How to make your beard shine! 8 magic tips for beards

As your beard grows and gets longer you may be wondering how you can get it to look it’s absolute best! Hair looks the healthiest when it has a natural shine to it. That means that it is well conditioned and has been protected from the stress of everyday life! Here we’ll look at how to make your beard shine – in both the “it stands out way” as well as literally making it shine with how healthy it looks!

You can make your beard shine by washing your hair the right way, applying vitamin E, applying heat protectors before styling your beard, avoiding damaging ingredients, and using a deep hydration treatment.

Beards can easily start to look dull and tired when you forget to do the little things. Having a beard can take a fair bit of maintenance to keep the hair looking fresh and shiny! Also, everyday exposure to UV light, pollution, hairdryers and straighteners and the multitude of hair products can decrease your beards health and cause it to look dull and rubbish!

Beards tend to look quite matte as they grow. That is because the hairs of a beard are flat and scatter light more than head hair. Each persons beard can look different given the same treatments because it is how light interacts with the surface of the hair that determines how shiny the hair is.

Here are the best ways that I have found to help your beard become healthy and strong while adding a little bit of shine to your beard!

How to get shiny beard hair

Each beard will be different and so the advice here will need to be adjusted to best match your own beard hair style. Don’t be afraid of trying something new and testing what it does to your beard. Let’s start with the basics – washing your beard the right way.

Wash your beard the ‘right way’

A proper beard cleaning routine should include a three step process:

  1. Scrubbing and exfoliation
  2. Beard shampoo and conditioning
  3. Beard oil or leave-in conditioner

Before washing your beard be sure to give it a good brush and comb. Use a wide tooth comb that can get all the way down to the skin on your face. and use long strokes until every part of your face has been covered. Then take a good boar head brush and work the outer layer of the hair with downwards motions. You can also use small circular motions if you really want to give your hair a deep treatment.

You can then use a beard exfoliator scrub which is very similar to a facial scrub but tends to be a bit more like liquid (as opposed to a gel or balm). Both of these actions are to remove the dandruff and then the dirt stuck in your beard.

After the above steps are complete you should then wash your beard with beard shampoo and conditioner. Make sure that you actually buy beard shampoo and conditioner and don’t use products formulated for head hair. Beard tend to dry out when you use hair shampoo and conditioners on them.

Here’s the little trick…

Shampoo your beard twice. The first pass is to remove anything that as build up on the hair while the send pass works as a deeper treatment for your beard. When applying the shampoo you should use your fingertips to gently massage the skin under the beard. This will help stimulate blood flow to the area and help the hair roots. Follow up the shampoo with a conditioner and use it as the bottle recommends. Typically, this is to apply evenly and leave for a couple of minutes before washing out. If you want to have deep hydration you should use a leave-in conditioner too.

Finally, follow up your conditioning with a light application of a good beard oil and conditioner if you think you need it! With all of the products mentioned above check the ingredients we’ll cover that next…

Look out for damaging ingredients

Not all beard products are equal. Some of the cheaper beard products have ingredients in them that improve the look of your beard and hair in the short term but can do lasting damage. It is always best to stick to beard products that are organic and have not been tested on animals (that just because it’s cruel). Here are a few examples of ingredients that you should avoid in your beard products:

  • Sulfates – these are considered safe in concentrations lower than one percent. The most common is sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) and is found in most shampoos and conditioners. In high concentrations, there is a risk to the skin but the issues of cancer have been put to rest – there is no evidence for that.
  • Silicones – Dimethicone is an example of silicone found in hair care products. Lighter silicones are recommended for particular brittle hair but offer no long term advantage.
  • Alcohols – Alsocols such as Isopropyl Alcohol can sometimes be found in personal care products and can dry out the skin and hair as it evaporates away. It is used to make the hair products evenly disperse.
  • Parabens – These chemicals have been used as they are really great as preservatives (stopping mold and bacteria) for hair products. Parabens are one of the least allergenic and sensitizing preservatives currently in use. There has been a small study that linked these chemicals to breast cancer.
  • Phthalates – This ingredient is most often found in plastic packaging but is also used in some beard products. These can negatively impact human hormonal systems.
  • Formaldehyde – This is used in some hair smoothing products and can be found at extreme levels if not carefully formulated. This is known as a cancer-causing agent and it can cause irritation in the eyes, nose, skin, and lungs if inhaled.

