How do I stop my beard from breaking? Simple FIXES!

As your beard hair gets longer you may notice that it is harder and harder to properly condition and maintain your hair. Stopping your beard from breaking is something that is easy to achieve with a simple beard maintenance routine and the right products. Over the last few years I have been trying out a range of different routines and product combinations to properly hydrate and condition/nourish my beard hair. Of course, the routine I have created for my beard may not be the perfect option for you as your beard will require different products and focus than mine. In this article, we are going to go over all of the important aspects of how to stop your beard from breaking as well as coming up with a definitive answer to the question: how do I stop my beard from breaking? You’ll be pleased to know it is simpler than you think…

Stopping your beard from breaking is as simple as creating a beard routine that you can do every single day, making sure that you handle your wet beard hair with care, embracing a quality leave in conditioner, and trimming up your split ends so they do not dry out the hairs further up the shaft.

Before we get into the detailed steps that you need to go through to ensure that your beard stops breaking so often you will need to understand why your beard is breaking in the way that you are observing. Because everyone’s beard is different and everyone exposes their beard to different environmental stressors take a read of the following section and take note of which aspects apply to you.

Why does my beard keep breaking off?

Your beard can be breaking for a variety of reasons. Primarily whatever the primary reasons it is causing your hair to be brittle and easy to snap off. If your hair is easy to bend and snap off it is primarily a moisture or nutrition issue which is causing your hair to be so easily damaged.

Dry beard hair reduces its sheen, and it can quickly look frizzy and dull. Because your hair consists of three layers the outside layer needs to be kept flat and well moisturised to keep its shiny and healthy appearance. When your hair is dry the outer cuticle layer breaks down and this is what can cause it to appear dull and appear unhealthy.

Here are some of the reasons why your beard may become damaged or brittle.

Excessive heat

Hair straightening is a procedure that can change the physical appearance of the beard. It does this by breaking down some of the bonds in between the keratin filaments and alters the structural integrity of the hair. The process is repeated often and a lot of 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 run down 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 run the risk of your beard becoming dry and brittle as you are removing more moisture from the beard then you are replacing. Obviously, you can get around how much you 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.

If your beard heat treatment is too hot you can also cause an issue called bubble hair. This is explained in more detail in a journal published in 1994 where the heating of damp air can cause bubbles to form inside the beard hair fibres. This in turn results in dry, weak, and brittle hair which is very easy to break.

Chemical treatments

Some beard owners opt for a permanent straightening procedure which is a chemical process which can be used to tame a particularly curly or wild beard. Straightening of a beard with a chemical process result in at least 35% of the bonds being changed.

The chemical process involves the use of a strongly alkaline agent and so it must be applied by a professional salon otherwise it can cause significant injury to the skin, scalp, eyes, and any other place it is used.

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 the 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.

Dye  

If you are an older gentleman who has decided to dye their beard hair you need to be warned that excessive use of beard dies can cause your beard to dry out and make it more prone to breakages. The repeated dying of beard hairs can include some side effects such as:

  • dry hair
  • hair loss
  • facial irritation
  • allergies
  • and other medical issues.

If you find that you are experiencing any of the above you should stop using die in till the symptoms go away. For more serious side effects associated with the use of a beard die you may want to speak to your health care provider or a dermatologist before continuing the use.

Poor nutrition

If you are not eating properly your beard could suffer!

For your beard to grow in a healthy manner and remained 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. For most people this isn’t too much of an issue because you can simply eat a varied and balanced diet to make sure that you are getting everything you need. However, for people who are on a calorie restricted or food group restricted diet you may need extra help to make sure that you are not missing AR any of the essential beard nutrients.

This includes:

  • biotin – biotin is one of the major hair and skin writer means. It is often used in shampoos and other beard products for 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. A deficiency of vitamin C 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 not vitamin C in your diet.
  • iron – iron is an important mineral for the oxygenation of body tissues and can lead to things like 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 weather

There is no doubt that weather can play a massive component in how dry and brittle your hair can end up. If you live in a particularly dry or cold environment you can very quickly dry out your beard.

Cold air causes the hair cuticles to left which allows the moisture to escape from the middle of the hair shaft. Going between cold air and then hot heated environments will cause your hair to dry out faster so you will need to make use of a leaving conditioner if you are going in and out of hot and then cold environments.

A very windy environment will also cause your hair to dry out very quickly.

On the other end of the scale you have a dry and arid environment which, will come as no surprise to you, can also dry out your beard hair very quickly. Embracing a leave in conditioner at the end of your day and doing regular dehydration treatments can allow you to replace the moisture that is lost because of the environmental conditions that you are putting your beard through.

The wrong products

One of the last ways that you are able to dry out your beard hair is if you are consistently using the wrong products. If you are using a shampoo, for example, that is meant for head hair the harsh soaps can quickly dry out your beard.

I have played about with nearly every sort of beard shampoo and product and I have found that any organic and high quality product is safe to use as long as it is specially formulated for the hair on your face. Anything else seems to dry out my beard quicker!

Now, let’s take a quick look at how you can repair a damaged beard even if you are struggling to keep it from being wild, frizzy, and dry!

How can I repair my damaged beard?

Preparing a damaged beard is surprisingly simple. It is not something that you can solve by doing one treatment every so often this is about producing a routine which makes your beard consistently hydrated and nourished. You need to come up with a routine that you can perform every single day and this isn’t about doing everything at once but rather being consistent and using small steps every day to make your beard better.

