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How to make your beard less prickly in a flash!

Sometimes beards get prickly. It is normally when a partner or girlfriend starts noticing scratching on their face as you are kissing or hugging. In the early stages of growth beards are very prickly if you touch them. There’s a range of reasons why your beard may be more prickly than it should be and there is no escaping the fact that beard hairs are thick and can be very spiky just after shaving or trimming. In this article, we are going to go over how to make your beard less prickly and all of the tips and tricks for keeping it soft and supple.

You can make your beard less prickly by growing it out just a few more millimetres, by using a beard conditioner either after shampooing or as a leave in conditioner (like beard balm) and you could decide to trim less regularly so that the ends get a chance to be weathered and not as sharp. There are also home remedy is such as banana and honey and coconut oil for making your beard less prickly.

Before we launch into how to make your beard less prickly we need to understand why beards and stubble end up so spiky so that we can properly combat all of the spiky notes that we experience throughout the growing journey.

Why is my facial hair so prickly?

If you’ve been finding that your beard hairs are getting thicker and more prickly here are all of the reasons why your facial hair may be starting to resemble that of a hedgehog’s spikes.

Recently shaved

Perhaps you have recently shaved and there are only a few millimetres of growth on your face. When you shave your beard you inadvertently create a sharp point on the end of the hair. This is exacerbated by multi-blade razors which pull out the hair before cutting it. On a side note, if you find that you are suffering from a load of ingrown hairs try switching a to a single blade razor.

If you have recently shaved just give it a few days before you shave it again if you want to reduce the amount of prickly hairs. Obviously, you can also decide to shave every single day if you want to stop your facial hair from becoming so prickly. Keeping on top of the growth will be the key in keeping it soft and prickle free.

Not long enough to bend

As hairs emerge from your face they are anchored into your skin in the hair root. This hair root acts as a perfect foundation for providing strength to the hair follicle. What also happens is that the anchoring of the hair causes the beard hair to grow straight out and is very hard to bend when it is short.

Because the hair doesn’t bend or move around in the hair follicle it feels prickly to the touch. If you are to allow the hair to get longer the hair would simply bend out of the way and not feel prickly.

Recent trim

If you have recently trimmed the ends of the long beard you may also experience prickly hairs on the extremities of your beard hairs and along the defined lines that you have trimmed into your beard.

As hairs grow they naturally taper to a point. If you trim them the tapered point gets replaced with a harsh end. This harsh end can feel prickly to the touch. The harsh cut and of the hair doesn’t last too long as weathering and exposure to other environmental conditions will slowly soften the ends of the hair.

So, if you’ve recently had a trim – fear not – it will probably clear up with a little bit of patience and a little bit of leave in conditioner or diligent shampooing.

Thick beard hairs

Beard hairs are thick and fat. The hair thickness is determined by the size of the hair papilla. The more space there is at the root of the hair shaft the flicker the hair produced is. On other parts of your body, the hair shaft is tinier and so the hairs are thinner even if they are dark. The hair papilla on the male beard hair follicle is around four times the size of the hair papilla in the male scalp local. This is what makes beard hair so thick. To find out more about why beard hairs are so thick check out my other article – why are beard hair so thick? [Answer is from science] – click here to be taken to article.

Lack of moisture

One of the most important things your hair should retain is moisture. Beards can dry out for a variety of reasons and this turns them into incredibly wiry and untamed messes.

You should aim to replenish the moisture in your beard regularly with all sorts of techniques and products. One of the primary reasons people’s beard hair dries out is that they aggressively use heat treatments to straighten or blowdry their hair into a particular style or shape. Also, environmental conditions like harsh UV rays, cold or excessively hot winds can easily strip the moisture from your beard.

To combat this, you should look at all of the different options available to you in terms of the products which will return the moisture and nutrients to your beard. We’ll cover some of these in the next section.

How to make your beard less prickly

Now that you know what makes your beard prickly we should look at all of the options you have for making your beard less prickly so that you can comfortably stroke your beard or kiss and be intimate with your significant other.

Grow it out

The first thing you should do is consider growing out your beard to the point where it gets significantly less prickly. As hair grows it is able to bend and adapt to any force which is placed upon the shaft of the hair. When it is shorter the hair doesn’t have enough length to give way to any pressure and therefore it feels prickly. When the hair is longer it can bend and flex to any external force which is applied.

I noticed a significant softness in my beard after about three weeks of growth. If you do not want to grow out your beard you can also opt to shave every single day – but I think that growing out a beard is a fun and worthwhile activity and that shaving every day would rob you of the enjoyment that a beard growing journey can bring.

Use a beard conditioner

If you want to make your beard less prickly no matter what stage of growth you are in you can opt to use a leave in or after shampoo conditioner.

 

After shampooing

There are plenty of commercially available hair conditioners which would be perfectly suitable to use on your beard. You shouldn’t use a hair shampoo on your beard because it is too harsh and will strip your beard of natural oils. However, there is no reason you cannot use hair conditioner on your beard.