Some of these ingredients can be harmful to your health but most of them are included as they add a short term benefit to using the product. Make sure you know what you are putting on your beard and use a trusted brand.

Use beard oils

Using beard oil is one of the best ways that you can look after your beard and keep it looking healthy and conditioned. Beard oils do a number of wonderful things to your beard – you can check out the full range of awesome things on my other post.

You need to look for some awesome beard oil ingredients that are readily absorbed by the hair and the skin. Commonly, a beard oil will contain a carrier oil which is an oil or oil mix that makes up most of the beard oil. Some common ones include:

  • Olive oil
  • Argan oil
  • Almond oil
  • Jojoba oil
  • Castor oil
  • Coconut oil

When I make my own I like to make a mixture of Jojoba oil and Aragon oil. The Jojoba oil is perfect for your skin as it is the closest to the natural oils produced by your face. The only issue is that it is not readily absorbed by the hair – that is where the Aragon oil comes in!

Check out how I apply beard oil in these simple 7 steps:

Step 1: Drop the appropriate amount of beard oil into the palm of your hand. Normally, this would be about 3 – 4 drops of beard oil.

Step 2: Rub your hands together and make sure that you evenly distribute the beard oil all over your hands and fingers.

Step 3: Using your fingers, work the beard oil deep into the beard. Make sure that you touch the skin under your beard.

Step 4: Rub your hands together once again and then, with the grain of your beard, use flat hands to work the beard oil into your beard.

Step 5: Use your palms to brush the hair down on the sides of your face and cheeks

Step 6: Work the underside of your beard with the palms and fingers of your hands. It is at this point that if you want to add more beard oil to your hands you can do so. Err on the side of caution if you are not sure and don’t add any more.

Step 7: The last thing to pay attention to is your mustache. use your fingertips to coat the hairs on your mustache and smooth the hair into position.

Don’t use too much, a little goes a long way. In the early days I almost certainly used too much and this caused people to ask if my beard was “wet”. I quickly scaled back the amount I was using.

Use vitamin E oil

Vitamin E is a fat soluble nutrient which you can either eat or apply topically to the surface of your beard hair.

According to some, using a vitamin E oil regularly can help replenish the shine that can be lost due to beard damage and aging of the hair. Vitamin E oil can also stop beard oils becoming rancid through oxidation and dramatically increases the shelf-life of the beard oil. So if you are making your own oil you should consider using a little bit of vitamin E oil. This is particularly important if you are making a big batch and it will sit around for a few months before you open a new bottle.

Most of the claims that follow vitamin E around is dues to it’s anti-oxidant properties (why it preserves beard oils). Here are a few things that vitamin E can do do help your beard:

  • Increase shine – There is limited scientific evidence that vitamin E restores shine but there is plenty of anecdotal evidence from manufacturers of hair products and their customers. It probably won’t hurt to give it a go for your beard!
  • Prevent hair fall from bard – there is a very small study that looked at the ability of vitamin E to prevent hair loss. More research is needed but the results from the study showed a small improvement of hair growth over the placebo control.
  • Heathier skin – Vitamin E could help you maintain healthy skin underneath the beard due to its antioxidant effects. This property could help reduce the amount of oxidative stress that could cause the hair follicles to break down.

Vitamin E can be found in beard care products but you can also obtain vitamin E from your diet. Foods with a high level of vitamin E are leafy greens, nuts and seeds, vegetable oil and fortified cereals.

Homemade leave-in treatments

There are many wonderful and strange leave-in hair treatments that are homemade, cheap and very effective – they even have some ingredients that you’d probably never really associate with beard care! Let’s take a look at the first one.

Use an egg

As strange as it may sound the yolk of an egg may be the perfect solution to your dull beard. The white can also be used to help cleanse your beard hair. Eggs are found in nearly every home and the effects can be seen after one treatement. Here’s how it works:

  1. Crack one egg into a small bowl and beat it until it runs smooth ant it in not lumpy
  2. Wet your beard fully
  3. Dip your beard in the egg yolk and use a wide-tooth comb to distribute the egg
  4. Let it sit in your beard hair for at least 20 minutes
  5. Wash your beard with shampoo and conditioner as usual – however, don’t use too high a heat as you could end up with scrambled egg in your beard!

