Remember that tagline that was popular a few years ago that went something like “A man wants to smell like a man!” It must have been popular, not to mention sold a few products since it was around for a while, but it bears repeating, primarily because it’s true today. A man really does want to smell like a man. Why? Obviously, since we’re men, and we like smelling like something other than sweet lilac bouquets. Besides that, since when is it wrong to smell like something a little more manly like fir and cedarwood?

It’s also no secret that the hair and skin on the top of our heads is different than those on our faces, so it naturally follows that the best way to take care of them is with washes that are made specifically for those areas. Fortunately, there are makers who have responded in droves to those needs and have not only come up with ways for us to tame all the ways that our beards have to grow, but they make them smell pretty nice too.

What to Look For, What to Expect

The answer to this dilemma, if you could call it that, is beard shampoo. That’s right. A shampoo made specifically for the hair on our faces, whether it be our mustache or our beard. For years we have gotten away with using shampoo that was not only made for the hair on the top of our heads but in many cases they were made for those of the fairer gender. Not anymore.

Today’s man actually has a choice when it comes to his shampoo, whether it be made for his face or the top of his head. This is not to make things more complicated than they actually are, since most men have only recently been talked into the idea of shampooing every day. The mix of good news is that first, shampooing every day isn’t really necessary. And second, whether a man is sold on shampooing every day or not, it would be easy for him to adapt to shampooing every day by soaping up his head on one day while he does his beard on the next.

Once you get into the habit of shampooing every day, you should understand that the next step is to purchase your tools of the trade. This is usually accomplished best by patronizing one of many specialty stores that feature shaving supplies, specialized catalogs, or Internet suppliers. Many barbers also sell beard shampoos and other supplies, so that’s a good option as well.

Don’t think for a minute that once you get started using beard shampoo and condtioner that you don’t need to worry about beard oil or balm. These are two different things. Regular shampoo works to remove the oil in your hair getting rid of that greasy, oily look that everybody loathes. This oil comes from tiny glands below your skin called sebaceous glands. These tiny glands secrete sebum oil, which protects your hair and scalp, but also tends to build up when you’re not watching it.

Now comes your beard, which is slightly different, especially when you consider that you don’t want the hair on your face to look like a Brillo pad, which is exactly what will happen when you use regular shampoo on your mustache and beard. Instead, you want to keep some of that oil on your facial hair in order to keep it looking healthy and rich. Plainly stated, you use regular shampoo to strip away the sebum oil from your head, while you use beard shampoo to clean your skin as well as your facial hair, and leave a layer of sebum oil on the surface of both.

Looking Good

Amongst all of this talk about cleaning beards and mustaches, it’s easy to get lost to the fact that the basic purpose of facial hair is to make us look good. And as far as everyone should know by now, beards happen to be “in.” For that reason, you should be taking all of the care you can with your beard and mustache that you can muster. Fortunately, beard shampoo, conditioner, and all of the other accouterments of good facial hair grooming should be used liberally.

If you are convinced by now that you should be using beard shampoo and conditioner separate from your usual shampooing regimen, you are probably also wondering what place remains for beard oil and balm. The honest answer is plenty. Many men who end up using beard shampoo and conditioner also use beard oil and balm. To a great extent, this is purely a matter of personal choice. Some men who use beard shampoo and conditioner on their beards would no more step out of the house in the morning without using beard oil and balm than they would going without pants.

The perfect beard, soft and shiny

The truth is that beard oil and balm do much the same thing that beard shampoo does: rejuvenating the sebum oils that are found naturally in human hair, making it shiny and soft. This gives a man the chance to keep the hair on his head oil free while he keeps his beard and mustache soft and shiny. There is only one factor that should cause a man to use beard shampoo as well as beard oil, and that is in the case of coloring.

Color Factor

It usually doesn’t take long discussing the issue of beard shampoo before the subject comes up about coloring your hair. The truth is that whatever kind of shampoo you use, whether it’s regular shampoo or beard shampoo, hair coloring if you use it, will suffer. It naturally follows that when you use shampoos regularly, the dye that you use to color your hair will fade. In cases such as these, it is usually better to use a shampoo that is made specifically for use with colored hair. When you get done, you can use beard oil and balm to make sure that your facial hair remains as soft and shiny as you wish it to be.

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Also check out this great article Growing a beard can be one of lifes secret joys.