Guest post by Shawn Burns,

Our time has come my bearded brethren!

There is no more denying it, all must acknowledge what a chosen few have known all along.

Beards are simply the best.

Long, short, thick, or thin; the possibilities are endless. The popularity of facial fuzz has exploded in recent years and with it has the market catering to all of our hairy needs. It’s easy to spend hours wading through the endless amount of product reviews and how-to guides scattered across the web.

But fear not!

Luckily, we’ve gone ahead and done all of the legwork for you by compiling the ultimate beard care checklist complete with some products to get you started.

Maintaining a beard is a multistep process, but before we jump into the nitty-gritty, it’s important to first understand what’s happening on (and below) the surface of your skin.

At the root of every hair follicle is a sebaceous gland. These glands produce what is known as sebum oil.

This oil is tasked with keeping your skin and beard hair adequately moisturized and supple. However, as your chin-fuzz begins to grow into a manly mane, it’s important to supplement the oil your skin produces naturally—while also ensuring you aren’t unknowingly robbing your skin of precious moisture and nutrients.

You should be washing your beard, but not with any old shampoo.

Cleansing your beard is an important foundation of any proper beard care regime. That being said, you should steer clear of generic soaps and shampoos designed for the hair on the top of your head.

Remember that sebum oil we talked about earlier?

Most shampoos contain harsh chemicals that strip your beard of this natural oil which could lead to extremely dry skin and subsequently, flakes.

Opt instead for a chemical free beard wash.

A quality beard wash won’t contain harmful chemicals and will complement the oils your skin produces naturally. The guys at Grizzly Adam have got an awesome beard wash which uses a blend of essential oils and other all-natural cleansers to keep your crumb catcher as clean as can be. Quality speaks for itself, and these guys are so confident in their products that they even offer a money back guarantee!

Oil is your friend!

Now that you’ve got your beard squeaky clean, it’s important to apply a beard oil which serves as a post-wash conditioner. Beard oils are often comprised of a combination of carrier and essential oils. These oils work together to intensely hydrate your skin and hair, while also softening them to utter perfection.

Grizzly Adam’s Beard Oil is made using an intoxicating blend of organic argan oil, sweet almond oil, in addition to lime and cedarwood essential oils. It doesn’t get more luxurious than that folks!

Don’t forget the beard balm.

Once you’ve applied your beard oil, it’s a good idea to follow it with a beard balm for a final kick of moisture and nutrients.

This step is particularly necessary during the winter months, or if you live in a dry climate.

Like beard oil, beard balms often contain carrier and essential oils with the added bonus of shea and/or cocoa nut butter. Their creamy butter-like consistency helps to seal in the moisture while also protecting your skin and hair from the elements. Some products, like Grizzly Adam’s Beard Balm, also contain beeswax for light styling abilities.

To keep your mane tamed all day long, consider reaching for a heftier wax.

There’s no doubt that many of you brave souls out there will want to take things to the next level and style that bad boy. If this is you—whether you want to hold your handlebars in place or keep the most stubborn of whiskers in check—it’s all about the wax.

Although some beard balms may contain a small amount of wax, for the ultimate control, your going to want to reach for Grizzly Adam’s Firm Hold Mustache Wax.

So what’s the deal with beard brushes and combs?

Depending on the length and thickness of your beard, it may be a good idea to consider using a brush or comb specifically for your bush. For my friends looking to amp up thickness, then I’d recommend using a brush. Brushing your beard will also help to distribute the products evenly and leave you with a healthy shine. But beware, over brushing can lead to unintentional damage if done too often. Once a day is more than enough!

If you’re in need of more styling control, then a comb may better suit your needs. A quality beard comb is also a great way to avoid ingrown hairs. When a beard is growing in, it often grows in many different directions. Running a beard comb through it a few times a day will help ‘train’ the hair to grow in the same direction.

Last but not least—for the occasional touch up in between your trips to the barber—consider picking up a pair of shears. Shears provide more control than your average beard trimmer and we all know precision is key.

Well, there you have it folks. Now all you need is a scotch—neat of course—and you’re ready to go forth and conquer!

From beard to blade and everything in between, Shawn is the founder of Tools of Men, a men’s grooming blog that helps men get the most from their morning routine.  Featuring in-depth guides, product review roundups, and common questions that men are too afraid to ask, this site should set you in the right direction when it comes to how to care for your body.