Use an avocado mask

Avocado has natural fats that nourish your hair.They contain natural oils and the good fats that are good to eat too! Avocado is a great source of biotin which can help hair and nails grow. A 2015 study found that the minerals found in avocado oil may help seal certain hair cells causing it to look shiny. Here’s how it works:

  1. Mash an avocado until it is smooth
  2. Wet your beard fully
  3. Spread the avocado oil on your beard hair and use a wide-tooth comb to distribute it.
  4. Let it sit in your beard hair for at least 20 minutes
  5. Wash your beard with shampoo and conditioner as usual.

You can also add other ingredients to this beard mask such as coconut oil, olive oil, egg, Aloe, banana, honey, and oatmeal. Each of these additions has it’s own benefits – so feel free to play about with a mask that helps your beard! Besides these homemade recipes, you can also buy a leave-in conditioner.

Use a leave in conditioner

Beard conditioners help to soften coarse beards and are specially formulated to keep hair healthy and nourished. It’s an extra weapon to combat a dull beard. If you are already using beard oil and balm but they still are not cutting it for your beard to shine – check out a beard conditioner.

There are plenty of great beard conditioners out there and each will require slightly different application techniques. Read the instructions and apply as often as recommended by the product. Our favourites are:

Smooth Viking Beard Conditioner for MenSee price on Amazon
Abraham’s Beard and Face Conditioner (Fragrance Free)See price on Amazon
Green Leaf Naturals Aloe Vera Beard ConditionerSee price on Amazon

How it should fit in your routine

You should incorporate a beard conditioning step to your maintenance routine either after a warm shower or just before going to bed – but leave enough time for it to soaking to your beard – otherwise it’ll just end up on your pillow.

Use a heat protector

Let’s face it beards take a fair bit of controlling and we love turning to our hot friends to make that easier for us – hairdryers and beard straighteners. Have you ever considered how mush these tools are drying out your hair and causing it to look dull? If used too often these tools could result in dullness, limpness, dryness and split ends for our beard hair.

To stop the damaging effects of these hot tools on our beards we can turn to heat protecting creams sprays and serums. It makes sense to place a protective layer over the cuticle of the hair – these products act like a heat shield that decreases the amount of moisture that evaporates from the hair. It can also improve the efficacy of your heat tools too by allowing more heat to penetrate the hair.

There are a few on the market and you should google “Beard heat shield” and Beard Heat protector” to find the best products for you!

Try a deep hydration treatment

Deep Hydration facial and beard treatments take time but the good news is that you can do all of them at home. This is what a home treatment deep hydration treatment looks like:

  1. Get a hot towel ( as hot as you can stand) and wrap it around your face and beard – leave it for two to five minutes.
  2. Buy a good leave-in conditioner and use a thumb tip amount and liberally apply to every area on your beard – work it deep with your finger tips
  3. Use a wide toothed comb to work the conditioner deep into your beard and to the surface of your skin.
  4. Place a shower cap over your beard and leave it for 20 minutes – this will ensure maximum absorption
  5. Rinse your beard with water and towel dry your beard
  6. Add 5 drops of beard oil to your palm and work it through your beard
  7. Follow up with a beard balm or butter if you want to

These seven steps should leave your beard feeling hydrated like never before. Feel free to repeat these steps as often as you feel that your beard is getting dull.

BONUS: Use beard glitter!

If you really want your beard to shine more than usual and you want to stand out at a special event – consider using beard glitter! It will 100 percent make your beard shine. If you are heading to a club with great lighting it’ll be sure to make your beard stand out in fantastic ways!

The final word

There are 8 awesome steps that you can use to make your beard shine! These tips have been put together to help you create a beard that looks as healthy as you want it to look and feel soft and smooth. Enjoy playing around with making your beard awesome and remember to always experiment with new hydration techniques – you may hit on the perfect one for 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 trialling different beard styles, he started this blog to share the tips, tricks, and science that he has learned along the way!