I have been growing my beard for over three years, and I constantly wonder if I am doing enough to keep it looking the best it can look. A damaged beard can start slowly. It may be that your hair is a little bit frizzier than usual and can quickly escalate into a high number of breakages and increased beard hair fall.
You can repair a damaged beard easily. No matter how badly your beard has become damaged, you can reverse the effects. Using dedicated beard shampoos, investing in the appropriate products and changing your diet and lifestyle are the best ways to repair a damaged beard.
Catching the beard damage early is the key to resolving the issues quickly. If you allow your beard to progress after noticing any dullness or changes, it can quickly escalate out of control. I have noticed that it is an exponential return on the damage that has been left untreated.
This article will look at how you know how your beard is damaged and the common signs of a damaged beard. Luckily, there are some easy proactive tips that you can implement right away.
How do you know if your beard is damaged?
Healthy beard hair is shiny, lustrous, flows well and is easy to manage. It is very easy to know when your beard is becoming damaged when the shine quickly dulls. The shininess of your beard hair relies on the cuticles (the outside cells of the hair) to be laying flat against the shaft of the hair. When the cuticles become compromised, it is likely to cause your beard hair to become dull.
The dullness is the scattering of light from cuticle cells that have been damaged and are not laying flat against the hairs shaft.
What does damaged beard hair look like?
A damaged beard hair has the following properties:
- dull – the outside cuticle cells have become damaged and are not reflecting the light evenly. Cuticle cells are the first line of defence and, once compromised, will allow more damage to take place.
- Frizzy–damaged beard hairs tend to stick out from the mainline of the beard.
- Stiff – stiff beard hairs are dry, and the inflexibility shows how little moisture there is in the deepest parts of the hair.
- Easy to break – beard hair that snaps off easily is a sign of the later stages of beard damage.
- Very tangled – dry and inflexible beard hairs become much harder to brush, and therefore the hairs tangle much more easily.
Luckily, all of these issues are very easy to solve by using the right interventions. Sometimes it is as simple as changing your morning beard routine, while others rely on applying the right products and ingredients.
Repair a dry beard
Dryness in a beard is one of the easiest things to detect through touch. You may notice that it becomes extra frizzy, you may notice more beard dandruff, or you notice that it absorbs product quickly, and you can never seem to put enough on.
Your beard may be dry and damaged because you overwash your beard, use the wrong shampoo, have a low amount of oil production on your face, or have a long beard that your face can no longer moisturise naturally.
I have found that beard butter is one of the best ways to repair a damaged beard through dryness. I like to apply my beard butter at the beginning of the day before heading out for work or play.
You can also apply beard butter later on in the day if you find that your beard hair is still a little bit dull and you want to bring it back to life a little bit more! If your beard is still looking a little worse for wear and not sitting the way you want it to, you will have to apply a wax or a balm!
If you want to know more about beard butter, check out my awesome guide, which includes everything you need to know from benefits to how to use beard butter and the beard butter ingredient breakdown – click here to be taken to the article.
I also apply Shea butter in large quantities to my beard when I notice that it is dry. Shea butter is extracted from the nuts of the shea tree and has a range of awesome properties that I am yet to get in any other ingredient or product.
If you want to know more about best drive beard solutions, check out my other article – click here – where I go through 16 dry beard solutions that you can experiment with to find the best solution for your beard.
Repair a frizzy beard
Frizziness is particularly frustrating because they can be so many causes. Taming a frizzy beard relies on tackling dryness and trimming up your hair to remove split ends and reduce hair breakage.
I like to tame my beard regularly with scissors and often apply a conditioning treatment to reduce the amount of static and frizziness my beard experiences.
I often find my beard becomes frizzy after taking part in an activity in saltwater or sunlight. This realisation means I can be proactive in preparing my beard before heading into these environments.
Split ends can also cause beards to become frizzy. I quickly trim up any uneven hair growth and remove split ends as soon as I notice them. I keep a pair of sharp barbers scissors near my sink at all times to snip off these little hairs.
I am so paranoid about split ends because they act as the first point of weakness. The split ends allow moisture to wick away from the hair and acts as a catalyst for further damage. The quicker I can blunt the hair, the quicker I can stop my beard from becoming frizzier.
Repair a wiry beard
Beard hair is very thick and wiry. Wiry beard hair is not necessarily an issue until it becomes dry and malnourished. Beard hair is curly and has an oval cross-section, which can become easily intertwined and tangled. Dryness will quickly increase the wiry nature of a beard as it will become less malleable.
If you want to know more about beard hair’s wiry nature, check out my YouTube video where I go through the strange science performed on beard hairs below.
looking in moisture for a wiry beard is the best way that you can repair it. It is really important moisture in your beard as long as possible. This advice is particularly true if you are using heat treatments and tools to style your beard. Most bearded people end up using these tools, which can end up causing more damage in the long run than they solve in the short term.
Using a beard conditioner that is specifically formulated for maximum nourishment is very important. I often do a deep beard condition where I let the beard conditioner set against my beard for more than one hour. My favourite beard conditioner to use is Bluebeard’s beard saver.
One of the last things you should consider is how often you shampoo your beard. In the early stages of my beard growth, I know I would regularly shampoo my beard for fear of smelling or having bacteria grow in it.
However, over-washing your beard will very quickly reduce the number of natural oils in your beard, causing it to become very wiry.
If you want a full rundown on why your beard hair is so wiry and how to stop it being that way, check out my other article – click here – where I go through all of the secrets I have discovered over the past five years of growing my beard.
