Five simple ways to curl your beard

Curling a beard is something that can provide a unique style to your look. When I was growing out my beard, I couldn’t wait to have a long moustache to curl using beard wax. Most people are aiming for a straight beard. A straight beard gives you maximum length but can be a little bit boring. Learning to place a few curls can be a fun way to liven up your beard.

You can curl your beard using heat from a curling iron or flat iron beard straightener, you can use rollers after a shower, you can scrunch your beard using a moose and hold spray, and you can braid or twist up your hair for maximum curliness.

Before you start curling your beard, you need a long beard. A long beard can take you many months to grow out, and the hair has to be at least 3 to 4 inches away from the surface of your skin. This length will allow you full access to the hair without getting close to your skin.

Curling your beard will also give it the appearance of being shorter and bushy. Depending on the size of the curls, you can also change the density at various points.

Be careful that you do not overheat your beard hair with any curling iron or beard straightener, as it can quickly dry out and make your beard more brittle.

Before you start curling your beard, I recommend that you gather together all of the tools you use and prepare your beard appropriately.

Before you start

Knowing exactly the outcome of your beard curling experiment will help you decide the best tools to use. If you want very defined curls, you may use a curling iron or flat iron straightener. If you do not want to use any heat treatment, you need to purchase moose and hair ties or curling rollers to place the curls in your beard.

Your beard will likely return to its natural shape as soon as you wash it. So, if you want your beard to be curled in a particular way for a particular event, you need to ensure that your beard will not get wet or be washed between setting the curls and the event you want to wear them in.

The size and type of curl that you will be able to put in your beard will be dependent on the length.


To produce the best curling outcome for your beard, the longer the beard hair, the better.

I recommend that your beard is at least 3 inches off of the skin. Three inches is the bare minimum you need to get the heat treatment tools through the beard without damaging the skin underneath.

You have to be very careful when using any sort of high heat device next to your skin. A 2008 study showed an estimated 105,081 hair care product-related injuries over five years, of which 78% of them involved a curling iron.

Ensuring that you have the most amount of hair possible before using any heat treatment will minimize any risk to your underlying skin.

If you do not have an incredibly long beard but still want to induce some extra curliness into your beard, you can use non-heat treatment techniques such as rollers, ties, and scrunching up your beard using moose.

The great thing about these techniques is that they can be done on any length of beard.

Heat tools that you can use

Heat tools are the typical way in which people induce curliness into a beard. There are three types of heat tools that you can use to induce curls into your beard:

  • Hairdryers
  • flat iron straighteners
  • beard straighteners (heated comb or brush)

Heat treatment and beard straighteners are inexpensive solutions to a wide range of beard problems. We are very quick to reach for the easiest solution to beard problems possible. A lot of times, this is a beard straightener or hot iron.

A 2004 study looked at the thermal effects of a curling iron on hair fibres and found significant damage to the hair’s surface. They found that the amount of surface damage depends on the moisture content of the hair, and they looked at the effect on both wet and dry hair.

Scanning electron microscope examination revealed that the hair fibres treated under dry conditions showed cracking both along and across the hair. Similar thermal treatment on wet hair resulted in severe damage and bubbling and buckling of the cuticle due to the formation and the escaping of steam from the fibre.

Using a heat tool on your beard should always be approached with caution.

Preparing the beard

Making sure your beard is completely clean and well-conditioned before curling can ensure that the effects are long-lasting and you are less likely to damage your beard hair.

Before using any heat treatment, this is how you should prepare your beard:

  • shampoo and condition your beard fully – use a dedicated beard shampoo not to dry out your beard too much and follow up with a good quality beard conditioner. Rinse it out and use slightly cold water to lock your cuticles in place.
  • Towel dry your beard hair – make sure that your beard still has a little bit of moisture left over from the shower, but you do not want it dripping wet.
  • Apply a little bit of beard oil – I apply about three drops of beard oil to my beard’s entire surface.
  • Blowdry and comb straight – now you may be wondering – why are you using a blow dryer? I have found that using a beard straightening comb on its own does not give me the desired straightening effect. So, first of all, I blowdry my beard to dry throughout, and I use the heat to start to tame my beard in the right direction.

Alternatively, if you are not using a heat tool to curl your beard, you still need to wash your hair completely and then use the techniques described below during drying.

Heat protector products

If you regularly use beard straighteners, you should consider buying a heat protection spray protecting your hair from the high temperatures that he experiences while using heat treatments.

Check out all of the heat treatment sprays that you can buy on Amazon – click here.

A heat protection spray contains chemicals that absorb the heat and should also contain other chemicals which allow you to comb your hair easily. This should create a super sleek and smooth style.

Setting products

To set the curls, you can use a hairspray or beard balm and wax to set the style once it has been created. Using a setting product will give you a long-lasting hold even if your hair gets slightly damp, such as a shower or light sprinkling from rain.

Here are all of the ways that you can curl your beard.

Using a Curling iron

Curling irons have been used for curling long hair for many years, and there are very good and reliable products on the market.

