Should you straighten your beard? The pros and cons

Growing a beard is becoming more popular than ever. But when you think about growing a beard, you don’t think about it growing out in a curly and unkempt way. As you are proceeding down your beard growing journey, it becomes obvious that your beard will take a little bit of taming. The extra length can lead to beard growers wanting to straighten their beards. So, should you straighten your beard? Let’s find out.

Using a beard straightener or relaxer consciously and in a balanced way will mean that you can have a straight beard without damaging it. However, overuse of a straightener on high heat or more than a couple of days a week can leave your beard dry, full of split ends, and very frizzy.

Straightening a beard is something that is becoming increasingly popular. Whether it is the beard styles we see in the media or just personal preference – we all seem to want a straighter beard.

In this article, we’re going to talk about all of the things related to straightening your beard and, most importantly, whether or not it is a good thing for your beard. You could be doing a lot of damage without even realising it.

If you prefer video here is my YouTube video on this subject:

The types of straighteners available to you

There are a number of straighteners available to you that don’t all include applying heat to your hair. They include:

  • Ceramic Straighteners
  • Heated Brush Straighteners
  • Standards Hairdryer
  • Chemical Relaxers
  • Natural Home Remedies

I asked my YouTube audience if they straighten their beard with certain tools and this is the response from over 300 people:

Results from over 300 people on what tools they use. See updated results here.

You can see that the majority of people do not use any heat tools while most use a hairdryer and heated brush.

Ceramic Straighteners

Ceramic straighteners are the most heat-intensive on your beard. They consist of two ceramic plates that get heated up and pressed on either side of the beard hair. If your beard hair is particularly coarse, these can be an excellent option for really heating your beard hair for long-lasting hold.

Heated Brush

Heated brush straighteners are very popular, and they are very easy to use. Simply plugging the heat brush in and brushing it over your beard can ensure that the outside layer of the hair is lying flat. They are not very good at getting to the depths of the beard.

Hairdryer

I regularly use a standard hairdryer for straightening my beard. I have tried several different straightening tools, and the hairdryer gives me the ability to heat my hair and then cool it down rapidly with a cool blast of air for maximum hold. This approach is my go-to daily straightening option.

Chemical Straighteners

Chemical straighteners are perfect for people that want a long-lasting and semipermanent straightening effect on their beards. It can take a little bit of time to straighten your beard chemically, but it will allow you to skip the morning routine.

Home Remedies

For those seeking a softer approach to their beard straightening, they can check out the natural home remedies at the end of this article.

The Pros and Cons of straightening your beard

How do beard straighteners work?

Beard straighteners work by providing enough heat to the proteins in the hair to break and reset the hydrogen bonding in the hair. When the hair cools down while being help straight they lock into that position.

When you get your hair wet it returns to the natural shape and bonding.

Benefits of straightening your beard

There are loads of really great reasons why you should consider straightening your beard. Let’s take a look at the reasons why having a beard straightening product is a brilliant way of taming your beard:

  • it’s easy – running a beard straightener through your hair is such a simple process that you can include it in your daily routine. To straighten a beard, all it takes is two minutes (once you get comfortable with it) in a mirror, and you have a picture-perfect beard.
  • It’s effective – no doubt investing in a beard straightener will get you what you want quickly. Beard straighteners and beard relaxing creams have been designed for ultimate effectiveness. That makes it incredibly attractive to a beard grower and owner.
  • Easy to travel with – if you are a person who travels regularly, carrying all of your creams, balms, waxes, and butter can get a little annoying. It is tempting to replace these products with a simple small electronic gadget. Most beard straighteners and creams pack down incredibly well to not take up too much space in your toiletry bag.

Although these benefits are very appealing for most beard owners, there are some serious and real side effects to straightening your beard. Let’s talk about the downsides of straightening your beard and why you need to consider whether or not it is for you.

Downsides of straightening your beard

Along with the benefits of straightening your beard, there are some real downsides to using any beard straightening product, whether cream or beard straighteners. Let’s take a look at the reasons why you should stop straightening your beard hair.

  • Your beard hair can dry out – regular heat treatments and harsh drying can leave beard hair incredibly dry and brittle. The dryness will increase breakage and fallout, leading to a less dense beard. Also, side-effects of dry hair include more split ends and curly hair.
  • It is hiding the real you – trying to control your beard too much and looking for the “perfect” beard may be hiding what makes your beard unique. Leaving it curly or wavy will help it look fuller and more natural.
  • Even though beard straighteners are relatively inexpensive, it is still an extra cost to maintain your beard. Also, these electronic items will need replacing every few years. So, by not using any straightening products on your hair, you will be saving some money.

So, the decision to use a straightener is not as simple as you may think. It comes down to individual choice.