Repair a beard that breaks easily
If you have a beard that breaks very easily, you are likely in the last stages of beard damage. A beard that breaks easily shows that it has got severe dryness and hydration issues, and it will require a much more rigorous routine to fix.
There is no overnight fix for a beard that breaks easily but, not all is lost. You can repair a beard that breaks easily and is damaged by consistently doing the right thing over a couple of months.
Stopping your beard from breaking involves you creating a beard routine that you can perform every single day. You don’t have to perform the routine perfectly. Rather, you perform it imperfectly for a long time.
Making sure you handle your wet beard with care, embracing a good quality leaving conditioner and trimming up your split ends so that they do not dry out the hairs further up the shaft are all important measures.
Excessive use of heat treatments and chemical treatments are very damaging to beard hair. If you are dying or straightening your beard using chemical straightening techniques, you may want to limit the frequency of use.
Chemical hair straining can be very damaging to the hair, and when it is performed correctly, it still results in a loss of about 20% of the strength of the hair. It results in chemical and physical damage to the hair shaft with the loss of proteins and moisture, resulting in dry and brittle hair. Many beard owners who have used a chemical treatment experience hair fall and breakage above and beyond people who have not chemically straightened their hair.
If you are not eating properly, your beard can also suffer and become very brittle.
For your beard to grow healthily, you must absorb a range of very specific nutrients into your body. This problem isn’t an issue for most people because a naturally varied diet will get all the calories and trace elements they need. However, some on a calorie-restricted or special food group restricted diet may need extra help not to miss any essential beard-growing nutrients.
What can damage your beard?
There are a variety of things that can damage and cause havoc on your beard. Repairing a damaged beard quite often relies on being on the front foot so that your beard isn’t exposed to a wide variety of potentially damaging conditions.
For example, when I go into the sun, I often use a UV protective spray. If I spend the day in saltwater, I will do a deeply hydrating treatment at home that evening. Being proactive in the early stages of any potential beard damage can easily solve any issues and repair the damage early and quickly.
The sun is one of the most damaging things for your beard. UV rays can produce free radicals, which will hurt the beard cells at the DNA level.
Free radicals are highly energetic species that exist in your beard. They are produced naturally by metabolic processes in the body and rely on antioxidants to neutralise their activity.
Making sure that you eat a varied diet full of antioxidants and protect your beard when out and about in the sun is important for minimising the effects of the sun and UV rays on your beard.
Hair straightening is a procedure that can change the physical appearance of the beard. It does this by breaking down some of the bonds between the keratin filaments and altering the hair’s structural integrity. The process is repeated often, and many beard growers can over-rely on heat treatment to tame their beard.
In the many years of growing my beard, I have discovered that there is no reason you shouldn’t straighten your beard as it is a very useful tool. If you want to find out more about whether or not you should straighten your beard check out my other article – should you straighten your beard? The ultimate guide – click here.
You can also watch my YouTube video where I give a concise rundown on all of the benefits and negatives of straightening your beard hair:
If you decide to use a heat treatment (whether it is a beard straightener or a blow dryer) every day, you risk your beard becoming dry and brittle as you are removing more moisture from the beard.
Obviously, you can get around how much your dryer your beard by using the right combination of products and only using intense heat treatments when you need your beard to look extra maintained.
Overwashing your beard can easily damage it by stripping out the natural oils of the beard. Make sure that you use a dedicated beard shampoo that has been specially formulated for beards. Using a head shampoo on your beard means that you will strip too many of the natural oils.
Your head is an oilier place than your face, and the formulation of a head shampoo will reflect that.
Dirt and grime
The smallest amount of dirt and grime can cause beard damage by mechanically affecting the cuticles of the beard hair. If you are around industrial dust such as great and concrete dust, the small sharp particles which get trapped in your beard can cause any significant amount of damage.
Brushing them out with a soft bristle brush at the end of the day is the only way to stop dirt and grime from damaging your beard at night. If you leave the dirt and grime in your beard overnight, it will rub against the hairs and cause cuts and damage to the shaft.
For your beard to grow healthily and remain strong throughout the years that it will be on your face, you need to have a range of very specific nutrients available in your body.
This problem isn’t too much of an issue for most people because you can eat a varied and balanced diet to ensure that you are getting everything you need. A good diet for a beard includes:
- biotin – biotin is one of the major hair, and skin writer means. It is often used in shampoos and other beard products for the treatment of dry hair. A deficiency of biotin can easily lead to brittle beard hair. Eat liver, carrots, and tomatoes to get a good dose of biotin
- Vitamin C – vitamin C is another very important aspect to avoid dry, brittle hair. Vitamin C deficiency means that your hair could be dry, rough, or scaly to the touch. Eat things like broccoli, cabbage, kale, spinach, strawberries, and other green leafy vegetables to ensure that you have vitamin C in your diet.
- Iron – Iron is an important mineral for the oxygenation of body tissues and can lead to dry, brittle beard hair. You should have a look at eating things like beef, eggs, mushrooms, green beans, and kidney beans or lentils to up your iron content.
- Iodine – and iodine deficiency can contribute to dry and brittle hair or hair loss. You should have a look at eating saltwater fish, seafood, as well as kelp and iodised table salt for a boost to your iodine intake.
For more things that you can eat to make your beard, also check out my YouTube video where I talk about the seven foods that will increase your beard growth:
The final word
In this article, we have gone through everything you need to know about repairing a damaged beard. The good thing is that you can repair a beard. Depending on how far gone the damage is, you may need to work to restore your beard to its former glory over a couple of months.
Using the appropriate products and conditioners will ensure that your beard looks awesome for longer. Checking for the early stages of any damage is important as it can weakly escalate into very severe issues for your beard.