To curl your beard reproducibly and safely, here are the steps that you should go through:

  1. Heat the curling iron – heat the curling iron for approximately five minutes and use the highest setting possible – about 220° for thick beard hair is perfect. Do not hold this curling iron against your beard for too long at this high heat.
  2. Use on completely dry beard hair – the science says that putting a hot heat tool on damp hair can seriously damage it. Make sure that your beard is completely dry and blowdry across any damp spots. Check for any damp spots by giving your beard a blast with cold air – this will make it stand out.
  3. Apply a heat protection spray – exposing your beard hair to high heat regularly can cause significant damage. Spray the heat protector spray liberally across all of your beards before applying any tools.
  4. Take a small section of your beard and wrap it around the curling iron, beginning at the top or the bottom. For a strong curl, wrap your hair around the iron, starting from the bottom. For looser waves, start curling your beard from the middle and let the ends stay out straight.

Using a flat iron

Using flat irons on your beard is a way of imparting a lot of heat. This tool can be good if you have tried other heat treatments and nothing has worked for you so far.

How do I curl my beard - Flat iron

Using a flat iron very much follows the curling iron option above. Here are all the steps that you should go through:

  1. Always run a heat protectant through your hair first – the heat protectant will protect your beard and mean that the amount of heat does not cause significant cracking of the hair.
  2. Heat the curling iron – heat the curling iron for approximately five minutes and use the highest setting possible – about 220° for thick beard hair is perfect. Do not hold this curling iron against your beard for too long at this high heat.
  3. And run your straightener over the hair to smooth out before curling.
  4. Clamp the iron on the hair close to your skin and then flip or twist the tool. How much you twist the tool is going to determine how much curl you achieve. Partial flipping of the tool gives you looser curls whilst total flipping results in tight ringlets.
  5. Glide the straightener down the hair and you have a curl in your beard.
  6. Repeat for the rest of your beard until you are happy with the results.


Hair rollers can be used to give your beard a nice number of curls. They were the name of the game before the hairdryer’s invention and are still just as useful today. You can often find hair rollers incredibly cheap online, and they are just as effective.

How do I curl my beard - rollers

Using hair rollers effectively on your beard means going through the following steps:

  1. choose your hair rollers – smaller sizes give you tire curls, while the larger sizes are great for gentle curls. If you have short beard hair, you properly want to use smaller rollers.
  2. Get your beard damp or use it directly after a shower – damp hair will help you achieve more curls. Some people also like to use a volumizing spray before they roll their beards into the rollers.
  3. Divide your beard intersections – this is important for people with very thick beards. Split your beard intersections and aim to have a thin layer of hair for each roller.
  4. Roll from the end to the root – roll your beard hair from the end of the hair up until the route. Gently place the end of your hair on the roller and rolled up as tight as possible. The curl should come out and down from your face, and you can use any clips to hold it in place at the surface of the skin
  5. let your rollers set – leave it in for a minimum of 10 minutes but the longer, the better.
  6. Remove the rollers after at least 30 minutes.

These steps will mean that you are fixing a curl across your beard and holding it into place with different hold sprays or beard wax. Using a light beard balm before rolling your beard hair into the rollers will also increase the amount of hold.

Scrunch your beard

to get a reliable curl when you are scrunching your beard, you should use a volumizing or curl-enhancing shampoo on your beard. There aren’t any beard specific ones, so I recommend using a volumizing or curl-enhancing shampoo for dry hair. This shampoo will dry out your beard much less than a regular head shampoo.

Here are the steps for getting reliable curls into your beard using the scrunching method:

  1. Wash and condition your beard using the appropriate volumizing or curly shampoo
  2. Towel dry your hair to get rid of most of the water – avoid using a hairdryer to get rid of the excess moisture as it will make curling more difficult
  3. Apply a volumizing mousse to your beard. You can also use sprays, gels and creams, but a moose is much more popular. Use a stronghold moose if you have got a very thick beard.
  4. Scrunch your beard – grab small sections in your hand and squeeze it up towards your chin. Use this motion all over your face.

Allow your beard to dry, and you can use a cool blowdry to dry out your beard completely. Be careful not to use high heat since the heat will cause your beard curls to drop out under their weight.

Braid your beard

A regularly mentioned method for minimizing beard forking and inducing curls is to put a braid or plat in the middle of the beard. Braids do an awesome job of bringing in the hair surrounding the gap and holding it into place, and creating curls once they have been woven. There are two ways that you can use braids:

  1. When you are drying your hair in the morning, you could use a braid to hold the beard in place while it air dries – and then undo the braid before you head out into the world.
  2. Keep a small or large braid in your hair during the day to hold the beard together. It doesn’t have to be very large (and obvious) to do a good job and keeping the two sides of the fork together.


In this article, we have been over everything you need to know about how to curl your beard. You can use heat treatments or drying treatments to introduce curls into your beard.

You have to make sure that if you are using heat treatment, you do not leave it in your beard for too long, as science shows significant damage can be caused when wet hair is heated up. The water turns into steam and can cause bubbling.

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 trialling different beard styles, he started this blog to share the tips, tricks, and science that he has learned along the way!