Despite a widely held belief that when summer comes, the beard comes off, beards can actually be quite beneficial – and even keep you cool – in warm weather. Of course, we acknowledge the drawbacks of having extra facial hair in the summer – beard sweats, getting stuff stuck, questions of why the hell you have a beard when it’s so hot out (because it’s awesome, that’s why).

But we fully vouch for the summer beard. Beards look good, and summer doesn’t signal an expiration date. To maintain a healthy beard in the summer, you just have to adjust your beard care to combat the heat.

Read on for our best beard care tips for a summer beard.

1. Wash your beard regularly

The summer heat will automatically make you sweat more, which means more stickiness and wetness all across your facial region. Wash your beard more frequently than you usually do with a sulfate-free shampoo that won’t dry out the skin. This will remove any unpleasant sticky feeling as well as the debris that tends to accumulate in our facial nets. Finish with a lightweight conditioner to keep the skin and hair resilient. Be sure to use the conditioner along the beard line as well, where skin tends to be drier.

2. Pay extra attention to moisturizing

Beard hair is coarser than hair on the rest of your body, so it’s important to keep it hydrated. If you don’t, it can feel extra irritated in harsh weather. Use a beard oil (which has a lighter consistency than beard balm) to soften beard hair, reduce itch, and tame frizz.

3. Use sunscreen

Hair – both on top of your head and on your face – tends to get neglected even in a sunscreen-heavy season, but doing so will exacerbate brittle hair since the sun’s rays break down hair cuticles, fading hair color and drying out strands. What’s worse is that this damage is twofold in the summer from sun and surf.

Since hiding indoors for the entirety of the summer is probably out of the question, we recommend taking the more practical approach by just remembering to use sunscreen on your beard. But don’t start gooping on the thick white stuff made for your body – instead, opt for sunscreen formulated expressly for hair. The sunscreen will keep your hair soft, smooth, and touchable no matter what the elements throw at it – good for you and your significant other.

4. Keep yourself hydrated

Skin cells are 90% water, so getting enough water every day will keep your skin healthy; similarly, keeping yourself hydrated prevents beard hair breakage from the inside out. Aim for eight 8-ounce glasses a day.

5. Give your beard a trim

Beards can actually combat the summer heat. They act as natural sun protection, offering as much as 21 UPF (ultraviolet protection factor), and there’s no greater feeling than getting that thing wet and walking around – as water evaporates, you get a nice cooling effect.

But you’re only human. If beard itch has got you cornered, you can tame the beast without entirely sacrificing it whole. Trim your beard but leave 1-2 inches behind so you’re still left with some studly stubble.

Don’t forget to keep both your skin and newly cropped beard moisturized by continuing to use beard oil.

An extra tip: Trim off split ends, and use something thicker – like beard balm – for coarser hair.

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