Can you put hair conditioner on your beard?

When we start growing a beard, it is tempting to use the products that we already have to hand to clean and wash our beards. Nearly everyone’s shower already has hair shampoo and hair conditioner, and for a while, it seemed reasonable to assume that we could use both of these products on our beards and our heads.

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Can you put hair conditioner on your beard? Can you use hair shampoo to cleanse your beard?

All of these questions are going to be answered in this article. The simple answer is:

Yes, you can use hair conditioner on your beard. Both beard conditioner and hair conditioner contain similar ingredients that nourish, moisturise, and remove the static frizz from your beard and hair.

However, beard conditioners contain more natural oils and are a better alternative if you want to look after your beard.

We need to look at the ingredients to understand the difference between beard conditioners and hair conditioners. We shall cover that in the next section.

Beard conditioner vs hair conditioner

In the tables below, I have outlined the ingredients of a common beard conditioner and a well-known brand of hair conditioner and listed what it does next to the ingredient.

I have used my PhD in chemistry and found why each ingredient is included.

Here is a quick rundown on the main differences between beard conditioners and hair conditioners.

The tables will give you an idea of how similar and different each ingredient is for the beard conditioner and the hair conditioner.

What’s in a beard conditioner?

Beard conditioners contain a mixture of ingredients that reduce the static and frizzing in your hair and stabilise the product, providing a long shelf life.

While looking at the ingredients below, you should notice that several natural oils are included in the beard conditioner.

The oils are included because the skin on your face does not produce as many oils as your head.

The inclusion of oils means that a good beard conditioner will add in some extra oil which, if used on your hair, would make the hair on your head look greasy.

Here’s everything in a beard conditioner:

Beard conditionerWhat it does
WaterSolvent
Cetearyl Alcoholemollient, viscosity controlling, emulsifying, surfactant/​cleansing
 Dimethiconestops it from separating
 Behentrimonium ChlorideReduce static and frizzing
 AmodimethiconeSilicon polymer
 Behentrimonium Methosulfatesurfactant/​cleansing
 Persea Gratissima (Avocado) Oiloil
 Cyclopentasiloxanetexture improver
 Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) ButterNourishment
 Mentha Piperita (Peppermint) Oiloil
 Eucalyptus Globulus Leaf Oiloil
 DimethiconolSilicon-based oil
 Olea Europea (Olive) Fruit Oiloil
 C10-40 Isoalkylamidopropylethyldimonium EthosulfateAntistatic
 Cetyl Alcohol
 Tocopheryl AcetateVitamin E
 Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oiloil
 Caprylic/Capric TriglycerideCoconut oil
 Panthenolmoisturiser
 Disodium EDTAPreservtives and stabiliser
 Citric Acid
 Glycol StearateSkin conditioner
 Dipropylene GlycolImproves texture and stability
 PhenoxyethanolPreservative
 Benzoic AcidStabiliser
 EhtylhexylglycerinPreservative
 Glycereth-2 Cocoate
 Fragrance (Parfum)perfuming

An interesting inclusion to this beard conditioner is the antistatic and anti-frizz ingredients.

Behentrimonium Chloride is a yellow waxy organic compound that can be used as an antistatic agent in conditioners.

Antistatic molecules work by making the surface of the hair slightly conductive. The molecules often have water-loving and a water-hating.

The water-hating side interacts with the hair while the water-loving side interacts with the air moisture and stops frizzing.

So, if you have a lot of issues with curly beard hair, using a dedicated beard conditioner will be one of how you can assure yourself you have done everything you can to reduce the frizz.

Does hair conditioner often contain the same amount of oils and anti-frizz agents? Let’s find out in the next section.

What’s in a hair conditioner?

I took these ingredients from a popular brand of hair conditioner. What your notice is that the top two ingredients are the same as the beard conditioner.

It also contains several other ingredients that improve the product’s feeling and stability.

One thing that is interesting to note about a hair conditioner is that this brand does not contain as many natural oils as the beard conditioner.

Yes, there will be some variation in the different ingredients between brands. If you want to, I’m sure that you could find a hair conditioner with a good amount of natural organic oils to match the beard conditioner’s ingredients.

