Why NOT to Wash Your Beard Every Day (and What To Do Instead)

Your beard is a reflection of you. So you want to keep your beard well-groomed, clean and healthy. But sometimes the best way to care for your beard isn’t always the most obvious course of action.

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Ask four bearded guys how they take care of their beard and you’ll get five different answers. One of the most divisive issues in beard care is washing frequency.

Should you wash your beard every day? Every other day? Every week? There’s no one correct answer because, well, there’s no one type of beard. Your beard is as unique as you are. Your beard’s needs won’t necessarily be the same as anyone else’s.

why not to wash your beard with shampoo and what to do instead

How and when you wash your beard will drastically affect its fullness, softness and appearance. The problem is that most guys were never taught proper beard care. So they, naturally, assume they should care for their beard in basically the same way they care for the hair on their head. But that’s not always the best for your beard.

Check out our guide below to determine how often you need to wash your beard. Here’s a hint: You almost certainly shouldn’t be washing your beard every day.

Do You Have a Short Beard?

If you have a short beard, you’re in luck. This is the ONLY type of beard you can treat like the head on your hair. Use the same shampoo and conditioner on your beard which you use on your head hear. You can wash your beard every day or, if you prefer, every other day.

Why is this okay? When the hairs on your beard are frequently trimmed, any damage will be cut away before it can be noticed. This means your short beard consists entirely of fresh, new hair.

The biggest problem you’ll likely encounter with a short beard is itchiness. The best solution here is to brush your beard before you hop in the shower (seriously, it works great for short beards). A high-quality beard brush like this will loosen dead skin cells, which makes them easier to wash away in the shower.

If the itching continues, use a soothing beard balm, which not only softens the beard hairs, but helps to create a healthy environment on the facial skin for the beard to grow. Our beard balm is made with all-natural, premium ingredients and can significantly help with itching.

Do You Have a Long Beard?

This is where things get interesting. A long beard requires a bit more maintenance. With a long beard, a daily regimen of shampoo and conditioner will actually be too drying. You want to keep your beard’s natural oils intact. Here’s how:

Before the Shower

Before you step into the shower, brush your beard with a beard brush. You want a brush with natural bristles, not one made from anything synthetic. Boar’s hair is a material which has been used in beard brushes since olden times. Our beard brush is a good example of a quality boar’s hair brush – it’s even been lab tested to ensure it’s 100% boar.

As with the shorter beard, the brush will help to remove hairs that have fallen out, and will help to loosen up dead skin cells, which can then more easily be washed away in the shower.

In the Shower

After you’ve brushed your beard, it’s time to shower. The formula I’ve found to be most effective in keeping my beard both clean and soft is to use conditioner 3-4 times per week and shampoo once per week.

You can use a specialty beard shampoo but I typically use a decent Argan Oil-based shampoo. If I’m only using it once/week (which is about the frequency I shampoo my hair, too), spending a bit more on a good shampoo is no problem since it will last so long. You can use a similar conditioner – again, I’ve found Argan Oil works best for me.

When you’re shampooing your hair every day, you’re stripping important oils out of it, which means it’s going to be dry and brittle. Definitely not something you want to happen to your beard if you’re trying to make it as kiss-friendly and attractive as can be.

By conditioning it, you’re able to “clean up” whatever gets in your beard every day, even if that’s just beard balm, which helps keep it feeling clean between shampoos.

Nothing really special about the how-to portion of this…just apply the conditioner or shampoo, wait for a couple minutes, then rinse it out thoroughly. And I do mean thoroughly. There’s nothing worse than missing a bit of shampoo only to have it start flaking later in the day, making it look like you’ve got beardruff.

After the Shower

If you previously shampooed your beard daily, your beard might feel a bit “off” after you switch to this method. But you’ll notice the benefits in about two days. Your beard will be softer and easier to control.

This is because the skin underneath your beard produces natural oils. When the oils aren’t getting washed away with shampoo, they’re able to spread throughout your beard.

Don’t worry – your beard will still look, smell and feel clean. The pre-shower brushing is key here. Regular brushing removes dead skill cells and prevents itching. In fact, soaps can actually dry out your skin quite a bit. So don’t be surprised if the “less is more” method leaves your beard feeling cleaner than ever before!

To finish the routine and get the absolute most out of your beard, you’ll probably want to apply a small amount of beard balm (otherwise known as leave-in conditioner). You’ll want an all-natural product, and you can even stick with my suggestion to use Argan Oil if you use our premium Virtu beard balm.

Simply towel-dry your beard, scrape out a bit of balm with your thumbnail, run it through your beard with your hands, and you’ll be good to go all day long (combing or brushing it through is optional but recommended). This is even more important if you live in a dry climate or you spend a lot of time outside in the wind.

Don’t Be Afraid to Wash Your Beard Less

At first, the idea of using shampoo once per week sounds like you’ll end up with a dry, scraggly beard. But shampoos and soaps can really wreck your beard. The harsh chemicals can dry out your beard and the skin underneath. This leads to itchy skin and a brittle, coarse beard.

The natural oils your skin produces will make your beard healthier than ever before. You just have to give them an opportunity to shine. So as long as you use a boar bristle brush and some quality beard balm every day, you’ll notice a positive difference in both appearance and feel.

Leave a Comment:

Ryan says December 15, 2016

This has been beneficial on how many times per week I should wash my beard and condition it to keep it healthy. Thank you.

Brian says February 14, 2017

What is the difference between beard balm and oil? Is it okay to use both? Apply which first?

This is the first time I seriously started taking care of my beard and just got a nice set of wash/oil and balm but don’t really understand the difference between the two and if you can use both at the same time and daily?

    Curt Storring says February 16, 2017

    Hey Brian –

    Thanks for your comment. Glad to hear you’re taking your beard care seriously now.

    Oil and balm typically will have very similar base ingredients (type of oil used, scents, etc.), but balm typically has something like shea butter and wax in it. The benefits of each are similar, but with a balm, you get more control and styling, and the wax typically “locks in” the moisturizing properties of the oils so it may last longer throughout the day.

    If you want to use both (which is fine, especially if you have a long beard), I’ve used an oil first and then a balm on top to provide some extra hold and to lock in the moisturizing properties of the oils.

    Let us know if you have any other questions about keeping your beard top-notch!

    Thanks and best,


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