If you choose to use a beard straightener, you should use it sensibly. That means not using it every day and regularly giving your beard a day off.

You also have to have a pretty rigorous conditioning schedule to ensure that your beard stays hydrated from all the heat treatment.

So that we can talk about curly beards and straighteners in more detail, let’s take a quick look at why beards are curly. And why some people’s beards are curlier than others.

Check out my other article if you want to read more about whether beard straighteners are worth it.

are beard straighteners worth it - header

Why are beards curly in the first place?

The hair shaft and the follicle are the largest determinants of curly or straight beards. The shaft of the beard hair is the part that we can see.

Beard hair is curly because the hairs are flatter than the hairs on our heads. The flatness of the shaft causes the beard to curl more dramatically than the hair on our heads. The follicle is part of the hair that anchors it to our face.

The shape of the follicle will also determine whether the beard hair is curlier than others. If the follicle is more rounded, the beard hair will grow straighter. An oval follicle will make your beard hair wavy and curly.

Here are some crosssections of beard hair that helps you understand why beard hair is so curly and the fight we are up against by using our beard straighteners.

All of this is pretty much determined by your genetics. So, you are likely to have the same beard curly us as the male members of your family. However, that doesn’t mean you will have identical beards to them – it’s all just a bit of a lottery.

Beyond genetics, there are also some environmental and care factors that can make your beard wavier than it should be. These factors include:

  • Bad hair maintenance – probably one of the most important factors beyond genetics is a dry beard. Once your hair loses a certain amount of moisture, it is more likely to curl up.
  • Not drying your beard properly – drying your beard after a shampoo is another important time to tame it. If you don’t dry your beard off completely after washing it, it can leave some residue from the water you used to wash your hair. These deposits can affect how your hair lies and dry it out further.
  • Not brushing or combing enough – there are a load of really awesome and simple ways to keep your beard straighter, and brushing or combing is the most important. Brushing and combing stop the hair from clumping together and remove tangles so that your beard balm or oil can moisturise the entire surface of the hair.

Now that you know why beard hair is curlier than other hair let’s look at whether beard straighteners are good or bad for your hair.

Are beard straighteners bad for your hair?

Using a hair straightener on your beard is a simple but effective way of taming even the wildest of beards.

However, the truth is that beard straighteners can damage your hair if they are used too much.

Any extreme heat treatments can quickly dry out beard hair and leave it in a worse state than it started in. The daily use of a straightener can exacerbate dry hair problems.

Dry beard hair makes it more vulnerable to split ends, breakage, and frizziness. The more heat you use and the more often you use it, the worse it will become. It’s like a vicious cycle of bad hair treatment.

These downsides don’t mean that you can’t use beard straighteners safely and productively. It means that you have to be more conscious about the heat and how often you use beard straighteners.

It’s all about selecting the right straightener for you. Let’s take a look at some of the best beard straighteners currently available online.

What is the best beard straightener?

You don’t need to spend a fortune looking for the best beard straightener. I recently looked at an expensive vs cheap one and didn’t find much difference between the two. You can see my findings in my YouTube video below.

If you are new to using a beard straightener would start by recommending the Cayzor Beard Straightener :

Check price on Amazon

The Cayzor Beard Straightener is one of the highest-ranking articles at Amazon, and that doesn’t come as a surprise once you look at what it offers you!

Besides having a very appealing price tag for what it offers, it can deliver five different temperature settings that will, as we mentioned before, be perfect for adjusting to whatever beard type you have. It won’t take you long to finish the job as it will heat up in 60 seconds and features a cool and modern LCD screen.

You’re safely protected from burns, and this article is both a beard comb and a heated beard straightener.

Beard straightening cream/relaxer

Another really impressive way of straightening your curly beard is with a beard relaxing cream. This method is a chemical treatment and will semi-permanently straighten your hair.

It is perfect for someone who doesn’t want the hassle of doing it every morning.

How to use a beard relaxer and straightener

Using a beard relaxer and straightener is incredibly simple. It is something that you can do at home. You can fit it into your weekly or monthly routine with ease. And if you can you shampoo and conditioner, you can quite easily use a beard relaxer. Here are the basic steps:

  • wet your hair in the shower like you would usually do when shampooing your hair
  • Apply the relaxing shampoo from the roots to the tip of the hair – divide your beard into smaller sections if you have to.
  • Use a fine-tooth comb to get the relaxing agent to distribute throughout your beard evenly
  • leave the beard relaxing shampoo in for about 30 minutes – go about your normal showering routine
  • after about 30 minutes, rinse your beard with water to remove the majority of the relaxing shampoo
  • once a out of the shower, blow dry your beard on a medium heat setting
  • use a straightening iron to straighten out any of your curls
  • apply the neutraliser to stop the relaxing cream from working and lock your straight beard hair in place
  • using the shampoo that came with the beard straightener cream, wash your beard three times.
  • Towel dry your beard and apply the sealer to seal in and lock the hair in a straight position.
  • Finish drying your beard how you would normally do, for example, with a hairdryer, and complete the process.

