Perhaps the only time you’ve dealt with split ends until now was when your girlfriend complained about her own. But you may find that as your beard grows longer, you start seeing some of these split ends pop up in your facial thicket. Or maybe your beard is short but you’re still using that dinky plastic comb you bought at the drugstore, to frizzy results.
Split ends are truly a nuisance to an otherwise glorious beard, and they can result from a number of factors.
Here are the 7 most common reasons for getting beard split ends. Preventing and mending split ends requires a bit of patience, but as a beard grower, you no doubt have more than enough.
The problem: You don’t have the best diet
Hair is made of keratin, a protein. When you’re not getting enough protein in your diet, your hair (all across your body) and nails will show it by becoming brittle and dry.
The fix: Eat healthier
Add protein to your diet to reinforce the integrity of your hair. Try lean, white meat poultry, seafood, yogurt, eggs, and milk. If you’re vegetarian, quinoa, edamame, and lentils are all rich in protein.
Intake more biotin, a B complex vitamin that encourages hair growth. Look for legumes, nuts, sunflower seeds, whole grains, and eggs.
Diet is such a huge part of maintaining a healthy beard, we’ve written a blog post on how to eat for your best beard yet.
The problem: You’re using head shampoo on your beard
Head shampoos are specifically formulated for the head – the chemistry of your beard hair is different. Plus, many head shampoos are too drying and will strip away natural sebum and moisture.
The fix: Use a gentle shampoo formulated for beards, and follow with beard oil and balm. Adjust frequency as needed
Zeus Beard Shampoo gently cleans the beard and the skin beneath. We made sure to formulate our shampoo without Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS), a detergent that strips hair of sebum and moisture.
But as with any product, you can overdo it. Cut down the frequency with which you shampoo until you find a sweet spot where your hair is clean but still hydrated. We recommend starting with 2 – 3 times a week and adjusting as necessary. Guys with thicker hair can usually get away with just 2 – 3 times a week, while guys with thinner, finer hair may need to shampoo every other day.
The problem: You’re dyeing your beard to cover up grays
We get it. Sometimes genetics toss us a few gray hairs prematurely, and not all of us are ready to rock the silver look. However, hair dye damages your hair by opening cuticles to let color into the shaft. This process makes cuticles ragged and weak.
Exposure to certain chemicals in hair dye (ammonia and peroxide) severely dries out your hair, leaving it prone to split ends.
The fix: Pamper your beard, big time
We’re not saying you should stop dyeing your hair. Just realize that if you continue, you’ll have to work extra hard to keep your beard healthy. Because hair dye dries out your hair, you’ll need to restore what’s been lost.
That means being vigilant about maintenance. Shampoo and condition as needed, and don’t go a day without beard oil. Beard oil helps prevent split ends by supplementing your hair’s natural sebum. Beard oil consists of a carrier oil – a mild oil that carries the fragrance – and essential oils for fragrance. Zeus Beard Oil employs safflower oil and argan oil as carrier oils to soften your beard while adding shine.
We recommend following up with beard balm to provide an additional layer of nourishment. The wax in beard balm will also seal in moisture and smooth cuticles, making hair more manageable.
The problem: You have a long beard
At the root of every beard follicle lie sebaceous glands, which produce nourishing oil for your beard and skin. They produce a limited amount of sebum every day. Past a certain length, your sebaceous glands can’t produce enough oil to cover the root and the entire shaft. This causes the tips of your beard to dry out, making split ends more likely.
The fix: Trim your beard regularly with well-maintained tools
Use a sharp pair of scissors and a beard trimmer that’s been cleaned and oiled before each trimming session. Use scissors rather than trimmers when possible, since trimmers chew the strand rather than cleanly slice it.
You’ll want to trim your beard once every week or two, cutting any strands that are starting to show signs of splitting. Take this time to also trim fast-growing hairs sticking out from your beard.
Alternatively, you can rock a shorter style that requires regular trims, so you don’t have to deal with split ends in the first place.
The problem: You’re overcombing your beard
There is such a thing as combing your beard too often. The right amount of combing will distribute sebum and beard oil evenly through hair, maximizing beard health. But too much combing leads to damaged hair cuticles, especially if you’re not using a quality comb (we’ll elaborate more on combs in the next point).
The fix: Don’t overdo it
Comb your beard 3 – 4 times a day, max.
The problem: You’re using a plastic comb, or a comb that tugs at your beard
The fix: Use a saw-cut comb or an animal horn comb
Combs are not created equal. The most widely available comb is the plastic comb, which also happens to be the most damaging option. Opt for saw-cut over mass production in a giant plastic mold. Plastic combs may be cheap, but they have microscopic jagged edges that tear your hair – they can even create split ends!
Saw-cut combs, on the other hand, have smooth edges that glide easily. The Zeus Handmade Saw-Cut Beard Comb is cut with a saw and hand-polished to ensure there are no jagged edges. Rounded tips massage your skin, encouraging beard growth and sebum production.
For extra credit, try a natural horn comb, which is made of keratin to close cuticles, reduce static, and prevent tangles.
The thicker and longer your beard, the more space you’ll need between the teeth of a comb. Medium-to-wide gaps between teeth discourage tugging.
Finish with a boar bristle beard brush to straighten, untangle, and shape.
The problem: You blow dry your beard
The fix: Just don’t do it. Or lessen the blow
If you have no other choice, at least use the cool setting. For extra protection, apply a few drops of beard oil first.
To dry your beard out of the shower, pay it dry with a towel. Never rub!