I used to use a hair shampoo with Argan oil and hobo oil and found it left my beard smelling and feeling great. Never worry about using hair conditioners on your beard as they are normally formulated to replace the natural oils that have been stripped with shampooing and it will do no harm.

If you want more of an intense and long conditioning for your beard you can opt to use a leave in conditioner.

Leave in conditioners

There are two types of beard conditioner which you can leave then after you have shampooed your hair. The first one is a beard balm. A beard balm consists of Shea butter, essential oils, and a small amount of beeswax to provide hold after application. The Shea butter stays against your beard hair for up to one hour and slowly moisturises your hair.

The second type of beard conditioner is literally a conditioner that has been made for beards. I have a full article to give you the full run down on the 10 best beard conditioners beyond oil and balm – click here to be taken to that massive article.

Buying a dedicated beard conditioner is perfect if you’re struggling with itchy or flaky skin under the beard or if you’re finding that nothing works to resolve the prickly hairs which burst out from your skin.

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!

Shaving daily

One of the best ways that you can stop your beard from becoming prickly in the early days is to remove it completely. Some men produce stubble quicker than others and their rate of growth is significantly more than the average.

Shaving daily will ensure that your beard is not prickly and back this up with a good skin moisturiser to make sure that the regular shaving doesn’t dry out your skin. Tackling ingrown hairs may also be something that you need to deal with.

Because this is a beard blog I don’t often recommend daily shaving but if you do not want a long beard and your beard is not capable of being soft at the smaller lengths may be shaving daily is an option for you.

Trim less regularly

Lastly, if you have a really long beard and you find that it is prickly on the ends ask yourself if this happens after trimming?

Whether you use scissors or a good quality beard trimmer, this can leave your hair with sharp and pointy ends. If you find that this is happening often you should trim less regularly but take off more at a time. This will give your hair plenty of time to soften up in between the trimming sessions which you would do naturally on its own.

Now, let’s take a look at what home remedies you can use to soften your beard.

What home remedy can I use to soften my beard?

If you want a full run down on the best home remedies to make your beard soft check out my other article where I have loads more recipes – click here to be taken to article. These are, however, my favourite ones and I have seen a significant improvement in the softness of my beard when using these two recipes!

Banana and honey

Perhaps your beard is looking dull, drive, and frizzy. This means that it may need extra help in retaining the moisture that is lost throughout the day. Creating a banana and honey beard mask will help look much softer and shinier.

Bananas are an ideal base for a home-made beard mask because they are packed full with all sorts of healthy oils and fats which can moisturise and strengthen your beard hair. You can also mix your banners with other ingredients such as milk, olive oil, and avocado for a full range beard treatment. Bananas are easy to get hold of and are relatively inexpensive so are perfect for someone looking for an ideal beard soft in a home remedy.

Use as follows:

  • take two ripe bananas and mix with about half a cup of honey.
  • Place the banana and honey mix in a blender – alternatively you can’t mash it together with a fork until smooth.
  • Make sure that the honey is warm as it will not mix well if left cold.
  • Apply the mixture to your beard making sure that you work it into the roots all the way through to the tips. I recommend you do this over a sink or in the bathtub.
  • Cover your beard with a beard wrap and let the banana mask sit on your face for at least 20 minutes.
  • Then, wash and condition your hair as normal – with or without shampoo. You can repeat this as often as you want. If you find that you are having problem removing the honey increase the temperature of the water.

Coconut oil

Coconut oil is a fantastic solution to create soft beard hair. It is suitable for every type of beard whether it is long, short, dark, grey, or any other combination. This natural oil is absolutely jampacked with fatty acids which penetrate deep into the beard hair leaving it conditioned and feeling awesome.

In 2015 researchers looked at a number of studies and found that coconut oil has a high affinity for hair proteins and a unique ability to penetrate deep into the hair shaft. It is this penetration which is a key factor in making this a brilliant home remedy for your beard.

How to use coconut oil:

  • you can use coconut oil like any conditioner. You can replace the common beard conditioner with coconut oil. I have used it in my DIY beard oils and farms and find it a fantastic additive. Simply use this after shampooing your hair and rinse out with water
  • if you need a deeper treatment you can use a teaspoon or two throughout your beard hair and leave it in the beard for at least 30 minutes. Rinse out with water and shampoo. You can even leave it in for extended periods of time if you need a deep hydration treatment.

Feel free to add essential oils to the coconut while if you want to add extra smell, therapeutic properties, or other aspects you like from your other beard products. You can even add a few other ingredients like honey, avocado, and lemon juice for added impact.

If you have found that the coconut oil has solidified, simply heat it up gently in a warm water bath and it will re-liquefy and be much easier to work with.

Summary

If you want to make your beard less prickly you should first seek to understand why your beard is coming prickly. Then you can use the approaches in this article to tackle the root cause so that your beard remained soft and supple. The good thing is there are plenty of home remedies which you can use to make your beard nice and soft. Most of the ingredients for these home conditioners can be found in your cupboard.

Focusing on using a beard conditioner after shampooing all a leave in conditioner which can take the form as a dedicated beard conditioner or a beard farm or butter will also help you reduce the prickly nature of your beard.

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!