Your hair will stay straight for a relatively long time, and the new hair growth will be curlier than the straightened part. Once the new growth makes up about 25 to 50% of your beard, you can repeat this process.

Using a beard relaxer is a fantastic way to remove one step from your weekly maintenance schedule.

This semipermanent approach allows you to be confident that your beard will remain straight for many weeks.

 But there are some other options that you may wish to consider.

Options for straightening your beard

Above, we talked about probably the two most important ways of straightening your beard. That is, using a beard straightener and a beard relaxer. But these are not the only options you have for trying to make your beard a little straighter.

This section will talk about the other options and how you can use natural products to help straighten your beard.

Let’s start with our favourite products.

Hairdryer

Just like a beard straightener, a hairdryer uses medium heat treatment to flatten out your hair.

Just like a beard straightener, too much heat from a hairdryer can damage your hair, so go carefully.

A hairdryer is something that I use every time I shampoo and conditioner my beard. It is one of the best ways to keep my beard tame. The process for using a hairdryer is simple and goes something like this:

  • shampoo and condition your hair deeply – this will lay the foundations of a fantastic condition and a styled beard.
  • Dry your beard with a towel but not too harshly – don’t go too hard on your beard with the towel. It will just end up breaking the hairs. Wet hairs are much easier to damage than dry hairs.
  • Grab your favourite beard comb or brush and brush against the growth of your beard and out. Follow the comb and brush closely with your hairdryer. Your beard will look fluffy after this.
  • Now do the opposite, brush your hair down and “into shape” once again, following the comb or brush closely with the hairdryer.
  • Finally, use a cold setting on your hairdryer and brush lightly over the outer edge of your beard until it is locked into place.

You can see my daily beard routine and how I use the hairdryer in my Youtube video below.

Using a hairdryer is a simple and effective way to straighten your beard. You must do it regularly and after shampooing and conditioning your beard every time. The good thing is most homes have a hairdryer anyway, so you are not purchasing any extra equipment.

Now, let’s take a look at some of the natural straightening treatments you can do at home with natural and organic products.

How to straighten beard hair at home naturally

There are also some options for home remedies to straighten your beard. These home remedies consist of ingredients that are commonly found around the home.

The recipes in this section may seem strange, but many people swear by them.

Let’s take a look at three options for straightening your beard at home, naturally.

Milk and honey mask

Milk and honey is a great way to condition your beard, and they may also help straighten your beard.

  • You need to mix 1 cup of whole milk (or coconut milk) and add one tablespoon of honey.
  • Mix the ingredients well and then distribute them throughout your beard hair.
  • All of these home treatments need to sit in your hair for at least one hour before you wash it out.
  • After washing out, blow dry your beard hair straight and use the product to provide extra hold if required.

With regular milk and honey treatment, you should find that it is easier to straighten your beard with other traditional means.

Milk and egg mask

Every time I see people recommend an egg, I get sceptical – but it seems to work.

You can also mix 2 cups of milk with one egg that has been lightly whisked.

  • Allow this mixture to sit in your beard hair for 10 minutes, and then squeeze out the excess.
  • Wrap with a plastic cover and leave it for another 30 minutes.
  • Then using medium heat (we don’t want scrambled eggs), shampoo and condition your beard.
  • Then brush your beard straight.

Coconut milk and lemon juice

This recipe is an effective treatment and combines a load of other ingredients.

This DIY straightening recipe should be used twice a week for two months to relax and straighten your beard hair.

  • Mix 1 cup of coconut milk, 5 tablespoons of lemon juice, 2 tablespoons of olive oil, 3 tablespoons of cornstarch and place on a stove on low heat.
  • Stir the mixture until it is smooth and combined.
  • Allow the mixture to cool and apply to your beard hair.
  • Allow it to sit in your beard for at least 20 minutes, and then rinse out.
  • Dry and brush your hair as usual.

These three simple recipes could be what you need to straighten your beard hair effectively and naturally.

Feel free to use these recipes in combination with other techniques mentioned in this article. And you could be on to your secret beard straightening treatment.

Conclusion

There is no harm in straightening your beard if done properly. There are several options to straighten your beard beyond what we normally see: flat iron straighteners. Choosing what is best for you and your beard will be the key to getting the most out of straightening your beard. Be careful when using heat treatments, as these can cause a vicious downward spiral of dry hair that will worsen your beard hair.

However, done the right way, there is no reason why you shouldn’t consider straightening your beard if that is something that you feel is appropriate for you.

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!