Create an awesome beard routine

Creating an awesome daily beard routine will be the number one tool that is able to turn your dry and brittle hair into awesome, shiny, soft hair. Here is my simple beard routine that I follow every single day. Feel free to use this as an inspiration for crafting your own beard routine.

  • Wash my beard with a quality beard soap every other day – Don’t wash your beard hair every day. I like to wash my beard hair every 2 to 3 days depending on my daily activities and how likely my beard is to get dirty.
  • Put a little bit of beard oil or beard conditioner in before blow drying – I find that putting a little bit of beard oil or beard conditioner in my beard before blow drying or straightening keeps the moisture where it is going to be most beneficial which is in the hair. I make sure that I get it from root to tip and it is evenly dispersed.
  • Light heat treatment – I use a very light hairdryer treatment to straighten my hair and keep it tame. I never use a high heat and I never put the blow dryer right up against my beard. I am sure to finish off the heat treatment with a cool blowdry so that my hair recovers as quickly as possible and the cuticles cool down and lay flat.
  • Oil or beard balm – I finish off my heat treatment with a little bit of beard balm or beard oil. If I need a little bit of control, I will opt for a beard balm with a bit of beeswax in the ingredient list.
  • Combing – throwing all of these treatments I make sure that I use a good quality beard comb and a natural bristle brush to tease the hairs into how I want them to sit and lay on my face.

Feel free to adopt this treatment and I recommend that you stick with it for at least two weeks before deciding whether or not it is working. Dry or brittle hair cannot be reversed in one night but requires a habitual approach to keep it looking awesome.

Handle wet hair with care

Wet hair is able to be damaged significantly easier than dry hair. Hair is comprised of protein created in the hair follicle. In the middle of the hair are proteins called keratin and they are covered in cuticles which is like a protective covering for the middle of the hair. When hair is wet it absorbs the water and swells. This interrupts the bonds in the hair making it easier to damage.

As the hair is stretched the stretching deforms the outer protective layer causing the cuticle edges to lift up and break stop once it’s cuticle armour is damaged it can make the beard feel rough and more wiry.

This means you should take extra care of your hair when it is wet.

If you cannot escape the act of brushing wet hair you just need to approach it with particular care and respect. That will mean that you do not accidentally snap your beard hair.

Experiment to find the right products

Beard products are something that I didn’t think were important. That was, until I started using them and adding them to my daily routine. Sometimes I like to experiment with different beard products and I take note of how it leaves my beard feeling and whether or not it reduces the breakage.

Some of the best products for you to use are:

  • beard oil,
  • beard balm,
  • beard conditioner,
  • beard wax,
  • leave in conditioner,
  • beard shampoo,
  • hair heat protector,
  • and much more…

Making sure that you are using products that are made by a reputable manufacturer and that have organic ingredients will mean that you can be sure that you are buying the right products for your beard!

Embrace leave in conditioner

leave in conditioner is going to be something that is particularly good for a beard that breaks regularly. If you want to know more about that check out my other article – the 10 best beard conditioners [beyond oil and balm] – click here.

What are the benefits of beard conditioners?

It can be confusing with beard oils, butters, balms and waxes. Why would you need a product that specifically conditions the beard. Unlike other products that also provide a styling and hold component – 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 wirey hair much easier to manage.
  • It helps softens the stubble on the face – If you are not one for growing a long beard but prefer to keep it close to the skin the 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 that has 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!

So, there are the main benefits of using beard conditioner on your beard!

Trim your split ends in your beard

The last thing that you can do to make sure that your beard isn’t breaking is to trim up your split ends. Split ends are relatively easy to identify in your beard as it looks like a beard hair that has been split into or more. Trimming them up will mean that you are closing off the beard hair and stopping the damage from migrating from the end up the shaft of the beard hair.

You should trim up your beard every six weeks unless you are experiencing a significant number of split ends. Trimming up every six weeks means that you are removing the damage caused by weathering but also not trimming it so frequently as to reduce the length of the beard hair significantly.

What do beard split ends look like?

Although the underlying cause of each type of beard split ends is the same (dryness and weathering) the way that the hair responds to splitting depends on the hair structure and how far up the hair the damage progresses.

There are three main types of split ends:

  • snake tongue – this looks like a snake tongue where it is equally forked at the end of the hair. In other words one hair turns into two equal sections at the end forming a Y.
  • Complete removal of the outer cuticle – this is where the beard hair looks as if it has been stripped like a wire is stripped of its outside plastic coating. This is where the complete outer layer of the hair is removed and all that remains is the inner section without any protection.
  • Branching – this is where the hair has undergone several individual splits and it resembles a tree. It could be that one side of the hair has more splits than other and this creates an unbalanced branching of cortical cells. This shows that you have relatively advanced beard hair splitting and you should consider a deep hydration treatment or a serious trim up as quickly as possible. Perhaps branching is caused by exposure to harsh weathering so if you work outside or in a harsh environment you may see this more than the average person.

All of these different types of beard hair splits are bad and need to have urgent treatment to make sure they don’t further damaged the hair or cause it to become brittle and easier to damage through brushing.

How do you treat split ends in a beard?

If you want to know more about how to treat split ends you should check out my other article which has everything you need to know about fixing split ends – click here for all of the insider information.

My beard has split ends – the quick, easy fixes!

The final word

So, there we have all of the ways that you can stop your beard from breaking. Remember, that is not about a simple single fix or silver bullet that will stop your beard from breaking but an ongoing approach with daily treatments to protect your beard hair and keeping moisturised and well nourished.

Happy beard my beautiful beard growing friends!

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!