen, and in the meantime, you can use products to hold the hair in place.

3. Use products with hold

Using products with a good hold is another great option if you do not want to cut away from your beard hairs. The best products with the maximum amount of hold are:

  • beard wax – beard wax (or moustache wax) is a product that has been formulated to provide a super stronghold for the entire day. They achieve this by using beeswax and other strong wax components to hold the hairs in place literally. You have to be careful not to use too much of this as your beard can quickly and greasy and heavy.
  • Beard balm – beard balm is like beard wax, but it contains less beeswax and more sheer butter or cocoa butter. If you find that beard wax leaves your beard heavy and greasy, consider using a beard balm. It is also really easy to make your beard balm, and you can check out my DIY recipe in the YouTube video below:

4. Products with super conditioning effects

If your beard is dry and persistently dry, this can cause your beard hairs to stick out and make it hard to comb into position.

Using a good beard conditioner is something that many men overlook in favour of beard oils and butter. But using a beard conditioner is one of the best ways to protect your beard and keep the beard hairs from pointing outwards.

Many people have heard of beard oil and beard balm, but this is some next-level hydration treatment.

What are the benefits of beard conditioners?

It can be confusing with beard oils, butter, balms and waxes. Why would you need a product that specifically conditions the beard?

Unlike other products that provide styling and hold components – beard conditioners are formulated for maximum nourishment for your beard.

Here are some of the best reasons that you should consider using a dedicated beard conditioner:

  • It nourishes and moisturizes the beard – one of the biggest benefits to your beard – it makes it lovely and soft and will make your beard hair much easier to manage.
  • It helps soften the stubble on the face – If you are not one for growing a long beard but prefer to keep it close to the skin, it’ll help soften the ends of the hairs and make it way less spikey!
  • Imparts a healthy shine – A well-conditioned beard is one with a nice healthy shine to it. If you want to find out more tips and tricks to making your beard shine – check out my other article.
  • It makes combing and styling easier – having hair that doesn’t grip the comb and sits well after it is brushed into place is an achievable outcome if you use a beard conditioner regularly.
  • It reduces irritation and dry skin – the skin under a beard is not easy to look after. However, the regular use of a conditioner will leave the skin nourished and irritation-free. If you are worried about bacteria and a smelly beard, you can also use a beard conditioner with essential oil antibacterial properties.
  • They leave a nice fragrance – The last and maybe one of the strongest effects noticed by others is that a good beard conditioner will leave your beard smelling lovely! Choose a beard conditioner that has a smell that you like and, if you have a significant other, make sure that they also like the smell! There is nothing quite like a lovely smelling product!

Use a beard conditioner regularly, and you will be sure to have a less wiry beard that is much easier to manage.

5. Heat treatment

Straightening your beard is one of the best ways to keep your beard from growing down and tuck those beard hairs in.

There are many benefits of straightening your beard, which is why so many bearded men use it to control stray hairs and hairs that stick out from the lines of their beards.

Benefits of straightening your beard

There are loads of really great reasons why you should consider straightening your beard. Let’s take a look at the reasons why having a beard straightening product is a brilliant way of taming your beard:

  • it’s easy – running a beard straightener through your hair is such a simple process that you can include it in your daily routine. To straighten a beard, all it takes is two minutes (once you get comfortable with it) in a mirror, and you have a picture-perfect beard.
  • It’s effective – no doubt investing in a beard straightener will quickly get you what you want. Beard straighteners and beard relaxing creams have been designed for ultimate effectiveness. That makes it incredibly attractive to a beard grower and owner.
  • Easy to travel with – if you are a person who regularly travels, carrying all of your creams, balms, waxes, and butter can get a little annoying. It is tempting to replace these products with a simple small electronic gadget. Most beard straighteners and creams pack down incredibly well to not take up too much space in your toiletry bag.

Although these benefits are very appealing for most beard owners, there are some serious and real side effects to straightening your beard. Let’s talk about the downsides of straightening your beard and why you need to consider whether or not it is for you seriously.

Downsides of straightening your beard

Along with the benefits of straightening your beard, there are some real downsides to using any beard straightening product, whether cream or beard straighteners. Let’s take a look at the reasons why you should stop straightening your beard hair.

  • Your beard hair can dry out – regular heat treatments and harsh drying can leave beard hair incredibly dry and brittle. This will increase breakage and fallout, leading to a less dense beard. Also, side-effects of dry hair include more split ends and frizzy hair.
  • It is hiding the real you – trying to control your beard too much and looking for the “perfect” beard may be hiding what makes your beard unique. Leaving it curly or wavy will help it look fuller and more natural.
  • Even though beard straighteners are relatively inexpensive, it is still an extra cost to maintain your beard. Also, these electronic items will need replacing every few years. So, by not using any straightening products on your hair, you will be saving some money.

So, the decision to use a straightener is not as simple as you may think. It comes down to individual choice. If you choose to use a beard straightener, you should use it sensibly. That means not using it every day and regularly giving your beard a day off. You also have to have a pretty rigorous conditioning schedule to ensure that your beard stays hydrated from all of the heat treatment.

So that we can talk about curly beards and straighteners in more detail, let’s take a quick look at why beards are curly. And why some people’s beards are curlier than others.

If you want to read more about whether beard straighteners are worth it, check out my other article.

are beard straighteners worth it - header

6. Wash less often

One of the last things you should consider is how often you shampoo your beard. In the early stages of my beard growth, I would regularly shampoo my beard for fear of smelling or having bacteria grow in it.

Fear not.As long as you do not completely neglect your beard, it will remain healthy and clean.

I recommend that you invest in good beard soap to don’t dry out your hair.

Beard soap is specially formulated for beard hair. Beard hair is very different to head hair as the face makes a lot less natural oil than the top of your head. If you wash your beard regularly, you can easily dry out.

A dry beard is much more prone to damage, and so you will find that not only is it wiry, but you will likely have more hair fall than usual.

Go check out my other article on this website called the best beard soap – the ultimate guide and products – click here.

7. Combing

Combing is recommended in many beard blogs and articles, but in my experience, it is the least effective way of controlling your beard and ensuring a lasting hold.

Sure, combing is an effective tool that you can use to tuck the beard hairs in while you are styling and drying your beard after a shower. Still, regular combing can cause breakages, and the hold and styling controller they provide lasts for a very small amount of time.

You should purchase a comb made of natural products that will not cause any static in your hair.

You can use combing in combination with any of the approaches above but make sure that it is not your primary method of dealing with stray hairs as the hairs that pop out from the lines of your beard need much more control than simple combing can provide.

Conclusion

Keeping your beard hairs from sticking out is a relatively simple task, but you have to be mindful of the root causes of your beard hairs sticking out and use the correct approaches for your particular beard issues.

An unruly beard is something that many bearded men deal with throughout their beard-growing journeys, and as your beard grows and develops, you may find that you’ll have to use a different series of approaches to tackle the same issues.

Good luck with keeping your beard hairs from sticking out, and I’m sure that you will have a beard that you are proud of in no time at all!

The Author


Andy Stapleton

Andy is a writer and YouTuber with a PhD in science. He has written and/or produced videos for Science Alert, COSMOS magazine, and Australia's Science Channel among others. He is an avid beard grower and after many years of growing and trialing different beard styles, he started this blog to share the tips, tricks, and science that he has learned along the way!