In this table, I have highlighted the ingredients and what each ingredient does.

What is in a typical hair conditioner:

Hair conditionerWhat it does
Aqua/Watersolvent
Cetearyl Alcoholemollient, viscosity controlling, emulsifying, surfactant/​cleansing
Propylene Glycolmoisturiser/​humectant, solvent, viscosity controlling
Maleic Acidbuffering
Behentrimonium Methosulfatesurfactant/​cleansing
Ethanolaminebuffering
Stearamidopropyl Dimethylamineemulsifying, surfactant/​cleansing
Glycerinskin-identical ingredient, moisturizer/​humectant
Phenoxyethanolpreservative
Hydroxyethylcelluloseviscosity controlling
Parfum/Fragranceperfuming
Quaternium-91
Polyquaternium-37viscosity controlling
Benzoic Acidpreservative
Paraffinum Liquidum/Mineral Oilemollient, solvent
Cetrimonium Chlorideantimicrobial/​antibacterial, emulsifying, preservative, surfactant/​cleansing
Cetrimonium Methosulfateantimicrobial/​antibacterial, emulsifying, surfactant/​cleansing
PPG-1 Trideceth-6surfactant/​cleansing
Acrylates Copolymerviscosity controlling
Hexyl Cinnamalperfuming
Linaloolperfuming
2-Oleamido- 1,3-Octadecanediol
Citronellolperfuming
Sorbitan Oleateemulsifying

These ingredients are perfect for head hair, and they can be used comfortably on beard hair too.

If your beard ends up too dry after using hair conditioners, I recommend switching to a dedicated beard conditioner.

In the ingredients list above, you’ll notice that there are still some surfactant (soap) and cleansing ingredients in the hair conditioner.

The extra soaps mean that a hair conditioner has a higher potential of drying out your beard and removing the natural oils, leaving your beard looking dry and dull.

THE BOTTOM LINE

The number one thing you should take from these tables is that although the ingredients are very similar, the beard conditioner formulation contains more natural oils.

Your beard is naturally a less oily spot on your head than your head hair. Also, the conditioner for your head contains some soaps which can further dehydrate your beard.

If you are new to growing a beard, then a head conditioner will be fine for a while.

As your beard gets longer, I would recommend migrating to a dedicated beard conditioner which will allow you to replace the natural oils that you lose during shampooing.

Maintaining a balance between removing the dirt and grime that builds up throughout the day and not stripping the hairs from the natural oils produced by your face will be the ultimate balancing act for keeping your beard looking healthy, shiny and well-nourished throughout the day.

Will a hair conditioner soften a beard?

A conditioner will soften a beard.

But, a beard conditioner has been specially formulated to deal with the environment encountered on the face (rather than the environment on your head). A dedicated beard conditioner will likely leave a beard softer than a hair conditioner.

There is no reason why you cannot use a hair conditioner to achieve a soft and conditioned beard in the early stages of growing out your beard.

As your beard gets longer, I recommend investigating the different beard conditioners, which will more likely give you a better outcome for your longer beard hair.

Using hair products on beard

What about other hair products? Can you use other hair products on a beard?

In the bullet list below, I have listed some common hair products which you may or may not be tempted to use on your beard. It would help if you never used some of these products on your beard as they could dry out the hair.

Whilst others can be used freely.

  • Hair shampoo – never use hair shampoo on your beard. The hair shampoo is specifically designed to remove oils from your head hair. You see, the scalp is much more oily than the skin on your face. If you want to know more about the best beard soaps, check out my other article, where I have an ultimate guide and an introduction to the best products – click here to be taken to article.
  • Hair conditioner – this is what this article is all about. Even though you can use hair conditioner on your beard, I would recommend using a dedicated beard conditioner because of the extra emphasis on replacing the oils in your beard after shampooing.
  • Anti Frizz – yes, you can use an anti-frizz spray on your beard. Anti-frizz sprays typically have small electronically charged molecules that stick to the hair and electrically conduct stuff away from the hair’s surface. If you find that your beard is very frizzy, using an anti-frizz spray may be the only way to combat the static that builds up during the day or combing and other grooming maintenance.
  • UV protector – yes, you can use a UV protector spray on your beard. If you work a lot outdoors, your beard is highly recommended to be protected from UV rays. These are relatively inexpensive, and a simple spritz on top of your beard will protect it throughout the day.
  • Heat protector – yes, you can use a heat protector on your beard. Heat protectors for beards protect the hair from the temperature extremes they encounter when blow-drying or straightening your beard. If you straighten your hair every morning and want to protect your hair, this is probably one of the best investments you can make.
  • Oils – yes, you can use oils on your beard. Natural oils are a great way to impart some moisture and nourishment to your hair, and the oils don’t discriminate on the type of hair. You can use it on your face and your head hair. You will find that your beard will require more oiling than your head, as your head is quite good at producing natural oils.

Can I use regular shampoo and conditioner on my beard?

It would help if you didn’t use regular shampoo and conditioner on your beard.

Regular shampoo and conditioner are formulated for the types of oils and build-up you get on the top of your head. That is a very different environment to your face’s cheek and chin area.

Head shampoo is an absolute no for beards! 

They use stronger surfactants (soaps) than beard shampoo formulations.

Completely stripping your beard of its natural oils will only damage your beard and make it dry and dull. Once this happens, it is hard to recover, and it takes several weeks to replace the natural oils, which build up over time.

The Head conditioner is okay.

Using a head conditioner on your beard, as this article highlights, is okay in the short run.

It’s not formulated for beards, but it will do the majority of the conditioning that you want from a beard conditioner. As your beard gets longer and you need to care for your beard more, I recommend switching to a dedicated beard conditioner that contains more natural oils to replace the oils removed when shampooing your beard.

If you want to use your hair conditioner on your beard, I recommend using a conditioner formulated for dry head hair. That will make it more suited to the conditions on your face.

Does conditioner help beard growth?

There is no evidence to support the fact that a conditioner can help increase your beard growth. However, by using conditioner, your beard grows better and stronger by protecting the hairs that your face can produce. 

Using a conditioner can help beard growth by ensuring that each hair is strong and is less likely to become damaged and therefore break.

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

  • It nourishes and moisturises the beard – one of the biggest benefits to your beard – it makes it lovely and soft and will make your wirey 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 achievable 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!

Supporting your beard by conditioning the hair will help support your beard growth. It just encouraged extra growth that wouldn’t have happened naturally.

Best beard conditioner

I have written a whole article on the best beard conditioner is that you come by – click here to be taken to the article where I compare ten awesome options for you.

Beard and stache conditioner

Check price on Etsy

Elixirium’s BEARD & STACHE CONDITIONER is formulated, especially for facial hair use.
Like the entire elixirium’s BEARD & STACHE line, it results from months of thorough research and numerous trials and errors to become of super premium quality and top of the line signature beard and moustache care products.

A carefully designed blend of vegan wax, organic butter like Shea and Coconut butter, organic Argan, Avocado, Jojoba and Castor oils, and organic Liquid Silk proteins and vitamin F. The ingredients form a rich conditioning cream which is the key to a silky soft, vivid, properly moisturised and well-nourished and wonderfully scented glorious beard and moustache.

INGREDIENTS: Organic Liquid Silk Proteins, Shea butter, Vegan Wax, Argan oil, Coconut butter, Avocado oil, Jojoba oil, Castor oil, Vitamin F.

Summary

In the short run, using hair conditioner on your beard is fine. Yes, it contains some soaps which can further dry out your beard, and it doesn’t contain as many natural oils as your beard would probably like, but it won’t cause any damage.

As your beard gets longer and you care more and more about your beard, you should consider using a dedicated beard conditioner instead of a hair conditioner.

Your beard will be given the best chance to be strong, shiny, and well-nourished, even if you choose to shampoo it often.

It would help if you also considered backing up your beard conditioning with a leaving conditioner such as a beard balm or a beard butter. This will be the best combination of products to keep your beard looking awesome throughout the day!

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!